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Dress Form Mannequins to Fit Your Figure

Updated on January 23, 2014

A Thoughtful Gift for Women Who Love to Sew Their Own Family's Clothing

Sewing your own clothes for creative pleasure or to save money? Or maybe you're taking on a little home-based couture for extra income? Either way, a good sewing dress form mannequin can be your best friend when it comes to getting the right fit and seeing how a garment will hang. What a welcome gift for the keen dressmaker or DIY fashionista!

The practical design features of the selected dress form mannequins shown here, super-adjustable for fine tailoring of fitted garments, can help you create flattering and trendy outfits for a hard-to-fit or plus size figure. Or perhaps you're looking for a child-sized sewing mannequin, a simple way to get around the challenges of trying to fit new clothing on little kids who can't bring themselves to stand still? You'll find that here, too.

There's a dressmaker's dummy to suit every sewing enthusiast. One of the most useful tools you can have in the sewing room, use of a dress form is the best way I've found to avoid costly mistakes when you're creating your very own designer wardrobe.

Photo: Pieces on dressmaker's dummy by maco *nix [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons.

Best Adjustable Dress Forms - Brand Name SINGER DF150/DF151 Series

The Singer DF150 (small/medium) and DF151 (medium/large) models are absolutely my first choice for a dress form - I learned to sew using my grandmother's old style one, so these new ones are quite a dream by comparison!

Practical, affordable, adjustable - and it's from Singer, an American brand that sewing enthusiasts have trusted for generations (since it set up shop back in 1851, in fact). If you grew up with a Singer sewing machine, as I did, you know all about the quality of things made by that single-focus company and you'll immediately understand why this series is currently the most popular dress form for home sewing and dress making use.

One really handy feature on these Singer models is that they come with the swivel hem guide. We may not wear skirts and dresses as often as we used to do, these days, but when you need to try to turn a straight hem, a guide that's attached to your dress form can save you literally hours of time and frustration, and sometimes save an inexperienced dressmaker from botching a sewing project by cutting a crooked line when trying to shorten a skirt.

SINGER 12-Dial Fabric-Backed Medium Adjustable Dress Form, Gray
SINGER 12-Dial Fabric-Backed Medium Adjustable Dress Form, Gray

Adjusts to fit US women's sizes from 10 to 16.

 
SINGER 12-Dial Fabric-Backed Large Adjustable Dress Form, Gray
SINGER 12-Dial Fabric-Backed Large Adjustable Dress Form, Gray

Adjusts to fit US women's sizes from 16 to 22-1/2

 

Plus Size Dress Forms - Dressmaking Mannequins for the Larger or Mature Figure

Statuesque ladies with a larger bone structure can really benefit from the flattering appearance of well-fitting custom-made clothing, so it makes good sense to invest a little bit in a proper full-figured dressmaker's dummy that is going to do the job it's intended to help you out with!

Don't even think about trying to "fudge" a Queen-sized dress form out of a Regular sized one, if you value your sanity - that's my tip. You'll always be "making do" instead of making it fabulous.

Dritz Twin-Fit Dress Form, Full Figure
Dritz Twin-Fit Dress Form, Full Figure

Some of the mannequins you'll find listed as "plus size" don't quite measure up for the heavier woman, but this Dritz brand (Prym Consumer USA Inc.) is generous in size. It can be adjusted by dials to fit a bust from 48 to 54 inch, waist 41 to 47-inches, and hips from 51 to 57-inches.

 

Petite / Small Size Dress Form Mannequin - For Petite Women and Teen Girls

The same fitting challenge applies for small-boned gals and petites. You know what trouble you have to find clothing that fits in the stores, and what a joy it can be to find that perfectly fitting outfit. Similarly, your dressmaking will be much more of a pleasant experience (and the results more successful) when you start out with the right size and shape of mannequin to model your works-in-progress outfits while you're making them.

Dritz Twin-Fit Dress Form, Petite
Dritz Twin-Fit Dress Form, Petite

This style of dummy can be adjusted with a system of dials in 1/2-inch increments, sized to fit a bust between 30 and 36-inches, waist 22 to 28 inches, and hips from 31 to 37 inches.

If you need an even smaller dress form, the petite size in the Dritz "My Double" series goes down to a 28-inch bust but most people prefer the quality of the "Twin-Fit" model shown here.

 

Child Size

Dressmakers Mannequin Forms for Making Kids' Clothing

If you have ever tried to get a child to stand still to be fitted for a new outfit, you'll see how these forms could be handy! These forms are specifically sized for a boy or girl of various ages, made with a white jersey cover and standing on an attractive natural wood tripod base that reminds me of one of the elegant hallway free-standing coatracks.

