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Clone a dress form FEEDBACK

pattipatti | Posted in General Discussion on

Has anyone out there tried making a personal dress form with duct tape? I am about to attempt this with my daughter(also a sewer….looking for that custom fit). She is laughing her butt off at my CRACK POT idea. Looking for suugestions /advice.


  1. jatman | | #1

    Hi Pattipatti!  I wrapped a friend of mine a few weeks ago.  She is happy with the form but hasn't used it much yet.  We had 2 different widths of tape.  The wider one was good for the first wrapping around parts and I could use long lengths of it.  The thinner width was better for the breast and arm areas and I used 6 to 8 inch (or shorter) pieces of that.  We had to keep cleaning the scissors as they got really gummed up but sewing machine oil or goo gone works well for that.  Also, be careful to put saran wrap or something around the neck and keep hair out of the duct taped part because it was really easy to get hair caught in the tape.  And of course the t-shirt underneath becomes part of the dummy so you have to wear something that you are prepared to lose.  My friend wore a worn out t-shirt and also used one of her husbands old t-shirts to wrap around her waist to thigh area.  She also wore a bra, panties and panty hose that she didn't care if I had to cut through or not.  We made the dummy one that came down to the mid thigh so she could fit pants on it, too.  We also marked with pen the CF, CB, and waist, etc. on it before I cut it off of her. 

    I think it will work well for her but my concern was that you probably couldn't pin much to it because it might be hard to get the pins through the duct tape and if you somehow did use pins they would become sticky because of the tape.

    Have fun with it!


    1. pattipatti | | #2

      wow..quick reply...thank you Jatman! I will pick up a narrower roll of tape. I also want to make mine long enough for fitting slacks/pants. I am trying to figure in my mind  how to do that and have legs to amke it easier to fit pants. I am only 5'1 and do alot of alterations on clothes from the rack. Even pattern fitting is difficult...I am hoping this will make my sewing more enjoyable and successful.

      I am prompted to finally make a form because I have been looking/trying on dresses for our oldest daughter's wedding in July. After two months, I have found nothing Iwould be caught dead in...

      Thanks for your help!

  2. User avater
    Knitnut | | #3

    2 - 3 years ago, I went to Vogue Fabrics in Chicago to "get wrapped" by the lady who claims to have invented and applied for patent on this idea.  I was in a class with about 6 other ladies.  It took at least an hour an half - if not more - to be wrapped correctly.  I have the funny looking thing in my sewing room and have used it very little.  I did not go back to the next class (I live in Toledo - a 4 hour drive away) in the following week to show you how to make a cover for it that would allow you to stick pins in it and to put "lines" on the form for fitting purposes. 

    Mine is complete with arms - not taped, but stuffing put into the sleeves of my turtleneck top, measured to fit my arms at the widest part of upper arm, elbow and wrist.

    When we cut it off of me, it was stuffed with 2 regular size bed pillows, then batting.  You have to keep measuring as you stuff because it will get out of shape.  Mine has a belt around the waist to keep the waist measurement from moving.  Mine also had an old bra on the outside of my shirt that was taped into the form so that I could fill the inside of the form to a more exact shape than if just my shirt was left in the form.

    You cannot lay these on the floor, so you need a stand.  Also, over time, the duct tape lets loose, expecially on curves.

    What I learned was to use the highest quality tape you can buy - not the cheap stuff 2" wide.  You nees short strips no longer than 4" and you tape over and over them.  Short strips allow for curves.  She also tore the 2" wide into 1/2 or thinner strips around the curvy bust, neck and shoulder caps.

    Be sure to go potty first - eat protein (not carbs) before you do this (will keep bloating down and energy up).  You'll have to stand for at least an hour.

    Lastly, I put my own clothes on this form and they just don't fit right.  They don't drape where my clothes drape on me - very odd.  Unless I really look that BAD in my regular clothes!  That is why I haven't really trusted it for sewing anything so far.  Hope this gives you some insight.  Perhaps I'm just not expereinced with using a form.  Jackie

  3. Marylandsewer | | #4

    I have made both the duct tape version of the fitting dummy as well as the one made with adhesive backed paper tape (available from Staples for about $10.00 a roll-you have to wet the adhesive). Anyway I do not recommend the duct tape model because over time it stretches and distorts. The paper tape model becomes quite firm-no need to stuff and it takes about an equal amount of time to make. I believe directions for both models are on the Threads web site and/or on the "Sew News" magazine web site.For the paper tape model you begin with fitting a large plastic trash bag to your body and then you build up layers of the paper tape. Refer to the full article for the rest of the process. The process is slighly messy but can provide lots of laughs and a strong dress form to boot.Good luck!

    1. scrubble4 | | #6

      Marylandsewerer:  thanks for all this really good information.  Did you learn how to do a pantsform?  I was going to try the ducktape route but I think I will try the papertape route.  Can you pin into it?  I have a mytwin for my torso and find it wonderful to be able to pin into it.  Now I really want to do a full length pants form.  Thanks for your help in advance.  Scrubble4

      1. Marylandsewer | | #7

        You could make a knit cover for your form. I do manage to stick pins in mine. T-pins work especially well. Sorry I have no experience with pants forms.Good luck to you.

  4. zuwena | | #5

    I believe the article that Marylandsewer is referring to is  "Clone Yourself a Fitting Assistant.  Here is a link:   http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/t00002_p2.asp  Have fun.


  5. Quiltchic | | #8

    I read the idea in the book, Subversive Seamster by Melissa Alvarado, Hope Meng, & Melissa Rannels and we followed the directions in the book. 3 of my Clothing students each made one. It worked great & by the time we did the last one, we were able to make 1 in about 45 minutes. Just use plenty of duct tape. It's a great idea to get the just right dress form size. We are starting on our garments, so I'll let you know how it is for sizing.
    Have fun!!!

  6. RhettaRic | | #9

    I just replied on another thread.  But on my blog I have pics of cloning my daughter with paper tape:  http://knittingpearls.blogspot.com/  You can scan down to "Cloning Kelli."  I'd say it took more like 2 to 2.5 hours to make.  I must be slow.

    I've also made a duct tape one for a friend, but I didn't like it as well. 

    1. scrubble4 | | #10

      RhettaRic:  What a great blog, I really enjoyed it.  You are a very talented person in many fields as well as being a Mom who has raised a beautiful daughter. 

      I thought the magazine pictures were a great idea.  If you wanted to pin into it would you still decoupage?  Thanks Scrubble4

      1. RhettaRic | | #11

        Thank you!  That was so nice of you to say. 

        If you want to pin to it, definitely don't decoupage.  OR go ahead and when you're actually using it, slip a tight T over it and pin to the T.  You could put a drawstring in bottom to tie tightly and keep from coming up.  I just love the looks of the decoupage one!  I know they say you can pin to the paper tape one, but after doing that a while, I think you'd compromise the stability of it.  I still have my old one, and it has a turtleneck over it that I pinned to.

        Edited 1/29/2008 8:36 pm ET by RhettaRic

        1. Goldenrod | | #12

          Following the Threads article on doing a duct tape dress form my husband wrapped me soon after the article was published. At last I could see my shape! That has drastically helped my fitting since I am working without a sewing buddy. The form does stretch and needs to be remeasured and controlled but for me it is invaluable. Most recently we did the duct taped my hip area and I finally have a slim skirt pattern that fits.Does any form have the flex of our bodies?

  7. Kilroy | | #13

    You do know that you can buy duct tape in many different colors.... Your duct tape form could even be camouflaged!

    1. MaryinColorado | | #14

      Now, if we could just camo our figure imperfections as well! 

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