Penelope is finished – dress form review

dress form reviewIt's been a while since I brought Penelope home, and she's been sat there taunting me for a while.  I admit, I put on a few (quite a few) pounds over Christmas and New Year.  I really intended to loose them again before fitting out Penelope but well, its nearly the end of March and that hasn't happened yet.  I can't make the poor girl wait there all naked any longer.

If you are new here, you might have missed the installments earlier this year.  In the first video, I looked at Penelope as she arrived from PGM, and talked through the features.  I admit, I was gushing and silly, all giggly and excited.  She was so beautiful!

PART 1 – PGM Pro 601 dress form review – Introducing Penelope

In the second video, I looked at the Fabulous Fit Padding System and Body Wrap.  You can buy just the foam pads or add extra inches with the body wrap kit too.  The pads really are very flexible, soft and feel very ‘body-like'.   It's a very versatile system that can be used on any dress form.

PART 2 – Fabulous Fit Dress Form Padding for Penelope

The great thing about the padding system, if / when I do manage to loose a few pounds here and there, I should just be able to slightly move or change the padding to accommodate those body changes.  No need to fork out for a new dress form – phew.  Plus, in the unfortunate event of Christmas coming again this year, I still have some pads and the body wrap system so I can always add a few pounds if I really really have to.

Take a look at my finished Penelope.  My first try is pretty good I think – took me about 50 minutes from start to finish including taking my own measurements and padding out Penny.  I can see now from the video that although the measurements are correct around, the shaping of the lower hips and behind could probably be improved upon.  It's a work in progress and I'm sure as I use her for fitting I'll make small tweaks to the pad placement until it's just right.

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If you are thinking about getting either a dress form, the padding kit or both, can I ask you to check out the So Sew Easy Store?  The dress forms and the padding kit are both offered at a discounted price, and will ship to you direct from the manufacturer, although only to US addresses.

I'm so excited to have a fitting model to help me out.  It's going to be great, not just for helping me fit my own clothes from patterns, but she'll also be a great help to me in designing new patterns, seeing exactly how I can transform draped fabrics into flat pattern pieces.  She's already hard at work modelling a new flirty skirt I'm working on for summer that you can see on the left of the sofa behind…

[Update – you can also now learn more about how to customise your dress form for the perfect fit in a new Craftsy class – Fitting Essentials: Customize Your Dress Form]

Pad a dress form

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13 Responses to Penelope is finished – dress form review

  1. Barb Collinsn says:

    Darn, Inalways seem to be late to the party…i saw your video reviewing the Fabulous Fit system, but can’t seem to find the latest Penelope is finished video. Is it still available, and if so, can you please send me a link?

  2. robkon94 says:

    Deby, I am really grateful that you made the dress form videos. I have seen others where you make the duct tape form, but not this type.

    I have wanted a dress form for quite some time but unfortunately I am one of those people who have small bust and large hips. When I look at patterns I generally see a 2-size difference between my bust and hips. If I order a dress form, I imagine that I would order one according to my bust and use the padding to adjust the waist and hips.

    But my question to you is, if my high bust is 35″ and my hips measure 43″, would one set of pads work for me?

    Next, I saw that you increased the distance between your bust point and shoulder. Is it also possible possible to shorten that distance (I am short).

    Anything you suggest would be helpful.


    • Hi, and thanks for getting in touch. I would say that changing up the vertical length is going to be the most challenging. For me, I was able to raise the shoulders and use the pads to drop the apex just enough, but if you are short, then shortening might be more of a challenge. You may have to go for the smaller size and be prepared to use more createive ways in terms of additional padding to create the shape you need. Have you seen the Craftsy class on how to pad your dress form? If you want to make more major customisation, this class could give you the info that you need to do that. Might be best to watch the class before investing in the form, just so you know more about padding options and the sizing to go for. Here is the class link –

  3. Sara says:

    Do you mind me asking what size dress form you purchased and what size of padding kit you ordered? I’m looking at getting the 601 form and the padding kit.

    • Deby Coles says:

      I had the size 10 dress form and the medium padding kit to make my Penelope. I’ve since put on a few pounds and it was easy to add a little extra around the middle where she needed it, and one day that’s coming back off again (I hope).

  4. Sarah says:

    Thank you! I have had a dress form and the padding for well over a year, maybe two years (!!), and just couldn’t figure where to start and how to do this. Well, this afternoon, after watching your videos, I got my “twin” put together – all thanks to your help and willingness to share how you did it. I’m so grateful for your help… thanks.

  5. Rose :: says:

    You’ve come a long way in a short period of time. I remember you standing on the porch covered in duck tape for that first dress form!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Yes, how can I forget. It was SO hot and my husband was so good to take the time to do it with me. Then I spoilt it all with too much expanding foam! I have come a long way in lots of ways since then.

  6. Michelle says:

    Beautiful dress. Love the material!

    • Deby Coles says:

      Thank you. It’s one of my favorites, easy to just slip on, cool and stretchy, and that empire line style that suits my body shape. The fabric originally came from Fabric Mart and I wish I had bought more.

  7. Nini~ says:

    Wow…I’ve been thinking about dress forms for a while, I didn’t realize I can make it exactly like my body. I would definitely be inserting a few of the pads on mine! I am inspired to make some clothes and patterns. Thanx for explaining everything so well.

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