The 8 Best Dress Forms

Updated March 03, 2018 by Melissa Harr

8 Best Dress Forms
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 42 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. If you have a hankering for making your own clothes, one of these dress forms will make it a lot easier to get the perfect fit. They are available in affordable models for casual or home use, along with some sturdier and more elegant options that are suitable for clothing showrooms and professional seamstresses and tailors. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dress form on Amazon.

8. Fabulous Fit System

All bodies are not created with the same proportions, but you can turn nearly any form into a match for yours with the Fabulous Fit System, which makes it, well, fabulous. It comes with two stretch covers and 17 soft, molded pads that are fully pinnable.
  • adapts to weight loss and gain
  • helpful and clear directions
  • takes some work to get correct
Brand Fabulous Fit
Model pending
Weight 2.4 pounds
Rating 4.1 / 5.0

7. My Gift Designer

If you want to give a room a dash of vintage style, the My Gift Designer offers delicate metal scrollwork that encapsulates shabby chic perfectly, whether displayed with or without clothing. As a bonus, it can be disassembled easily for storage.
  • height is adjustable
  • smooth black finish
  • so lightweight it can tip easily
Brand MyGift
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

6. Roxy Size 4 Professional

The Roxy Size 4 Professional is constructed with high quality materials including a fine linen exterior and multiple layers of padding underneath. It features collapsible shoulders and one arm, but the sizing is not adjustable.
  • convenient wheeled base
  • metal cage skirt
  • expensive for only one size
Brand Roxy
Model ST-SIZE6
Weight 28.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

5. Giantex Mannequin

The budget-friendly Giantex Mannequin will add a touch of glamour to any bedroom or closet. It comes in six different fabric choices that each feature a decorative trim border on the shoulders, sides, and hem, and the sleek wooden base has a matching knob on the top.
  • sturdy styrofoam core
  • quick 5-minute assembly
  • fabric may be bubbled or kinked
Brand Giantex
Model HW50080
Weight pending
Rating 3.8 / 5.0

4. Singer DF250

Designed with professional garment makers in mind, the Singer DF250 provides 13 adjustment options, allowing for a precise fit. The vibrant blue fabric form will look stylish in your studio and even has a removable hem guide that'll give you accurate results.
  • handy pin cushion in neck
  • sturdy four-leg base
  • could be more durable for the price
Brand Singer
Model DF250
Weight 11 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 5.0

3. Dritz Twin-Fit

The Dritz Twin-Fit has all the features you need in a usable model, such as changeability and a sturdy stand, but as a bonus, it comes in sizes that will accommodate a range of body types, including full figure and petite as well as the typical small, medium, and large.
  • neutral and sophisticated gray
  • good gift for seamstresses
  • base folds for simple storage
Brand Dritz
Model 1754D
Weight 13 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Only Mannequins White

You can remove the versatile Only Mannequins White from the base for tabletop use, although the decorative tripod has a glossy black finish that you probably won’t mind showing off. And because the cover is washable, it will stay looking sharp for the long haul.
  • thin foam layer allows side pinning
  • 2nd hole underneath for pants
  • height adjusts to 6 feet
Brand Only Mannequins®
Model FBA_f frnch wht blk s
Weight 9.3 pounds
Rating 5.0 / 5.0

1. Dritz Sew You

The Dritz Sew You features nine adjustable wheels, including two auto-set dials, so you can personalize it to match your measurements exactly. This one is great for pattern-making and everyday clothing, and the green foam-backed nylon takes the hassle out of pinning.
  • available in small or medium
  • good value for the cost
  • lightweight and easy to move
Brand Dritz
Model 20420
Weight 9.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Getting The Most From A Dress Form

Whether you’re new to sewing or a seasoned pro, you’ve probably considered investing in a dress form, also called a dressmaker’s dummy. You may have heard that they can stop you from making disappointing garments, garments that hang wonkily or that just plain don’t fit. As you sew from your pattern, you can place the garment on the form to check drape and positioning, stopping you from making errors and ultimately leading you down the path to a gorgeous dress, skirt, or shirt. But did you know that you can do much more with a dress form?

