Has long been a teacher of English Literature, after the retirement focused on freelance copywriting. She’s now our full-time writer since our website allows her to know more about the hobby of her lifetime – sewing.
A professional fashion designer and seamstress. Isabel has her own video blog where she shares her experience about all the aspects of sewing – from choosing suitable materials to step-by-step instructions on how to sew a summer skirt.
Last updated: January 26, 2021
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A dress form is a representation of the human torso and comes in very handy in a any sewing room. Whether you are looking for the best dress form for your tailoring business or are interested in getting one to make your home sewing projects easier, these items enable you to obtain great precision for your garments.
With an adjustable dress form, you can easily make alterations for yourself or garments you create for friends or customers. There are multiple benefits of using a dress form, ranging for the ergonomic position you get for making alterations to showcasing clothes. There are multiple things to take into account when shopping for a dress form for sewing, from the type of dress form to the adjustable levels and types of stand or base. We considered all these and more in our review so you can easily select the best adjustable dress form for your home sewing room or business. Our editor’s choice, the Dritz 20405 My Double Deluxe Dressform, made it to the top because it offers a great mix of quality and durability.
We spent days researching the best dress forms on the market and we came up with a top 9 list, including nine models that have received great praise from home users and professionals alike. Below you will find a comparison table featuring the best dressmaker forms out there, together with comprehensive reviews for each of them. A buying guide in the end gives you all the information you need to make the correct choice and purchase the best dressmaker dummy for your needs.
Our editor’s choice is the Dritz 20405 My Double Deluxe Dressform, an adjustable dressmaker dummy that is suitable for both dresses and pants. This body dress form features an off-set center pole for hanging pants, which comes in very handy for those who create many such garments. It is also a feature that you don’t find in all dress forms. The foam-backed nylon covering makes the dummy reliable and durable, while the 12 rotating dial wheels make it very easy to make adjustments at the bust, waist and hips.
The Dritz 20405 My Double Deluxe Dressform has an adjustable neck with pin cushion and you can easily make adjustments to get some of the most precise increments we have seen in a sewing mannequin. Users who tested this dress form liked the fact that you can make all the adjustments in stages and that you can get a good fit every time you use the mannequin, as opposed to not using one at all. The dress form works well for businesses that have customers of various sizes because it is easily adjustable. A folding tripod base with protective leg caps makes the dress form stable and easy to move from one place to another. The longer pole for added height has received lots of praise from customers.
Suitable for creating garments from scratch, but also ideal for those who are looking for a dress form that allows them to make adjustments and alterations with ease, the Bonnlo Female Dress Form is worth considering. The wooden tripod base of this mannequin is ideal for height adjustments and many of those who reviewed this product liked the way it looks when used for displaying.
An instruction manual and a chart are included with the Bonnlo Female Dress Form so you can get started right away. Unlike many of the lower quality models available on the market, this dress form has a beautiful torso form and is one of the few models in this price range made of user-friendly and eco-friendly styrofoam.
Besides being a good choice for sewing different types of garments including dresses and gowns, this dress form is also ideal for those who are looking for a mannequin for photography.
The SINGER Adjustable Red Dress Form is an adjustable dress form with 13 adjustment dials that comes complete with a folding tripod base with protective leg caps to protect your floors from damage. Suitable for sizes 4-10, this dress form sports an adjustable neck with pincushion and has a pin hem marker as well.
While not being as expensive as a professional dress form, the SINGER Adjustable Red Dress Form has received great reviews from users, who mentioned that the dial works very smoothly, making it easy to change any of the measurements. The covering of the dummy is soft enough to pin to, and many users mentioned that this is one of the best choices around for plus size models because it extends at hips up to 50 inches. The dress form is easy to pad up as needed to reach a customized shape and size and is available in multiple sizes to suit most body shapes.
The SINGER Adjustable Red Dress Form mimics the body measurements of the human body and makes it very easy to obtain accurate results because you don’t have to work on it while wearing it, which can lead to some pretty difficult body twists. The small size of this dress form is suitable for young children as well.
Featuring 13 adjustment knobs, the BHD Beauty 13 Dials Adjustable Mannequin Dress Form is one of the most customizable dress forms we reviewed. Stuffed with foam to make the entire surface pinnable, this mannequin is available in medium and large sizes and can be used for stitching but also for exhibiting clothes and photography.
Users who tested the BHD Beauty 13 Dials Adjustable Mannequin Dress Form liked the fact that you can customize this dress form in any possible way thanks to the 13 adjustable knobs. The adjustable height makes the dress form suitable for just about any project, while the tripod stand gives it stability while you work on your garments.
