Introduction to Dress Forms

Introduction to Dress Forms

Introduction to Dress Forms

Dress forms come in all shapes and sizes. In this lesson, we will teach what you need to know before purchasing a dress form. You will learn, which features are important when choosing a dress form for design purposes, beginning with whether your choice is ‘directly pinnable.’ We will also teach you how dress forms are made, what styles and types are available, and the proper terminology that is used when referring to various parts of dress forms. This lesson will help you make the best decision when purchasing a form for your design projects.

Module Description Step
1 Dress Form Basics 1-8
2 Types of Dress Forms 1-4
3 Dress Form Terminology 1-5
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MODULE 1 • Dress Form Basics

Step Description
1 A dress form is a full scale replica of a human body. In the fashion industry, it is rarely referred to as “mannequin,” which is a display form, nor is it referred to as “dummy.”
2  Dress form companies manufacture dress forms based on the following:

  • Target Market: home sewer, fashion house, school or a retail store
  • According to a customer’s measurements and construction specifications
  • Extra cost for added extras

Dress form companies manufacture dress forms based on a particular target market such as, the home sewing market, for a particular fashion house or school, or for a specific end use, for example, a retail store. While many dress form companies have their own size and construction standards, most are willing to create custom forms according to a customer’s measurements and will sometimes add certain modifications to a dress form for an additional cost, such as adding more layers of foam or fabric to the form.

3  Direct Pinnable Form

  • Fashion industry design area
  • Direct insertion of pins

In the design area of the fashion industry a fully pinnable dress form is mandatory. This means that the dress form’s construction must be able to accommodate the direct insertion of pins to hold fabric in place during the draping and fitting process. A partially pinnable dress form will only hold fabric when pinned at an angle on the dress form. Partially pinnable dress forms are used in retail stores where the form is used for display purposes. Be sure you choose the correct dress form when purchasing for design use.


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