So while I am a huge fan, rabid may be a slightly more accurate term, of Halloween, this isn't anything about Halloween.This is about Dress Forms - headless changing half people that march around my office. The picture of them marching around my office that played in my head when I wrote that made me VERY happy!
For the average home seamstress that wants to make herself a dress or five a year, a dress form isn't something that is likely to be worth the investment. For the seamstress that is making herself ten or more dresses a year, then a dress form in your size is a life saver. For people making clothes for others if you don't have dress formS then you are pulling your hair out and banging your head into a wall in a very Willie Coyote chasing road runner kind of way.
There are a ton of companies that make dress forms and they can range from a single form to accommodate a single standard size to one that can be adjusted for multiple sizes and body types. I personally own five, four girls and a boy. My girls are all adjustable, but my boy is a one size kind of fellow.
Family Sew FMP Petite Dress Form
Bust: 28 - 34"
Waist: 22 - 29"
Hips: 30 - 38"
Neck: 12 - 15"
This girls has almost NO boobs, and when I use her I usually have to put a bra on her to create boobs. We jokingly call her the 12 year old boy.
Singer Model 150
Bust: 33 - 39"
Waist: 25 - 31-1/2"
Hips: 34 - 40"
This girl is one of my favorites because her adjusting mechanism is SO easy to use! It has little dials built in that you turn by hand rather than having to use a seperate "key" which will get lost. Also she holds those measurements much better than the forms that use the keys. If Singer would make a itty bitty girl and a BIG girl I would buy them and sell my other ones, but alas they only have two forms.
Singer Model 151
Bust: 39 - 45"
Waist: 30 - 36-1/2"
Hips: 40 - 46"
This is my other favorite!
Bust: 45 - 51-1/2"
Waist: 38-1/2 - 45-1/2"
Hips: 47 - 53-1/2"
Neck: 14-1/2 - 18"
This dress form actually makes me angry when they write the size, because both the Singer 151 and this one are labeled as "large" however they have very different measurements. I guess they are trying not to offend women, but let's be honest we know when we are bigger, but that doesn't mean we aren't gorgeous, so stop trying to pet our egos and just say we are beautiful!
My fellow is really a retail mannequin. He is foam filled and covered in fabric, but I bought him from a store that was closing their brick and mortar and going to online only. He is greatly helpful when working with male customers that are close to his size. He is also helpful when I have to put mascot costumes on him in order to design custom clothing for them.
As I stated earlier there are a lot of companies that make them, Dritz, Family Sew, Singer, etc. They range in price from around $100 to as much as $400-500. I am not always a big fan of shelling out the big dollars unless it is justified for your specific purposes. There are four main sizes for adjustable forms, and as many sizes as you like in one size forms. So far I have not found adjustable men, but I also haven't looked all that hard for them. The adjustment mechanisms come in two formats either a dial or a keyed adjustment. I prefer the dial personally. The last thing about a dress form is they have a hemming gauge. It is a arm that attaches to the stand that helps you mark a hem at the correct distance all the way around the dress. These are just the best thing ever since you can decide in one spot where you want that hem to be and set your gauge and then mark the rest of the hem on the form.
The biggest thing that I have to remember when using a form is that she is hard plastic and the human body is soft. A 36" bust measurement on you should be dialed in to about a 35-1/2" or slightly less on the form. When I first used my form to make a dress for myself and put in my real measurements the dress was a bit too big. It fit but a little loose. So when I dial in the measurement slightly smaller it ends up being more accurate.
Hope this helps those of you looking for a dress form, or wanting to buy one for a friend.