Apparel · Sewing · The Tools of the Trade

Dress Form Review: Dritz Sew You Dress Form

Hey guys! For today’s post, I thought I’d share my thoughts, views, and opinions on my new dress form from Dritz called the “Sew You Dress Form“.

What makes this one stand out among a standard dress form is the fact that it is customizable to fit your personal body measurements. This concept isn’t new– there are other dress forms out there that boast the same capabilities and have been around for quite some time now. I chose this dress form in particular because after doing some research, it seemed the Sew You was the best choice as far as features/value/reviews go. This dress form currently sells for around $100 on Amazon (link here.) Luckily for me, I was able to get it at a much deeper discount since I still had a hefty gift card balance left over from cashing in all our coins at Coinstar.

**Okay, back story. You know all that change you accumulate from spending cash while shopping (Actually, do you all even still use cash in these COVID19 days??) Anywhoo, IF you still do, you will notice eventually that you accumulate A LOT of change over time, am I right? At least in our household, spare change is everywhere! Well, considering that these coins stay in the same place for days/weeks in my house, whenever I see any spare change, I scoop it up and put it in a bag for collecting. It takes a while to accumulate, yes, but eventually my bag fills up, and when it does, I haul it over to the nearest Coinstar and turn it into an e-gift card. What’s great about e-cards as opposed to cash is that they won’t charge you that handling fee (or whatever you call it), and you get your full money’s worth in the form of a gift card. There is actually a pretty good list of places you can apply it to (here’s a list of current places you can get Coinstar e-cards to–my favorites are Amazon and iTunes.) It really works, and I’ve done this for many years now. It’s a great way to teach and encourage yourself/kids on money saving, and it certainly puts all that loose change to good use! Start saving!

Ok, back to dress forms. So I ordered mine from Amazon and it was delivered within 2 days. Mine came in a big box, but was rather light in weight, so no problems hauling it into the house. Unboxing it was simple enough. In the box there is a bag that has directions and 4 legs for the base, the stand base and pole stand, a removable pole bracket, and the dress form itself, which is a pretty hunter green color. Reading through reviews, some said putting it together was difficult. IMO, it was honestly really simple. There WERE some issues with mine though.

Putting in the base, I was suspicious that my dress form may have been already used because the 4 bottom legs looked….dirty. I don’t know how else to describe it. They had what looked like dried water spots all over them, as if they got wet, and air dried. I dunno…Whatever, I went ahead and inserted the legs into the base easily enough and placed the pole into the base. So far, so good.

The ruler on the pole is for measuring hem height, and the adjustable swivel tool attached to it is a hem marker. Both are very handy for creating those perfect dress hems!

Then I ran into this thing.

This dial is used to move the dress form up and down and adjust the overall desired height of the mannequin. You’re supposed to turn it counterclockwise and then move the pole up or down accordingly. Well, for the life of me that darn dial would NOT turn. For the longest time, I tried everything I could to turn the dial, but I couldn’t do it!! I’ll humble myself and admit that I was very near cursing out loud (in front of my kids!) at that stupid dial until I managed to control myself, stomp into the garage, and grab a gardening glove with a heavy duty rubber hand and successfully use it to work that dial loose. Hallelujah!

Gardening glove: my heart is in your hand…

Once I got that pole adjusted, all I had to do was loosen the pole bracket underneath the form and place it on the pole and tighten it again. And voila! Here is the finished dress form.

Notice she is already dialed out roughly to my proportions here. I would show you how it looks with all the dials turned in, but there is absolutely NO WAY I’m going to mess with all the dials again after getting her to where she is now! (Lordy! My fingers are SORE!!) See the photo above for a fully dialed in mannequin. Getting this dress form to exactly mimic my measurements was no walk in the park, let me tell you. And the the best part of it is: It’s still not adjusted to my exact measurements.

BUT.

