Well, in my quest for the perfect fit for my 14 year-old daughter, I am attempting to customize an antique manufactured dress form. My daughter HATES to be fitted. You would think that having really nice custom-made clothes would be something worth standing still for, but she just won't do it. Kathryn (fzxdoc) from Stitchers Guild was a big help and influence in this project. I hope that blogging about the process will inspire me to actually finish the project.
Since Big Ellie is actually rather petite, I started with an antique Acme Junior Adjustable dress form off ebay. Let me say just a few words about buying an antique dress form off ebay. It was in good condition except because it's old, all the sections did not line up exactly. Not a big deal, as I plan to "pad it out" to fit her shape. However, the stand is really wobbly. I can probably do something about it--but first I want to finish the padding.
The second issue I have with the antique form is: I had to make permanent changes to it, sawing the chest height down and putting tape all over it. I have always had an appreciation for antiques and old houses, so it kind of upset me to do this. For what I got and the price I paid, I could have gotten something from JoAnn and done all the customizing on a plastic form. I think those old Acme forms are best used as is or for display--just MHO.