For the longest time, I’ve been desperate to get my hands on a proper dressform. Fitting clothes on and off of my own body has always been a bit of a pain – not least for my poor husband who is inevitably brought in to help pin the back of my body, but is never quite sure what he’s supposed to be doing. Way back when I was still living in Colchester, I bought myself a standardised dressform, albeit knowing very little about the purpose of it (I just thought all sewists should have one). Trying to match one as close as possible to my body measurements, I ended up with a mannequin that was too big in the bust and waist but too small in the hips. So this dressform ended up good for nothing more than serving as a very stylistic feature of my sewing space.
As my sewing skills have evolved, I’ve been feeling more and more that I could benefit from a proper adjustable dressform. Since I now do the majority of my sewing during the day while my husband’s at work, I’m also operating solo when it comes to fitting my garments. Thankfully, my incredibly thoughtful husband decided to help rectify the situation with the absolute greatest Christmas present – a Sew You Dressform by Dritz.
*Just a heads up, I’m not going to be linking to the product in this post. Since this was a Christmas present, I have absolutely no idea how much it cost and I’d rather remain in the dark on that score. That said, the dressform is – I’m told by my hubs – available on Amazon, so just give it a search if you’re interested in the cost!*
I’m honestly still a bit astounded at the thoughtfulness of this present. I had to wait a day to put it together (I was visiting my parents for Christmas so I had to wait until we got back home) and I was absolutely bursting at the seams (*seamstress joke*) by the time I got it back to my sewing room. The form itself was incredibly easy to put together – it came as the mannequin itself, the pole, and the base. So constructing it was simply a matter of slotting these pieces together.
As you can tell from the photo, the dressform comes with a number of adjustable dials – both on the front/back and the sides. Since I’m already well acquainted with my measurements, it was simply a matter of using a measuring tape and adjusting the dials to match my body. When I was researching dressforms a while back, I had read a number of reviews citing issues with the dials – they would get stuck, buckle, or even break. I had no problems at all with making adjustments to the Sew You Dressform or using the dials. I was also guided by a really helpful instructional booklet that details both how to take your measurements – just in case you aren’t certain about your own – and how to make the appropriate adjustments to the dressform.
As well as the standard bust/waist/hips adjustments, the neck of the mannequin can also be adjusted to match your own. This was similarly simple to do but is well detailed in the booklet for anyone who isn’t sure. Additional adjustments include the length of the torso – as you can see in the first photo, the dressform is essentially divided at the waist meaning that length can be easily added or taken away at the waist to increase or decrease the length of the torso as required – and the height of the mannequin. None of these adjustments posed any issue whatsoever and, with a bit of help from my husband, I had the whole thing together and adjusted within about 15 minutes. As you can see from the photo above, the dressform is already in use!
I was also super impressed by the range of measurements to which this particular mannequin is adjustable. My dressform is a Small (Medium and Large are also available, I think) but is adjustable to the following measurements:
Bust: 33″ – 40″
Waist: 26″ – 33″
Hips: 36″ – 42″
Back Waist Length: 15″ – 17″
Neck: 14″ – 17″
Part of the issue I had when initially looking at the dressforms available was my hip measurement relative to my waist/bust. I’m lucky enough to have an hourglass shape but my hips are always classed a size above my waist. Although this really isn’t a problem when it comes to patterns since I just grade out a size, it meant that I was on the border of two sizes when looking at dressforms. Somehow, my husband hunted out the Sew You Dressform and I’m well within the range for each measurement. I love how large the measurement ranges are for this particular dressform – especially useful if you make a lot of gifts for others!
On to additional features, all of which genuinely surprised me. The form comes with a hem gauge and lock, both of which I love.
The stand itself has measurements listed, allowing you to gauge the length of the hem as needed. Attached to this is a clamp (pictured above) with nifty holes for pinning while your fabric is in the clamp. I had honestly never even entertained the thought that this might be a nifty addition to any dressform but I’m beyond excited to use it. I always have big problems when I’m hemming since attempting to pin a standard hem all the way around never seems to produce a symmetrical or level skirt. I anticipate this additional feature on the dressform being a great solution to my hemming problems and I’ll definitely be using it to finish off my cherry dress once the skirt is finally attached!
I also want to give a shout-out to whoever thought of popping a pin cushion on the top of the dressform. I don’t have one of those fab wrist pin cushions (although that will undoubtedly be an investment I make at some point), so this is saving me a lot of trouble. It’s perfect!
So, all in all, this is definitely a dressform that I would recommend to anyone on the hunt. It is incredibly easy to put together, has some great additional features, and is very inclusive in terms of the measurement ranges. I think the Sew You Dressform by Dritz is definitely going to transform my sewing and make it a whole lot easier to get a great fit with everything I make!