Are you tired of having to get exact measurements before you sew? You may want to look for cheap mannequins to help guide you as you make your next piece of clothing.
Consider how much cheap mannequins cost and where you can find a good one:
How Much Does a Cheap Mannequin Cost?
The average cost of a mannequin is about $200 to $1,000, give or take. Because of that, a cheap mannequin can cost anywhere from less than $50 to around $200 or maybe $300.
Some mannequins will cost more or less depending on the brand, quality, size, and other features. The realism of the design and the materials the maker used can increase or decrease the cost of a dress form.
Before you choose which mannequin to buy, consider your budget. That way, you can get something you can afford.
Can You Find Mannequins for Free?
You can find free mannequins on websites like Freecycle or Craigslist. Another option is to join a buy-nothing group on Facebook, and you can learn about people who are giving away anything, such as mannequins.
Keep an eye on your local mall and other retail stores to learn about store closings or remodels. In many cases, stores will throw out their mannequins at those times so that you can find plenty for free.
Of course, these mannequins can have a different design from a fashion mannequin. But if you don’t care about the shape, looking in dumpsters behind retail stores is an excellent option.
Where Do They Sell Used or Cheap Mannequins?
If you’re looking for cheap mannequins and can’t find anything free, you have options. You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a new mannequin, which is nice if you’re looking for your first one.
Some places to shop for used or cheap mannequins are pretty obvious. However, others aren’t known for selling mannequins or sewing and craft supplies.
As you shop around for a used or cheap mannequin, give the following stores a look.
Amazon carries everything, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that they also sell mannequins. If you’re okay with a plastic dress form that you hang from the rack in your closet, you can find mannequins on Amazon for less than $10.
You can find more mannequins with stands or other designs for around $50 or so. Of course, you’ll also find more expensive mannequins, but there are plenty of affordable options.
Some of the mannequins on Amazon are new, while others are used. That means you can choose the best price and condition for your sewing needs.
Not only does Walmart use mannequins to display clothes, but the company also sells mannequins. You can find plenty of mannequins in different styles, such as just a torso or a full body.
The store sells mannequins for women, men, and young kids, which is great for making children’s clothing. Some of the mannequins can get expensive, but many of them are around $100 or less.
Most of the mannequins you’ll find at Walmart are new, which is nice. If you want a used mannequin, you might want to shop elsewhere to find something that meets your needs.
Michael’s doesn’t carry any full-body dress forms, but you can find hand and head mannequins. If you want to sew hats or gloves, these mannequins are an excellent addition to your sewing room.
You can find both male and female head mannequins so that you can make hats for anyone. When it comes to hand mannequins, some are in one position, but others are adjustable.
Most of the mannequins you’ll find at Michael’s are less than $100. Of course, they’re generally smaller than some mannequins, but they’re a good value.
4. JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts
Another craft store you can visit to buy a mannequin is JoAnn Fabrics and Crafts. The store has a decent selection of torso mannequins that you can use to see how a shirt or dress looks.
Be careful with the search terms you use, especially if you shop online. JoAnn calls them “dress forms,” and only one, a more decorative option, shows up when you search for a mannequin.
Most of the dress forms at JoAnn’s are adjustable, which is nice. Unfortunately, many options are around $200, so they’re not the best for anyone on a tight budget.
You might not think to visit an office supply store to buy a mannequin, but Staples has a few. The store carries dress forms that you can use to sew clothes for the torso, arms, and feet.
One of the mannequins even works well when sewing a dress or skirt. Many of the mannequins from Staples are pretty affordable, all falling under $100.
You can collect a few mannequins from sewing clothes for men and women. Each one is cheap enough that you may be able to buy multiple at once.
Of course, you can find many things on eBay, new or used. The exact selection can vary based on what’s available from sellers so that you can find dress forms, head mannequins, and more.
You can even find mannequin sets, which is convenient if you don’t have any mannequins yet. A set comes with four mannequins of different sizes and heights.
Shopping on eBay is great for both new and used mannequins. Some of the dress forms on the website are quite expensive, but you can find dozens of options for less than $100.
Are Used Mannequins a Safe Purchase?
When looking at used mannequins, you have to consider more than you would if you bought a new one. Be patient as you shop, no matter why you want to buy a used mannequin.
Then, you’ll be able to find a mannequin that fits your budget and will be enjoyable for you to use. Here are a few things you should think about before buying a used mannequin.
First, you should consider who is selling the mannequin. Consider if you know the person or have a history of selling things online and if they have a good track record.
Websites like Amazon and eBay let buyers review sellers so that you can look at their profiles. As you read reviews, look for trends, such as if the seller tends not to accept refunds.
If something seems off, you might want to buy the mannequin from someone else. On the other hand, if everything seems good, you should be safe to buy a used mannequin from that seller.
Another essential factor to know when buying a used mannequin is the condition. If the seller took good care of the dress form, it should look new and function well.
However, it would be best if you didn’t buy a mannequin with many cracks or other visible problems. Be sure to ask for as many pictures as you need to determine the condition of the mannequin for yourself.
If you’re buying from a local seller, consider meeting up somewhere in public. That way, you can inspect the mannequin yourself before you commit to purchasing it.
You should also think about the mannequin’s purpose and meet your needs. Some mannequins are better for retail displays, and they may not work as well for sewing.
However, a retail mannequin may have all of the body parts you need. It could be a good option if you want to make everything from shirts to hats to gloves.
Think about the mannequin’s design and how you plan to use it. That way, you can figure out if it will work well for you or if you’ll need to buy another mannequin for most of your projects.
How Can I Make a Mannequin for Myself?
If you primarily make your clothes, you may want to make a dress form to be the right size. Grab an old t-shirt that fits snuggly and that you don’t mind ruining.
Then, follow these steps:
- Put on the shirt and make sure it fits well
- Cover your neck and collar with plastic wrap
- Wrap some duct tape around your torso under your breasts
- Cross two pieces of duct tape over the front of your chest
- Add tape around the shoulders and breast area as well as your back
- Place tape under the armpits
- Fill in gaps that remain around your torso
- Wrap tape loosely around your neck
- Wrap tape around the bottom part of your torso
- Cut the shirt off from the back
- Stuff the shirt with stuffing
- Cut out a foam board to add structure to the neck and the bottom
- Tape the edges together
- Add fabric to cover the dress form
After creating a mannequin, you can add a hanger to the top. You can also look for a mannequin stand or make one yourself to display the mannequin.
How Much Should You REALLY Pay for a Mannequin?
The amount you should pay for a mannequin depends on how much you sew and how you plan to use the mannequin. If you only sew occasionally, you should get a cheaper dress form or even look for a free one.
As a beginner, you should aim to spend $100 or less, or even $50 or less if you can. That way, you won’t waste a ton of money if you end up not using the mannequin much.
However, if you sew every day and make a lot of clothes, you’ll want a good model. That means paying around $100 to $200.
That way, you can get a good mannequin that’s not too expensive, but it can hold up.
Finding a used or cheap mannequin can help you improve your sewing. You don’t have to rely on measurements to get the correct size, but you need to consider your budget.
That way, you don’t spend more money than you can afford on something, especially if you’re new to sewing.