Form, fit & function that won’t break the bank

alvaform_features_smI’m pleased to announce that Alvanon has launched a new line of dress forms called AlvaForm Studio. The price of these forms are gentle on your pocketbook but certain to please anyone who has coveted one of their elite quality forms. And, this is the first official announcement -we got the exclusive on it. Yay us! In keeping with the exclusivity of this advance notice (it won’t be announced to the public for another three weeks), the forms are 30% off. I don’t know how long that deal will last but I’ll amend this entry when I know. Okay, now for features.

Gee, I’m not sure where to start, this being such a radical departure from anything else available in the market. I’ll start by itemizing the anatomically correct shape features that are unique to this product, refer to image at right (larger image).

  1. First we have a clavicle bump. Yay.
  2. The bust is a more rounded normal shape (I’ll provide a comparison further down so you can appreciate the difference). The underside of the bust is fuller instead of coming to an abrupt 50’s style bullet bra apex as is typical of other forms.
  3. The sternum between the breasts is taped for clear delineation, aiding in customary underwire placement.
  4. The bust is shaped with a princess line down the center and a dart off to either side.
  5. As with other forms, the cover is hand sewn along the side seam -but this one is much flatter. No more unsightly ridges. Can’t speak for you but I find those ridges somewhat annoying.
  6. The form has a belly button; invaluable for aligning lower slung waistbands or crop tops. She also has a pronounced belly like real people do with a noticeable depression below just before the normal bifurcation.
  7. The outer front thighs are curved outward, again, just like real people. At the same time, the back side of the thigh is curved inward.

If you haven’t guessed by now, this form was sculpted -based on real humans.

In addition to the features I mentioned above, one thing no one ever talks about is posture. The Alva forms are standing in a normal posture as opposed to other forms with figures standing at attention. Another thing I like are the markings indicating key measuring landmarks such as under bust, high hip etc. No more fumbling with the tape and wondering if you’ve got it straight all the way around. Personally, I find this feature very useful. No more eyeballing, if the tape is not resting on the landmark, it’s pretty evident.

There’s one other big detail -it’s a squishy form made of memory foam. Honestly, for me that was (initially) a deal breaker but they were going to let me test it for free (I’m keeping it so I pay for it just like you) and not charge me shipping to and fro so I said okay. I had seen some squishy foam forms from another company at SPESA 2007 and was not impressed. At all. I thought they were creepy. I also didn’t like the texture and while a good idea, I didn’t think they would be very useful because fabric sticks to them. In fact, I was so unimpressed that Alvanon put out a squishy form that I didn’t take it out of the box for three weeks. They didn’t know that but they obviously will after reading this review. Anyway, what Alvanon has done is put a stretchy cotton cover over the memory foam which solves both problems. This form doesn’t feel or look creepy and fabric isn’t going to stick to it. I actually like this fabric cover better than the linen; it’s not as harsh. And when I say foam, I don’t mean cheap stuff, this is pretty dense (I wish I were this firm). I like that there is some give to the form so you can get a better feel of whether the skin is being compressed for a tight fit versus trying to test fit on what feels like shaped pieces of plywood. Long story short, I wish the other form I bought from them were also foam with the flatter hand sewn side seams. I am planning to buy one of their men’s foam forms when those become available.

This last detail won’t impress you much especially if you haven’t used many forms but I love the base, cage and heavy locking wheels. I don’t know if you’ve had the experience of knocking over regular dress forms or almost doing it but it’s not very hard to do, they’re not very stable. The pole mechanism of other forms isn’t as sturdy and is essentially held upright due to balancing of the four feet. This form has a very nice wheel base, just roll it a short distance, you can feel how much more expensive the skeleton of this form is. The wheels look like inline skate wheels so while they’re hard, they have bearings so they don’t lock up like the smaller metal, clunkier baby wheels on other forms.

side_by_side_comparison_dress_formsI promised a side by side comparison of the major form brands versus the AlvaForm Studio which you can see at right. The greatest differences are in bust shaping and the center back line -pretty dramatic, no? By the way, both of these forms are the same size -yes, both of these forms use the ASTM D5585 data set.

That’s another thing, the AlvaForm Studio comes in two versions, a straight form and a curvy form. As you may recall, curvy doesn’t mean plus sized, curvy means a figure has a .75 hip to waist differential. Meaning, if you’re fitting a customer who is not hourglass shaped, you probably want a curvy form. Before I got off track, I was saying that the shaping differences between the standard brands versus the Alva form are pretty dramatic but to really appreciate the differences, you need to see the side by side comparison of the curvy form. Pretty amazing stuff.

Okay, let’s talk money. The exclusive launch pricing for my visitors (and anyone you tell so tell everyone) is $700 for the traditional straight or curvy dress form. There is also a torso form available, also in straight or curvy. The price for that one is $900.  Those of you who sought a price quote for shipping in the past will be delighted to hear that shipping will be a flat $180 in the US and $300 to Canada. If you want a form, see the order page to go through the process of selecting desired size etc. For now you have to fax or call your order in but in another two week’s time, you should be able to process the whole thing via the website. Another thing you’ll like -they will accept credit cards. Previously it was checks or wire transfer only.

Amended: Somehow I neglected to post the photo below comparing the shaping of the most popular form on the market versus the new Alvanon form. Really, I think this says it all.


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37 Comments on "Form, fit & function that won’t break the bank"

2 years 10 months ago

Do the shoulder collapse on the AlvaForm?

2 years 10 months ago

[…] I thought I’d show you how I created a fitting shell for the newest dress form I got. Sure, one could do a lot of measuring and finagling to come up with a fitting shell but it […]

3 years 24 days ago

Hi again,

I was looking at the specs for these form again and I really like how they have a bit of ‘give’ if you need to fit a garment without much ease.
I’ve been told I dress like an Italian but I’m taking that as compliment. I had a lot of difficulty during my training as a pattern drafter because I was learning a drafting system with far too much ease added and I was personally measured by someone who added way too many fingers to my waistline. I experienced a lot of frustration in the process of drafting clothes for myself because of this, and I have not ever added my own my fingers to the waistband measurement to date nor do I don’t intend to when I am working with large or Xlarge fit models either. I am currently developing styles with more ease incorporated into the draft, but I like to keep a sense of the natural drape in comparison to the body when I am drafting rather than going for a ‘boxy’ look. I do like a boxy look on some people but usually I prefer a carefully draped look instead.
PS: I hope those geeks who keep hacking your site will smarten up and get a life soon!

[…] don’t see one in my budget in the near future, but while we’re dreaming let’s put this one on the list. Sigh. They even have one for a straight torso instead of a curvy one! Back to […]

3 years 3 months ago

Kathleen, thanks so much for the side by side form comparison. I’m used to the collapsible shoulders, etc. not foam (think Wolf). I think someone else mentioned this earlier, but is there any possibility of doing a side by side comparison of the two? I understand what Susana is saying, but I am a mediocre at pattern drafting and my samples always need 1 or 2 corrections before they are ready for market. Also, I have yet to have a client or fit model who is actually exactly any one standard so I’ve always adjusting mine with padding. I like the collapsible shoulders because if I have to modify the form for a customer (high-end one off) then the piece will still come off even if I’ve had to do weird modifications. I don’t like the idea of it being held up by friction. Probably weird on my part. Does this make sense, or just crazy boutique one-off talk?