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I have the dress form bug lately and if i get one id like it to be as useful as possible, therefore i was thinking of purchasing an adjustable one… so i was wondering if any of you have any experience with adjustable dress forms, pro-s and con-s, frequent problems etc any advice is helpful thank you very much!


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  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 5, 2010, 07.47 PMby katexxxxxx

    I have five!

    I have two in the small to medioum range, one child, one Mature (large) figure one, and a male one.

    I like them to be sturdy, light weight, and in 8 parts so the waist length is adjustable as well as the girth. My oldest one is about 28 years old, and after a repair, still going strong. All mine are made by Adjustoform.

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Jul 6, 2010, 07.37 AMby magdamagda

    oh wow! (wow for the number, wow for the experience… ) thank you so much i will consider all that… i’ve only been around one briefly a decade ago and it wasn’t fully functional so i got this idea they must be pretty fragile…

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 07.58 AMby katexxxxxx

      Mine had something fall on her in storage and one of the waist adjusters broke off. We peeled the skin off her, Himself mended and strangthened the waist, and we put her back together. I used double sided carpet tape to reattach the fabric! :D Now Dolly is good for another 30 years!

      You do have to treat them carefully. But they last a long time and are an excellent aid to dress and costume making. At present the two medium sized ones are dialed up and padded to shape, stuffed into corsets and draped with 18th C saque back gowns! We couldn’t do all the pleats without the dress forms!

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    Jul 6, 2010, 09.03 AMby thecuriouskiwi

    I just got my first dress form, it’s not a super expensive or flash brand, just the Singer 150 (adjusts from size 10-16 which is actually Australian 8-14) I got he bug too and was considering making a duct=tape version for a long time but there seemed to be to many pros and cons associated with them so I bit the bullet and got this one which is perfect I think for a first purchase. It’s fairly quite lightweight but it’s not like I move it around a lot or play rugby with it :) I find the adjustability really good, 4 dials each for bust, hips and waist. I can also adjust the neck width and waist length which is great because I have a long torso so it matches my measurements really well. I made a blouse using it last week and it fits me perfectly!! The only thing is her breasts are quite, ummm…perky let’s say ;) they aren’t far off for me but I think I am just lucky, someone else might differ in opinion but I have heard you can just put your own bra on her and stuff her to suit. So far with my first dress form and I am super happy I got her and I can see me using her a lot more…I even want to give her a name by my boy thinks that’s weird…I’ll still name her, it’ll just be a secret, hehe ;)

    6 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 01.26 PMby katexxxxxx

      ALL mine have names!

      The original one os Dolly (she’s a dress dolly, after all… ) > I was later given a larger one (now gone) that, naturally, was named Parton! Then I got given the second medium sized one, who was names Caroline after tha lady who gave her to me. Jenny came next: my mature figure one named after the lovely customer who first got to use her! Then came Brat, the child sized one, followed by Fred, the bloke!

      I have one further one I’d forgotten about: different make, not as adjustable, goes by the name of Athena.

    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 04.59 PMby magdamagda

      i checked online the Singer 150’s details and it would include my measurements which is great, too bad there are no dressforms from S to XL… and it looks nice – also now all dressforms look so nice to me:D… so you can combine adjustable lines outside the sizes, like 12 bust with 14 hips for example? i’ll check and see if it’s available locally…wishing you to stay super happy with Her (so what’s her name?… )…

    • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 01.03 AMby thecuriouskiwi

      You don’t adjust based on a size number, you adjust based on your real measurement. So I stood in my underwear and measured my hips, waist and bust and adjusted each to suit. I don’t think about my size as numbers any more, just the measurement so I guess my bust is adjusted to about a size 14 while my waist is probably a 10/12 and my hips a 12/14. The neat thing is if you have a little bit of asymmetry (which we all do) you can adjust each of the four dials in that zone slightly differently to compensate, as long as you check with the tape that the overall measurement is correct you are good to go.
      I don’t think you could have a form that adjusted from S to XL because the form would have massive gaps in all the adjustable places, as it is mine is adjusted to maybe 80% maximum and the gaps are manageable but I hope to enjoy adjusting it down as I lose some weight :)
      If you can see one locally go and play with it, take your measuring tape and your measurements and actually adjust it to see if you are happy with how accurate you can make it, there are obvious limitations but you might find like me that it adjusts fine for your personal measurements.
      I’m still working on the name… :) I’ll let you know

    • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

      Oct 4, 2010, 02.43 AMby thecuriouskiwi

      Well I finally chose a name for my dress form, it just popped into my head when I wasn’t even thinking about it (struggling with the sleeves of the Stinchcomb jacket!)….she is now known as Scarlett! :) because she’s red, but I’m also thinking of O’Hara & Johansson, beautiful and curvy.

    • Marjorie_sister_weekend_04_09_large

      Oct 29, 2010, 04.26 AMby margif513

      All 4 of mine have names! That way it’s easy to tell them apart ; ) Mine are all different brands and sizes. They are also quite different in ages. 2 are fairly contemporary-within the last 20 years- and the “Ladies” are older than 60 yrs. old! I LOVE the amazing range of measurements. It is very cool to learn what seamstresses did so long ago.

    • Missing

      Jan 27, 2013, 07.34 AMby bobbincat

      That’s just the adjustment I am wrangling with. Shoulder to nipple on her is shorter, but two inches longer than me! I might have to pad the shoulders up. Apart from that it’s a great dummy. BTW I’m a kiwi too!

  • 2248651388_b7dff371cd_large

    Jul 6, 2010, 01.52 PMby victors

    I have an 8 section adjustable and mine is called Mildred, from the old tv programme george & mildred. I have never been able to figure out how to increase the length of the waist. She was recieved and assembled in my absence so the instructions went to the tip along with the box before I got home!

    3 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 01.56 PMby katexxxxxx

      If yours is an Adjustoform, you may find instructions on their website, or they mail them to you.

    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 04.13 PMby magdamagda

      oups! i’ll make sure that doesn’t happen to me…:) good luck, i hope you figure Mildred out!

    • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 01.10 AMby thecuriouskiwi

      If it helps at all I use my stand to adjust mine, it has a cross section cut in the top, I slot that into the centre and twist and push it out, then a 1/4 turn locks in in place…maybe yours is similar but I’d check online like Kate suggests

  • Newpics_22607_large

    Jul 6, 2010, 08.40 PMby satinandlace08912

    I have a singer 150 and I absolutely hate it. I bought according to my size but the form isn’t accurate, it doesn’t fit me at all. The plastic parts are cheaply fit together and missaligned in various areas. The dials don’t feel sturdy at all. it’s very light and the pole is flimsy. I would like to think it were only defective… but it’s one of the cheapest, so intuitively I suspect it just lacks quality. I’m actually about to sell the darn thing and get a uniquely you dressform. I hear they are realistic. I can make it my size without fussing with plastic dials. I don’t plan on changing sizes anytime soon so when I do I’ll go for a higher quality adjustable.

    1 Reply
    • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 01.05 AMby thecuriouskiwi

      I read varying reviews on the Singer 150 before I went and saw one for myself, it’s a shame to hear your Singer is not as good quality as you expected, perhaps there are different levels of quality depending on the country it is sold in. The Singer form is good for me, I didn’t want anything too expensive as my first form and here in Australia you can pay a lot of money for a dressform, the Singer is mid-range here but you can pay hundreds more if you want for what I hope would be a more sturdy form, more adjustable. I am sure I will upgrade in the future.

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Jul 7, 2010, 12.09 PMby magdamagda

    kaitui_kiwi, thanks for explaining how it works, the one i worked with a long time ago had a dial on the neck which changed all lines at a time to fit european sizes 38, 40, 42, 44

    3 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 12.23 PMby katexxxxxx

      Mine all have adjustable dials at bust, waist and hip, and a slider thing and screw in the middle to adjust waist length.

