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Malinki Design {dress forms}

I spotted Malinki Design in the February issue of LivingEtc and had to learn more. Seems they are in the business of creating elegant mannequins out of funky florals and feminine silks, including custom designs (bespoke). I like the idea of owning a lovely French mannequin and though the intention I assume is to use it for tailoring, they also make a great accent in the home because you can drape them with accessories (handbags, brooches, a scarf, etc.) so that they’re functional. You can even use them as an inspiration spot for pinning fabric swatches, magazine clippings, etc.

If you’d like to learn more, you can contact owners Fiona and
Lucy though LivingEtc tells us that these start at around $1,300 USD.

On a budget? If you’re feeling creative you can buy a dress form with a wooden base for only $60 from vendors like Only Mannequins and customize it yourself. Try a patchwork technique or decoupage if you cannot sew. Paint the base in a fun color or hand paint it with a motif you love. You can also find vintage dress forms on sites like Craigslist and eBay. Search: mannequin, vintage dress form, dress form, it’s super easy to find these things on the web.

Here’s a dress form that I love from the wardrobe
queen herself, Tricia Royal aka BitsandBobbins on Flickr.

An Anthropologie store window photographed by Skitzo Leezra. By the way, when is Anthropologie going to give us a book? I mean seriously. I think about this all the time, why don’t they have a book compiling images of their store displays with how-to’s on exactly the materials used to make each display? They pull together some of the best DIY projects and then, a few weeks later, they disappear forever. They need a book. I digress…

I took this photograph through the window of boutique
in Hannover, Germany back in 2006.

Here’s a pretty form from Impressionen.

Display your vintage brooches like Lannon787 does.

A 1950’s dress form found on Craigslist by Jessica in Portland, Oregon also known on Flickr as ThriftCraft. Wow. This is a great piece, I especially like how the breasts are so worn — those have seen a lot of action in their day I guess! :)

Or if you prefer the look of a wire dress form, try Ballard Designs.

Click here for some more dress form inspiration. Do you decorate using a mannequin? Do you sew or just use it to display things? Care to send in any photos? :)

(images linked to sources above)

Posted by decor8 in Arts + Crafts, DIY, trends on February 14, 2008

Your comments...

  1. ann commented
    February 14th, 2008 at 6:50pm

    Has anyone used the Only Mannequins dress form? I would love to hear the pros and cons of it!

  2. Jude commented
    February 14th, 2008 at 6:53pm

    Is there any little speck of beauty out there you don’t seek out, or find, and not share with us? You and decor8 constantly keep me inspired and on my toes!

  3. decor8 commented
    February 14th, 2008 at 6:57pm

    Ann – I haven’t but for $60 it may be worth trying it out and finding out what the return policy is. They seem to be a big company and they deal with the trade so I’m thinking they will stand behind their product.

    Jude – Ha! Thanks for saying that. I am all over the board, my design ADD is so obvious when you read this blog but I can’t help it. Some days I get really ON certain things and can’t NOT talk about them. :)

  4. Katrina commented
    February 14th, 2008 at 7:29pm

    wonderful, wonderful, wonderful.

  5. Lesli commented
    February 14th, 2008 at 11:43pm

    I love dress forms, mannequins, etc. And as one of the above commenters said, you seek & find beauty everywhere & are such an inspiration. I am a new reader & inspiring interior designer. LOVE your blog!

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

  6. melissa lewis commented
    February 15th, 2008 at 4:12am

    Love your blog, I’m new to it, but can’t wait to visit again. I especially love your post on mannequin’s, I have an obsession with them myself, & am constantly on the lookout for an old vintage bust form. I have to have one, but yet to find “the” one. I know it sounds wierd, but I graduated in Fashion and did the window displays for several year for a retail store, but mostly it’s b/c growing up, my fondest memories are playing with my grandmothers sewing patterns in her sew room and putting clothes and jewelry on her old mannequin. Love the pics!

  7. sandman_gr commented
    February 15th, 2008 at 4:00pm

    I do not own a life-size mannequin yet, but I do have several from my fashion doll collection, many in the 16″ size and some in the 12″ size. They are used to display some of my best doll outfits (and we?re not talking barbie here). Love the things you can do with a mannequin and it has always been a dream to have one in my living room, draped with an exquisite fabric.

  8. Elle commented
    February 15th, 2008 at 4:07pm

    I love it! I am going to try my hand at making my own. I want to theme it. Any ideas?

  9. Rachel commented
    February 15th, 2008 at 6:25pm

    What a fantastic post! Those forms are amazing.

  10. robyn's nest commented
    February 16th, 2008 at 12:07am

    The dress forms are great, but I’m in LOVE with the card catalog cabinet!

  11. creating in the dark commented
    February 16th, 2008 at 3:30pm

    Hi Holly … I’m with robyn’s nest on *loving* the card catalog cabinet – a while ago there was one for sale in my local library and I’m still kicking myself for not buying it! I wanted to share a photo of a dress form that I came across in the sweetest shop in Whitby (a gorgeous seaside town on the north-east coast of England): The strangest thing is that the following week my husband found an almost identical mannequin in our loft!! I’m planning to use it in a similar way to the one I fell in love with in Whitby :-)

  12. Marisa and Creative Thursday commented
    February 18th, 2008 at 6:48pm

    I’m loving these!

  13. Anonymous commented
    March 3rd, 2008 at 6:32am

    I tried Craigslist but there is only the option to search by area/state so unless you know where, it is rather hard to find the dressform, ia there any particular state you looked in?

  14. lucy commented
    October 23rd, 2008 at 11:39am

    love your blog and especially the mannequins photos…..I love em!!

  15. starr commented
    January 18th, 2009 at 2:49pm

    Will u sell the vintage mannequin with the wire at the bottom??

  16. Julie Mack commented
    January 25th, 2011 at 9:50am

    These are all fab! I love the four pics at the bottom of your list, especially the one at bottom right.
    Do you know if this is still available to buy anywhere?
    Thanks for a truly inspiring blog…

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