With the BHD Beauty 13 Dials Adjustable Mannequin Dress Form you can easily personalize figures, including larger and smaller breast cups, something that is not always available in dress forms with this price tag. Reviewers also praised the neck adjustment capabilities of this dress form, as all you need to do is depress and turn the neck dial after you have adjusted the body size. This dress form allows you to set the hemline gauge so you can work on full and flared hemlines as well.
Another top-notch pick that you can use to go further in your dress-making career is the Dritz 20021 My Double Designer Adjustable Dress Form. The dress form comes in three sizes to pick from. Among them are small, medium, and full figure options. Depending on the size of the dress, skirt, jacket, or whatever you are making, you are going to have to pick a size that works for you. Remember that a dress form can only expand.
Because the dress form has 12 adjustment dials, you’ll be able to increase hip, bust, waist, and neck size as you see fit. Some of the adjustment knobs are relatively easy to reach and operate. The dress form is also unique in the placement of the pole holding it up. You can place it in the center, and as such, it will work for dresses, gowns, skirts, and general upper body wear. For the pants, you can set the position to the side a bit, so it caters to them as well.
Also, since you have a rolling base, this dress form’s easy mobility in your workshop is guaranteed. The locking casters may also help when you need the dress-making tool to hold the same position for a while.
What we liked:
You can change the position of the pole to suit specific dress-making needs
The Dritz 20420 Sew-You Dressform with Tri-Pod Stand is an adjustable-height dress form that comes with two auto-set dials for the waist and the bust, as well as nine adjusting wheels at the hips, bust, and waist, and a pin hem marker. Many professional seamstresses who reviewed this dress form liked that it is really adjustable so you can easily work on it while sitting in a chair.
The Dritz 20420 dress form is lightweight so you can easily move it around your working space. Many users mentioned that unlike in the case of other dressmaking mannequins, this one is very easy to pick up and set on elevated areas as needed when you work. This works great for those who use to knee on the floor while working, as it prevents them from hurting their knees.
The expanding neck of the dress form is something you rarely see in models with this price range. The Dritz 20420 Sew-You Dressform with Tri-Pod Stand is made from plastic, which it what makes it lightweight, but this aspect may also cause durability issues. Most users liked that the dress form is highly adjustable and that the leg protections don’t scratch wood floors.
A dress form torso featuring a round metal base that enhances its stability, the Roxy Display Female Mannequin Dress Form Torso is made from off-white poly-urethane that gives the mannequin an elegant appeal. This dress form is a perfect choice for sewing projects, while also working great for displays of jewelry or accessories.
According to many of the users who tested this dress form, it is a heavy, sturdy, well-constructed mannequin that is suitable for beginners and professionals alike. It is available in two sizes, and some of the reviews mention that they are not really true to size. There are no adjustment dials on this dress form, so it’s important to choose the correct size from the beginning. The dress form is height-adjustable, so you can set it up in a way that suits your preferred working position.
Because the Roxy Display Female Mannequin Dress Form Torso is a bit heavy for moving around all the time, some users placed it on a lazy Susan to help with rotating it. This works perfectly for those who need to check their work from all angles at regular times.
Our budget choice is the Only Mannequins Female Black Steel Wire Mannequin Dress Form, a highly decorative dress form made from steel wire that works perfectly for displays and is also suitable for displaying pants. While it is not recommended for heavy duty use for commercial purposes, this dress form is an excellent choice for beginners or for those who are only looking for a mannequin to display creations instead of working on garments themselves.
The Only Mannequins Female Black Steel Wire Mannequin Dress Form comes in one size and doesn’t feature adjustable dials. The height can be adjusted thanks to the knob on a post. Many of the users who tested this dress form mentioned that the craftmanship is a quality one and the mannequin looks more expensive than it actually is. The weight distribution may be a little bit uneven at times, but overall the dress form is perfect for taking photos of scarves, dresses, and different types of accessories.
The Only Mannequins Female Black Steel Wire Mannequin Dress Form works perfectly for home users and some users also mentioned is a great option for children who start to experiment with fashion.
Featuring 12 adjustable dials and a foam-backed fabric exterior that is pinnable, the Roxy Display Female Adjustable Dress Form for Sewing is a good option for those who are looking for a rather affordable dress form for home or business use. The mannequin is adjustable when it comes to height, allowing you to make alterations and customizations easily.
Users who tested the Roxy Display Female Adjustable Dress Form for Sewing agreed that while the mannequin fits the bill in many respects for the majority of users, it may appear flimsy at times. Some users mentioned that the dress form is a better choice for those who are only looking for a way to display their creations than for those who need a durable piece to help them with the creation process.
