How to pick a dressmakers dummy


Whether you work in retail or you just like making your own clothes, a dressmakers dummy is an important tool that will help you get each piece just right. This dress form will become a close friend of yours. Helping to show where measurements are slightly wrong and any areas of improvement that might be needed. Get the wrong dummy, and it won’t provide you with the valuable help you need.

So how do you pick the right one? There are various things to look for, and the final choice will ultimately be personal to you. But here are some tips to help guide you in the right direction.

What is a Dress Makers Dummy?

Before we get into the dos and don’ts of selecting a mannequin, it is a good idea to narrow down exactly what it is that these dress forms do. Often made from foam, plastic, wire, and a combination of other materials, they are well-proportioned torsos that give you an idea of an average body shape. Of course, they are limited in proportions, but many are adjustable to help guide your fittings.

The torsos are usually covered in fabric and padded, allowing you to stick pins in them without damaging them. This means you can fit clothing to the dress mannequin at every stage of the creation process, helping you get the fit you are aiming for.

Selecting a Dressmakers Mannequin

While all dressmakers dummies are based on an average human torso, they still come in different shapes, sizes, and styles. Let’s see how this will make a difference to your selection.

Choosing a size: Some dress forms are sized as small, medium, or large, while others are given typical dress sizes like 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16. Since different manufacturers use different sizing guides, you should not expect to get the perfect measurements.

If you are making clothes just for yourself, it might be useful to take your bust, waist, and hip measurements and find a dressmakers dummy that best matches them. It is also a good idea to measure your torso length and find a design that also takes this into account. If you are making clothes for retail, see if you can find out what standardised measurements the brand uses.

Choosing the Dress Mannequin for You

Choosing a type: There are three main types of dress mannequins.

  • Fixed models tend to be the cheapest style and, as the name suggests, have no adjustable sections. These are fine if you are making clothes for yourself, as you can find one that best suits your personal measurements, but make sure to double-check, as many have very unrealistic proportions. These are also great if you want to photograph your garments or are looking for something aesthetically pleasing to sit in your sewing room.
  • Adjustable models have wheels on them allowing you to change the size of your mannequin. These are perfect for anyone wanting to make clothes in a variety of sizes or if you are making clothes for yourself and you can’t find a fixed dummy with the correct measurements. These are usually more expensive than fixed models, and the most expensive adjustable dummies are usually more reliable and better for long-term use.
  • Professional models are best for high-end clothing. They are the most expensive and come in fixed sizes with more realistic features. However, they are made of the highest quality materials with metal stands. Unlike fixed and adjustable styles, they often have removeable limbs, allowing you to test sleeves on tops and dresses. If you are creating clothing for a designer store, you might want a few of these in different sizes.

What’s your Dressmakers Dummy Budget?

If you are just starting out, or making clothes for yourself, your budget might be lower than if you are working for a well-established clothing brand. Like with most things, the more you spend, the better use you will get out of your dressmakers mannequin, but a low budget might not allow for that.

In this case, it might be useful to look for second-hand dummies. Or start with the cheapest possible option with a view to upgrading when your budget allows. One thing is certain – a dressmakers dummy is an essential purchase for any seamstress.

Why Should You Invest in a Dress Form?

Dress makers dummies have many advantages over real-life models. They won’t complain about having to stand for too long, and they don’t fidget or shift position as you are trying to fit a garment.

You can leave your clothing on a dress mannequin for as long as you like – days, months, years even if you need to! This saves all the pinning and unpinning that comes from having to get a real-life model changed.

They are also reliable in front of the camera. You’ll quickly learn the best ways to photograph your garments and get a great image every time!

Where to Buy Dress Mannequins?

There are so many retailers that sell dressmakers mannequins that it can be hard to know where to start looking! Of course, we recommend Valentino’s Displays, as your premier destination for all things retail.

Amongst other things, customers love our low prices and high-quality items. Our dressmaker dummy selection is just as reliable for that, with a wide range of items to suit your needs. If you can’t find the exact product you are looking for, we may be able to make it or source it for you – at the very best possible price.

Contact Valentino’s for a Dressmakers Dummy today!

We also offer wholesale discounts and free delivery on orders over £100. So, it is always worth buying everything you need at the same time, in order to maximise your discounts. On top of that, you get peace of mind from our 14-day money-back no-quibble refund policy.

If you need any help in selecting a product or have any questions, our customer service team is on hand to advise. We love to hear from you, so give us a call at 01489 808007.

A dressmakers dummy on display

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