The Blender-AvaStar combination is still the least expensive entry point for making clothes, animations, and avatars for Second Life™. Blender is free and awesome, if difficult to learn. AvaStar has sold for US$27 for, I think, a couple of years. So, a price increase is to be expected.
At the end of March 2017, the price of AvaStar will increase from US$27 to $40 for the full version and yearly support from $14 to $20. So, if you have been on the fence about purchasing AvaStar, now would be a good time. I plan to update my support package. See: AvaStar Pricing.
When the final version of AvaStar 2.0 is released the price changes. That release is anticipated to be the end of this month. But, that may change. 2.0 RC 4 is out now and I am playing with it and working on a tutorial for Slink in AvaStar.
Maya and MayaStar is the only comparable product of which I know. See the Second Life™ market place: MayaStar Liquid Mesh Templates Version 5.0. The current cost of MayaStar is L$6,000. Depending on the exchange rate for Lindens, at L$262/US$1 the cost is $22.90. The cost of Maya LT: US$30/month or $240/yr or there is better pricing for longer term leases. The 3-yr lease works out to $216.67/yr or $18.05/month. Not what I consider a hot deal.
Maya is the full design tool. Cost: US$185/month – on a 3-year lease: $1323.33/yr or $110.28/month.
There are free tutorial videos for AvaStar. Plus there is support from Machinimatrix and the in-world group Blender-AvaStar (URL). Plus, a number of videos on; Machinimatrix/AvaStar, YouTube and Vimeo. However, most of the video tutorials are out of date as I write this (3m/11d/2017).
For those of us using developer kits the page dealing with that is a bit hard to find: Add a Developer Kit. Then it is a bit hard to understand as it is a ‘generic’ set of instructions. Plus, the developer kits are a bit out of date and the developers are afraid of giving away their secrets… so… not much spit and polish in this part of the development world.