Kids 3-4 Years Child Jersey Mannequin Dress Form - Boy or Girl - White with Natural Tripod Base

Kids 5-6 Years Child Jersey Mannequin Dress Form - Boy or Girl - White with Natural Tripod Base

Kids 7-8 Years Child Jersey Mannequin Dress Form - Boy or Girl - White with Natural Tripod Base


How to Make a Custom Dress Form - DIY ... from Duct Tape!

Making a custom dress form mannequin for yourself from duct tape has got to be one of the most creative uses for that multi-use grey tape I've ever seen. Now, I'm quite doubtful that I'll ever be doing this DIY project myself (especially as I've still got my good old reliable "Mabel" the dress form to try on clothing-in-progress for me), but have a look and you'll see why I can't resist sharing this video.

But to be totally serious for a minute here, if you anticipate a significant change in body shape in the near-ish future (say, pregnancy or surgery upcoming), maybe a duct tape dress form would be an idea, just to get you by when you're in between sizes but still need to whip up a few bits of wardrobe for a change in seasons. Challenging? Perhaps... but have a look and let me know in the comments, below, if you think you might try it.

If you're feeling crafty and cheap, try a DIY dress form from duct tape. You'll need a friend to help with this project...

SINGER DF150 Adjustable Dress Form, Red, Medium
SINGER DF150 Adjustable Dress Form, Red, Medium

Best Dress Form for Most of Us? This One!

DF150 or DF151 Models, Size and Color Choices

Singer's top-selling adjustable dress form models are covered with fabric that's backed in foam you can stick your pins right in as you baste together the pattern pieces and adjust for the perfect custom fit.

The waist, bust, and hip measurements are easily adjusted with a clever system of 12 dials so you can shape the mannequin to match your own body size and shape without fussing. Large is made to fit sizes 16 to 22-1/2, while the Medium fits 10 to 16, depending on how you adjust it.

All sizes of Singer Adjustable Dress Forms are available in two colors - red or gray - though supplies of a particular size/color combination may be limited in the weeks leading up to Christmas and then again towards Mother's Day, those times when everyone's out shopping for a nice gift for a crafty Mom.

Do you know someone who sews her own clothes?

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    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Happy April Fools Day!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      These are so useful for someone who sews.

    • profile image

      gamesngames 5 years ago

      Good dress styles............

    • LittleLindaPinda profile image

      Little Linda Pinda 5 years ago from Florida

      I would love to have a dress form. I haven't seen one in a long time. Thanks for sharing where we can buy them.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      Oh I really want one! Thanks for putting them all together here. :)

    • profile image

      jazziyarbrough 4 years ago

      Yes I would, but I've gotta get a sewing machine first! Great post, thanks for the share.

    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 4 years ago

      I've made my own clothes for nearlly 40 years. I've always thought I'd buy a mannequin, but never got around to it. Still on my list.

    • rubyandmahoney profile image

      rubyandmahoney 4 years ago

      I have a dress form and it is a great help when trying to fit garments.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      @rubyandmahoney: It really does help, doesn't it? One of those items that once you've used one, you wonder how you managed without it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I have never used one and have almost completely quit sewing clothes for myself due to so many failures. I am considering getting one because I would like to try to make some unique quilted/artsy type jackets and shirts.

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Oh, coincidence! That's one of the reasons I can't do without my "Mabel" (yes,I named my dress form mannequin Mabel) - I love making "wearable art" type quilted vests and jackets. It's so much easier to work out the overall pattern, especially with applique, when you can see exactly where the pieces will go and how the garment will hang.

    • LilyBird profile image

      LilyBird 4 years ago

      I've been thinking about getting a dress form but wasn't sure I could find one that would adjust to the right size. Thanks to your lens, I found one. Great lens!

    • flycatcherrr profile image

      flycatcherrr 4 years ago

      @LilyBird: Glad to help!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 4 years ago

      I know you just updated this lens and I want you to know I've pinned it.

    • Lady Lorelei profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 3 years ago from Canada

      This is a wonderful selection and review of dress form mannequins. You rocked this one. (It almost makes me wish that I could sew more than a basic straight line.)

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 3 years ago

      Oh, how I wish I were a better seamstress! I can see that these mannequins would be very helpful.

    • Snakesmum profile image

      Jean DAndrea 2 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Sometimes I sew my own clothing. My mannequin even has a name - Sarah ! :-)

    • ComfortsOfHome profile image
      Author

      ComfortsOfHome 2 years ago

      @Snakesmum: My mannequin is called Mabel. :)

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