It doesn’t matter how experienced or not you are, but when you’re into sewing dresses, it’s a matter of time until you face the reality: you do need a dress form.
Sure, some may raise an eyebrow, as they don’t really see the use of the dress form. We think that dress form is the best solution to preview how a garment is gonna look like when is worn as it simulates the exact drape and contour of the clothes on a body. This gives you the chance to take more accurate measurements, in order to make the right alterations.
The market gives you plenty of options, and you may find both male and female molds, also known in this business as “James” and “Judy”. Before making the final decision, it’s better to scroll down to better understand what you should look for in the first place.
- What is the best dress form to buy?
- TOP 5 Dress Form Reviews
- Best adjustable dress form
- Best professional dress form
- Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. What are the most critical aspects when selecting the dress form?
- 2. Are there solutions when the shoulders are sloping?
- 3. What’s the best way to utilize a body cover?
- 4. Is it possible to use the same dress form for various sizes?
- 5. Are there any solutions when the body is asymmetrical?
- 6. Is it possible to set the vertical waist on Half-leg form for pants?
- 7. Can you work with the bust line too?
- 8. How can you solve too long or too short vertical measurements?
- 9. Do you get a more prominent dress form if your back is wide?
- 10. Is it tricky to use a dress form on your own?
What is the best dress form to buy?
There are two main categories of dress forms: the standard one and the professional type. The standard dress form fits standard clothing sizes, whereas the professional one lets you display an impressive variety of garments and it’s customized to fit a specific person.
It’s obvious that a standard dress form is cheaper than a professional one and you should know exactly why do you need it the first place.
The variety of dress forms is tremendous and you may fins partially or fully pin able dress forms, torso-only dress forms with single or dual connectors and so on.
If you are a dedicated designer, you should really get an adjustable dress form, typically with measurement dials for better adjustments on the critical points. You may need height adjustment, collapsible shoulders, and wheels- in a nutshell…The more adjustments and features, the better the dress form.
Sometimes you are not willing the break the piggy bank for a dress form, but this doesn’t mean you should manage without one. You may in fact do-it-yourself and have exactly the body shape and measurements you want on your very own dress form
The fair conclusion?
No matter how we put it, we still see only one option: to get and use a dress form. Either it’s a cheap one or a sophisticated model, or even one handmade in your workshop, a dress form may be essential for the success of your design projects.
TOP 5 Dress Form Reviews
Even though the Giantex Female Mannequin Torso Dress Form Display is great for display, it doesn’t mean you can’t use it for your designing, as long as you know its limits.
The dress form is made with good materials. The polyester fabric looks nice, whereas the strong Styrofoam is reliable for displaying your dresses, garments. The rubber wood gives stability and a good lifespan to the dress form.
The fabric is smooth and the torso section is lightweight.
The dress form is easy to put together and you only need a couple of minutes to attach the mannequin torso to the tripod stand. You need to tools or screws for assembly. The dress form is lightweight so very easy to move around.
The tripod stand is height adjustable and the dress form is nice to display your products in various places.
The dress form is well made and looks quite sturdy and elegant in every shop.
Let’s list the main pros:
- The dress form is easy to put together
- It’s great to display your products
- It’s lightweight and easy to carry
- It has good stability and looks nice
The cons aren’t many:
- The dress form may not take a heavy gown
- The durability is questionable
Despite the minor issues, when in need for a dress form to display your products or to work on some lightweight gowns, the dress form is a reliable choice.
For the designer that wants an economy budget dress form, a reliable and versatile option is the Mannequin Dress Form Medium 6-8 Size 34″ 26″ 35″ Female Body Form.
The dress form is actually eco-friendly as the torso is made with recyclable material and has no bad influence on the indoor air. The white jersey form is sturdly attached to the torso with no help from chemical glue, having no odor.
The stability of the dress form is decent as it combines a wooden tripod stand and stainless steel tube. The dress form is long lasting and takes heavy weight garment, clothes, wedding gowns and even furnishing and decorative material.
The height adjustability is something else to talk about the dress form. Its overall height is adjustable from 56” to 77” and you only need to follow instruction to do it.
It’s easy to put together/ take down the dress form, the head is also easy to remove and the instruction that comes is very helpful. Lightweight, it’s also very easy to carry around the dress form when in need.
The torso area is very well built and the dress for presents a great figure, with bust and curves. The medium and large shirts fit very well.
