“My Double” Instruction Booklet

Miss Bedelia was originally shipped with an instruction booklet, which I was lucky to find on eBay.  It’s got very complete directions for fitting the dress form, and is, all in all, a marvel of clear English.  Which is more than I can say for any other instruction manual I’ve seen in, say, the last 30 years or so.

Here’s the cover:

Page One, emphasizing the wide variation of suitable sizes (including the suggestion that “Aunt Jane” may be “a size or two, or even three, larger than you”:

Page Two, fitting the halves to Aunt Jane (the implication here is that you’ll need a helper to fit “My Double”, and that is correct.  Very correct:

Page Three, a description of the two distinct types of meshes, and how to adjust each properly:

Page Four, molding the form to the body in question:

Page Five, fitting the bust, upper back, waist, lower body, and collar

Page Six, double checking and removing the form:

Page Seven, assembling and adjusting the stand:

Page Eight, using the adjustable sliding rods to make the form rigid on the stand:

Page Nine (to be done before the steps on page eight), checking Aunt Jane’s posture to ensure it’s duplicated correctly:

Back Page, attaching tapes for pinning dress material to the form:

Miss Bedelia was unfortunately parted from her internal rods at some point in her life.  I am still debating how, and if, I need/want to replace them, since I suspect there is little or no chance of finding anything like them at this point.  Unless, of course, a miracle occurs, and I run across them in someone’s old donated sewing supplies at a thrift shop.  Here’s what they look like, in a bit more detail:

You can understand, I’m sure, the longing with which I read this note on page ten:

If you want extra sliding rods for “My Double” they are available at 20 [whoa -- there's no cent sign on my keyboard!  talk about extinction! -- ok, read that as 'twenty cents'] each.

That’s the kind of time machine I’m interested in — the one that lets me order from the past!

Related:

Miss Bedelia:  My New Dress Form

Easiest Dummy Stand Ever

“My Double” Instruction Booklet

A Tale of Two Dummies

Replacement Rods for “My Double” Dress Form

27 Responses to ““My Double” Instruction Booklet”


  • Oh, wow, this thing is even more amazing than I thought! I hope you find the rods somewhere. The thing is, you know they are out there, just who has them doesn’t know how valuable they could be to someone. I just saw a vintage sewing machine, table, assorted attachments (including a pristine buttonholer attachment), and all its manuals at a thrift store for $50 in Hampton, VA. I’ll be writing a post about it after I do some research. Even though it was so cheap I didn’t buy it. But that could have gone for a lot of money on Ebay, right?

    • It just kills me that those rods are out there, just as you say, in somebody’s hands (or in a lot of people’s hands!) and they don’t have a clue what they are, or that this hungry sewist really, really wants them — and would use them!

      Actually, I’m drooling over your vintage sewing machine, too! (But I have no business doing that, since I’ve got a complete Singer Featherweight from mid-century.) There seem to be a lot of vintage sewing machine bargains on eBay, and people claim that they exist on Craigslist, too, but I bet a lot remain unsold because shipping is such an issue. Craigslist might be a better bet for sales and for treasure-hunting.

      I worry about all the thrift stores I don’t have time to visit. Those rods are out there . . . somewhere! And who knows what other good stuff we’re all missing?

  • Thank you so much for posting the instructions! You are a gem! I purchased this vintage dress form at an estate sale for my daughter to use. I asked about accessories/instructions for it, and they had no clue. I should have bought the sewing maching too, (didn’t really need it), but I bet the rods were with the accessories! I could kick myself! Even if we don’t get to use it for its intended purpose, it is a neat item to display!

    • I’m so glad you found them helpful! This is exactly why I posted them; the instructions are so hard to find, and they’re such a good manual for using the dress form!

  • thank you so much for posting the instructions. My husband was at an estate sale and bought a few things for me because I have always sewn my old clothes, and I love antiques. Some dear soul had this dress form all tied up with all the parts intact and the little ID label still on it, which is how I knew it was a “my double” dress form. Now I can put it together!

  • Rods in the various sizes can be found on ebay. Good luck in your search!

  • My grandmother just gave me one of these. I love it! So glad that I found the instructions on here! But I am also missing some of the rods. I will be on the hunt for them!

