Sewing mannequins, commonly referred to as dress forms, are used to drape, measure, design, alter and fit clothing. The dress form is adjusted to the measurements of the person who is to be fitted with the garment. You can buy a dress form or make one out of household items.
Dress forms provide a real-life model to work on when designing a clothing pattern. It enables you to experiment with length and draping so you can see exactly how your pattern will look.
They are covered with muslin, linen or foam so you can push needles into the form to hold your fabric. Most have an adjustable rotatable stand, so you can view at different heights and angles.
You can buy used or new sewing mannequins n various shapes and sizes. They come in men and women, full-body, torso (with and without hip; with or without collapsible shoulders) and pants form, as well as children and pregnant forms.
In addition, you can buy magnetic arms, miniature half scale and antique dress forms or custom orders.
Dress forms also come in different sizes and are usually adjustable within a range. For example, a standard might accommodate ladies, petite and small sizes.
Sewing mannequins can be costly, so some sewers choose to make their own dress form. There are four different ways - two with duct tape, one with paper-tape and the fourth with Papier-Mâché.
The materials you will need are 2 rolls of Duct Tape, a long T-shirt, plastic wrap and a pair of old scissors. The end product will be made of three layers of Duct Tape:
The second Duct Tape form is slightly different from the first. Here, you start at the torso, wrapping a “cross-your-heart” pattern around the bust.
With this method you need to tape tighter than the first form and to wrap tape around the upper arms and neck.
Finally, place a wooden hanger in the finished form before stuffing and use a piece of PVC piping placed in a Christmas tree stand to hold the form upright.
Why not take a course on How To Make A Duct Tape Dress Form if this approach really interests you!
The supplies you will need are brown paper tape, a tight-fitting T-shirt, water and a sponge.
Papier-Mâché is the most accurate of the homemade forms. You will need plaster bandages (like those used to make a cast for a broken bone), paper-pulp insulation and wallpaper paste (both can be found at a home improvement or hardware store).
You can also find easy steps to make an adjustable stand that rotates for this form as well.
Dress forms are an invaluable tool for sewers, especially those who are designing new clothing or making alterations.
Sewing mannequins can be bought new or used and come in various shapes and sizes. These are often costly and, as a practical alternative, many sewers choose to make their own dress form out of duct tape, paper tape or papier-mâché.