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January 17, 2017 3 min read

The dress forms of modern times are available in a variety of types, shapes and sizes to suit the specific needs. From purchasing a simple display form to the professional form with a cast iron base – one can find a number of varieties to help ensure accurate and consistent clothing design execution.

In spite of these variations, there is a separate category available for dress forms in the fashion industry entitling them as “Industry grades”. Most people wonder that what are industry grades forms and how do they differ from the other dress forms? Well, industry grade dress forms are designed as the tool to address the technical fitting needs. They are three dimensional models used for dress style design and making design. They are with realistic looking buttock and often come with standard shoulder and bump out seams at both sides of dress form to enable you to feel them when draping with fabric.

They are height adjustable and allows pants, skirts, dresses and other garments to hang down at your own preferable height so that you can work with these forms with ease.

The useful features of a standard industrial grade dress form include the following:

  • Capability to scale the production of dresses and retain quality, consistency and accuracy
  • Ideal for fashion designers, students and custom dress makers
  • Height adjustable with collapsible shoulders
  • Natural body shape with realistic looking buttocks (available in different sizes)
  • Make adjustments or alterations easy and tailored to the specific need

So, if you are looking for a form that can assist you throughout the construction process with fitting, pinning, draping and more so industry grade dress form is worth the investment.

Other types of dress forms:

Adjustable dress forms: As the name suggests, they are highly adjustable with the help of dials to match your body’s specific measurements. Their proportions are more realistic and they are often lightweight, which makes them more popular in the fashion industry. One of the best things about the adjustable dress forms are that they are not much expensive and they usually cost under $300. They sometimes come with a hemming tool attached to the adjustable height pole so you can also accommodate shorts and pants.

Besides its myriad of usess, there are some issues too. First of all they are less ideal for draping, because their structure is not easy to pin. They are less durable than the other types and their shoulder aren’t collapsible as well.

Bifurcated dress forms: These are types of body forms that setup from professional dress forms in functionality and price point. The only difference is that they include large legs for experimenting with pants or shorts. These form types of forms are also beneficial if you do a lot of pant fittings or if you plan to drape with other garments. Many dress form manufacturing companies make bifurcated dress forms with removable magnetic arms so you can attach when you need them.

Professional dress forms:  While these types of dress forms are generally expensive and comes with a higher price tag (usually one can find a good quality professional dress form between $250 and $1000). They are durable and offer more significant uses than any other type of the dress form. For one, professional dress forms feature more consistent and accurate proportions with a variety of sizes. They also have adjustable height, collapsible shoulders so the garments can be easily put on and removed,  have a cage like bottom to help with hemming and also comes with wheels for easy mobility.

They are usually made with papier mache, padded with a few layers of cotton wadding and covered in linen. They are usually available either as a full body with legs or as a classic dress maker form with a skirt cage.

Display dress forms:These types of dress forms are often designed to look just like the sewing forms, but they are really produced for display purposes. The form is typically made either from fiberglass or foam and have a more simplified body shape than others. They are also much cheaper than the other types of dress forms. One can get display forms for less than $100. While they are less durable and the proportions of these forms tend to be unrealistic for draping or fitting. They are only used as a sewing tool or advertised purpose. The doesn’t have collapsible shoulders and the stand height pedal that is purely decorative.