April 30, 2019 4 min read

If you’re working as a dressmaker or a fashion designer, the question where to buy dress forms inevitably pops up in your professional conversations all the time. Therefore, finding the best answer can potentially save you money, time and headaches. We did a little research, and we found out exactly where to buy dress forms.


Your average sellers are on Amazon, eBay, and Etsy. Even though it might look like a good idea to purchase a dress form from those platforms, sometimes you need a little bit more as a customer. If you’re looking for seller guarantee, express delivery, and customer support, then it might be better to find a reliable online store.


Mannequin Mall, for example, offers all of the above, plus an excellent price/value ratio. The dress forms are durable, adjustable and made of high-quality materials.


Choosing the Perfect Dress Form


Knowing where to buy a dress form and choosing the right one for you are two very different subjects. In fact, one of the advantages of purchasing a dress form from a reliable online store is that you can exchange it if it doesn’t fit your needs. That’s why we prepared a list of the most important things you should look out for during purchase.


Construction Materials


Dress forms made of wood are rarely used today for practical purposes. They are an amazing visual tool used in retail stores instead of mannequins if you wish to create a sophisticated, high-class look. However, they are not very useful in a fashion designer’s workshop. The same goes for wire dress forms. They have a very classy look and are a perfect tool for displaying clothes, pashminas, fedoras and purses, and you can use them for dressmaking, but not for professional tailoring.


On the other hand, we have foam and fiberglass dress forms, which are designed for fashion designers. Their sole purpose is to assist the tailor during the process of professional dressmaking. The foam (or polyurethane) dress form is the shapeshifter among dress forms. It can be modified according to the body’s shape with the help of cotton covers, thus turning the dress form into a replica. It’s fully pinnable and mostly used by dressmakers that work on one or similar body shapes.


The fiberglass dress form is intended for professional use, and it’s highly durable. In fact, it’s a rather prudent investment in your tailoring business. The dress form is created with hard plastic in the center, and a layer of foam and/or of fabric to make it fully pinnable.


“Must-Have” Elements


The dress form features make all the difference, not just in price, but in the way you will conduct your work. Here are some “must-have” elements if you want to buy a high-quality dress form:


  • Partially or Fully Pinnable Dress Forms – are designed for prolonged use and adjusting the piece you’re working on at the moment. The fabric that covers the dress forms is also designed to hold the pins in.
  • Collapsible Shoulders / Hips – make dressing and undressing easier.
  • Magnetic Limbs – help with dressing and undressing in the same way collapsible shoulders do. They can be attached and detached to the body of the dress form with magnets. In fact, these dress forms come very close in appearance to mannequins.
  • Roller vs. Stable Base – can be a question of taste and purpose, although if you’re buying a dress form for professional tailoring than the roller base may be a better fit. If you have to move the dress form around the workshop, then it wouldn't make sense to buy a stable base. On the other hand, if you’re going to use the dress form as a display, a stable base is a better choice than a roller.
  • Adjustable Height – is very important, no matter what is the intended use of the dress form. It helps with tailoring, presenting and, in all honesty, makes it easier for the designer.

Why Should You Buy an Adjustable Dress Form?


The adjustable dress form is the most useful tool a fashion designer can have in the workshop. Because of its features, the adjustable dress form becomes an exact replica of the human body, which makes it easy for the tailor to work. Crucial parts of the body, like the bust, waist, neck, back and hips, are mechanically expanded or retracted. Therefore, no matter the difference in measurements for a wide variety of clients, you can still use the same dress form for all of them.


Moreover, using an adjustable dress form helps with tailoring the perfect custom-fit fashion pieces your clients would love. When the shape is personalized, it allows for better cutting, altering, fitting and fabric work.


A DIY Dress Form v.s. A Professional Dress Form


The last question we’re going to address in this section of the guide is the DIY dress form v.s. the professional dress form. As you already know, creating a DIY dress form is not an easy task, but it is doable. The main benefit is that a DIY dress form is more affordable than a professional one. Plus, you can make it according to your measurements. However, a DIY dress form lacks durability, flexibility and professionalism.


If you require a dress form for personal use, then a DIY dress form may be a good idea. On the other hand, if you need one for work, or if you want to display one in your store, then it might be best to go with a professional one. After all, as we already mentioned a few times throughout the guide, appearances count in fashion retail, and a professional dress form looks a lot better than a DIY one.


We hope that here, at Mannequin Mall, we provided you with an answer to the question of where to buy dress forms. Plus, we gave you some additional information that might help you with the purchase. Remember, it’s always prudent to buy a dress form that fits your future tailoring needs, not just the ones you have at the moment.


Happy tailoring!


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