Ode to "Size C" my Vintage Dress Form

Only a seamstress could understand this...

I found you at a junk shop, dirty and misshapen, all akimbo and leaning precariously to the left.

You were wearing a sad and depressing kerchief dress and looking miserable, you who had bean draped with the best earthen fabrics of yesteryear with graceful and stylish care, humiliated to now stand resignedly as a cheap store dress model with a horrible made in tie dye shift of unknown automated sweat shop origin.

I approached you carefully, darting glances around me to be sure no one was watching, I snatched off your clothes, pulled out my tape measure and found to my pleasure that we were a match.

I hastily redressed you and walked to the front of the store casually past the usual tired, uninterested employee,sitting low behind the counter and reading some garbage book that was more important than any sale or customer service could be and made as if I was about to leave.

As if suddenly struck, I turned and pounced on the unsuspecting clerk with a quick inquiry about the sad looking dress model in the back. The sales person, (and I use that term loosely), didn't even know what I was talking about, after a bit of stern cajoling, I got her to get up and towed her to the item in question.
"Oh yes", she said, "That Dress Model has been here for years and is in pretty bad shape." I hastily agreed and told her that I needed something to put a dress or two on during my upcoming garage sale, (how easily the lies come to me when it really matters....).

I asked her if I could borrow it, which she recoiled in horror at on the suggestion, telling me that my intuition about her being a cash cow was more to my advantage.

Perhaps I could give her something for it....not much, I really don't need it , but I could throw it out after the sale, it being in such bad shape and all...or maybe bring it back if she really liked it so much and she could return my money, with a small rental fee withdrawn, (my mind is racing now, must not give away too much..).

Again she looks at me like I am from another planet and says if she sells it, what would she do with the dress? (An obvious counter play for more money...). I sigh and finger the garment, feigning disgust at it's design (actually, it wasn't pretend at all, millions of polyesters gave their lives for this monstrosity and it showed...).

Finally, after a long pause that said I had changed my mind, she too touched the dress and said, "You know, it's an ugly dress any way it's been on this model for years and no one has even thought of buying it...I'll take $50 bucks for the model, if you take the dress too."

I nearly knocked her down as I tucked it under my arm and made a dash for the door, two twenties and a ten flew across the counter as I slammed out the door.

You don't blink twice on a deal like that, you just run and hope they don't call the cops when they realize they have been taken. I had just made the deal of the century and in honor of that occasion, the dress form rode home leaned back in the passenger seat beside me while I chattered away about how she would never have synthetics brush against her skin again and that I would try to do her honor as her new Seamstress.

She seemed happier already.

You see, this dress model is a rare, fully adjustable size "C", which I happen to know is EXACTLY my size. Many dress forms are made with the bust and waist too high or low for me, "Miss C" as I call her now, is my doppleganger with out further adjustment. She's a pre 60's model, as I am. Her measurements and stature reflect those times, as I do.

We were built for each other in an era when women had size and style and sewed their own fashions while watching Jackie Kennedy play with her kids on the White House lawn and while men walked on the moon in black and white on our roundish snowy screened TV.

She shows a bit of wear here and there, (as I do), but has tirelessly helped me create many dozens of outfits in the past six years I have possessed her.

Then sadly, she spent a winter in storage last year after we downsized and bought our RV to live in full time, my husband had convinced me there was not enough room for her in our new home and I agreed at the time.

You cannot convince me she is not showing off here....
I fretted about her all the time we were in Florida for the season, and I realized that without her, I just couldn't bring myself to sew. Why should I? It would never fit quite right without my stalwart friend to help me so there was just no sense it trying.

What a happy reunion it was when we first open our Aladdin's cave in the Spring, and there was my friend, wrapped in a sheet, sulking in the corner. I didn't even consult with the Hubby, into the truck she went, as he sadly shook his head, (but wisely kept his council), and was installed in a place of honor in our living area, where she resides to this day.

As I am sewing today and she looks on approvingly as I work. Sometime she seems to incline towards me bend a bit as I struggle to slip something on her to help me. Patiently she bears the pricks of thousands of pins as I pinch, pull and tug each garment into shape. I can move boldly and confidently forward in my designs because I know beyond a doubt that if it looks good on her, it will look good on me.

She is my companion at midnight when I am plugging away at a project and my coffee clutch friend when I sit back to admire or criticize and my current work. She seems to know when something just isn't quite right and I swear she leans and turns so I notice it.

I have friends and I have relatives, but I only have one body double who travels everywhere I do and is always ready to try something on at a moments notice. What more can a Seamstress ask for in a Twin Sister? (My real Sister is a jewel and my very best friend, but face it, she is just not my size!).

PS I am currently looking for another twin to use in he tent when we are set up, message me or email me if you have one for sale, we will be in Southern Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois over the next month.


  1. Hello,

    I am doing a research project on dress forms and I was wondering

    a) what brand yours was and
    b) if you knew any information about the manufacturer.

    I am trying to find some information on the Adjustable Dress Form Company of Canada, but it is hard going. Great post! Thanks,


  2. Both of my Dress models are Hearthside, that's all I know about them, I'm afraid, don't know about Canadian ones, but if I run into any info I will post it here!
    Glad to see someone else is crazy about dress forms too!

  3. Thanks! I will look into Hearthside and see if they have any information.

    Yeah, I'm a bit of a sewing nut, particularly historical recreation. I have never done any research on forms though so I though it would be interesting. Thanks again.

  4. Hi, I bought a dress form that looks exactly like the one pictured above, except a size A for $25 on Craigslist. I really don't use it much, and was going to sell it on craigslist for about the same. But then I started doing a little Internet searching and was thinking it could possibly be worth much more. Any idea how much this dress form is worth?



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