    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 12.36 PMby magdamagda

      it was meant for mass production, so it makes sense that it was like that

    • 4343a36d4466c6f353525bdc97ba571be3128723_large

      Jul 7, 2010, 12.49 PMby thecuriouskiwi

      Wow, I’m glad they’ve changed that, can you imagine someone who is the perfect same size at bust/waist/hips?!
      All the adjustability is so good, I thought, “Oh, this will help me a bit” but after the blouse I made last week, sold!
      No worries, I figure since I’ve just been through the same obsession I might just be able to offer some advice :)

  • Burda_avatar_large

    Jul 8, 2010, 07.09 PMby sewingqueen-1

    I have a two forms. The first one, Judy, I bought a garage sale for $10.00 Canadian. She’s fairly small and I can adjust her a bit, but the dials aren’t in the best of shape. When I need to make her larger, I pad her.

    The second one, Betty, my husband just recently bought for me. It is a Singer 150 and he bought it second-hand, but it had never been used.(still had the plastic on it!) She’s not as sturdy as Judy, but she is adjustable and we are having fun together!

    I’m looking to acquire one more in the “women’s” size. The ladies sure do help when I’m making costumes or when I’m making something for myself and I need an extra pair of hands .

    1 Reply
    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Jul 8, 2010, 07.22 PMby magdamagda

      im not sure why, but actually that reminds me that not having a dress form didnt prevent me from using one: if i needed one for the upper part of the body i would stuff with pillows a tight unstreachable sweater, add an aluminium rod from my mountain backpack for a curved spine, a hanger for shoulder line, a stuffed bra in front and then adjust the main lines bust waist and hips by fixing an unstrechable cord with my measurements on these lines… for the lower part i would stuff a pair of well fitting jeans… it can be a lil difficult to manipulate but i guess it would come close to one of the best DIY versions…it worked for me..

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Jul 23, 2010, 04.30 PMby magdamagda

    thank you all for sharing your experiences, i started “digging” so keep your fingers crossed for me! it will take a while till i get to my dress form who must be waiting for me somewhere*sigh* …in the meantime feel free to comment, it helps a lot to know what to look for!

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    Jul 23, 2010, 05.07 PMby fosteretalk

    I too sewed for years without a dressform but after years of that I decided I needed one. I have an odd shape in that my hips are small, my waist is thick and the bust has been affected by gravity. I had to make sure that the one I ordered would not be too big in the hips but come close enough in the bust and waist. I ordered a Singer adjustable model in medium. I downloaded a Burda style bra pattern and bought a Burda turtle neck pattern. I made the bra out of muslin and pinned it on the dressform to line up with my bust and stuffed it. I made a little pouch for those additional pounds I carry on my front and stuffed it. I made the turtleneck without sleeves and covered the entire thing. I looks very nice and it matches my figure exactly. Some of us just aren’t “off the rack”.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jul 23, 2010, 07.17 PMby katexxxxxx

      I did something along those lines to make the dress dummy my exact shape in my 18th C stays! :D

  • Websam_0860_large

    Jul 24, 2010, 02.18 AMby farahajh

    I have the inexpensive singer one too and i have no problems with her. Her name is Ruby.

    1 Reply
    • 2_dsc_1140_large

      Jul 24, 2010, 12.13 PMby magdamagda

      I wish i could quickly get my hands on my Ruby! If anyone bought an adjustable dress form in India please give me some hints! I’m waiting for the weekend to pass and check options…

  • Various_002_large

    Jul 27, 2010, 03.20 AMby redscootergirl

    Definitely check them out on-line. I’m in Australia and just wandered down to my local Lincraft store at lunchtime, after having a bit of a browse on-line.

    I discovered that Lincraft sell Adjustoform models for around $400, and Singer ones for $250.

    This compares to GBP 90 (approx AUD$150) on-line at Sewing-Online.com – and these are brand new. I still have to find out how much postage will be – but I doubt that it will be $100.

