Finding a dressmakers dummy isn’t much of a problem since they can be found in specialty and online shops.
The first kind is a plastic dressmakers dummy with adjustable dials. This kind is built on a plastic center with a thin padded covering of jersey and foam. The size can be adjusted by selecting the number of the dial that corresponds to the measurement most closely in inches. Plastic forms are affordable (around $100 and $200) and easy to use, making them suitable for beginners. The major drawback is that they are quite flimsy. Another problem is you can’t push pins straight into the dummy since the core is solid plastic and there are gaps in it. Pinning should be done horizontally.
Another kind is a foam dressmakers dummy, which is made from solid dense foam. The measurements can be changed by sewing the fabric cover to the dimensions then squeezing the foam in order to fit the cover. The height of the center support pole can also be adjusted. Compared to the plastic dummy, foam is sturdier because it is heavier. Users can also pin straight into the foam as there are no gaps. The problem with foam dummies is getting the fabric cover to match the exact dimensions and the length of the torso cannot be adjusted. Another shortcoming is that the center pole is not offset, which means pants or shorts cannot be fitted once the inseam is sewn. Foam dummies cost around $190.
The third type is a professional dressmakers dummy, which is made for fashion designers in the clothing manufacturing industry. This kind has an all-foam construction, making it very sturdy, and pinning from all angles is possible. The height is changeable through a pedal system on the base that is equipped with wheels. Since they are manufactured to garment industry standard sizing, they are not adjustable in any way. If any of your measurements deviate from the standard, it can get challenging. This kind is quite expensive, ranging from $350 to $600, depending if you buy a torso-only or full-body model.
If you find all these kinds too expensive, you may opt to make your own dressmakers dummy from duct tape. A lot of people make use of duct tape dummies since they are easy to make. All you need is to tape the person’s torso over a shirt, cut it off, stuff it with cloths and mount it to a stand. It is very advantageous since you can get the exact replica of the body. However, not everyone is comfortable with this method in getting their measurements. Pinning can also get messy since the pins come out sticky.
The cost of a dressmakers dummy varies depending on material, make sure to get one that suits your budget and needs.