What is a seamstress mannequin called? In English a sewing mannequin is usually called "Sewing mannequin" but it is also called a manikin, dummy, lay figure or dress form. What is the purpose of a sewing mannequin? Benefits of Using Mannequins for Sewing: Allows you to see exactly how a particular garment looks on the human form. Even if a garment is unfinished, you can pin pieces of it to a dress form mannequin to maintain its form and figure. Measuring a garment is easier when it's placed on a mannequin as opposed to a table. Semi-abstract or semi-realistic mannequins are mannequins that are somewhere between abstract and realistic. They often have some facial features, just like the realistic mannequins, but to a much lesser extent or in a more abstract way.