|This mannequin's C-cup bust is far too big, perky, and unfashionable for this fragile 1920's beaded dress, causing immense damage and tears throughout the top of the dress.|
|This 1910's white lawn dress is only 26" around the waist and 28" around the bust. These tears in an otherwise stable fabric were caused by trying to squeeze the dress over the mannequin.|
|The modern mannequin is also the culprit in the numerous tears across the silk bodice of this 1926 wedding dress. You can also see how tightly the lace bodice is stretched across the bust.|
Eventually I found the perfect dress form, a cheap but sturdy $60 Roxy dress form on Amazon. It fit all the requirements: it is cheap, so that I could buy several; it has a removable fabric covering in a neutral color; it has removable, flexible arms; and, most importantly, it is made of a foam that can be easily sculpted and/or padded up.
|Sadly, the image leaves a lot to be desired.|
The dress forms I ordered are of a surprising quality. They were easy to put together, arrived very quickly, and the carving process (using a variety of knives) was relatively easy. I also used a pot scrubber (because I couldn't find sandpaper in the museum) to help smooth out the cuts. The dress form below already has had its boobs sanded down with the pot scrubber.
|Surprisingly good quality dress form! Here I am carefully carving down the boobs for the measurements of a 1926 wedding dress.|