Why I Love My Beatrice Form
If you haven’t heard of Beatrice Forms, you’ll want to find out what these industry disruptors are up to. I met Alison and Nate (the masterminds behind the brand) about a year ago. These fellow Boulder-ites have embarked on an endeavor that is shaking up the sewing industry. And with their passion for design, there are no two people better poised to do so.
Alison and Nate started Beatrice Forms to take the frustration out of fitting clothes. Alison is a software engineer and long-time sewist who saw the value in being able to use a dress form that looks like your own body. Nate is a maker and engineer with a passion for building his own tools to get the job done. Their combined talents have brought to market the Beatrice Form: a dress form that is an exact replica of your body. And it has been a total game-changer for me in several ways.
P.S. There’s a $100-off coupon code at the bottom of this post if you’re interested in ordering your own Beatrice Form!
How Beatrice Works
The entire experience of working with Beatrice is streamlined and customer-focused. You scan your body with a custom, easy-to-use app to create a digital rendering which is sent to Alison and Nate. There’s a lot of communication throughout the entire process, which eased any worries I had about the form not being quite right when I received it.
The forms are cut one at a time on a machine that Nate engineered himself. Alison sews the knit covers that stretch over the foam. And a lovely wooden handle adorns the neck of each form. The forms are placed on a quality stand that easily moves up and down and swivels around without friction. The end product is a literal work of art, worth every penny.
Beatrice and Body Image
When my form arrived and I saw my body separate from me, I was surprised! I was surprised that my waist to hip ratio really is as significant as the measurements say, surprised that one of my breasts is larger than the other, and surprised to see that one of my shoulders is slightly higher than the other. I had never seen these asymmetries in the mirror and I was fascinated. Be sure to check out Alison's video on asymmetries to learn more about this topic.
What happened over the weeks and months following the arrival of my Beatrice Form was pivotal for me and my own body image. My Beatrice sat in the corner of the Indiesew office and I would glance at it often. I noticed the initial shock of what I thought was “wrong” with my body melt into a soft appreciation. I started to look at my form and think that my body was objectively beautiful. Like, really beautiful.
Note: I've marked the center front, center back, waistline, and neckline of my Beatrice Form with twill tape. I have plans to mark the rest of the important elements using Beatrice's video tutorial.
I started to feel admiration for the significant curve that travels from my waist to my hip. I look at my small shoulders with nothing but love, because they remind me of my mom's. I began to think how wonderfully different and amazing my body truly is.
It took a few months, but as my respect grew for this body so did my desire to get to work using this tool to create clothing that will make me feel amazing.
On Body Changes
I wanted to address something that makes some sewists nervous to invest in a form like this: body changes. When I was scanned, I was one size larger than I am now in the hips. I’ve compared the measurements of my hips now and then and there’s about a 1.5” difference.
But honestly, a change of 1.5” and about 10 lbs. in weight hasn’t made much of a difference in terms of fitting on my Beatrice. I’m never fitting any garment to be skin tight, so that extra few inches of ease are not a big deal. In fact, I haven’t noticed it affect the fit of my garments at all when they’ve been fitted on my Beatrice Form.
For me, my body image has, in fact, greatly improved since receiving my Beatrice Form. I can confidently say that my Beatrice Form helped me make a conscious decision to stop trying to shrink my body.
If you're nervous about having a form made and then losing weight and the form being useless, please hear me out. Your weight loss aspirations might actually disappear once you receive your form! And for me, what has replaced that mental strain of trying to shrink my body has been a passionate desire to fit this beautiful body I have right now.
That being said, if your body does change significantly Beatrice does provide a rescan and new form for half of the price of the original!
How to Alter a Dress Using the Beatrice Form
Honestly, I don't have a lot of experience with fitting garments. Despite having taken a draping class, I’m still super intimidated by the process. So instead of diving right into an intense draping project, I decided to start with a garment that doesn’t fit quite right.
I love the simple lines of this Varda Dress, but the fit was pretty off for me. It fit well through the bust and shoulders, but was too big around the waist and hips:
Varda isn’t intended to be super fitted, but I wanted mine to be. So, I put the dress on my Beatrice Form and started pinning some front contour (sometimes called double-ended or fisheye) darts to give the dress more shape.
Note: You'll notice that I didn't put the dress on the form inside-out. Because the Beatrice Form accounts for any asymmetries from right to left (like my higher shoulder on one side), I want to work with the dress as I would be wearing it. If I pin the dress inside out, I would basically be working on a mirror image of my body.
I used some red thread to run a basting stitch through the darts so I could mark them on the wrong side.
Then I marked the dart seam on the wrong side of the dress with tailor's chalk.
I pressed and pinned the darts in place. This video tutorial was incredibly helpful, as this was my first experience with this type of dart.
I used the same method to deepen the existing back contour darts by about 1/4".
The last step was to bring the hem of the dress up by 3”, which was personal preference. Here’s a photo of new fit of the dress. You can see how much better the fit is through the waist and hip.
I do feel vulnerable posting these photos, because I know there are some other areas where the fit of the dress could improve (the sleeve, etc). But I feel strongly that for a fitting newbie like me, pinching out a contour dart is a great place to start. And I know the Beatrice Form will be a game-changing tool for me to learn more fitting techniques.
I don't wear super fitted clothes, but when I put on this dress I feel beautiful. For my next sewing project, I plan on pinning the pattern tissue directly on the form and seeing where I’m going to need to deepen a dart or bring in the side seams before I start sewing.
If you’re ready to take your fitting game to the next level, I can’t recommend a Beatrice Form enough. A dress form is a big investment and having one that is the exact replica of your body is so much more useful than a generically sized form from another company. Use coupon code LOVEYOURSHAPE until Monday, November 26 to get $100 off your own Beatrice Form! (Beatrice Forms currently ships within the US only.)
Disclaimer: Beatrice Forms provided me with a dress form free of charge, but did not ask that I write this review of their product. Everything stated here is an honest representation of our experience with the brand.
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