Whether you're seriously into creating your own clothes or considering taking up the art of tailoring as a hobby, you should consider buying a dressmaker mannequin.
Using a dummy for dressmaking is a great visual aid. You can use it to pin fabrics to unfinished pieces to see how they look before committing to sewing them in place. You can see how they will fit on human form, allowing you to tailor it to fit your exact shape and size.
Of course, when you're not working on creating masterpieces, your dressmaker dummy can be used as a decorative piece. Whether you proudly display your creations on it or use it to put together outfits from your wardrobe.
If you're wondering which is the best dressmaker mannequin you can buy, we are here to help with our buyer's guide.
Related: The best sewing machines to buy
How do you know what size mannequin to buy?
If you're unsure which size mannequin to buy, you will need to measure yourself. Take note of your bust, waist and hip measurements to compare against the available mannequin sizes.
If your measurements fall between two sizes, it is recommended that you go for the smaller size mannequin. This is because you can always add padding to a smaller model to help you achieve your desired look, whereas it will be near impossible to make a larger dummy for dressmaking to appear smaller.
To aid with replicating your body shape, it is best to fit a mannequin with an old bra. You can then pad the bra until it looks similar to your bust shape. If you need to add some curves to other parts of the mannequin, you can use a sponge or similar materials to add padding to those areas, so it looks similar to your own body shape.
Shop: our guide to the best dressmaker mannequin
Sewing Online Adjustable Dressmaker Dummy
Best dressmaker's mannequin for size range
Available in small, medium, large and petite sizes, this dressmaker's mannequin will cater to many different body shapes. It's made from a strong, light plastic material that is covered in nylon foam-backed fabric and sits on a four-legged stand. It also features a pin-grip hem marker with a basting attachment for all your dress-making needs.
Pros: Available in a range of sizes, includes a two-year manufacturer's guarantee
Cons: Some customers have commented that the dials can be difficult to turn
Review: "I had a little help from my husband getting this set up properly as I initially found turning the dials to get the measurements accurate a bit fiddly, however, I do have painful joints in my right hand so others may have no problems at all. Once it was up I have found it invaluable. The pin holder at the top is a useful idea but it pops out too easily when you remove a pin, so a dab of glue has solved that. I find it to be sturdy and copes well with and tugging when making adjustments. The dogs have been intrigued by it but it has stood its ground and not been knocked over by them at all. I have fitted mine with a bra and padded it so it is absolutely the right shape and height, this has transformed my dressmaking. A really good product for the price. I would recommend this."
Adjustoform Sew Simple
Best plus size dressmaker's mannequin
Finished in a gorgeous deep red colour, this dressmaker's mannequin is perfect for fitting clothes to a curvier body. It can be adjusted to fit a more plus size shape up to a UK size 22. There's also a version available that caters to dress sizes 10 to 18. It features 12 adjustable thumb wheels that allow you to change the bust, waist and hips to your measurements, so you can create your body double with ease.
Pros: The size can be adjusted, backed with foam to allow needles to be pinned through it
Cons: Some customers have stated that the dials are fiddly
Review: "Decided to take the plunge and invest in a dress form... very pleased I did. It arrived very well packaged and was up and ready to go in less than 5 minutes. The dress form is covered in a bright red fabric with a nice sheen which you pin sideways through (don't be like me and try to pin straight into the body!). The adjusters are smooth and easy to use but make sure you open nearby adjusters if you're expanding an area a lot as they can get tight otherwise. Overall great quality, very happy. I'm going to call her Scarlet :)"
BTFY Dressmaker Mannequin
Best decorative dressmakers dummy
Not only practical but attractive to look at, the bodice has a black damask print, so it'll make a great decorative piece when you're not using it for dressmaking. If you fancy a change from the highly decorated body, it also comes with a second plain white cover. With help from the tripod base, your mannequin will stay sturdy and grounded while you fit your garments to it.
Pros: Easy to assemble, lightweight
Cons: Fixed size, some customers have commented that it can be a bit wobbly
Review: "Easy to put together and move about. Good value for money also."
So Crafty Dressmaker Dummy
Fully adjustable dressmaker mannequin
Unleash your inner fashionista on this dressmaker's dummy. With an adjustable waistline and neck, two auto-set dials and ten adjustable points, it is perfect for making, embellishing and altering clothing at home.
Pros: Fully adjustable, easy to put together
Cons: Some customers have reported the dummy's measurements are on the smaller side
Review: "I read all of the reviews before I bought this Dressmakers Dummy, and decided to go ahead. I am so glad I did! It is exactly the size advertised, and very easy to fully adjust. I took time to measure myself accurately and spent a while making it the same size. I have put a stretch T-shirt on it and checked the measurements again. It is now quite solid and stable and makes sewing so much easier. I personally highly recommend this product, and hope to have many years using it."
Female Tailors Dummy
Cheap dressmaker mannequin
If you're new to dressmaking, this mannequin is perfect for starting out. It's also great for those on a budget. Designed to mimic a size 8 to 10 body, it is made out of highly durable and strong polystyrene, so you can easily display your newest creations with pride.
Pros: Great value for money
Cons: Limited size range, some customers have commented on the dummy being flat chested
Review: "Bought this for my daughter who wanted to make clothes (hasn't really happened yet). She made an outfit for World Book Day that stays on the mannequin. It was very easy to put together and is very lightweight and easy to move around. I'm hoping one day she actually tries to make something else with it."