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January 24, 2017 3 min read

A dress form, also called a tailor’s dummy, is one of the most useful tools for fashion designers. It helps you to sew your garments much easier. To get a better knowledge about this handy tool for sewers and tailors, we’ll give you some basic information and tips about dress forms. By the end of this article, you’ll know better what a dress formis and what to consider when you want to buy one.

Probably the first question that comes to your mind when thinking about dress formsis why you would want to have one. Well, the simplest answer to this question is: for various reasons. Most importantly, you can pin patterns and garments to the dress form. This allows you to get your hands free, so you can make alterations and deal with fitting decisions. A dress formhelps you make sure that collars lay flat, it helps you insert zips and take up hems, without needing an assistant. Shortly, a dress formis your helping hand for tasks that are nearly impossible to do by yourself.

Now that you know why you need to have a dress form, you’re ready to learn about the difference between the dress formsand mannequins. Especially for beginners, it may be quite confusing to make the difference between these two tools. Although at a first sight, they might seem very similar one to another, they are completely different. Display mannequins are meant for displaying garments on them. They look nice in your home, and you can use them to hang up your garments. However, they are not really the best for fitting and creating your own garments. On the contrary to mannequins, dress formsare specially designed to help fashion designers, sewers and tailors make their own clothing.

You know some basic information about the dress formsnow, so it is time for you to learn what you need to know before buying your dress form.Prior to making your purchase, here are some questions you need to answer to:

Who are you sewing for?

It is important to take into consideration to whom you’re sewing for. If you’re sewing for yourself, you can buy a dress formthat isn’t adjustable. However, you may want to consider buying one that allows you to make some basic adjustments, to make sure you get a perfect fit. Usually, companies sell small, medium and large versions, so you are recommended to choose one that most resembles your size.

How often will you use the dress form?

As you can probably imagine, a dress formis an investment that you do for your fashion designing work. So it is essential to know how often you’ll need it, to consider the price that you’re ready to invest in buying it. If you’ll use it a lot, it is recommended that you try to invest more in a good dress form, to make sure it will last longer.

However, not only the price is important, as there are also other things to consider prior to choosing your tool. Here is a list with the main things you need to look out for:

  • Pay attention to the adjustments that it can offer
  • Try to avoid buying a dress formthat is too lightweight. It is important to make sure it doesn’t tip over when you drape garments over it.
  • If you want to put it away between using, you should look for a dress formthat comes in two halves.
  • Consider what other features it includes. For example, some dress formscome with covers, chalk hem marker, or lockable wheels.

What are you sewing?

Dress formscome in various types. In case you want to make fitted clothes, you may want to consider buying an adjustable dress form.Such a model may come with a dial that allows you to expand it, so you can adjust key areas, such as bust, waist and hips. However, such a model can be difficult to pin, because of the gaps. Instead of this type, you may look for a foam version, which is easier to use for pinning and draping.

In case you design trousers, you would definitely like to look for a dress formthat features part leg forms.

Final advice

Now that you know the basics about the dress formsand you understand how it helps you improve your sewing, you are ready to get a final advice. Prior to make your purchase, make sure you find a reputable retailer, to get a good quality item that will help you design your garments.

Image credit: Sew Chick & Unique