If you’re truly interested in making a career or a serious hobby out of your dressmaking, one indispensable tool that you need to acquire is a dressmaking dummy. Dressmaker dummies aren’t giant dolls, but a simple dress form – usually only the torso – upon which you can drape and construct your garments.
Click to learn more: Singer Adjustable Dress Form, Gray, Medium
There are three primary types of dressmaking dummies – homemade, adjustable, and nonadjustable.
Dressmakers Dummy: Adjustable
These dummies are really the best bet if you’ll be creating garments for a number of people. An adjustable dressmakers dummy allows you to adjust the measurements of the dummy to match those of your client or model. Provided you’ve dialed in the measurements correctly, you can be sure that garments created on an adjustable dressmakers dummy will fit perfectly. Adjustable models can be found in lightweight plastic and in heavier-duty foam-covered styles. Plastic models are portable, but a bit unsteady, while foam covered models can be rather difficult to adjust on the fly. Plastic models are cheaper, so might be a good standby until you can afford a nicer dress form model.
A few more benefits to the foam dressmakers dummies are that you can pin fabric directly tot he dummy, securing things prior to sewing, and that you can usually iron clothing in-place without worrying about damaging the dummy or melting plastic onto the fabric. While these models are sturdier, they can be heavier and more difficult to move around, so think twice about these dummies if you don’t have a dedicated studio space.
Dressmakers Dummy: Homemade
Many who are new to dressmaking start out with a homemade dressmakers dummy. Let’s face it – if you’re interested in dressmaking, you’re already both creative and handy, so this isn’t too much to take on. One common construction method involves wrapping one’s body in duct tape (wear a T-shirt or this will NOT go well for you!). Once your torso is completely covered by the tape, the tape will be able to hold its own shape. The tape is carefully cut off, shirt and all, and stuffed with foam. You can mount your mini-me on a hanger, table, chair, or DIY stand. While this is neither the sturdiest nor the most professional approach, but as you get started, it can work very well.
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Singer DF150 Adjustable Dress Form, Sizes 10-16, Red
The fabric covered foam models offer some nice pluses. You can pin directly into the fabric (as opposed to the angle you must use with a plastic one) and you can press clothing on them. You can also adjust them to the size desired by sewing the foam cover and filling it with foam. They tend to be sturdier than the plastic models.
Click to learn more:Priced Under $50 – New Female Jersey Dress Form with Base & Necktop
Dressmakers Dummy: Professional
The dressmakers dummies used by the pros can cost hundreds – even thousands – of dollars, but there’s a very good reason for this – they are a joy to work with. Few pro-level dummies are adjustable, making for a sturdier product, but a serious investment if you’ll need to buy one in four, five, or even a dozen different sizes. The often have locking wheels, allowing them to be moved around a studio easily, but to be rock-solid when locked in place.
If you really want to play with the pros, and to make dressmaking a part of your livelihood, you should consider buying the best and most versatile dressmaking dummy you can afford.