Dress Forms: Worth the $$$?

As I embark on my second sweater, I feel like buying a dress form to check my waist and bust shaping as I go. I need one with reasonably generous dimensions: 40 bust and 38 waist, with a dip to 34 just below the bust.

Have you ever used a dress form for sweater making?
What brands should I consider or avoid?


I have one because I’m also a seamstress. I almost never use it for knitting though. It’s just as easy to try it on myself as it is to get it on the form and it’s more accurate to try it on me. The form tends is very average/uniform. For example, I can set it for my 48" bust, but it still has a B cup with a wide back, while I’m an H cup with a narrow back. That said, if you want to try one out, maybe find one of the you-tube videos that show you how to make a form that is your form exactly with duct tape. Seriously, it’s a thing.


I have two, actually. One is a sample size 2 for when I knit something for magazines, and the other one is my size. I purchased both of them from an eBay seller in New Jersey who carried a wide range of real dressmaker’s mannequins covered in muslin and stamped with the dress size they represent. They each ran me about $100. I not only use them to check against size, but I stitched in thread several reference points, like where the collarbone is, neck outlines, the pants mid-fly point (a common length for my pullovers), things like that. I pin pieces to them all the time and use them almost constantly. But that’s me. Mine live in full view and the space they take up isn’t such a big deal because A. I have a craft room, and B. I think they are kind of pretty.

More cheaply and less deserving of a spot in the living room corner: Joann’s sells an adjustable one that is not exactly attractive, but you can leave a t-shirt on it all the time to cover up its unapologetic mechanicalness. They have a 50% coupon in almost every flyer, which counts even for special order items which a mannequin might be depending on your local Joann’s. And I second the duct tape version Danielle suggested. I made one with friends years ago. We made a day of it, drank daiquiris, wrapped each other with duct tape, and laughed our asses off.


Great post! Thanks for the tips, especially the information about adding threads for points of reference.

1 Like

Has anyone tried the homemade ones? There’s about a zillion how-tos on pinterest.


The way my knitting is going lately, I’d probably get wrapped up in duct tape and unable to get free.


Two important tips: 1. wear a disposable t-shirt as the layer you “tape” to, and 2. take a very big breath, make your lungs as big as possible and hold your breath like that while your friend wraps you up so you still have room to breathe once you have your tape foundation laid. We all found it challenging as layers were added to take good breaths, even when we started out fully inflated. So fill those lungs.

Your wrapping buddy cuts you out and you then tape the whole thing back together.


@juliafc @danielle.baines @Newleaf @Lori @marianne

Thanks so much for the advice! I love those pretty ones, too. I might PM you, @juliafc, for the place you bought your forms. And I’ll definitely check out JoAnn’s Fabrics too!

1 Like

I would love to make one of these duct-tape forms, but have yet to meet anyone who wants to trade taping assistance. I admit, it sounds a bit odd to anyone who hasn’t read/seen descriptions and tutorials. Still hoping :slight_smile:


I think you need to order a customize dress form.


Hi Julia,
Can you send info about the dress forms you ordered? Where from?
My daughter & I may try the duct tape ones also. Sounds hilarious.
Thanks so much.

That seller doesn’t list on eBay these days, and it was so long ago I don’t have the email files, but you can find similar ones on amazon these days. They currently run about $170.

Happy hunting,


Thanks, Julia.

I made a duct tape form years ago when hubby & I were at our West Va. time share and stuffed it with fiber fill It went back with us in the car to NJ and, fortunately, we weren’t stopped!

It was loads of fun, but he threatened to leave me taped up. We rigged up a stand using an old broom handle and set the whole thing up in an old plastic pan and poured in a small amount of cement. It’s been in my sewing room ever since.