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Custom body form

tashmarie | Posted in General Discussion on


Hello, all!  I just discovered this fantastic website and joined.  I am so excited and awed at the vast amount of helpful information!  I am fairly new at sewing and originally began in order to make my own clothes, as I can never find anything in stores that fit right.  Unfortunately, the dress forms that I was hoping to use do not match my body at all. 

I read the article on how to create your own custom form using duct tape.  However, no one I know sews, and everyone I have asked has declined to wrap me (I guess I would be afraid of doing it wrong too, even though it doesn’t seem to be all that hard to do).  Is there someplace I can go or someone who can help me – perhaps a Joann Fabrics or other sewing store?  Is it even possible to do it myself?  I live in central New Jersey and would be willing to travel a couple of hours in order to get this done.  Any advice would be appreciated!

Thanks so much:)



  1. solosmocker | | #1

    Do you have a husband or boyfriend? I bet they would LOVE wrapping you up in tape. My cyberfriends who have had this done most of the time used their hubbies.

  2. User avater
    Becky-book | | #2

    I do hope someone will volunteer to help you (I am in GA a little too far away!) There are several members who live on the east coast, surely someone would trade wrapping skills with you!

    A friend I met here came and wrapped me up in duct tape.  I do not think you can do it yourself because you need to cut it up the back in order to get out of it w/o destroying the shape!! If you are well wrapped, you are quite stiff and can't bend much!


  3. dionna | | #3

    HELLO I to want to make a body form I made one out of duck tape but after about 4-6 months it fell apart so now I will make one from muslin I  think I'll have better results and I Really wouldn't need any help.I will post after I complete it.

    1. Gloriasews | | #4

      How interesting!  How on earth did your duct tape form fall apart?  Did you not stuff it or put it on a stand?  Or not use enough tape to stabilize it?  I've never heard of that happening to anyone who's made one.

      I didn't know you could make a form out of muslin - how do you do it - put a plastic bag on your body & dip the muslin in glue & wear it until it hardens?  It also sounds like you can do it yourself without help.  I can't wait to see it!  Yes, please post the pic & tell us all about it!

      1. dionna | | #5

        I will make in the form of a body suit and use and I will put the zipper on the in seam of the leg and the arm and use the same fiberfill from the other one I  believe  that it fell apart because of the heat in my sons bedroom my form was hanging it there closet I'm still trying to figure out how to post pictures I have lot of them in my pc

        1. Gloriasews | | #6

          A few of the recent posters stated how to post your photos.  You could send an e-mail to Cherrypops - I think that lovely lady gave very good directions in one of the threads (unfortunately, I can't remember which one).  Good luck!

          As for your body form, will like to see it, as I can't imagine how it can duplicate your own body so precisely.  It's a very interesting idea, though, & different from the duct tape or butcher tape.

          1. Cherrypops | | #7

            Hi dionna,

            You will find my instructions for posting photos here. CherryPops


          2. dionna | | #25

            I don't know if i told you thank you for the info on posting pictures it will help if i'm not trying to read any thing when you are sleepy. I will post some more pic later after i'm done with these short for my sons I will post them some time in the next few days or so but right now I have to relax my back and leg a little about a good hour or so.

          3. Cherrypops | | #8

            Thanks Gloriasews, I have given the thread link to dionna. when i read it, my post was a response to her earlier this month. CherryPops

          4. Gloriasews | | #16

            Thanks!  I knew it was you who gave such good directions.  I even saved them, but didn't have them to hand when I replied to her.

          5. SewFit | | #10

            I have a Uniquely You (foam) dress form that I purchased through the wholesaler several years ago.  It has a custom zippered cover that you alter and fit to your body and then zip onto the foam form to replicate your own shape.  After I purchased it, I was unable to sew very much for a couple of years and never got around to fitting it. I purchased the large size and now that I have lost quite a bit of weight and corresponding inches, it's much too big.   The cover can be adjusted to my present size....however there is too much form to compress into the cover.   I am considering cutting the form down to size by trimming it off gradually and evenly....any ideas on whether you think this will work or should I bite the bullet and purchase a new form.....