    • Jeannine, they do turn up on eBay occasionally. It’s worth keeping an eye out. A recent seller was offering them one by one for an outrageous price each, though, so watch to see that you aren’t buying only one rod when you may be expecting a set.

  • Hi…I just bought one at a yard sale for $15…I don’t think it has ever been used. Does anyone know how old these ‘My Double’ dress forms are? Thanks, Jme

    • Jamie, dress forms called “My Double” are still being made, although they are no longer malleable wire. Are you asking about the old wire style? The adjustable wire ones most commonly seen now were made after WWII, but unless yours is dated (date appearing on an original accompanying instruction booklet, original bill of sale), there’s probably no way to tell which decade yours is from. I can’t be certain, but I think there were few changes in the form during the first few decades it was sold. If that’s correct, dating would obviously be quite difficult.

      Dritz still sells a “My Double” dress form, but it doesn’t resemble the vintage wire ones at all; only the name has carried over.

  • Thank you, thank you, thank you! I just inherited one of these from in in-law – and it even appears to have all the rods in place – and I had no idea how to adjust it.
    I am so excited!!
    pw,in Kentucky

  • OH MY GOSH….thank you so much for posting this. I got my dress form quite some time ago, and am now getting around to figuring out how she works…I have a few of the rods to hold her in place..I am SO THRILLED to read all this info here. Thanks again…

    • You are very welcome, lizykat! It’s quite thrilling for a blogger to learn that a post has been so helpful — thanks so much for your note, and do have a great time using your dress form!

  • If you act right now (March 17, 2012), the rods, etc. are on eBay. Thanks for the book. I just bought the form complete with all the rods but didn’t have the instructions.

  • This is so much better than using duck tape.
    I’m definitely going to try this method.

    • I don’t know if it’s exactly better, velosewer. It’s a different kind of fit; I do plan to make another duct tape dummy, if only because it’s easier to pin knits to it than to the My Double.

      I think My Double would probably excel for stable knits and all wovens, but the duct tape dummy might be better for fragile fabrics, or ones that drape. Of course, the adjustability of the My Double is a huge plus if your body is changing shape with some frequency. You really need a stable shape to want to deal with a duct tape dummy!

  • Thanks for posting these instructions! They are already a tremendous help, just to see the complete list of parts. I recently went on a hunt to finally get a dress form like the one I remember my aunt using, and was so disappointed to see how junky the new offerings are! I couldn’t find anything nice and the junk was not even cheap. So I went off to internet-shop for a “gently used” one. I can’t wait to get going with my first project on my new Double. I’m still missing rods – thanks for posting your great idea for the paper clips on the dowels! Ahh, I miss the time when household items were of real quality and made by small independent companies in the USA.

    • Enjoy your new Double, falcosmommy! I’m glad the post was helpful. Just one note: I used brass fasteners, not paper clips, to make my replacement rods. The brass fasteners have a flat head that anchors to the end of the dowel quite effectively. It might be possible to use paper clips, but it would probably be a bit trickier.

  • Thank you so much for posting the instructions. My mother gave me “My Double” many years ago. I know how to put it together but you have spared me the tedious task of writing up instructions for a new owner (hopefully) now that I intend to put it on eBay. I have all the parts. I lived with ‘My Double” in my bedroom during my childhood in Africa in the post war 1940′s until I left home in 1960 to come to the UK. My mother took her double to Canada in 1969 and gave it to me when I visited her just before she passed away in 1987. I now no longer do any dressmaking, hence the intention to sell My Double.

  • This is so cool! I just got one of these dress forms at an auction tonight. Thanks so much for sharing the manual! Now to find some additional rods to stabilize it on the frame. I like the looks of this dress form so much better than the new ones. :)

  • Just found a wire “My Double” dress form at a garage sale from 1969. Yours is the only manual I’ve seen. Two other people wanted it for their gardens so I hurriedly paid for it. They both asked what I was going to do with it and I said “Make clothes.” They seemed to be amazed that people still sew. Thank you for the manual.

    I noticed the missing cent sign recently, too. It’s not even in the special characters tables.

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