I already anticipated this would happen from the get-go. And so should you, if you decide to go with this dress form. No matter what you try to do to get it to your exact measurements, it just won’t work unless you are constructed exactly like the dress form itself–which I’m sure the majority of you are not. However, this dress form works well if you are simply going with the standard Bust/Waist/Hip measurements and calling it a day. For me in particular, widthwise, I was able to get the bust/waist/hip measurements more or less to my body shape, but if you turn her to the side, my body is not shaped like the mannequin at all. I was able to get the bust area in good shape by putting a bra on the chest and stuffing it until it reached my personal bust size. But as far as the tummy and junk-in-the-trunk go, I would need to add some extra padding to her if I want to get my absolute, true body type. Sigh.

**Helpful Tip: One thing that did help me a lot with adjustments was to place a finished “me” dress that I had previously constructed onto the form and use that to fiddle with the dials and get a better personal fit on the mannequin.

So, alright. Here are the deets for the Sew You Dress Form: This dress form comes in two sizes, Small & Medium. According to my measurements, my best bet was to get the size Small. I don’t know why the dimensions of the dress form isn’t listed on the directions (or maybe it was on the box and I missed it somehow) but here are the measurements (in inches) for a fully dialed IN dress form, as well as the measurements for a fully dialed OUT form:

1. Sizing:

SMALL DRESS FORM:
  • BUST: 33″-40″
  • WAIST: 26″-33″
  • HIPS: 35″-42″
  • BACK WAIST LENGTH: 15″-17″
  • NECK: 14″-17″
  • SHOULDER WIDTH: 14.5″
  • SHOULDER TO CENTER BUST: 9″
  • WAIST TO HIP: 7″
  • SHOULDER TO FLOOR HEIGHT: 62.5″
MEDIUM DRESS FORM
  • BUST: 39″-46″
  • WAIST: 32″-40″
  • HIPS: 41″-47″
  • BACK WAIST LENGTH: 15″-17″
  • NECK: 15″-18″
  • SHOULDER WIDTH: 15.5″
  • SHOULDER TO CENTER BUST: 10.5″
  • WAIST TO HIP: 7″
  • SHOULDER TO FLOOR HEIGHT: 63″
Here’s a little simple visual for how to take your own measurements. Once you have your personal numbers down, keep it handy for future use. **Source: instructables.com

2. Setup

I already mentioned the set-up up above. Easy Peasy for me to do. Directions are clear. YouTube has a good video if you still need help putting it together.

