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Dress Forms

Rothland's picture

I am planning to get back into dress making (for myself) and I would like to buy a dress form. I have spent hours on the internet trying to determine which ones are good and reasonable, but lacking sources where I could visit to touch and compare, I would love to hear from users of

1. Adjustoform

2. Fabulous Fit

3. PGM

4. Uniquely You

5. ??

I would like a pinnable form that is adjustable also for torso length. Since I won't be using it very frequently I would like to keep the cost reasonable.

Would appreciate recommendations/critiques.

Palady's picture

Oh my - dress forms - a (post #32331, reply #1 of 12)

Oh my - dress forms - a Pandora's box.  MO.  Please keep in mind there are caveats as you go this route.  MO, the major negative of the "generics" is they are symmetrical.  Yes, they "adjust" BUT only in certain areas.  Fashion houses make forms for each of their clients.  Redoing them as the figure of the customer changes.    

My Acme form is years old, and it served it's purpose but only to a degree.   Those you mention are surely in use by some members, & you should get input.

Threads magazine has addressed forms more than a few times.  As you await replies from other members, maybe you can surf to the URL that follows & see what, if anything, it offers you.


Rothland's picture

Thank you. I shall definitely (post #32331, reply #4 of 12)

Thank you. I shall definitely check what Threads had to report but yours and another respondant's comments make me think I should add the money not spent on a dress form to the fund for a really good sewing machine.

Palady's picture

Because cost matters even (post #32331, reply #5 of 12)

Because cost matters even more these days than it did when I budgeted for my Acme, some 39 years ago, your caution as to purchasing a dress from is well taken.

Eyeing for a quality machine will offer you greater sewing success than will the form.  MO.

Fitting is a critical point in doing fashion.  Truly there is much merit in making a muslin.  Then too, in my learning years, I made pajamas & robes for my children all their growing years.  Yes, I could've bought them cheaper.  But the experience of setting sleeves, joining collars, making cuffs, aligning button holes, making flat fell seams or V necks, all came into use when I was sewing that special blouse or dress for an important social function.

If you choose keep us posted on your sewing efforts.


alotofstitches's picture

I sew for public and I've not (post #32331, reply #2 of 12)

I sew for public and I've not seen a dressform to match any body type!  I have one and use it to hang formal/bridal wear on for marking hems.  On my body my bust is higher than the form, i have fluff high on my back hips, I have a high tummy in front and I definitely have more tush than my dress form.  Nothing can compare to mutiple measurements on a human body--more than bust, waist and hips.

Rothland's picture

Thank you for your advice. I (post #32331, reply #3 of 12)

Thank you for your advice. I have wondered about these cons and will definitely take them into consideration.

cloudyhn's picture

Hi Rothland Check out (post #32331, reply #6 of 12)

Hi Rothland Check out dressforms on or They have Singer dressforms with reasonable price. Last time I check it's $129.99 at targets. Reg$149.99. Order online only - adjustable dressform : neck, chest, waist and hip. - pinable - height adjustabe and more Hope you find one soon
stillsuesew's picture

And then you could always (post #32331, reply #7 of 12)

And then you could always wrap yourself in duct tape!

artfulenterprises's picture

Hello Rothland, I've (post #32331, reply #8 of 12)

Hello Rothland,

I've submitted an answer to this question several times over the past few years and you could probably find it in the Gatherings archives.  If I could figure out how to access the archives I'd direct you to those comments!  However, it is simply easier to just repost.  Perhaps it will be helpful.  These are notes I give my students when teaching them how to create a custom dress form cover.

I recommend any ot the forms listed here.  Definitely do NOT recommend Uniquely You.  Adjustable forms are very limited and don't stand up well over time.  I never heard of PGM so can't speak to that.


FABULOUS FIT        1-800-853-9644

Paper Mache Misses Form
Paper Mache Women;s Plus Size Form
Oak Base Personal Women's Form
Iron Base Maxima Misses Form

DRESSRITE         1-773-588-5761                        

Gold Body Forms for mature figures
Industrial Forms
Tailoring Forms  - Professional Model
*Deluxe Full Body Forms $1550.00 but adaptable petite to tall waist lengths.

