The 7 Best Dress Forms

Updated December 04, 2017 by Tina Morna Freitas

7 Best Dress Forms
Best High-End
Best Mid-Range
Best Inexpensive
We spent 40 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 very affordable models for home use along with some sturdier and more elegant options that are perfect for clothing showrooms and professional garment makers. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to support our work. Skip to the best dress form on Amazon.

7. Roxy Display Professional

The Roxy Display Professional is constructed with high quality materials including a fine linen exterior and multiple layers of padding and fiberglass underneath. It features collapsible shoulders and one arm, but the sizing is not adjustable.
  • convenient wheeled base
  • metal cage skirt
  • very expensive for only one size
Brand Roxy Display
Model ST-SIZE6
Weight 35 pounds
Rating 3.7 / 5.0

6. My Gift Designer

If you want to give a room a dash of vintage style, the My Gift Designer features delicate metal scrollwork that can be displayed with or without clothing. The central pole can be extended up to 66 inches high and can be disassembled easily for storage.
  • free garment bag included
  • smooth black finish
  • so lightweight it can tip easily
Brand MyGift
Model TB-HOM0092BLK
Weight 5.8 pounds
Rating 4.2 / 5.0

5. Only Mannequin Small

The versatile Only Mannequin Small can be removed from the base for tabletop display. The decorative tripod base has a glossy black finish. It is easy to assemble, however, it arrives with a strong chemical odor that will need to be aired out for a few days before using.
  • thin foam layer allows side pinning
  • 2nd hole under form for pants
  • height adjusts to 6 feet
Brand Only Mannequins®
Model f frnch wht blk s
Weight 8.5 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

4. 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 feature a thick decorative seam on the shoulders, sides and hem. The stylish wooden base has a matching turned knob on the top.
  • sturdy styrofoam core
  • quick 5 minute assembly
  • fabric does not always lay flat
Brand Giantex
Model pending
Weight pending
Rating 4.4 / 5.0

3. 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 form is great for pattern-making and everyday clothing, but the flimsy plastic base won't hold up heavier garments.
  • available in small or medium sizes
  • opal green nylon cover
  • lightweight and easy to move
Brand Dritz
Model 20420
Weight 10 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0

2. Ledrem Female

The showroom-quality Ledrem Female has an elegant wooden tripod stand. The torso of this eco-conscious dress form is made from recyclable materials without the usage of toxic chemical glues. It is made to fit women's clothing sized 6-8.
  • stable enough to support heavy gowns
  • assembles without tools
  • weighs less than 8 pounds
Brand Ledrem
Model AYMP-W
Weight 9 pounds
Rating 4.6 / 5.0

1. Singer DF250

Designed for professional garment makers, the Singer DF250 provides 13 adjustment options, allowing for a precise fit. The vibrant blue fabric form will look stylish in your studio and has a durable foam backing for effortless pinning.
  • neck has a handy pin cushion
  • sturdy four leg base
  • removable hem guide
Brand Singer
Model DF250
Weight 10.6 pounds
Rating 4.7 / 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 December 04, 2017 by Tina Morna Freitas

Tina Morna Freitas is a writer who lives in Chicago with her family and two cats. She enjoys making and sipping margaritas and aspires to be a crazy cat lady once all the children are grown.

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