A professional sewing dress form like the contestants Project Runway use can cost anywhere from $600 for a skirt form – $1400 for an ankle to neck version. These forms are industrial quality and can withstand lots of use (and abuse) for years. But if aren’t ready to make that type of investment, there are other options.
First you can look online to find a used one. Mannequin liquidators like us frequently acquire used dress forms from retailers that are going out of business. Many of the high end retailers had a tailoring department so we acquire their professional dress forms – but often these are well worn. But you can get them for 50% or more off the normal retail price.
You can buy a “generic” brand 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. For example, they might not be on a cast iron base with wheels, or have wheel locks. The padding might not be very thick on the form and the form might not be adjustable. Sometimes they don’t have a neck cap.
But considering that the price difference can be huge, it might be more cost effective to consider these, especially if you are an occasional sewer. Or if you just like the look of a dress form and waat to use it as a prop. Many people buy a dress form to display jewerly on or to use as a coat hanger.
The name brand professional forms are Wolf, Superior, Royal and Fabulous Fit. We get emails all the time from people asking us what are differences between them (besides price). Since we don’t sew, I can give an answer based on personal experience. Both Fabulous Fit dres forms and Wolf dress forms are made of the highest quality materials. Fabulous Fit carries dress forms that are adjustable – meaning you can have 1 form adjust to 3 different sizes.
We found some information on the Fabulous Fit website that explains the difference between them and Wolf forms (see orange text). Click on this link to see their product line. http://www.1shoppingcart.com/app/?af=947154
The main difference is that the Fabulous Fit® dress forms are constantly updated to match fashion’s industry requirements. Since we are the only company that follow the new industry trends, the Fabulous Fit® dress forms are used by major Fashion Companies, Theaters, Costume Designers, Schools, etc. around the world.
The Fabulous Fit® unlike Wolf dress forms offers a Patented Fitting Solution called Patented Fitting System which allows you to duplicate the exact measurements at each area of your body on a dress form. This is an essential tool when working with commercial patterns, draping, and fitting. The Patented Fitting System is available only from Fabulous Fit® or its affiliates.