STUDIO ROX                         1-718-526-2966

WOLF DRESS FORMS    1-201-567-6572

The Mercedes of dress forms and the fashion industry standard.  Pricey.
All types of forms are available.  Shipping is by LTL truck which makes the cost
of shipping almost as much as the dress form when shipped across country.  However, check with Wolf Forms to see if that is still their policy.

ROYAL DRESS FORMS   1-516-887-5266

There are other, less expensive forms available although I encourage you to purchase the best form you can afford.  

My personal favorite devices are the foot pedal that raises and lowers the form easily, collapsible shoulders which enable you to get snug fitting garments on the form, and a “spin-stopper”, which keeps the dress form from turning away from you while you are draping or fitting a garment.  I also recommend that you choose a form that has a padded cover (batting and cotton twill or linen) as a foundation, rather than simply an extruded hard foam, paper mache or  metal plates covered with jersey knit .

Select a form which is about two sizes smaller than you are, but has approximately the same back neck length.  A longer back neck length is OK since that can be padded out, but a shorter length could mean that the outward curve of the hip might interfere with establishing the waistline in proper proportions.  

Another area to consider is the position of the bust apex and the shape of the chest or breast bone.  If you are very hollow in the area above your bust, a dress form that is shaped high and flat in that area will not work for you.  I have had to commit surgery with an electric knife and power sander in order to help  my students adjust their dress forms for a good fit.

A third trouble spot is the back neck, especially for those of us in the baby boomer generation who might be developing a bit of a dowager’s hump.  This can sometimes be compensated for by slightly raising the entire dress form cover by padding up the shoulder area so that the neckline is actually lifted away from the dress form’s stationery neck.  If your head/ sits forward of the shoulder line, the back neck area can be somewhat problematic but not insurmountable.  Be careful not to throw off armscye, bust and waistline areas however when raising the shoulderline.

Depending on your figure type, you may also want to inquire about the derriere of your dress form.  It is possible, with some companies, to choose a form with a nicely rounded backside or one that is quite flat in the back.  Ask the manufacturer and look at the forms on line if you have a preference.

NOTE:  I am suggesting a "smaller than you" form because the professional way to use a dress form for custom work is to create a padded dress form cover such as the ones shown in the attached photos. 

Best of luck on your quest!

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Rothland's picture

Thank you, and the others, (post #32331, reply #9 of 12)

Thank you, and the others, for taking time to reply. I am left with the thought that I need to step up my sewing skills and frequency (in dress making) before it makes sense to invest in a dress form. While I do not yet have age-related fitting problems I concur with the advice on buying a quality item that lends itself to all necessary adjustments. Given those costs I have decided to work without one till I am absolutely certain which direction I am taking (don't need another thing to collect dust).

P.S.: This is the first time I have participated in any forum, am quite intrigued by the expert advice and know that I will be checking in often.

fsayood's picture

Studio Rox dress form (post #32331, reply #10 of 12)

Hi, Thank  you very much for your article. I have been trying to find a suitable dress form for my level, beginner.  Rox studio forms seems to have the most reasonable price with all the desired features i.e. collabsible shoulders etc. But somehow t heir name does not come up nearly as frequent as the other companies when I search. Have you used one, if so which model # and also do you know how good is their customer service.



p.s. I wish I was close by and could take your class:)

artfulenterprises's picture

Studio Rox Dress Form (post #32331, reply #11 of 12)

Hi Fusun,

Several of my students purchased Studio Rox forms and they are very nice quality and, as you say, very affordable by comparison to other quality forms.  My students were very pleased with the customer service as I recall.  A quick look at their web site shows the #601 Industry Pro Half Body Form as the most likely choice for all-purpose use.  Unless, of course, you anticipate using your form for developing pants, swim suits, lingerie, etc., in which case you may wish to choose a full body form. I would say generally, however, the added expense of the full body form is not necessary for a home sewer and it is more difficult to control when fitting upper body garments since it tends to swing on its little hook!  Hope this helps...and I wish you were able to take my class too!  : o)

Best wishes,


threadrocks's picture

PGM...actually not a USA manufacturer? (post #32331, reply #12 of 12)

 PGM dress forms not actually manufactured in USA. Made in China. My dress form is OK, but I wanted to support local jobs.