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A view of the patent-history sticker on the dummy’s right hip

Same label, slightly different camera settings. I am not sure which is the more legible.

In the following three photos, both dummies are set to roughly the same measurements. 34-26-36, or a contemporary dressmaker’s size 12 or ready-to-wear 6. Though the dummies share essentially the same dimensions, their shapes are totally different. I am interested in making myself a corset that would give me 1914 contours, for certain costume occcasions. I would not necessarily even wish to change my waist size at all, just my general silhouette. I shall experiment, I think. I wear one size smaller than my dummies will adjust to, but I may style the corset on the 1914 dummy anyway, and obviously just not lace it all the way down.




The bracing and hinges that form the nether regions of my most estimable 1914 dress form.

The wheely stand is very decorative for such a utilitarian piece.

An attempt to portray one of the rosettes on the stand. I may try this again with different camera settings.

The wheels are made of wood. This old thing still rolls around quite nicely, despite all of the vintage thread caught up in the castors. Note my messy workroom floor. I suspect she’ll pick up some modern thread shreds, too.

17 Responses to “The L & M Adjustable Dress Form Company (Makers of Acme Form)”

  1. […] get a lot of hits on an enry I wrote about this 95-year-old dressmaker’s dummy I have, which hails from the ACME company.  It’s an L&M Adjustable Dress Form.  And […]

  2. DEREK says:

    Hello, I have a form very simular to the one in this photo but I believe it to be a bit older . Do you know any sites etc. where I can compare to find the date and value of the one that I own ? I may even consider selling mine if you have, or know anyone else that might have, an interest in it !!! Thank you for any info that you might can provide me with !!!
    Thank You; ” DEREK “

  3. meetzorp says:

    Gosh I wish I could help you, but I could find but scant information on these dressmaker’s forms when I wrote up this entry.

    I don’t think they’re a real hot commodity in the antiques market. One in exceptional condition might be of interest to a museum, but they are a bit large and have a limited functionality to be of much interest to your average citizen, I’d think. I was happy to get the one I have because I’m a seamstress and an informal student of fashion history.

    If I were you, I’d list it on e-bay and see what it bids up to. I can’t tell you what to start it at – I’d search e-bay and see if anything similar was up there and gauge from there.

    If you want an estimate at the age of your dummy, send me some pictures. If it is sufficiently old, it will be shaped to the fashionable figure of the time, and I can estimate based on the corset styles contemporary with it. Mine has the shape of the straight-front corsets which were worn between circa 1900 and just short of WW1.

  4. Bo says:

    I’m doing research on draping and dressforms in general and if you do ever find out anything more about this type of form, I’d love to hear about it. I teach fashion design and like to enliven my lectures with interesting facts for the students to contemplate.
    Bo Breda

  5. kris says:

    WOW-I have just move and my MIL has one of these almost exact ladies in her basement. I asked her if I could have it and after hemming and hawing around, I just took it. Mine is missing the straight metal skirt leggings part, but is the same everywhere else. It is very rusted and I was trying to find a place that would give me clues as to cleaning it. I wasn’t sure what the material was. Stainless Steel? I know the bottom is probably maybe might be cast iron, but am not sure. Any ideas?????? Thanks for your help. Kris.

  6. meetzorp says:

    The “body” of this dummy is made of composition riveted to thin steel bands. I would not advise using anything wet to clean it, as the composition is essentially glued-together wood pulp with a fabric outer covering and could be dissolved. You are right in thinking that the base and post are cast iron.

    I think you are safe to dust your dummy, and possibly do very light spot cleaning, but do not get her very wet. The rust is probably something you will just have to live with. We’re talking about a piece of equipment that could be anywhere between 75 and 100 years old.

