A professional sewing dress form can cost anywhere from $600 for a skirt form to $1400 for an ankle to neck version.
Here are key features of a professional grade sewing form:
-a cast iron base with wheels & wheel locks.
– collapsible shoulders (makes it easier to put garments on and off the form)
– you can adjust the height of the stand
-bump out side seams to enable you feel them when draping with fabric
The top dress form brands that are used most often in the fashion industry are Wolf, Superior and Royal. Wolf forms are made by hand.
This video from the Discovery Channel, shows the process of how a Wolf Dress form is made. After seeing the video you will understand why it is worth every penny that you pay for it. Like buying a Rolls Royce, wonderful if you can afford it, but most people cannot.
These forms are industrial quality and can withstand lots of use (and abuse) for years. But if those prices are out of your budget or if you just want a dress form for the decorative purposes, there are other less expensive options.
First you can look online to find a used one. Mannequin liquidators like us at MannequinMadness frequently acquires used dress forms from retailers that are going out of business. If you want to receive an email alert the next time we receive a used Wolf (or similar style) dress form, complete this sign up form.
Many high end retailers have a tailoring department so we acquire their professional dress forms – but often these are well worn. And we have a lot more male forms than female ones. But you can get them for 50% or more off the normal retail price.
You can buy a “generic” brand new dress form. There are lots of dress forms that are soft enough for pinning but they will not have some of the features that you see on a professional grade one.
The PGM forms that we carry are frequently used on Project Runway. They are a knock off version of the Wolf form.
And if you need to customize a dress form to get your exact measurements, these Adjustable Dress Form pads by Fabulous Fit are a “must have.”
Not only do they allow you to get a custom fit but they enable you to take any dress form up three larger dress sizes.
These are much easier to use than adjustable dress forms with the knobs or more durable than a duct tape dress form of your body.