The mannequin looks nice and is great to use for display, decorating it with scarfs, clothes, various garment items. It presents good quality and it’s a great asset for your designing projects.
Here are the things we like the most:
- The dress form has a solid rubber wood base and stretch cotton jersey
- It’s easy to put together/take down
- It’s easy to carry around
- It looks nice and it’s great for display also
We sure wouldn’t mind to see some minor improvements:
- Legs are a tad loose
- It’s not very easy to balance it out
Despite the minor issues, for the quality of materials and its nice appearance, the dress form is a sure buy when in need.
If you are a home seamstress that wants to take its designing projects to the next level, a good asset to do that is the Dritz Sew You Dress Form.
The dress form is highly adjustable and its versatility is so helpful when working on various projects. It presents 9 adjusting wheels at bust, waist and hips, but also 2 auto-set dials for the bust and waist.
The list of adjustability doesn’t stop here and the dress form comes also an adjustable neck with pincushion. You may also set it for the height you need in a specific project as the dress form presents also an adjustable height.
The dress form comes with pin hem marker, which is so good to have. The cover is made with foam-backed nylon so it’s easier for your to pin and mark. Its opal green color looks nice and original as well.
The dress form is easy to put together and to carry around as it’s lightweight. It’s very easy to use and its color and material makes it easy and fun to mark and pin when working on a project.
The dress form spins easily and is so dependable for any home seamstress.
Going over the most important qualities once more:
- The dress form is easy to put together and to use
- It presents 9 adjusting wheels at bust, waist and hips
- It’s height adjustable and the neck is expandable
- It spins easy and easy to mark/pin
The minor issues don’t hold us back:
- The dress form is mostly plastic
- It runs a tad small
Nevertheless, for its high adjustability and versatility, the dress form is a great tool that any seamstress ought to have.
The more you’re willing to pay for your dress form, the more you get and the Singer DF250 Adjustable Dress Form brings to the table plenty of good features and has only some minor flaws attached to it.
The dress form presents a 100% flannel so it’s easy to mark and pin on your projects. It impresses with its adjustability and it gives you no less than 13 key adjustments (bust, hips, waist, and neck/back). You get better options and more chances to find the right setting for many projects that you’re working on.
You may also adjust the height of the dress form so it’s easy to set the right height. Additionally, you don’t need any tools to find adjust the height.
The foam-backed fabric cover looks nice and it’s easy to pin dresses, skirts or various patterns.
The dress form presents good stability thanks to the four leg metal base that leaves a durability feel as well.
The list of good features continues with the pincushion with a key holder so that it’s very comfortable for you to organize and store the pins and adjustment key. We also notice the 360-degree Hem guide that helps you better pin/mark garments for hems or various alterations.
The dress form looks durable, well made and its vibrant blue color really makes a nice impression.
Lightweight and easy to adjust, the dress form is a dependable choice for any avid seamstress.
Let’s put the good things under some light:
- The dress form comes with 12 key adjustments
- It’s easy to adjust its height as well
- It comes with 360-degree Hem guide
- It looks nice and it’s easy to pin/mark/use/move around
The flaws are minor:
- The legs feel a bit flimsy
- The torso length isn’t adjustable
No matter the minor issues, for the high adjustability, nice looks and reliability, the dress form is a good investment of your money anytime.
When your skills and interests are all passed the entry level, you can finally get the perfection you’re looking for on your designing projects, getting some help from a professional dress form like the Female Professional Dress Form with Collapsible Shoulders.
The dress form is very helpful for sewing, designing and dress making and is there to help for a very long time.
The dress form comes with a wire basket like extension under form and is made with high quality materials.
It’s easy to put together and features collapsible shoulders, becoming more versatile and reliable for various projects. The shoulders may be collapses and expanded for more flexibility. This way it’s easier to use with tighter fitting clothing.
The adjustability of the dress form is great and you may also lower/raise the torso on the base, by pressing your foot down on the base pedal, while lowering/raising the torso.
The dress form presents a canvas cover so it has an elegant, beautiful appearance. The cover is long lasting and is ready to take some heavy duty pinning.
The base is also heavy duty and the cast iron gives great stability to the dress form. The height is adjustable, using the base pedal and the dress form takes the heavy weight gowns.
The setup is easy and the dress form is very well made. it’s easy to install it and has a sturdy feel attached to it. You can pin it in any angle, for a very long time.