    Normally I probably wouldn’t buy something like this on-line – but when you have the personal recommendation of someone who has used them for years (Thanks kate – just hope you don’t get commission from them – lol) I think it’s worth gamble – especially to save that much money.

    Just waiting now for my work bonus to be paid in August !

    And best of all I can actually buy one called size “medium” that will be the right size!

  • Various_002_large

    Jul 28, 2010, 11.26 PMby redscootergirl

    I am now planning on buying a dress form – and thanks to Kate for the suggestion of an Adjustoform brand one. I am now trying to decide between the “Supa-Fit”, “Diana” and “Project Runway” models. The Diana & Proj. Runway are the same price and I can’t quite tell from the descriptions what the differences between them are.

    I must admit the Proj Runway one looks a bit more ‘realistic’ figure-wise for a 40 y.o. – it doesn’t seem to have the perky high breats the others do!

    Does anyone have any comments or recommendations?

  • Photoge01_large

    Jul 29, 2010, 03.35 PMby gedwoods

    I bought my dress form nearly two years ago from cosplaysupplies.com – it is a kind that extends downwards slightly into legs so it can be used to fit pants as well. I bought the deluxe model because of the range of garments I make. I bought the medium size – I have found in a few cases that the body measurements of people I was making clothes for were outside the attainable range of the form. It has 8 adjustable wheels and seems to do reasonably well at fitting all types of situations. Overall, I found the dress form less useful than I expected (perhaps my expectations were too high, however). I found it could only be used as a kind of trial body – all finished garments have to be fit right on the person … I suppose I naively expected I could substitute the dress form for the person, but this was clearly incorrrect. I also made a duct-tape form for a friend for whom I make a lot of clothes, but this has worked out to be even less useful than the commercial dress form, perhaps from overstuffing. Overall, I’ve learned to use the dress form as a support for looking at garments before they go to the fitting stage, for overall “look and feel”, but to not rely on it for any form of fitting to my target person. I have become a bit of a collector of “mannequins” however, although they are often expensive – I can’t get enough of those!

  • Vatten_large

    Oct 4, 2010, 11.58 AMby ichigogirl

    I’d like to add one thing to consider before buying a dress form: look at the shape of its hips. Like with people, some dressforms have curved hips, other more straight. I’ve now made a papier maché dress form that’s as close to my clone as possible, but before that I bought an adjustable one. I had to send it back though, since it was impossible to set it to my measurements in the waist and lower hips without making its upper hips much too wide. I have straight hips, the form rounded. They come in different shapes, so look carefully before investing :-)!

    2 Replies
    • Missing

      Oct 22, 2010, 11.55 PMby karen1948

      I have made a form from 2 inch paper tape and did not find this successful as the paper is thick and hard to mould. Did you use PVA diluted glue and newspaper strips? What other hints and tricks can you offer to make this project successful? The bought forms do not suit as I am angular and bony.

    • Vatten_large

      Oct 25, 2010, 09.05 AMby ichigogirl

      Karen: I had the same experience, so I made another form by using the first one as a mould and working from the inside out, first with a layer of thick wool flannel, then new paper-tape-strips. There’s a simple tutorial for it here on Burdastyle and I plan on making a more detailed tutorial as soon as I’ve found a suitable stand for my form. Loads of work but great results!

  • Pict0907_large

    Oct 5, 2010, 09.39 AMby cclc1976

    I bought a vintage acme size B dress form from ebay for AU$58.00. It was a bit stiff (to adjust), and I would like to re-cover it as the material looks slightly stained. but it has lots of character, haven’t thought of a name for it yet. As everybody else has said, it helps to do lots of research into different brands. And an Australian 14 is a bit different from an American 14!! So what I’m saying is that a second-hand one off ebay is worth thinking about, you could get a real bargain. Especially in the US, they are a bit more hard to come by over here!

