I was recently asked by one of my male readers if I could recommend a male dress form. And I had to think about it for a while.
The sewing community is largely made up of those who identify as women, which means that dress form companies often create new models for them. And men are all too frequently left behind.
So today I wanted to dive into the world of male dress forms to help any man find the perfect male sewing mannequin for their needs.
And I have to say – I’m both stunned and ashamed at how few options there are for any man that wants to sew.
It’s clear that because the ‘majority’ of home sewers or dressmakers are women, the men have been forgotten.
Dress forms for men seem to exist as an after thought with fellas not really catered for. So as much as I would love for this to be a thorough guide, I’m afraid that I am limited by the options available from the few dress form manufacturers.
I’ve previously covered the best dress forms for women who sew – and in that article I talk about the things you should consider before buying a dress form. Please do give that article a read as well, because the information in it is pertinent to all dress forms, and I don’t want to pad out this article with the same information.
In this article I will cover adjustable, half size, professional and custom male dress forms.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links. This means that I may receive a fee at no extra cost to you if you purchase a recommended product. I only recommend items I have had experience with.
Best Adjustable Male Dress Form
I’m going to be completely honest with you. The only adjustable male sewing mannequin that I have ever laid my hands on is the one from Dritz, the company which is now part of ‘Handicraft’ along with ‘Prym’ and ‘Omnigrid’.
It’s their Mr. Tailor mannequin, and much like my plus size dress form, it is adjustable at the centre front, centre back, sides and the neck.
And you can lengthen it like my one too!
Here’s an overview of the sizing for the adjustable male dress form:
- Neck: 15″/38cm – 18″ / 46cm
- Chest: 37″ / 94cm – 45″ / 114cm
- Waist: 33″ / 84cm – 41″ / 104cm
- Hips: 40″ / 101.5cm – 47″ / 119.5cm
For context, my other half who has rather narrow hips and broad chest / tummy measures:
- Neck: 17″ / 43cm
- Chest: 42″ / 107cm
- Waist: 38″ / 96.5cm
- Hips: 40″ / 101.5cm
- CB to Waist: 17″ / 43cm
He fits right in the middle for most of the dress form’s measurements, except his hips.
One thing I love about this adjustable male dress form is that the stand is offset – this is great if you are designing or sewing pants / trousers and want to get a good idea of how they’ll fall.
If you read the ‘best dress forms‘ article, you’ll know that I am not the biggest fan of adjustable dress forms. I find them to be lightweight, not as stable as they could be and the fabric used to cover them makes me shudder.
Chances are that you are not as particular as I am – when it comes to the fabric cover aspect anyhow! – and if you fall within the sizing parameters then this adjustable male dress form is a probably great option for you.
Best Half Size Male Dress Form
If you’re planning on using a dress form for design rather than fitting purposes, then a half form dress form might be a solution for you.
As you’ll know from my best dress forms article, I own a half size women’s dress form from Kennett & Lindsell, which I have had for many years now.
Its main redeeming feature is that it is half scale, so it takes up less fabric or paper when I am experimenting with my ideas. And the same would be true for the half size male dress form.
The male ‘mini model’ from Kennett & Lindsell is half scale, and at time of writing costs £295 +delivery and VAT. You can learn more here, though they haven’t included much more than I have already told you.
Morplan, another company that I have used for dress forms in the past do not offer a half size / mini male dress form.
The other option is Lavandeform, a China based company selling the only half scale male dress form on Amazon in the US.
Best Professional Male Dress Forms
I reached out to several companies in the past months prior to writing this article, enquiring about their professional male dress forms and the quality / pricing, and have yet to hear from any of the companies approached.
That said, I have never been shy about my love of Kennett & Lindsell dress forms. They’re one of the best professional dress forms around in my experience.
And while I would love to be able to do a brand by brand comparison for you, the cost of purchasing each of the male dress forms is prohibitive.
So, I will give you my experience of using the K&L version while studying fashion design (some years ago) and will so a companions with other professional dress form brands in due course.
Kennett & Lindsell Professional Male Dress Forms
K&L supply three versions of the male dress form:
The website does not provide much in the way of information or pricing, providing only images with measurements and a link to an order form for each selection.
I should also note that when I ordered my full size women’s dress form, it took many weeks to be manufactured and shipped out.
Using a K&L is really enjoyable. They’re solid dress forms, not lacking in weight and the padding and covering is just the right amount which allows for easy pinning.
I love that they wear well. When at fashion school the K&L forms had been around for a while, and were heavily used, but they were still intact and great for draping on.
If money is no object – and until I have experienced the professional male dress forms of other brands – then I recommend you look into getting a K&L professional male dress form.
Morplan Professional Dress Form
In the UK, Morplan provides a great ‘budget friendly’ professional male dress form. It is only available in one size – 100cm chest – but they are comparable to K&L. I always found that the Morplan versions ran slightly smaller than the K&L dress forms, which is something to bear in mind.
Best Custom Male Dress Form
Due to the lack of responses from professional companies and the few commercial options available to men, I recently purchased a custom dress form pattern from Bootstrap Fashion after having some success with a custom leg dress form from them.
I have not yet made it up, but it is on my plan for July when back in The Netherlands, so stay tuned for that.
What I loved about the DIY legs form is the ease of download and construction at a very sensible price point.
Yes, the cost increases with the amount of stuffing needed, but I think if you are careful with your measurement taking, and aren’t afraid to give something new a chance, then the custom male dress form pattern from Bootstrap fashion is a great way to get started with a male dress form that will quite accurately represent your body.
Stay tuned for a full review in August!
I know that this is not as thorough as you may have liked, but in truth, there are very few options for mens dress forms at an accessible price point.
The Dritz male dress form is the only one that has great reviews and a sensible price, but the trade off is the lack of stability.
While I love K&L dress forms, they are very expensive and aimed at a more professional, designer audience rather than the male home sewer.
I also have a fabulous online draping course perfect for beginners and you can learn more about draping a bodice too!
And for any man ready to learn about pattern making and design, join the waitlist for my pattern making membership below!
Eve Tokens (aka The Creative Curator) is a fashion designer, creative pattern cutter and sewing pattern designer.
Eve graduated with a 2:1 in Fashion Design from the University of The Creative Arts in the UK, has a BTEC diploma in Creative Pattern Cutting, a Foundation Degree in Art & Design from Wimbledon College of Art and gained extensive experience in the fashion industry by interning and freelancing for London based fashion brands – Hardy Amies, Roland Mouret, Peter Pilotto and others.
As well as running her own small sustainable fashion brand, Eve has more than 25 years experience sewing and making clothes for herself and family members.