Dressmaking dummies are forms used by fashion designers and dressmakers. A dressmaker's dummy is also called a dressmaking mannequin. Whereas mannequins like the kind seen in many store window displays have a head and limbs, dressmaking dummies have only the torso. The torso dressmaker's dummy is sized for a particular clothing size, or range of sizes, and can be used to create tops as well as bottoms.
The torso-shaped dressmaking mannequin is mounted on a stand; the distance from the waistline to the ground allows it to be used for fitting pants, skirts, and dresses, as well as garments for the upper torso. After a paper pattern is made and cut out from fabric spread out on a flat surface, the dressmaker or designer pins the cloth pieces together. This pinned cloth rough garment is then fitted onto the dressmaker's dummy; sometimes, large basting stitches are used rather than pins to hold the fabric together. The designer or dressmaker then makes any needed size adjustments before stitching the garment together.
Some dressmaking dummies are sold in a specific dress size, while others are adjustable. Custom-made dressmaking dummies are made in the exact measurements of an individual's body type rather than a general size. A dressmaking mannequin may be made of foam, plastic, wire, or a combination of these. Some dressmaker's forms look quite unsightly as they may have many different markings for fitting guidelines, plus extra sections of padding the dressmaker taped on. Black wire dressmaking forms can look quite elegant; these types may be used to display the finished garments as well as for fitting them.
A dressmaker's dummy is one of the most important sewing supplies because it provides the best fit possible for a garment — as long as the dress form is the correct size. Dressmaker's dummies are available where dressmaking supplies are sold. Some of the newer models that adjust into many different sizes may be extremely expensive, but used dressmaking dummies are usually less expensive.
Dressmaker's dummies on stands are usually a comfortable height for most fashion designers and dressmakers to work with easily. Since the dummy models the middle section of a human body, having the three-dimensional figure can help garment makers see how their creations would look on a real person. Often, designers will adjust their original design based on how the first draft of their garment looks on the dressmaking dummy.