No Bra-spiration Monday this week because I wanted to do a quick first impression review on the PGM Lingerie Form I just purchased. This is a new product for PGM, a dress form manufacturer based here in Los Angeles, CA. I’ve own PGM forms before I had a regular dress form from them which I used during my program at FIDM. Back then they had a student special for $99 not sure if they still offer it quite that cheap but they still have discounts for qualified students. I remember wheeling it many blocks through downtown LA back to the parking garage. It wasn’t the most expensive dress form on the market but it did its job well. After that I got a used full body bipedal by Wolf Forms which are a premium professional dress form maker. Unfortunately it did not have defined separate breasts so I sold it a couple of years ago.
So I was in the market for a new form specifically for my bra making needs. I had seen that PGM had recently released this one specifically marketed for lingerie/bridal. It is available in 3 configurations. The table top version which I purchased and two other options with a rolling stand either inserted in one leg or in the center of the form. The cost was $189 which is very reasonable compared to other professional dress form brands. I choose to purchase a size 8 as it’s advertised measurements were the closest to the standardized 34B that I was looking for in order to proceed with my Project Pattern Making: Bra Edition series. The forms are advertised as being a B cup though the company offers customization for larger breast sizes
The form itself is fairly lightweight which is useful for being able to pull it out and place it on a table. However it was a bit of a challenge to keep it upright while I was comparing the form to the measurements listed on the product website. I might consider weighting down the legs a little in the future. The form still comes with the mounting hole for a cast iron base so it can be converted to a regular stand at a later date. I currently don’t have room for a free-standing form so I choose the table top version rather than getting another full body form like my previous one. It is $50 cheaper to purchase the tabletop version.
This form does not have collapsible shoulders like you would find in a standard dressmakers form. However for the intended purpose of lingerie this is not necessary. The most important part is that it was separate and defined breasts. I would consider the shape semi-natural. Pretty good as far as dress forms go but not as anatomically correct as an Alvaform dress form would be but for 10% of the cost I’m happy with it. The form has a rather flattened rear end which is a little disappointing considering the regular forms from PGM tend to have a nicely shaped rear. However it is probably appropriate for the size of the form.
Aesthetics wise it’s pleasing to look at with an natural oatmeal colored fabric covering and a silver and gold topper and would add a nice touch to any studio. However the silver rim of the topper did come off easily so that’s a negative though easily fixed. This form doesn’t have the level of craftsmanship that my previous Wolf Form had but again for the price it’s a very acceptable alternative especially considering for most people ~$200 for a dress form is still a substantial investment. It’s only went compared to a Wolf ($1000 retail) or Alvanon ($2000 retail) that its seems to be a bargain. The fabric is easily pinnable though something to note with professional dress forms is that you pin at an angle into the fabric rather that into the form itself which is made from paper mache
Measurements wise this form has a 29.5″ underbust, 34″ upper bust and 36″ full bust which is very close to the advertised measurements with only the full bust being 0.5″ off but that maybe the inaccuracy of my measuring. I tested out a couple of underwire sizes against the breast root and while a 34 underwire fits ok I feel the 36 fits better. So this form might really be a 34C or at the very least a slightly larger B cup. I will do a breast root trace and compare. I tend to size based on the upper bust measurement rather than the underbust.
There are several schools of thought for calculating band size. Underbust plus 4″ or underbust plus 0″ or some combination thereof or upper bust plus 0″. This would size my dress form anywhere from the 34B as stated by the manufacturer to a 32F as suggested by one online calculator. Time will tell if I reclassify this lovely lady into a different size.
This is the form I will use for my next installment of my pattern making series and I will be starting with Mark Garbarczyk’s method as published in Foundation’s Revealed. If you don’t already belong to this website I highly recommend it especially since they offer a one month free trial. Mark was kind enough to email that he was following the series and made sure I had the sewing directions on how to put together his pattern as intended. I would like to encourage anyone who wants to join in to post their projects on the bra making forum.
I still haven’t settled on the fabrics I will use for the entire project but I’m thinking based on what will be available for most of my readers that I will use tricot with my non stretch bridge and cup lining and powernet. I want to keep the fabrication consistent from sample to sample. I did consider using duoplex which I believe is the suggest fabric for Bra Makers Manual method but I believe tricot with a non stretch lining will give a similar result though knowing my what if tendencies I may end up making multiple samples with different fabrics.
I got a lot of great feedback about the scope of this project and it was suggested that the project would be much better if I used a larger mannequin size. I do agree to an extent but I believe the first round needs to be with a more standardized size as “some” of the methods are intended to work with. However an excellent part two to this series could be with other sizes. Large band with large cups, small band with large cups and large band with small cups. If I can find larger forms to test this out with I certainly will endeavour to do so.
The question as to why I wouldn’t use my own breasts for this test? The reason is it wouldn’t be a fair test. I have fairly atypical breasts as the result of massive weight loss which is still a work in progress. My breast most likely won’t be the same shape or size at the start of the project as they will be in the end. Also I feel if I test the methods first under perfect circumstances then any issues can be accurately traced to either the method or the maker rather than some combination of odd fit issues.
So now to start gathering your pattern paper, protractors and flexi rulers for the games are about to start.