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Dress FormA dress form is the key to a fabulous fit when designing clothing, creating patterns or sewing a garment. It is a three dimensional human-like model and is sometimes called a dressmaker’s dummy (Judy being the female version and James being the male version). The drape of the fabric, positioning of a pattern and fit can be visualized as it would be on a body. Using a dress form can prevent mistakes and errors to what could be a beautiful garment or textile.

Each form has features which need to meet the requirements of the designer or seamstress before selecting and purchasing.


  • Standard clothing sizes or adjustable sizing dress forms. The standard clothing size dress form is just that with plus sizes available on many models. It should be selected to match the body for which one will be sewing. An adjustable dress form should be selected if more than one size is preferred. It has adjustable dials to change dimensions of the dress form body.  Both standard clothing sizes dress forms and adjustable sizing dress forms are functional for sewing and display purposes.
  • Height adjustable is a must. Many dress forms can be easily adjusted in height with a foot or knee pedal. Some even come with a hem guide and a place to put pins.
  • Can it be pinned? Make sure a dress form is able to be pinned for paper patterns or fabric. A model that is pinnable has a foam-backed fabric exterior. A pin can be easily inserted either vertically or diagonally depending on the foam thickness.
  • Does it come with a base? A cast iron (the heaviest), wood or stainless steel base is usually included. It should be sturdy and easy to move. Casters make moving easier but should lock in place to prevent any sliding on the floor.
  • Sewing or displaying pants. Most dress forms are meant to display tops or dresses. However, some models are able to accept a pole on one side allowing the pole to go thru the pant leg. Be sure to check the model.

These are the key features of a dress form but there are many other features from attachable arms to warranties. Regardless of experience or design style, it is necessary to match your needs to the features of a dress form model before making a purchase.  You can see our complete line of dress forms here.

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