How to Dress a Mannequin

September 27, 2013

I know I showed you my dolled-up dress form (she's really just a bust but please don't tell anyone) in my Festival of the Vine post, but I also promised to tell you her story.

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Well, here it is.

I've always wanted one of those really cool vintage dress forms.  You know the kind:  the ones with French words written on them, the print nice and faded, barely visible after years of use. 


Well, sorry, but that just wasn't in my budget.  Then one day at a local flea market I spied a bust being used as jewelry display.  It was for display only, but the artist who made it agreed to make one for me. It was really inexpensive, somewhere around $30.00 if I remember correctly.  I blogged about it in one of my very first blog posts way back when here.  Little did I know how show-stoppingly beautiful she could be with a little imagination.

Over the past few years I've enjoyed collecting Pinterest pins of unique jewelry display ideas and dress forms as well as dream sales booths.  One theme kept rearing it's beautiful head: the tutu.  And I really wanted one for my girl.  Then a blog friend hooked me up with another blogger who was selling her tutu, just like the one you see here, for $70 plus $10 shipping.  Hhhmmmm...I thought.  I can do better than that. Seek and you shall find!


When I found this one it was a no-brainer.  I ordered it right away and was so happy when it arrived! $17.99 and free shipping!  Woot, woot!

Funny thing is, I wasn't wild about the satin at the top around the waistband.  (Only because I thought it made the tutu look too new.) So I went looking for something to cover that part up.  I shopped one of my daughter's closets and came up with the amazing lace-covered belt that you see here.  Right beneath the belt I added some really wide lace-type ribbon I had on hand and it was a match made in heaven.

I can't tell you how many people at the show asked to buy the belt.  They were so disappointed to learn that it wasn't for sale!  Also funny -- most people felt the need to touch the tutu as they passed by! 
I placed her on a round hat box which is sitting on top of a table.  That way it allowed me to really fluff out her skirt, and gave her the illusion of being more of a "mannequin" rather than just a bust. She was the perfect display piece for my vintage pink rosary necklace which got a ton of compliments and sold really early on in the show.
Since I've never seen a vintage mannequin for sale anywhere for under $100 I'm pretty happy with this arrangement.  She's pretty and draws the customers in.  And she's just plain nice to look at in my studio at home, too.
I'm hoping that this gave you some useful information about decorating a bust/mannequin!  

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Leave a Comment!

Rosemary@villabarnes said...

She's beautiful, Kathleen. What a great display piece.

Roxanne Reinhart said...

I love her. I love the tutu and how you added the belt. I imagine she is a crowd gatherer.

Anonymous said...

You did a great job dressing her, Kathleen. I love the tutu! You really found a bargain! YOU given me some great ideas on how to dress mine!

Betsy@My Salvaged Treasures said...

What a great idea Kathleen. I'm happy you held out and finally found a thrifty tutu for her. Love the belt too. Wouldn't you love to have $1 for every time someone touched it?

Glenda/MidSouth said...

You did get a good deal, and adding the tutu was a great idea.

Sherry said...

What a great idea and the chance to use other objects to create an effect. I get the touching the tutu -- there is something about those that is so attached to emotion and feeling.

Privet and Holly said...

Kathleen, I absolutely
love and respect how
you are always willing
to wait for "the right one
to come along" and don't
spend more than you feel
is in the budget. So many
could take a lesson from
your heart and ingenuity!

I thought of you this Saturday
as I helped another blogger
work her jewelry booth at
Junk Bonanza! Like you, she
is great at display and had
three mannequins there. People
kept going gaga for a vintage
style dress on one of them,
which she eventually sold to
one very insistent friend/customer.
It was from Charming Charlies,
so you might want to check that
chain out if you have one nearby.

Thank you for your always sweet
and caring comments. Your kind
words were so soothing during my
past weeks of shadows and I truly
appreciated them very much!

xo Suzanne

AnnMarie aka Vintage Junkie aka NaNa said...

I love your style and how you dressed your bust! To dress a mannequin or maybe a bust is on my TO DO list! Yours is perfect! Visiting from Inspiration Monday!

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