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Dress Forms

TrixieD | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

The time has finally come for me to buy a dress form – but I know nothing about them!  I’d like to get something suitable for professional work as I do some designing and sewing for others as well as for myself.  Are the 3/4 forms useful for fitting pants?  Do adjustable dress forms work well?  How much should I expect to pay for a good one?  Any particular brand names that are better than others?  Any and all info will be most appreciated.  Thank you!


  1. tiffr800 | | #1

    Hi Beverly-  I'm currently working on my degree in Fashion Design, and the forms we use at school are Wolf brand forms.  I know many companies in the apparel industry use these as well.  Superior, Globe, or PGM also make similar style forms.  These are all sized, muslin-covered forms.  I know Wolf forms can run upwards of $500, depending on the style and size.  I believe PGM are slightly more budget-friendly, but still several hundred dollars.

    The downside would be that they aren't adjustable, so I would only recommend these if you are comfortable altering and re-sizing (grading) your patterns.

    Personally, I've never had good luck with adjustable dress forms.  Not only have I found them difficult and a little flimsy, they generally lack the seams and other markings needed when making patterns or sizing garments.

    Hope this helps!

    1. TrixieD | | #2

      Yes, this does help, Tiffany, thanks. 

  2. Cera | | #3

    Read my post under the topic professional dressforms, I have been looking as well, and I have found lots of info.

    Hope this helps,

  3. fabriclover007 | | #4

    Just my personal opinion, but I wouldn't spend money on a standard dressform unless you have a standard figure.   I guess my question is - how many pattern alterations do you have to do.  If you don't have to do many alterations then it may be ok, but if you have to do a lot of alterations, the dressform won't  help you much.

    The measurements on a standard form may be the same as yours but your lumps, bulges (please don't take offense - I have many of these) and posture won't be the same as the form.  There have been many articles in Threads on making your own dressform by being wrapped with paper or tape, this is a better alternative.

    If you live in the Chicago area, a lady named Jean Haas will wrap you in duct tape, then help you stuff your form and mount it on a standard for about $100.  Well worth the money.  It will be you and will capture your posture.  If you aren't near that area, get a sewing friend and wrap each other.



  4. evcee | | #5

    Hi BeverlyD,

    Dress forms can be ridiculously expensive, even used. And truth is what I think is probably the best form on the market is much much cheaper. I first met the "Uniquely You" dress forms when I was a student at Parsons School of design. My first boss bought me one as a gift and I still have her more than 30 years later. They are made of solid foam and come with covers that mold her to a standard size. But, and here is what makes them brilliant. You can make custom covers to accommodate different bodies within a particular size range. So if you have 3 or 4 clients all a size "small" but with slight variations you can make a cover for each. Their breasts are also far more realistic and workable than the standard "industry" dress forms. And, you can actually fit strapless garments far more reliably because their backs are not the rock solid back of the usual forms. I find it impossible to properly fit strapless styles at work. But not a problem on "sadie" (my form)
    My assistant at work just bought one and has yet to get it assembled and start working with her. By assembling I mean putting her on her stand.
    Just type "uniquely you dress forms" into google and follow the links. I think the prices change from vendor to vendor. But you should be able to find it for under $150.
    Personally I hate the adjustable forms, I had one many many years ago (and threw it away) Check it out and let me know what you think.

    1. DianaU | | #6

      could you tell more about how gets the form to fit uniquely? i mean specifically do you need a partner to get it sized to you?

      1. evcee | | #7

        The form is actually a solid body shape of foam. It comes with a presized cover. To make it fit you specifically, you need to alter the cover that comes with it, or make a new one on yourself. It is easier to do with some one elses help, but it can be done alone. You need to go to a website that sells it and decide what is best for you. They come in different sizes, small, medium, large and so do the covers. I hope this helps, but definitely go to a site and have a look at it, I will find a site or two and post the links.

      2. evcee | | #8

        i did a quick search and found a site with a good picture of the uniquely you form and very good price.http://www.sewserg.com/products/abp03900-0130.htmlAnother site had a good picture and excellent break up of the way the sizing works.https://www.farthingales.on.ca/judy.htm

        1. Debbie4 | | #9

          Another wonderful location is from Atlanta Thread & Supply Co.  1-800-847-1001.  Their catalog also has a pants form available.  The other great thing about these squishy forms is that you can shove pins right into them to hold things in place.  If you are only making one item for someone else you can pin hand towels into place to pad it out where necessary.  I've used these in the costume shop and prefer them over the Twin-Fit by Dritz that I unfortunately bought because I thought the Uniquely Yours cost more than they do.  Good Luck!

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