Adjustable Dress Forms

Kate Miller-Wilson
dress form

If you make or alter clothing for yourself or for others, an adjustable dress form is more than just helpful; it's an essential sewing tool. These forms let you adjust the waist, hip, bust, and other measurements to fit multiple individuals. They're also useful if you're between sizes and want to sew clothing that fits perfectly. Since dress forms can be a major investment it's important to be informed as you shop.

Popular Models of Dress Forms

Although there are several different companies making dress forms, a few models stand out for their ease of use and affordability. If you're shopping for a new dress form be sure to consider one of the following.

Singer DF 150

The Singer DF 150 consistently gets great reviews from users on Amazon.com. It comes in different sizes to accommodate models of any shape, and it features an easy-to-use dial system for adjusting the bust, waist, and hips. It comes with a hem gauge and is covered in a soft flannel-like fabric that allows you to pin your pattern pieces directly to the form. Depending on the size and retailer, this model retails for between $100 and $250.

Dritz My Double

Sewing notions manufacturer Dritz makes the My Double dress form in several sizes. The Dritz My Double is covered in soft fabric and includes a simple dial adjustment for all measurements. These forms are popular with users because they are affordable and easy to use and adjust. Some owners complain about pinning into the surface of the form and limited height adjustment. The My Double dress form retails for between $100 and $200.

Janome Artistic

The Janome Artistic dress form features an extra-long support pole to accommodate taller models. It has multiple adjustment dials for a customized fit and is covered in a soft fabric that allows pinning. There's also an integrated pincushion in the neck. Some users report that this dress form wobbles too much on its base. This model costs between $100 and $150.

Where to Buy Adjustable Dress Forms

You can buy a dress form at your local craft shop or fabric store, and you can also find them from a number of Internet retailers. Depending on the features you choose, you can expect to pay between $100 and $300 for this handy tool.

Amazon.com

Amazon.com sells a number of dress forms, including adjustable models from manufacturers like Singer and Dritz. Some items include free shipping, which is very helpful with a purchase this size.

JoAnn Fabrics

Whether or not you have a JoAnn Fabrics in your local area, you can find the best selection of dress forms on the company's website. You'll find all major manufacturers and sizes.

Sears

Sears is another great shopping resource for dress forms. They have an extensive selection, including adjustable forms from every many manufacturer. Prices are competitive, and shipping is affordable.

SewVacDirect

SewVacDirect specializes in selling high-end and moderately priced sewing machines and tools. You'll find a great selection of dress forms from many different manufacturers.

eBay

Don't forget to check out eBay as you shop for your dress form. You'll find gently used models as well as brand new forms. There are also vintage dress forms. Selection changes constantly, so check frequently if you're looking for something specific.

How to Choose and Buy a Dress Form

The process of shopping for a dress form can seem overwhelming, but it's actually quite easy if you break it down. Follow these steps to buy a dress form that you'll love and use for years to come:

  1. Before you start shopping, decide on a budget. This will help you determine whether to buy a new or used dress form and which brands are within your price range.
  2. Measure yourself or the people for whom you typically sew. Although dress forms are adjustable, they can only be adjusted up or down within a certain size range. You'll need a general idea of the measurements so you know which size to buy.
  3. Make a list of the features you'd like in a dress form. A pinable surface and easy adjustment are important. Look for models that have these features.
  4. Compare prices between retailers for the model you want. Often the very same dress form may retail for twice as much money at one shop as it does at another. Don't forget to include shipping in your cost calculations.
  5. Buy your dress form and get started on your next sewing project.

Save Time and Avoid Mistakes

After you purchase your new adjustable dress form, be sure to read all the accompanying material. Typically, these forms are low-tech and very easy to use, but understanding the features and adjustment process for your model is essential for a good fit. You'll find that this handy sewing tool saves you time, hassle, and mistakes as you make clothing for yourself and for others.

Adjustable Dress Forms