Despite its solid built, the dress form is easy to move around. The cage underneath is easy to remove when in need.
Going over the main qualities again:
- The dress form is a heavy duty option, partially pin able
- The canvas cover is high quality and takes the intense pinning
- The cage underneath is removable
- The dress form is sturdy, versatile and adjustable
Some minor downsides come along, though:
- This isn’t a cheap dress form
- Some had some difficulties putting it together
The downsides aren’t deal breakers for us and we like the dress form for its adjustability, collapsible shoulders and ability to take the heavy duty pinning, for quite some time.
Best adjustable dress form
You only need to take a quick look at the SINGER 12-Dial Fabric-Backed Large Adjustable Dress Form in order to understand its popularity.
The adjustability of the dress form is impressive to say the least and you only need the patience to make all the adjustments you need for a specific designing project.
The dress form comes with adjustments for neck and 12 adjustment dials for the body contour. The dress form lets you adjust the working height, the bust, the torso height and also the waist. If you want to be even more precise, don’t hesitate to adjust also the hips.
The dress form presents a hem gauge and a basting attachment, so helpful when designing and sewing. The hem marker is an important detail and only the experienced seamstress appreciates it truly.
The foam-backed fabric cover lets you pin it over and over again, for dresses, skirts or other patterns.
The dress form needs basic assembly, but you don’t need any tools for it. It comes with an instruction book, which is easy to follow.
We find the dress form to be rather lightweight and easy to move around. It’s very well made and is very easy to use. It’s rust resistant and gives great results.
Let’s not forget its nice red color, which makes it pop in every window shop.
Let’s highlight the most important pros:
- The dress form has a solid build and it’s lightweight
- It comes with 12 adjustment dial for various areas of the body
- It comes with a hem gauge
- It’s easy to use and to move around
Some slight changes wouldn’t hurt:
- The chest shape isn’t true to size
- Some find it a bit difficult to take down
No matter the minor issues, for its high adjustability and reliability, the dress form is a nice looking asset for any respected designer shop.
Best professional dress form
The experienced and professional seamstress and designer may find the Professional Missy Female Full Body Dress Form Tailor Dummy Mannequin Collapsible Shoulders a very wise investment for their business.
The dress form comes in various sizes and presents plenty of features and amazing built that recommend it any given day.
Going through the details, we see the collapsible shoulders and also that natural looking buttock. Its cover is made of linen and is 100% side-pin-able. The protruding side seams help you when draping, guiding you for better accuracy. The padded fiberglass core is high quality and has a durability feel to it.
The heavy-duty traditional cast iron base gives amazing stability and has a sturdy appearance. It features 4 wheels that fit the durable base. The dress form becomes highly portable and it’s very easy to move around.
The natural body shaped dress form presents a buttock that has a realistic look.
The height is also easy to adjust and you only need to step on a foot pedal.
The dress form is very well made and is great for draping and designing. It has good quality materials and it’s easy to pin. It’s easy to work on it and everything about it says “long lasting”.
The dress form comes very well wrapped. You may also use it for display.
Let’s make a very short list of pros:
- The dress form features a tough traditional cast iron base with 4 wheels
- The cover is made with 100% linen and is side-pin-able
- The shoulders are collapsible and the buttock has a realistic look
- The dress form is long lasting and dependable
We’d like to mention the few minor issues:
- It doesn’t come with arms
- You have to pay the extra buck for it
The minor issues don’t hold us back from considering the dress form as a great asset for any professional seamstress/designer.
Frequently Asked Questions
Afraid of Dress Forms? The Next 10 FAQs Will Guide You When Using One
Anyone sewing knows that there are many aspects to consider when designing. As we’re moving the waist, shoulders, elbows, upper hip, or the bottom differently, it makes sense that the pressure points will stand out when fitting clothes. You can very well use soft pads that will fit the reference points on any dress form, allowing the fabric to move quickly.
If choosing a dress form isn’t very complicated, using the soft pads and the dress form for making the best fitting clothes is genuinely challenging for a newbie. Keep reading to find out the answers to most common questions related to dress forms and their uses:
1. What are the most critical aspects when selecting the dress form?
There are several elements to consider when choosing the dress form. The rule of thumb is to utilize the smallest horizontal measurement going between your hip line and bust for deciding the size of the dress form.
Don’t forget to verify the pressure point of your forward shoulder, measuring horizontally from the center front to the arm, where the shoulder begins.
