Tailor’s dummies – a god send or god damn waste of money?

I was bought a tailor’s dummy by my mother after I had been sewing for a few months and had becoming exasperated about my clothes not fitting correctly. This was down to the fact I couldn’t fit to myself, myself!

Mine wasn’t very expensive (about £100) but it is one of the best sewing aids I own. There are loads of different tailor’s dummies out there, varying in price, quality, function and design. I am going to chat on about what to consider when buying one and why you would want to buy one at all!

Why should you own a tailor’s dummy?

Here are my top 5 reasons why every sewer should own a tailor’s dummy:

Fitting clothes

A tailor’s dummy allows you to fit clothes exactly to your body shape as well as to other people you may sew for. It is basically impossible to get a possible fit on yourself, by yourself. Think about it, if you lean down to tack a hem it pulls up, if you need to put a dart in the back you can’t or if you need to sort a waist band you twist it out of shape.  Dummies also allow you to check how garments are sitting on the form or how the fabric is falling as you go along so you don’t have to back track, unpick etc.

Storing garments

A tailor’s dummy allows you store garments you are half way through. Otherwise garments tend to get fold or scrunched up (I hold my hands up, I have been guilty of this). This can case creases in the fabric meaning it can end up being wonky when sewn together.

Amending patterns

A tailor’s dummy allows you to amend pattern pieces by pinning them to the dummy and marking amendments directly onto the pattern itself.

Draping & designing

A tailor’s dummy allows you to pin and drape fabric to see how it falls on a female body, what fabrics will work for certain fabrics etc. This is very difficult to do on yourself, as you can’t see how fabric falls from the front as you are always looking down.


Next, I want to talk about the different types of tailor’s dummies available and the advantages/disadvantages of each one.

Adjustable Tailor’s Dummy

These are generally plastic dummies, which are adjusted using dials at strategic points on the body.                                                                         IMG_7123


  • These can be adjusted to match your measurements, as well as other peoples you may sew for. Meaning you can fit clothes to other people without them being present.
  • As they are made of plastic they are very light.
  • Different size options available to fit all body types and sizes


  • There are only 4 measurements you can change on these: neck, waist, hip and bust. You can change back length, shoulder apex etc generally.
  • There are dips and lines creaked when the dummy is expanded or shrunk, which needs to be considered when fitting clothes as a human body won’t have these.
  • You cant really pin into the dummy as its plastic with a thin layer of padding laid over.

Static Size material Tailor’s Dummy

These are solid fabric dummies, which cannot be adjusted in size. s-l1000


  • These are solid material dummies, so material can be easily pinned to.
  • These have natural curves that mimic the female form.


  • These are heavier than other types as its a solid torso.
  • The size cant be changed and these are only set sizes available e/g size 8,10,12…..

Homemade Tailor’s Dummy

These can  be made using a number of products including; duct tape, pattern paper and plaster.


  • Can be made to replicate your body shape and type exactly.
  • Can be made relatively easily at home with common household items.
  • These have natural curves that mimic the female form as they are moulded closely to the sewers body


  • If your weight fluctuates then the dummy will no longer fit as it can’t be amended.
  • Can only be used for your own fittings – not for other people you may sew for.
  • You will need someone to help you create these as it cant be made alone.

Personally, I wouldn’t be without my dummy as it means I can fit clothes exactly to my size and see how clothes look from different angles. Even though it is one of the more expensive sewing items, to me it is most definitely worth it!

Hope this helps 🙂  If you are enjoying my blog,  follow me!!

Love Heather xx



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