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Best Dress Form For Sewing: Helpful Buyer’s Guide (2022)

Do you make clothes? Maybe you’re just setting out into the world of design? Dress forms are the free standing torso shape we use to hang clothes on when we’re sewing.

They are extremely handy when it comes to draping and developing patterns, but with so many options it can be hard to know which is the best dress form to invest in.

  • Up to 48” tall
  • Easily pinnable all over
  • Thighs and shoulders included
  • Height adjustable
  • Durable and solid core
  • Lightweight to transport
Best Value
  • 360° hem marker
  • Adjustable height
  • 5 wheels with locking casters
Best Adjustable Dress Form

When I was trying to find a display dress form for my sewing room, I found so many dress forms in every body shape known to man! I wanted to share my top 5 so you can find the ideal dress form for you.

Best From The Reviews

Top Pick

Adult Female Pinnable Black Dress Form

The Adult Female Pinnable black dress form is my top pick from these dress forms. I love that it comes with shoulders and thighs making the pants and underwear sewing process even easier.

Adult Female Pinnable Black Dress Form

You will always get the correct sizing when you use a custom dress form, to match the garments you are sewing. It’s black in color, meaning white tailors chalk is easily seen when making an accurate marking, pinning or draping fabric directly onto the mannequin.

It’s extremely lightweight meaning you can move it easily all around your sewing craft space, yet the metal dress form stand provides stability.

Best Value

Bonnlo Female Professional Dress Form

This is a gorgeous mannequin costing less than you’d think. It’s made from strong Styrofoam which will stand the test of time in any sewing space.

Bonnlo Female Professional Dress Form

The Bonnlo professional dress form is the best budget friendly body double, of a high quality. The wooden tripod frames the base of the mannequin beautifully. It’s an ideal shape for your first dress form, and comes with a sturdy stand.

The mannequin is super lightweight and easy to assemble for even the novices or those of us who don’t like DIY! Thick and thin foam is easy to work with as it means you can pin the mannequin all over without worry.

Best Adjustable Dress Form

Dritz My Double Designer

Dritz My Double Designer adjustable dress is made from cotton / nylon foam, and backed with a soft outer covering for easy pinning and marking when draping and designing dresses and evening gowns.

Dritz My Double Designer

The Dritz My Double Designer Dress Form comes with adjustable everything from waist, life like shoulders, neck, hips to make sure you get the perfect dress form size for your sewing projects. This is a full figure dress form, but you can find them in sizes of 23.5” all the way to 46” waist.

It makes an adjustable dress form if you are an avid sewist, as it has useful features like the built in pin cushion and storage and the wheels which have locking casters to provide stability.

Now On To The Reviews..

Top Pick

Adult Female Pinnable Black Dress Form

The Adult Female Pinnable black dress form is my top pick from these dress forms. It’s got shoulders and thighs making pant and shirt sewing easier.

Adult Female Pinnable Black Dress Form

This mannequin dress form is made from black stretch polyurethane cover female dress form mannequin ¾ torso with shoulders and partial thighs.

This simple but very elegant mannequin sits on top of a square black metal base which has adjustable heights up to 48” tall, and has a flat metal neck cap.

Dual Purpose

It’s a fully and easily pinnable form which can be used for basic sewing projects and is also aesthetic enough to be used to display garments or photography.

Because it has part of the thigh and shoulders, it’s also perfect for womens’ tops, bottoms, jewelry and accessories.

Specs

  • 15lbs
  • 34” hip
  • 23” waist
  • 34”height
  • 34.5” bust34.5” bust

Pros

  • Up to 48” tall
  • Easily pinnable all over
  • Thighs and shoulders included

Cons

  • Small in size

Best Value

Bonnlo Female Dress From

This is an elegant solid mannequin body, with a high quality wooden stand and stainless steel tube combination for added strength.

Bonnlo Female Dress From

This adjustable dress form is supported by wooden and metal to support heavy weight clothes, garments, wedding gowns, or other decorative materials. The mannequin torso is made from a super strong foam, so you can directly pin all over.

Size

The sizing on these adjustable dress forms runs from US women 2 – 6, and the height can be adjusted from 51” to 66”. This would be perfect in your sewing room, displaying clothes, suits and all other projects that you are working on.

Assembly

The mannequin is also easy to assemble and disassemble with the installation instruction enclosed in the product package, this pinnable mannequin can be put up or taken down in minutes without any tools.

