Feature Friday: Beatrice Forms
Draping can be quite a challenge for both everyday garment making and historical costuming. Standard forms never perfectly replicate the human body, and without a second pair of hands, it can be difficult to drape a pattern on yourself. But this month’s featured business has a new solution for this problem. Using a smartphone 3D body scan, Beatrice Forms creates custom, pinnable forms designed to solve one of the home sewist’s greatest challenges—obtaining the perfect fit on your own! The company is dedicated to “helping garment makers turn their creative vision into reality,” providing forms that celebrate each individual’s unique shape and natural asymmetry.
As co-founder Alison says,
“Our culture does not empower people to really know or embrace their organic, asymmetric selves. We seek to transform peoples’ relationships with their bodies not only to help them achieve great garment fit, but to unlock authentic, unabashed self-expression through their craft.”
Lifelong makers themselves, husband and wife team Nathan and Alison founded the company in 2017. With backgrounds in software and mechanical engineering, they took their combined experience and knowledge to create body-scanning software and a custom foam cutting machine from scratch. Now each form is handmade to order in their Colorado studio, and due to high demand, orders are only open once a month.
However, they have expanded their mission even further by launching the Beatrice Collective, an online learning space where intermediate and advanced sewists can level-up their skills with resources and one-on-one help from apparel experts and fellow makers. So while a custom form might not be in the budget, this is a great option to help you learn to better fit your body’s individual shape.
They also regularly offer draping workshop courses, with one starting next month. The course focuses not only on how to drape but also how to alter and fit patterns as well as improve your design skills. The four week Learn to Drape course can be used with custom Beatrice forms or with any other type of form (standard or half-scale).
Beatrice Forms kindly offered a custom form to Redthreaded’s own Alyssa, and she had the following to say about the process from start to finish:
"The order process had several steps as would be expected for any custom item. First, Alison set up a 30 minute consultation time with me so she could talk me through the process. She asked what I was hoping to get out of the use of the form so that they knew what was needed for my form. Alison also told me some tips on how to get the best scan possible. With a couple of my measurements, she decided which size scan clothing to send. She was super nice to talk to and was great at answering my questions."
"Once I received the body scan kit, I carefully followed the instructions and tips. I had to clear a little space in a well-lit room and had a friend do the scans. The app tells you what to do step by step, so it was pretty easy to follow. Their app is only available on iPhones, unless they've since developed an android app. This was my main hiccup in the process because I needed to borrow an iPhone. Under normal circumstances I think this would've been quite easy."
"After I had sent in the scans, they looked at them and confirmed that the scans turned out well and let me know that my 3D scan had been added to their editing queue. Once it had been edited, they sent a link for me to view the 3D model so I could approve it. I didn't think the model needed any tweaks, so I approved it, and then they cut and sent the form!"
"It's beautiful and super cool. I'm very sad to say that due to an injury I haven't been able to work with it much yet, but I'm very excited to. It's amazing to have a form that's just right, especially since it's so tricky to pad a form to match a corseted figure. Structural undergarments affect the silhouette a lot, so it's incredibly helpful to have a form that reflects that. As I haven't gotten to use it much yet, I can't confirm this personally, but I think you get better results more easily having a form of your corseted figure. After all, if you look at historical dress forms they were typically the shape of a body in a corset—whatever shape was in vogue at the time."
"The whole experience was great and super pleasant. I'm very pleased with the form."
Beatrice Forms also has a YouTube channel with behind the scenes looks at their studio and workshop, as well as videos that walk you through the custom form order process.
You can find out more about Beatrice Forms at beatriceforms.com
You can find the Beatrice Collective at collective.beatriceforms.com
And you can find more inspiration on their Instagram, @beatriceforms