3. Adjustment Dials

  1. Height: Use the adjustable pole (that darn dial!!) to bring the dress form’s height up and down. Match shoulder to floor measurement to your own or desired height.
  2. Neck: The dial for adjusting the neck can be a little stiff and tricky. You need to press down first then and turn clockwise to widen the neck, if needed.
  3. Bust/Waist/Hips:
    • The dials for each measurement are all pretty straightforward to find. The front of the mannequin has 2 round dials for the bust and front waist/hips. There are three dials on the back of the mannequin to adjust upper back, back waist, and bottom/back hip. And each side has dials to adjust side bust, side waist, and side hips. The issues many reviewers stated about the front dials is that they are especially hard to turn. I found this to be true on some level. I wish the dials had a better/deeper grip for turning. If you have long nails, it makes it harder to maneuver the dials at all. I also wish you didn’t have to push the lever buttons first in order to turn them. I’m sure there is a good reason to have them there, but I think they are just cumbersome.
    • All the side/back dials are easy enough to turn up and down, but be warned that the more “out” you bring your dress form, the tension on all those dials get tighter and harder to turn. This is why a lot of reviewers, including myself complained about sore fingers. At one point I was using my gardening glove just to make dial turning easier for me.
    • Also, because all the dials and bolts are constructed in plastic, I feel they are very flimsy. I already managed to pull out one of the white plastic ruler/markers on the side dials trying to straighten out the dress form while adjusting. It didn’t break thank goodness, but I did have to remove the entire form from the pole, turn it upside down, and fix it that way. In that mode, I also saw that the long plastic “screws” used to move the dials in and out on the waist weren’t properly aligned in the screw bolt, so I literally had to pull the screw out and insert it into the bolt and use the dials to make them screw properly again. It was tricky to do TBH, because I had to keep maneuvering the dress form around in order to allow the screw to go into the bolt straight, if that makes sense at all. I think this wouldn’t have happened have the screws been metal. So there’s that whole issue with plastic parts.
    • However, I also learned that the trick to getting all the dials to turn as smoothly as possible is that when you turn one dial, you have to also turn every corresponding dial as well. This will help keep the tension loose on all the dials. So if you are trying to adjust the front bust dial out for instance, you need to also remember to move the upper back, and side bust dials out as well so that the front bust dial won’t meet resistance while turning it out. It’s multi-tasking for sure, but this did help greatly!
  4. Torso Adjuster: If you reach under the dress form you will feel a three prong-knob at the side of the form’s base (you can also see it on the right side of the base if you look inside the dress form). If you adjust the knob, you can lengthen/shorten the torso to a certain degree to match your Waist to Hip measurement.
  5. Hem Ruler: Once you have your desired height locked in, use the ruler on the bottom pole to help you measure how long/short you want your garment to be.
  6. Hem Clip: I love this little tool because whenever I finish bottom hems, especially on dresses, I can never get them perfectly straight all around. This hem clip swivels around the dress form so you can use it to make sure all your bottom hems are straight for pinning.
  7. Pole Brackets: There is one adjustable/movable pole bracket above the pole adjuster dial and another bracket attached to the bottom of the dress form. The one on the dress form loosens/tightens when you need to place it on the pole or when you need to take it off. Once you have the form in place, tighten the bracket using the side dial. Then move the movable pole bracket up next to the other one to help stabilize the dress form even further, and also keep the height placement in tact should you need to remove the form to dress/undress it.

So that is my detailed review of the Sew You dress form as of now. If I were to rate this dress form based on what I’ve experienced with it so far, I would give it:

Spool Rating: 🧵🧵🧵

Bad news first. I dislike this form because of the overall quality of the build. The flimsy plastic parts and the fact that I already almost broke it trying to adjust it really drive the ratings down for me. Also the fact that I have to sacrifice my sore fingers just to move the dials is another negative. If you are planning to use this dress form to frequently adjust the dials in order accommodate a whole range of body measurements, you may want to look elsewhere. I just don’t see how this mannequin will be able fulfill that job, knowing it needs to constantly be adjusted. I can just see those plastic screw threads wearing down fast! For me, now that I know how it works, I’m definitely keeping this one right where it is, and using it for my own measurements, respectively. I honestly don’t want to deal with having to adjust all the dials again. As far as overall sturdiness, I honestly can’t say yet because I have yet to use it. I did hear on reviews that pinning was an issue due to not being able to pin directly into the form. You have to pin sideways, at a certain angle. I honestly don’t think that will equate to being a negative for me, so I won’t add it to this side.

Now onto the good news! I really like the Sew You because for starters, I’ve just always wanted a dress form, and now I have one. I’ve tried several dresses on the form already, and they look so darling on her! I do appreciate the fact that the dress form will not only help me visualize my sewing projects in a better way as I’m constructing them, but I can also get an extra fitting perspective when it comes time to trying the garment on. Another thing I like is the fact that it is adjustable to my size. The idea is just genius and that’s what drew me to this dress form in the first place. I think despite it not getting my measurements perfectly right, it does a darn good job getting them as close as can be. Also, the fact that I was able to get this at such a low price is definitely a win for me. I researched many dress forms, and a lot of them were just not in my price range as far as affordability goes. I think the Sew You is moderately priced, and since it had all the extra features a regular dress form doesn’t have, I felt justified in spending a little bit more for it.

Again, I have yet to actually use it while sewing, so that’s why my review is still a little bit low. It will change I’m sure when I actually get to use it–for better or worse, we’ll just have to see!

My beloved Bletchley Book dress from Lindy Bop. She’s definitely the most cutest dress I own to this day. I heart her!

Would you get the Sew You dress form for yourself? Which one do you have/want to get?

Have a great day!

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