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Oct 5, 2010, 11.10 AMby katexxxxxx

    NEVER expect a dress dummy to replace you for fittings! Even one you made after molding yourself in plaster of Paris won’t stand or relax or squish like you do, and different bras, knickers, and shoes will make a difference to the way you stand. There is NO substitute for proper fitting…

    That said, a decent dress dummy cam be a great aid to the making process, and I wouldn’t be without mine!

  • 100_1411_2__large

    Oct 9, 2010, 04.39 AMby pambox

    i’d love to get an adjustable dress form, but i’ve never found one my size. i have a solid dress form, a fabulous if dishevelled vintage one named esme who is almost my measurements (apart from he actually having boobs) that i bought from a charity shop. i’m very skinny – small australian 6, or a 0-2 in american sizes – and most dress forms seem to start a good two sizes bigger than that.

    2 Replies
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Oct 9, 2010, 09.28 AMby katexxxxxx

      Adjustaform do a teen sized one. I think that will be my next purchase… You can always dial it up to all your other measurements and pad the bust up to fit.

    • Vatten_large

      Oct 20, 2010, 09.37 AMby ichigogirl

      I had the same problem… ended up making one in papier maché (paper tape actually, but it’s the same principle).
      With the teen form-advice, I did get one of those before, but found that the shoulders were MUCH too narrow even when I had set all the measurements to my own measurements, so beware, check that out before getting one if it’s important to you. It didn’t work for me since I wanted to use it to fit sleeves correctly. Padding the shoulders would have been tricky to say the least. Other than that, the teen forms are an option for the petit.

  • Dsc09595avatar_large

    Oct 23, 2010, 07.07 AMby Ralf Schmitz

    i bought my male dressform in germany online at: http://www.schneiderpuppen-fachhandel.com and i am very happy with it. even this one is not an adjustable one, but it fits allmoust exactly my meassures, is quite decorative and it was ( and that was important to me at the time i bought it) not very expensive. a i payed under 50.— euros for a new dressform incl. a real wood stand to go with.

    it came never to my minde to give my doll a name, as i put pins in it like into a woodoodoll, i would have not felt too good about it, having a name for it afterall………

    but one thing i agree totally: sewing without a doll is really so much more difficult and i love having this help for my creations!

  • 2_dsc_1140_large

    Oct 23, 2010, 07.44 AMby magdamagda

    thank you all for sharing your experiences, after all I postponed a lil the purchase of a dressform coz I found other things to be more of a priority for my studio, but I’m getting there, I’m glad I started this topic so early coz you wonderful ppl discover it from time to time, and not only me but I’m sure others also benefit from this! Can’t wait to share my dressform experience when it finally happens!

  • Dsc01808_large

    Oct 31, 2010, 05.27 AMby marloncosta

    The down side of the adjustable ones is that they don`t have the style lines. You would have to put tape on it yourself to mark the style lines. I like my non-adjustable one better for draping.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Jan 27, 2013, 10.08 AMby katexxxxxx

      Style lines go in different places for different garments anyway, especially if, like me, you make a lot of historical costume for different eras. I just pin narrow cotton tape on where I want the line to be.

  • Billy_large

    Feb 2, 2013, 05.48 PMby jaydentyler25

    i’d choose to acquire some sort of changeable gown form, however i’ve would not found one my girth and also length. i possess a powerful gown form, a fabulous if just just in case dishevelled classic one additionally known since esme and that is virtually my requirements (apart from the person in truth having boobs) that i purchased from a charitable organization store. i’m very skinny – little australian 6, or a 0-2 in american dimensions – and a big amount of getup forms appear to begin a good 2 dimensions bigger than which.

    1 Reply
    • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

      Feb 2, 2013, 06.23 PMby katexxxxxx

      Look at the Adjustoform for teens. That’ll be our next purchase…

  • Missing

    May 6, 2013, 08.48 PMby Kellye1018

    Where did you purchase your Adjustoform dress form? I am in the U.S. and cannot locate a distributor.

  • Missing

    Sep 11, 2015, 01.11 PMby Corina29

    You can try this one: http://my-mannequins.co.uk I hope you gonna find something for yourself ;)

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