It’s very lightweight to carry as it’s made from a super strong Styrofoam which is user-friendly.

Best Adjustable Dress Form

Dritz My Double Designer

Dritz My Double Designer produces dress forms in full-figure to accommodate taller women, medium, petite and small meaning you’ll be sure to find a dress form for your garments.

Dritz My Double Designer

Get the exact size you need as the 12 soft-grip rolling wheels adjust the measurements and size in precise increments allowing you to customize the form to match your bust, waist and hip measurements.

Features

An easy knob access at the neck turns to expand the waist and hip area, adding up to 2” of additional length. The shoulders have been designed to assist with the support and setting in of sleeves on blouses, tops, shirts and jackets.

The center pole has been carefully positioned for fitting and hanging clothes, whilst the side pole placement at the bottom accommodates straight hanging pants legs, shaped hips, crotch and thigh areas.

Mobile Base

It has a rolling mobile base for movement around your sewing space, with 5 locking casters to provide stability during use. Additional features include a built in pin cushion for easy pinning and marking when draping and designing, a 360° pin hem marker and full color step by step instructions.

Specs

  • 18lbs

Pros

  • 360° hem marker
  • Adjustable height
  • 5 wheels with locking casters

Cons

  • Not one size fits all

Singer Grey Dress Form

The Singer Grey Dress form has a foam backed nylon cover making it easy for pinning, hemming and marking.

Singer Grey Dress Form

The Singer dress form’s outer layer is made from high quality materials that won’t wear out easily along the 360° pin hem marker. It fits sizes 6 -14 US, but the neck, bust, waist, hips and height are adjustable for all sewing projects.

This adjustable dress form is perfect for precision sewing or even a display piece of any body shape! The dress form’s 12 dials allow you to find the perfect fit in seconds.

Foam Exterior

The Foam-Backed Fabric Exterior allows you to easily pin dresses, skirts, tops and patterns. The easy tool-free height adjustment lets you customize the dress form to your height in a snap.

The body form requires basic assembly, but no tools are required for the tripod stand. When adjusting the product, remember to crank each dial evenly as there is a tension system in place.

Specs

  • 11lbs
  • 40 – 46” hip
  • 40 – 46” bust
  • 13 ¾ – 17” neck.
  • 31 – 37” waist
  • 16.53 x 16.53 x 66.92 inches

Pros

  • 360°hem guide

Cons

  • Sizes may vary

Dritz Mr Taylor Dress Form

This Mr Taylor dress form by Dritz has been made for the male body types. It comes with 12 dials to be adjusted according to size.

Dritz Mr Taylor Dress Form

This Mr Taylor dress form by Dritz has been made for the male body types. It comes with 12 adjustable rolling wheels to change the form in precise increments to match male body measurements at the chest, waist and hips.

The neck size can also be adjusted to manually increase the neck size.

The extended shoulders are shaped to assist with support and setting in of sleeves on shirts, jackets and coats.

Center Pole

In addition the center pole is therefore perfect shaping of shirts and jackets, a side pole placement accommodates hips and straight hanging of pants lets. The shaped crotch area supports the design and fitting of pants.

The dress form has an adjustable height which is changed with the expandable metal pole to customize the man’s shoulder to floor length measurements.

Specs

  • 11 lbs

Pros

  • Perfect for male measurements

Cons

  • Sizes may vary

Dress Forms vs Mannequins

Dress Form
Dress Form

You’ve probably heard of mannequins, but what about dress forms? They may appear similar to the naked eye, but there are subtle nuances that shouldn’t go unnoticed.

Whether you’re a seamstress or a professional tailor you’ll need to think about which type is right for you.

Shape

One of the most obvious differences between a dress form and mannequin is the shape. A dress form almost only features a torso-only shape, without the arms, legs or heads.

Mannequins however come in a variety of body shapes including full body toros plus limbs, and torso only.

Material

Another big difference between the two is the material. A dress form is soft and plush as it’s been designed to hold all the pins and needles, making them particularly effective in the production of custom made garments.

Mannequins on the other hand are made with a hard shell-like material.

Price

Out of the two, dress forms are generally cheaper than mannequins, because they contain fewer parts.

Which one is better?

There’s no real easy answer to this question and it mostly depends on your needs.

A dress form is used by professional seamstresses, a fashion designer and tailors, whilst a mannequin is the best display form to replicate a human body for window displays and retail stores selling wedding dresses and other garments.

How do I choose the right dress form?

Always choose a dress form size using the smallest horizontal measurement of your own body ranging between your bust and hip line.

