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Looking for Dress Form Recommendations

shelleyc | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Hi Everyone –

Can anyone recommend a good dress form?  I’m real fussy about fit and also like to play with draping to try different things out.  I think a dress form would work better than standing in front of a mirror covered in fabric trying to imagine how it would look.  I’ve checked some forms out at the local Joann’s but am not real impressed with what I’ve found so far so I figured I’d ask. 




  1. jjgg | | #1

    It depends on what you want with the dressform. to just drape fabric and see what it sort of looks like, you can get away with a cheaper dress form from Joanns. They are rather wobbly, but do have the benefit of being adjustable - bust/waist/hip etc.Professional dress forms are quite expensive - $300.00 - $400.00, they are much more substantial, stable, and the shoulders collapse so you can get dresses on and off of them. They come in single sizes - meaning not adjustable, Having a dress form is very handy when you want to work on a garment that is 'on a body' even if tis not your shape precisely.If you are looking for a dress form to help with fit then you will not find what you want in a 'ready to buy' dress form. They will not be "your" body. They will not mimic your shoulder slope, waist length, posture, belly bulge etc. You can get pads and use quilt batting to shape the form to be more like you, but I find that doesn't work real well. It's almost impossible other than with a duct tape form to realy copy your body

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #2

    Gosh, I just have to most respectfully disagree with jjgg about making a custom fit dress form since I teach classes in doing just that using the French couture method of creating a padded cotton poplin cover that can zip on and off your form. I just a moment ago posted a detailed list of dress form companies and my recommendations to my students in the other message thread currently posted re: dress forms... but what the heck, here it is again:DRESS FORM COMPANIESFABULOUS FIT 1-800-853-9644
    http://www.fabulousfit.com Paper Mache Misses Form
    Paper Mache Women;s Plus Size Form
    Oak Base Personal Women's Form
    Iron Base Maxima Misses FormDRESSRITE 1-773-588-5761
    http://www.dressriteforms.comGold Body Forms for mature figures
    Industrial Forms
    Tailoring Forms - Professional Model
    *Deluxe Full Body Forms $1550.00 but adaptable petite to tall waist lengths.STUDIO ROX 1-718-526-2966
    Excellent quality, reasonably priced. Used in design schools.....good choice.WOLF DRESS FORMS 1-201-567-6572
    http://www.wolfform.comThe Mercedes of dress forms and the fashion industry standard. Pricey.
    All types of forms are available. Shipping is by LTL truck which makes the cost
    of shipping almost as much as the dress form when shipped across country. However, check with Wolf Forms to see if that is still their policy.ROYAL DRESS FORMS 1-516-887-5266
    https://www.ronis.com/store/There are other, less expensive forms available although I encourage you to purchase the best form you can afford. My personal favorite devices are the foot pedal that raises and lowers the form easily, collapsible shoulders which enable you to get snug fitting garments on the form, and a “spin-stopper”, which keeps the dress form from turning away from you while you are draping or fitting a garment. I also recommend that you choose a form that has a padded cover (batting and cotton twill or linen) as a foundation, rather than simply an extruded hard foam, paper mache or metal plates covered with jersey knit .Select a form which is about two sizes smaller than you are, but has approximately the same back neck length. A longer back neck length is OK since that can be padded out, but a shorter length could mean that the outward curve of the hip might interfere with establishing the waistline in proper proportions. Another area to consider is the position of the bust apex and the shape of the chest or breast bone. If you are very hollow in the area above your bust, a dress form that is shaped high and flat in that area will not work for you. I have had to commit surgery with an electric knife and power sander in order to help my students adjust their dress forms for a good fit. A third trouble spot is the back neck, especially for those of us in the baby boomer generation who might be developing a bit of a dowager’s hump. This can sometimes be compensated for by slightly raising the entire dress form cover by padding up the shoulder area so that the neckline is actually lifted away from the dress form’s stationery neck. If your head/ sits forward of the shoulder line, the back neck area can be somewhat problematic but not insurmountable. Be careful not to throw off armscye, bust and waistline areas however when raising the shoulderline.Depending on your figure type, you may also want to inquire about the derriere of your dress form. It is possible, with some companies, to choose a form with a nicely rounded backside or one that is quite flat in the back. Ask the manufacturer and look at the forms on line if you have a preference.Hope this helps!
    Best wishes to you,
    Susan Fredrick

    1. mompea | | #3

      Whatever you do..DO NOT buy the dress form that is advertised as a foam shape that you just modify to your shape by an over dress. This form is ordered after numerous measurements of your body. Then when you get your form home you take in the over dress and then battle to get it on the form. It is supposed to make those "little changes" that make the form replicate you perfectly. Well, 3 of us, one being my 6'4" 250# husband, battled and battled and the form still looks like it's wearing the cone bra Madonna made famous. We won't even talk about the hips. Certainly didn't come near the measurements I sent in. No matter how many times I took in the over dress there was no way I could get it look anything like my daughter. I ordered the form to make clothes for her since she's 1000 miles from home attending college. What a waste! I believe it was in the $400 price range. A very expensive lesson.

      1. User avater
        artfulenterprises | | #4

        Hi mompeaYes, I'm well aware of that form...had one maybe 25 years ago! Called her Raquel.
        Couldn't decide to laugh or cry when she fell out of the box she arrived in! I didn't mention that form because Mama always said if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything! That being said, I'll say something nice: Raquel was great comic relief.Best to you!

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