  7. Ciera says:

    Ok. I have a form which I belive to be verrrry old. The “base”, if you choose to call it that, is a beautiful silver color with a very nice design on it. It even has wooden wheels leading me to my old theory… Any way it’s a size B acme collapsable form in amazing condition. (It does have an old smell to it, though, eckk.) It also has 28 written in it quite a few times. I love this peice, and could never bring myself to sell it, but I would love some more info on it. My biggest questions are these: How much is it worth? And when was it made. No one else seems to know.


  8. meetzorp says:

    I’m sure I wouldn’t know exactly, but I’d love to see some photos of it.

    I have a good friend who has been in the antiques-dealing business for many years, and I’d be happy to have her take a look at your dress form and venture an estimate.

    If you’d like, you may send me a few photos of it at michelle.davis.1977 @ gmail.com (just delete those extra spaces on either side of the “@”) and I’ll see what I can find out for you.

  9. Heather says:

    I have almost an identical dress form, made also by The L&M Adjustable Dress Form Company. I believe it might be somewhat older than the one pictured. I am also finding it difficult to find its worth or some history about it. I am very curious. This dressform is very dear to my heart-my husband bought it for me as a wedding gift-10 years ago he paid $50.

    Its nice to just come across someone else who has the same.
    Thanks for posting.

  10. meetzorp says:

    That’s so very cool!

    I’d love to see a photo of yours. I think I could possibly place an approximate age to it based upon the shape of its torso – back then ladies tended to mould their figures with corsets, and the shapes of corsets changed periodically, just as the cuts of bluejeans do today.

    I had another person wanting to find out the value of her dress form, and I have a friend who is an antiques dealer, so I may quiz her up for information regarding these dress-forms the next time I see her.

  11. Ragann63 says:

    Can any of you tell me what sizes the Acme A and B cover? I haven’t been able to find out anywhere. I am looking at getting one of these for a Christmas gift but don’t know which one to get! My mom is in the 4 to 8 range. Thanks!

  12. Meetzorp says:

    Well, I really don’t know much about ACME dress forms beyond the fact that I own one that’s fast approaching the century mark.

    The one I have doesn’t have a size marking on it anywhere. When adjusted to its smallest, it’s about a modern US size 6 (34-26-36) Actually, the hipline is wider, more like 38. Some of my slimmer-fitting skirts won’t really fit on it.

    I wish I had more information on this dress form, but alas, I don’t. From bits and pieces I have seen in vintage sewing magazines, it seems ACME was a going concern on into the 1950s.

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The poster sent us ‘0 which is not a hashcash value.

  13. Barbara says:

    Where in the world can I find a used and an affordable price for a lady’s dress form for my antique booth? I have looked and looked.

  14. Meetzorp says:

    I’m not so sure…the one I have was a gift! I’d say you should cruise estate sales, garage sales, and junk shops. Sooner or later one will surface. They were a common tool among dressmakers, professional and amateur for many, many years.

  15. Dale says:

    I just saw these pics looking for instructions on how to use a very similar dress form. How can you tell how old it is ? The one i have looks older then the one on the right with the skirt attached.

  16. Katrina says:

    I just bought a dressform that looks almost exactly simmilar to the brown one in the image, and it had no sticker or stamp anywhere, and it stumped me for the longest time until I just started googling pictures and just finding my way to ones that looked more similar, and than learning manufacturing names and than all of a sudden I found this article!
    It’s very similar except for its shape, it has more narrow shoulders and a shorter skirt cage. and the two halves from neck to waist is much shorter than waist to hips…. So, my best guess is its from alittle later than your 1914? maybe the 20s or 30s? I’m dying to find out more about it, as to date and worth! I love this piece so much!

  17. Meetzorp says:

    I estimated the age of this dress form by the patent stickers on the lower left hip panel. The newest is from July 7, 1914. So it has to have been bought at some point thereafter. The shape of the figure is consistent with the style of corsets being worn around that point in time.

    If you have a photograph of your dress form, I might be able to hazard a guess at the age based on the shape of the figure. Corsetry dictated ladies’ figures and dress forms were updated pretty regularly to conform to whatever was the fashionable silhouette.

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