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dress form

suesewing | Posted in General Discussion on

Since college so many years ago, I’ve never used a dress form. My daughter wants to buy me one as I just started making custom clothes. Does anyone have any advice how to decide on one- should it be adjustable. Are the adjustable one capable of having material pinned to it? Any advice where to get one?
I’d appreciate any advice


  1. starzoe | | #1

    After sewing for myself and others for many years, I found a like-new dress form at a bargain price.It wasn't on my wish list but I bought it anyway!

    It is mainly used for draping or for modelling my knitting. Dress forms are adjustable but if you are doing custom sewing it will be of little use for fitting your customers' outfits. It has its uses but no dress form will adjust exactly to fit a real body. Two of the most important measurements needed are (1) bust height and (2) back neck to waist length. Perhaps a very high end and expensive dress form may have these adjustments, but I am not aware of any that do.

    The dress form will add a little cache to your sewing room and maybe impress your clients but real fitting sessions with the client are still absolutely necessary. I think a good step would be to work for a time without one and then if you feel you want or need one, go ahead and buy one, they are not difficult to find (usually at a good fabric store, or on line research).

  2. gailete | | #2

    My hubby bought me one for a surprise present for my birthday last year. I can only pretty much use it for me as it took us a good hour or more to get all the adjustments done and now we need to do again since I lost weight. I agree with the other poster. It maight make you look like somebody who knows what they are doing, but it is time intensive to adjust it for each client unless you are a well known and pricey design atelier.

  3. decoratrice | | #3

    The "Clone yourself a fitting assistant" article on this site is a great way to go.  I tried 2 or 3 other things before doing the duct tape wrap, and it's been the best.  I made a cotton knit cover for mine and pin into that.  I agree, it looks very impressive in your sewing room, but I use mine for much more than decor.  Fitting a client has to be done on her own body, though.  Good luck!

  4. alotofstitches | | #4

    I agree with the others--a dress form is does not really duplicate your body when fitting a garment!  A perfect example is your bust fullness is not the same place as on a dress form.  I have an old one that I do use for bridal/formal wear alterations when I need to shorten several layers and also in bustling a wedding gown skirt.  For strapless garments I keep wide twill tape w/large safety pins on the form for quick pinning of those garments.

    1. marymary | | #5

      I have had a dress form for so many years that I don't remember how many.  It has never been exactly me, but is a help in seeing what a garment looks like.  I was adjusting it with the dials the other day because I have lost weight.  Something I had never done before was measure it.  I relied on the numbers on the dials to be correct.  Well, they aren't!  So, whatever form you use, measure.

  5. kelker | | #6

    I've had a dress form for the past year and two of the best things I did were:

    1.  measured each measurement and didn't rely on the dials, and

    2.  put a bra on it that I wear.  What a difference this made in fitting.


    1. gailete | | #7

      My dress form needs readjusted since I have lost weight which means she needs to also, but I have the bustline padded out with my hubby's tube socks folded to the right depth and also padded with tube socks in the abdomen where I pouch out. It is very interesting trying to get Annabelle just right, but it has certainly helped me with my projects as it is easier for me to try the clothes on her than try to take my stuff off, put project on, then off, then my stuff back on, repeat as often as necessary. Hard on arthritic shoulders, elbows wrists and back!

      The other thing I use it for is 'storing' the project in process so it doesn't develop wrinkles between pressing and the next steps. All my garment projects usually take a week to a month to finish so that helps considerably, plus it is a visual cue to work on it as I can see it on my way to the bedroom, etc.

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