For instance, these handy items are perfect for obtaining a straight, no-headaches hem. Imagine that you’ve just bought a new dress, and it’s simply too long. You could attempt to measure the hem while you’re wearing it, which is a major hassle, or while it’s lying on a flat surface, which often leads to an incorrect measurement. Instead, you can simply pop the dress (or skirt) on your dress form and easily measure from all sides.

If you’re ready for more of a sewing challenge, you can use a dress form to begin creating your own sewing patterns. In fact, if you’ve got design ideas dancing around in your head, purchasing a dress form is one of the best ways to get started because it will allow you to begin draping. In this method of creating garments and patterns, the designer takes pieces of fabric, usually muslin, and works to build the shape of the garment around the form, cutting and pinning the fabric into place as he or she goes.

This is in contrast to the other most common method, called drafting, in which a fashion designer draws the pattern pieces on sheets of paper. The draping method can be much more forgiving to newer designers, since it lets them see how the fabric hangs and what the design looks like — instead of trying to work out the math for pattern sizes from a sketch. Of course, both methods do require skill and an understanding of the parts of garments and how these come together, but for newbies and the highly visual, drafting with a dress form is more approachable.

And once you’ve finished lovingly crafting a garment, a dressmaker’s dummy offers you a fantastic way to display it. Whether you’re giving the item to a friend or selling it, you can arrange the piece on the form in order to present it in style. You can also use the styled form for pictures, should you want to show off your creation on social media or your sewing blog.

Types And Features

Dress forms, like bodies, are not all the same; they come in various sizes with a range of features. While the size you choose should match the body you’ll be sewing for, the features you select will be informed by the manner in which you’ll use the dummy.

First, think about whether you’ll use the form more for sewing and design or for display. Display forms are often less expensive and more decorative, perhaps made from pretty fabric or wire. While you can certainly use a display form for sewing tasks, you’ll probably want to select these models with fewer features if your goals are mainly aesthetic.

Next, consider whom you sew for: If that’s a variety of people (or you tend to gain and lose weight easily), you’ll most likely want an adjustable model. These let you make a range of key measurements bigger or smaller, including bust, waist, and hips. Most have dials that you turn to change the form’s size.

You’ll also need to assess how much padding your form needs. Some have thick padding that’s made to handle heavy garments, while others have thinner padding that works best for draping without a lot of serious pinning.

Finally, think about the shoulders. If you’ll be sewing tight garments, it’s probably better that your form has collapsible shoulders; otherwise, you’ll struggle to get the garment on and off it. After all, your own shoulders squeeze and move when you need to shimmy into something tight, which is something a dummy can’t do.

A Brief History Of The Dress Form

Collapsible shoulders, adjustability — the home dress form might seem to be a modern contrivance, perhaps one derived from professional tailors' forms or department store mannequins. Curiously, though, the dressmaking dummy is probably much, much older. In 1922, a British archaeologist named Howard Carter first began excavating the tomb of Tutankhamen, who ruled Egypt during the 14th century B.C.E. Inside, he found a solid gold coffin, trumpets, food, wine — and, next to the ruler’s clothing, an armless, legless wooden torso that matched the pharaoh’s measurements exactly. It is this ancient item that most historians believe to be the first dress form.

The King Tut form may have been the first, but it was by no means the last dress form of royalty. Old English monarchs, queens who ruled before the French Revolution, and various European rulers all had forms modeled on their measurements, items that let royal tailors create garments literally fit for a king. These highly useful items descended to the common folk during the Industrial Revolution, when standardization and reproducibility became the norm. Mannequins made excellent displays in department store windows, and dummies helped individuals and businesses create clothing of uniform sizes.

Today, dress forms are no longer just for royalty or businesses, as evidenced by the wide number of these items available for purchase by at-home sewers. They’re quite deeply entrenched in the fashion zeitgeist, as well; a 1997 collection by Belgian designer Martin Margiela, for instance, featured a signature linen top styled to resemble a dress form. From tool of royalty to common but respected necessity, this modest item has left its mark on sewing culture across both history and the globe.

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Last updated on March 03, 2018 by Melissa Harr

Melissa is a writer, editor, and EFL educator from the U.S. She's worked in the field since earning her B.A. in 2012, during which time she's judged fiction contests, taught English in Asia, and authored e-courses about arts and crafts. In her free time, she likes to make stuff out of sticks and string.

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