If your bust for example is 34” and your hips are 38” you will need a size 4 as it will match your smallest horizontal measurement. You can always pad up the form to match your exact shape using bust pads, and soft contoured shoulder pads.

Things to consider when you are buying a dress form

Vest Shaped Fabric Draped on a Dress Form
Vest Shaped Fabric Draped on a Dress Form

Purpose

The first thing you should consider when you’re buying a dress form is the purpose. If you are planning to use your dress form just for display purposes or make minor adjustments you may wish to go for a cheaper option, as these proportions can tend to be unrealistic for fitting or draping.

TIP

If you are looking for a dress form to assist you with the construction process of draping, pinning, fitting and more a professional dress form is worth the investment.

Adjustability

It’s good to invest in an adjustable dress form, which can often change shape or size using small adjustable dials positioned in the torso. Usually the more expensive dress forms come on wheels for easy mobility.

Sometimes they have a cage-like bottom to help with hemming or collapsible shoulders so your garments can be put on and off easily. Adjustable height is worth considering too, to make sure the dress form matches the desired measurements.

Size

Be mindful to consider the sizing of your dress form as different dress forms come matched for a different body type.

Commonly seen sizing options are: small, medium, large petite but it’s a good idea to check the specific measurements rather than going for a size. Make sure you measure your back waist length to get the right size.

There are even dress form for toddlers. Great if you use plenty of baby sewing patterns.

Portability

Consider where you will use your dress form and if it will stay stationary or you expect full movability around your craft room.

Dress forms often come with different bases, such as a flat metal base, wooden legs or wheels which should come with a locking system.

Adjustable

Adjustable dress forms do exactly what they say on the tin. They are forms which can be changed with adjustable dials to match a body’s measurement such as an adjustable neck and chest.

YouTube video
What You Need To Know About Using Adjustable Dress Forms

An adjustable double dress form is often lightweight but their proportions are realistic.

Some can accommodate shorts and pants and they frequently come with a hemming tool attached to the height pole.

NOTE

A problem with adjustable dress forms is once you start turning the dials the panels begin to draw away from each other creating gaps at the seams. They also only expand to a certain point. This means if your bust is significantly larger than your waist you might not be able to expand the bust enough to meet your needs.

Type

Display Dress Form
Display Dress Form

Display dress forms

Display forms are usually to display garments like a super heavy wedding dress and wouldn’t necessarily be the exact measurements to match the garment. They are seen in shop windows and retail stores.

Professional forms

Professional dress forms are worth the investment if you will seriously use it for the construction of draping, pinning and fitting.

The best dress form will usually have a higher price tag, their features and longevity significantly outweigh those of the standard display versions.

Professional dress forms feature more accurate proportions and are available in a variety of sizes.

Bifurcated dress form

A bifurcated dress form is one step up from professional dress forms in functionality and price point.

These are the best adjustable dress forms, and include legs for trying on shorts and pants and collapsible shoulders. These types of dress forms are useful if you plan to drape either of these garments or if you do a lot of fittings.

Fashion Design

Many companies create bifurcated best selling dress forms for fashion designers, which have removable magnetic arms that you can attach when necessary. Because of their use in professional settings, these are the best adjustable dress forms.

Is a dress form worth it?

A dress form really is the best sewing companion you could ever work with.

A dress form allows you to make pattern adjustments before cutting, make better fittings and alterations and provides you with an opportunity to work creatively with fabrics, so you can see how they will drape and fit the body.

There are many different types of dress forms so you can always choose one that suits your space and ewing.

  • Up to 48” tall
  • Easily pinnable all over
  • Thighs and shoulders included
  • Height adjustable
  • Durable and solid core
  • Lightweight to transport
Best Value
  • 360° hem marker
  • Adjustable height
  • 5 wheels with locking casters
Best Adjustable Dress Form

Conclusion

I hope you find the best dress form shape for you and your needs, and rationalize spending the money on one. I absolutely love my dress form, which sits on a wooden stable tripod stand in the corner of my room.

Make sure to read dress form reviews before you make a purchase – you don’t have to spend a fortune to get something that is long lasting.

Do you like to use a dress form? What type do you have? I’d love to know in the comments. For now, happy sewing!

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Kris Daub
Kris Daub
[email protected] byCurated I'm a maker at heart! I love to create and tech others to create. I particularly sewing and hand crafts like ebroidery. I also love larger home decorating projects. ✂️ ?