The Roxy Display Female Adjustable Dress Form for Sewing comes in a plum color and features an easy to care for exterior that looks great in photoshoots. The fixed tripod gives the mannequin stability and does not scratch wooden floors.
What we liked:
Great for photoshoots
Foam-backed cover is pinnable
What could be better:
Not suitable for heavy use
Things to Сonsider
Dress forms are not a modern invention as many users may tend to believe —their history dates back to ancient times. But it wasn’t until the last two centuries they made a ubiquitous appearance in department stores and in the ateliers of seamstresses and designers all over the world. These mannequins are used for lots of different things, which is why there are numerous types of dress forms available on the market. Below you will find all the information you need about how to make a perfect choice when it comes to buying your first or next dress form.
Advantages of having a dress form for sewing
There are multiple advantages of using a dress form for sewing clothes. Whether you are sewing, adjusting or repairing clothes, you need a dress form to make the entire process easier. With a dress form, you can picture the garment you’re creating on the actual body of the person who is going to wear it, while also being able to make adjustments in a comfortable position. Dress forms are also a good choice for displaying your creations and work well for fashion students and designers alike.
Features to consider when choosing a dress form
From the type of dress form that you need for your particular projects to the cover and materials used, there are lots of features to consider before making a purchase. These also include the existence and number of adjustment dials, as well as the type of tripod used to offer the mannequin stability.
Type of dress form
To determine what type of dress form you need, first decide what you will be using it for. Do you need a model with adjustable features, or are you only looking for a one-size mannequin to display your accessories?
The main types of dress forms include professional dress forms that work well for fitting, pinning, and draping, display dress forms that are ideal for displaying your creations, and adjustable dress forms, which feature dials to move sections away from each other so you can use them to create garments for different body types.
Number of adjustment dials and placement
Dress forms that comes with adjustable dials are a suitable choice for those who are looking for a dress mannequin for sewing that they can use for multiple body types. The number of adjustment dials differs from one model to another, with some dress forms such as the Dritz 20021 My Double Designer Adjustable Dress Form having up to 12 dials. The dials can be placed in different ways on the dress form, but in most cases, they are placed at the bust, waist, and hips.
Available sizes and measurements
Many dress forms come in multiple sizes so you can choose the one that suits your body type or that of a person you’re making clothing for. If you have a business, it may be a good idea to get a model in a size that suits most clients but that comes with adjustment dials. To determine the correct size for the dress form you intend to purchase check the size and measurements provided by the manufacturer to determine whether it’s a good fit for you.
Cover and material(s)
The material the dress form is made of is not only important when it comes to the durability of the item, but also because it influences the way you can use it. If you’re looking for a model that can withstand pinning while you are working, look for a model that comes with a pinnable foam material, such as our editor’s choice, the Dritz 20405 My Double Deluxe Dressform. This feature is less important if you’re only looking for a dress form to display your creations.
Overall construction and stability
When it comes to the construction of the dress form, it’s important to opt for a model that is stable enough to remain in place while you make alterations. If you are looking for a dress form you can use in a studio where lots of people come and go, it’s ideal to go for a very stable base to avoid people tipping it over.
Tips on using dress forms
As mentioned above, there are many ways to use a dress form, and the most common of them are draping, sewing a hem, and using the dressmaker dummy to make a pattern.
When using the dress form, make sure you remove all the pins from the garment to avoid them scratching the skin.
It is always a good idea to iron the pieces of fabric before using them on a dress form, particularly because this helps you visualize the end result better.
This depends on the shape and size of the person’s body. You should always make sure you take accurate measurements of the model you intend to create garments for. When working with multiple body types, it’s a good idea to get a dress form that comes with adjustment dials.
Yes, if you have a dress form that has adjustable dials you can use them to adjust the shape of the dress form. Dress form systems are often used to add padding where you need it and you can purchase them separately.
Display mannequins can be used for adjustments, but generally only minor ones. If you need to adjust garments on a regular basis, an adjustable dress form would be a better choice.
A dress form is an important addition to any sewing room and choosing the right one depends on the way you intend to use it. If you’re looking for a versatile dress from that you can use for creating your own garments while being able to make complex adjustments, our editor’s choice, the Dritz 20405 My Double Deluxe Dressform, is an excellent choice. Those who are looking for aesthetically pleasing dress form, ideal for displaying clothes and photography, may look at the Bonnlo Female Dress Form. Finally, if a dress form for plus sized models is what you need, the SINGER Adjustable Red Dress Form would definitely suit your needs. No matter what kind of dress form you decide to go for in the end, make sure you pay attention to sizing before making a purchase.