Introducing Mrs. Utt

It seems silly to introduce Mrs. Utt when she has been part of my sewing room for a year now. Still, I don’t think you have formally met her.

Mrs. Utt, dressed for a wedding shower
Mrs. Utt, dressed for a wedding shower

She was a wedding shower gift from a dear family friend, a woman who has known my parents for years, whose middle name is my namesake, and whose mother was a beautiful soul and wonderful seamstress.

Mrs. Utt belonged to her mother.

For the first few months I was hesitant to use Mrs. Utt. She came swaddled in beautiful fabrics and beads. I couldn’t bring myself to disrobe her – and yes the gifter will confirm the fabric was just there to “dress up” an otherwise gray form.

She eased her way into my sewing routine as we were ramping up for PAX Prime. At first, because I did not realize her base could extend, she sat on a filing cabinet and was where I draped short garments. She also spent some time supporting a duct tape form I made of Greg.

While I worked on Leliana, I realized that my other dress form had a shorter torso than me. This caused a few fitting issues around the shoulders, at least until I just added shoulder pads to that form.¬†When it came time to work on Mulan, I used Mrs. Utt to drape Mulan’s navy robe.


Mrs. Utt is adjustable but she is a bit stiff given her age (born in the 1950s, I think). It took a lot of effort to make slight adjustments. She remains a little lopsided and I am considering some cosmetic surgery to rectify that.

Has anyone restored or repaired a vintage adjustable dress form for active use? I have only found two blog posts on the topic and both suggest taking them apart to remove the rust from the metal, among other tasks.

Do you own any heirloom sewing tools? What are their stories?

3 thoughts on “Introducing Mrs. Utt

  1. I have an old adjustable junior size Singer dress form (I named her Abby) that is probably about the same age as your Mrs.Utt. At her smallest, Abby is pretty much my size so I just keep her panels all screwed together as tight as they fit.

    In general, you want a dress form to be slightly smaller than your actual measurements because then you can pad out the areas you need to make it match your shape more closely. If you can adjust the torso length to match yourself, I would just try to even her up by tightening the panels and bulking up with a little padding (strips of fleece and/or felt work really well – just wrapped around like a mummy and pinned in place). Try getting the shoulder width, shoulder to waist length, and bust point distance as close as you can to yours and pad to match your actual bust-waist-hips around.

  2. Rather jealous. I did once try to fix my mum’s 60s sewing machine. Sadly, just managed to eat lots of fabric!

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