2. Are there solutions when the shoulders are sloping?
When you’re using soft pads, it’s possible to rotate them forward for achieving the shoulder for the dress form. You need to fit the forward shoulder line and don’t forget to verify the pressure point of the forward shoulder. A simple method is to measure horizontally, right from the center fron to the arms eye, right at the joint’s end.
3. What’s the best way to utilize a body cover?
In the case of common style forms, you should begin at the top. If the form comes with legs, it’s better that you start at the bottom. Continue with expanding the body cover down the form, to the first area. It’s now time to go under the cover, so that you expand the first pad along the surface of your dress form. You need to measure and fit the new padded style. Measure once more, looking carefully at the pressure points. Don’t skip the shoulder and bust points. You may give it a try and put some of your clothes on the form.
4. Is it possible to use the same dress form for various sizes?
A seamstress working for various clients with different body shapes will need to shape the smallest body on the dress form, forgetting about the large shape for a while. You may complete with both covers, just like you were ready for creating. Think about the difference between the two bodies and where some changes will be necessary. It’s possible to leave some of the pads, or you can also purchase a second cover, creating the next body right on top.
A complete fitting system is a great addition that lets you create a shape and size that is entirely different from the original one.
5. Are there any solutions when the body is asymmetrical?
It’s quite the challenge, but it makes you feel even better when the dress form fits the curves of your body. Check the spine’s curvature carefully, noticing how it affects the natural flow of the fabric. See how it makes it pull, pinch, or twist. When you’re working with the particularities of your dress form, the clothes will have a natural silhouette, and you feel comfortable in them too. You don’t want bagging, pinching, twisting, or any uneven hemlines on your clothes.
6. Is it possible to set the vertical waist on Half-leg form for pants?
The straightforward answer is “yes”, even if you may have to set the vertical waist location to the vertical waist location. It’s necessary to have the measurements for the rise (front waist to the back waist, going through the legs), comparing it with your own later on. Marking the waist position of the rise on the back and front is also required. Use the side and stomach pads for adjusting the horizontal waist form.
You must always get a dress form size smaller than you as you’re going to need to build the form out with several pads. Don’t undermine it, as the thing letting you put the waist on the form low or high, as you need it.
Typically, the form is slightly tapered so that you may adjust it vertically one or two inches. You may place the pads for hips and upper hips high or low when looking to create a lower hip line.
7. Can you work with the bust line too?
You can use the bust pads and place them for a high bust line. A straightforward way to do it is by putting the pad’s flat edge facing the shoulder line.
When you aim to obtain a low bust line, you can put the flat edge of the pad facing the waistline. It’s going to be possible to lower/raise the pad on the form (for tall or petites) when you try to make the horizontal measurements of the dress form.
The shoulder pads are beneficial when you’re trying to create a bustier bust line. The pads are typically interchangeable so that you can obtain different shapes in all areas. However, the shoulder pads are always your salvation for a bustier bust line.
You need a form with a small bust for a small bust line. You may continue with padding out the sides with side back pads that are already contoured. You can put the pads a bit toward the side front, so that you may eliminate the contour of the bustier bust line.
When you’re trying to create a fuller shape, you can put two bust pads into a circle. Placing a filler pad straight under the bust will work as well. It’s essential to measure the vertical bust point with tape for the rope around the neck. It’s easier if you measure down from the top of the bra strap to the bust line. Remember also to measure bust point to point for getting the horizontal measurements.
8. How can you solve too long or too short vertical measurements?
It’s very easy lower or raise the pads with 2 inches in any zone if you’re creating the form horizontally. Having the waist measurements smaller than yours is always important. Fundamentally, you eliminate the hourglass shape of the dress form using the side back pads.
9. Do you get a more prominent dress form if your back is wide?
Regardless of what newbies may think, you should always get a dress form with a size smaller you’re your bust line. It’s easier to create the back with the side back pads when you need a more extensive body. You go side to side until you obtain the proper measurement.
10. Is it tricky to use a dress form on your own?
It’s not as challenging as you may think, and your clothes can be the best fitting assistant. You don’t always need another person around. Put on some of your clothes and then put it on the dress form, measuring and making sure you make the fitting for every area. Comparing the shape on a dress form isn’t the same as fitting clothes. It’s why we get to feel amazing in clothes that fit us perfectly. Once the dress form is reflecting the shape of your body perfectly, everything will get easier. And don’t forget the incredible feeling you’ll have in the end.