An Ode to a Proper Dress Form

I have a new toy! I finally broke down and bought a real dress form about a month ago. It arrived a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t been able to talk about it because of an overly long business trip.

I think you’ve all heard me complain or at the very least offer disclaimers about my not-so-great dress forms. I have two. My first dress form I bought a few years ago was a Singer 150 grey adjustable form like this.
The pros have been:
1) Adjustable
2) Very cheap
3) … I got nothing

The cons:
1) Can’t pin directly into it
2) Flimsy
3) Waistbands get lost in the adjustable waist area
4) The collapsible post collapses at the most inopportune times (usually on my hands or head)

Then I was browsing at Pier 1 one day a year or so ago and found a version of this on sale for less than $100 only covered in a pretty floral fabric. It’s not for sewing (really it’s nothing more than a pretty display mannequin) but the fact that it was squishy enough to pin directly into cinched the deal.
1) Pinnable
2) Sturdy base
3) Soft enough to put stays/corset on and it sort of-ish changed the shape

1) Nowhere near my size. At any age I’ve ever been.

So I’ve been threatening to buy a dress form for a while now. I searched high and lo for the right one, read reviews, looked at professions forms (Wolf forms to be specific. I think they’re the best forms out there but you have to give away your first born for one.), looked at customize-yourself forms (Uniquely You or Fabulous Fit. These sound great but do you really want to see a replica of yourself standing around?), and finally decided that I was going to splurge a little and buy a good “professional” one. I decided on PGM which are middle price, industry standard, and supposedly used on Project Runway. If it’s good enough for TV, it’s good enough for me.

I actually did all the measurements on myself to see which size and I fell across about 6 different sizes so I matched my hip size (which doesn’t change much on me) and then I’ll pad out where/when necessary. I bought the form from Sewing Machines Plus because their price was a little better. And I bought the Ladies Dress Form with Hip (ie butt!). Let me tell you, the very little I’ve used it so far it was 100% worth it. I’ll probably still use my small/squishy dress form for some corseted styles but now I can start making real clothes! This new one is easy to drape on, easy to fit on, it doesn’t collapse on me, and best of all it’s my size!!

Please ignore the mini natural disaster that is my living room



  1. Oh now you've got me wanting one! I have two – a Dritz “my double” that…isnt…and a historical form that's been chopped up and made for corseting. That leaves me with no form for non-corseted clothing that really fits my shape…but wow, I'm surprised at the great prices on these pro forms. Thanks for the links – I may need to add this to my Christmas wishlist. 🙂

  2. I really need to invest in a new dress form. I've been using one that I think belonged to my grandmother. Probably 1950's/60's vintage. It's mostly adjustable but doesn't like to stand up straight. Makes pinning hems somewhat of a challenge. 🙂

  3. That's actually kind of cool that you have a vintage dress form! No one in my family was a big sewer for anything other then hems, buttons, and halloween costumes so I have no nifty hand me downs. 🙂

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