The Sewing Place

Tailors forms


Tailors forms
« on: July 28, 2020, 09:45:45 AM »
This is going to be a bit angry I'm afraid.

I've been offhandedly looking for a tailors form/dressmaking dummy for a while. Mostly because I'm limited on space and chucking half made bits on it would be helpful. But also for making some adjustments to patterns because I'm short and I'd rather adjust pre fabric cutting.

There's loads of them. Great! Though it appears there are very very few small ones. Which is making me sad and rage. Half don't have proper measurements and the other half are all too big around the waist. Which is one of the hard bits for me to fit properly, especially going up to the bust. Honestly, how hard is it to find one in size 6 with a 26" or smaller waist that I can then pad out to my hip and bust. I've somewhat lost hope.

I'd also like a dark wood tripod base but that's beside the point.

Any recommendations for places to look? With them not being very expensive. Second hand is fine. I just really want a small one. Small people exist too!


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2020, 09:56:15 AM »
Have you tried searching for antique ones? Obviously you would want a clean example and the prices can be quite high, but most of the ones I have seen over the years are very small - people weren't so chunky in the 19th c. They can be covered in new fabric if you don't like the look of them


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 10:11:27 AM »
I was tempted by this one @Syrinx. I'm going to have to make such enormous adjustments for my bust that it would really just be a starting point. She's going to be a 'pretty'sight! :S
Harbouring resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die!


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2020, 10:12:30 AM »
Jaycotts show a petite dressform and a junior dressform on their website that have the correct waist measurement. Both are currently out of stock, but you might be able to find them at another supplier.


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2020, 12:20:20 PM »
You’re right @Syrinx there are short people around.  I’m one of them. :)   I got rid of my dummy.  Never found it very useful as the shoulders were too wide to start with so on to a loser there!   I’d really love a heavy one that didn’t move around, with narrow shoulders, that I could customise. 


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2020, 13:42:45 PM »
You have my sympathy, from the opposite side of the problem: I have a dress form, known as Gloria, set up to DD measurements or to be exact not quite to her measurements. DD is 6'2" tall, RTW size 8/10 with looong legs and back neck to waist of 18.25". Gloria will not extend willingly to any of these extremes. DH has replaced part of her stand with a broom handle to allow skirts and trousers to be constructed to the correct lengths, but the back neck to waist measurement is an ongoing nuisance. I've tried adding padding to the shoulder areas to add inches vertically, but that means the bust shaping is too low for her. Unfortunately as DD lives 'down south' there's no easy answers so Gloria has to be.
'Jill' of many aspects of sewing, "Mistress" of few.


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2020, 18:01:55 PM »
The truth is this: Virtually ALL pre-made dressmakers dummies are a useless waste of time and money.

Unless you happen to have been born to whatever measurements a manufacturer happens to use.

You seem to realize that you are not one of these sizes - so don't waste your money.

There are only two Real  ways to achieve an actual useful replication of yourself.

Here in the states, there is a company that will 3-D scan your body and replicate it in foam. Aside from the cost of getting to a scanning site, the item costs several hundred dollars. This is the only dummy I would personally spend money on - if I could afford it.

The other option is DIY - using duct tape and a good friend. This is the only viable way of achieving a useful replica of yourself. There are numerous tutorials on the net and Youtube. I don't have the patience for this one.

I use the timer on my cellphone to take selfies. It's my best fitting tool. All views must be straight on front, back, and both sides. Lighting must be very good. I use a table lamp with the shade removed strategically placed. Quick to set up once you figure it out.

Selfies taken in a mirror with you holding your phone are a compleye waste of time. Your raised arms distort the garment and always make it impossible to judge properly.

Timed selfies also make it easy to study your own frame objectively. You can compare yourself to online sketches of "proper posture" to help determine if you have a deviation that could be causing fitting issues. Forward shoulder, dropped shoulder/high hip, sway back are just a tiny sample of what you might find.

My advice: save your money or invite a knowledgeable artsy/fartsy maker-type friend over for an afternoon duct tape session. (People that aren't true makers of some sort don't make for sufficient taping buddies - in my experience)

I know there are a few that are able to pad out pre-done forms - but again you must first be born the right size.

Hope this helps.


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2020, 18:03:43 PM »
@Syrinx just a thought. I don't know how small you are but would a childs/teenager form do?
Willing but not always able :)


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2020, 18:17:24 PM »
For years mine was stuck on a size 12, a phantom of the past.  I finally got round to making it more me but to be honest the only time I use it is for draping jackets/coats on and for some time she has had nothing on and stands in spare bedroom aka box room/junk room.

I would prefer to do what I did this afternoon for a dress, machine tack and try on, then I can see where I need more or less room.
Stash extension 2022 - 2.5
Left at the end of 2021 - 43.2 meters


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2020, 20:29:08 PM »
@Syrinx  I've been looking for a vintage wire form for months, no padding out needed you just fit the wire frame to fit your curves and stick an old nightie or tee shirt over it. I haven't found one in the size I want but I have seen them small enough to fit you. Perhaps have a look on eBay if your interested, its the only place I've seen them but someone here may know better.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 20:30:41 PM by Surest1tch »


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2020, 20:33:45 PM »
Yeah it's quite annoying. I'm a standard hourglass really, current measurements are 37" overbust, 28" waist (though usually 26" - put on a bit of weight when I broke my foot and couldn't do a lot for 3 months!), 37" hip. But I'm short at 5'1"/5'2". I've got short legs rather than body though. It ould make my corset making (and the odd bra) much easier having one. And I could shorted pattern pieces and check they fit the waist/hip waist/bust measurements more easily. I'm perfectly happy to pad it out to fit bust and hip and make a cover for it, but they are all really quite large unless I buy a pro one and I don't have the funds for that at all.

That jaycotts one is  <3

I hadn't thought of wire ones, haven't popped up in my hunt. I think ebay is going to be the place to kep a look out, just incredibly frustrating how few have the actual measurements on!


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2020, 21:19:38 PM »
I much prefer to try on and alter if necessary.  iPad has been a valuable tool as I can go back and review photos. 

Helen M

Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #12 on: August 03, 2020, 10:20:38 AM »
Have you looked at the Bootstrap fashions make your own?

@winmichele on Instagram made her own about a year ago.

Stash Busting 2022
Goal: 35 metres
So far:


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2020, 10:32:31 AM »
OH MY GOODNESS! That is genius! Admittedly I'd have to send for the cavity wall insulation people to fill it but that is brilliant!  :o
Harbouring resentment is like swallowing poison and waiting for the other person to die!


Re: Tailors forms
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2020, 10:37:55 AM »
They’re all glorified coat hangers ....there’s no substitute for trying it on your body.