            Thanks for you input and blessings on your day...


          6. ineedaserger329 | | #18

               As long as you cut carefully and a little at a time (it's easy to take more off, but next to impossible to put it back on) I think it will turn out well for you. I imagine you will want to use a razor to cut it, so you get a clean cut. anything else will be too harsh to cut it with...just my opinion, I think you would risk tearing it. Good luck!

          7. SewFit | | #21

            Well, since I'm the person who always says "don't say you can't 'til you try" I finally went to work on my foam dress form.   I used my electric carving knife and cut a thin layer at a time off the bust area, re-measuring between cuts.   I took some off the side waist area and tapered into the hip area. Took some off the upper back and tapered the shoulders down.  It may take a little more fine tuning, but the form is finally looking like me....droopy boobs and all! Once I get the  cover altered to my shape and zip it onto the form, it's going to be great!

          8. MaryinColorado | | #29

            Very daring!  Way to go!  I'm glad it's working out for you!

          9. lovemyelna | | #23

            Here's an old idea that might work to trim the foam.
            Try using an electric knife. We used this trick in
            the 70's to cut foam when the electric knife was all the rage.
            You could probable find one in a resale shop.
            Good Luck

          10. SewFit | | #24

            Thanks...actually that's what I did....(see earlier post)  It worked quite well....still needs some fine tuning but I think the end product will work very well.....

          11. NovaSkills | | #26

            Trimming foam rubber works best with a serrated knife edge, but you may want to experiment with slicing straight down into the foam, perpendicular to its surface, then making another slice about a half-inch away and angling this slice toward the first. When you foam-glue or tape the new edges closed, it's the same effect as darting out some of the extra surface. This is an easy change to do in small, controlled steps, and will also give you a smoother top surface for your muslin--which you will be also adjusting.

            Keep in mind that people do not expand or reduce in even amounts all over their bodies. Certain skeletally-controlled, if you will, measurements do not change unless one experiences bone-damaging disorders, so think about exactly where you lost padding, and make adjustments ONLY there.

            Hope this helps.

            And, to the duct tape crowd, white tissue paper makes a good underlayer for taping, as it readily crushes into the body shape without too much bulk. If you like the packing tape/paper tape idea, uline.com is a good internet source of tape at better pricing. They are a packaging materials company.

  4. lyla | | #9


    You probably don't live so far from Allentown, PA where the Baum School of Art (http://www.baumschool.org) offers workshops. One of their teachers, Pamela Ptak, offers a dressform workshop entitled "Plastic Wrap Dress Forms" using only plastic wrap and clear packing tape. You leave the 6 hour workshop with a completed form! I know the workshop was offered this spring, and it may be offered again this summer or not again until fall. Contact the school for more information.

    Good luck!



  5. lauriebond | | #11

    hi.  After just making 3 body forms, I have a tip for you.  I used duct tape on 2 and they both folded down and just didn't hold their shape well.  I followed a Sew News magazine article on making one with paper tape (not the shiny brown tape, but the self adhesive, brown paper tape) This tape was not only hard to find, but expensive.  I found that if you use painters tape (the one in blue or purple) this works as well as the paper tape and much, much better than duct tape.  As for wrapping yourself, pull a long length of tape out and lay in on a table for grabbing later and build onto that piece, almost making fabric out of the tape.  Don't press down on the tape, it will stick to the table. You could also lay some plastic down on the table first and lay the tape on that, but make sure you have end of tape that are free.  Once you have build your "fabric" then pick it up and lay against your back, lay on it, somehow place it on your back side (don't make more that just you shoulder blades down to past your waist for the first run, the second you could do the rest down).  It is easier to form to you once you get it stuck to your backside and then conform.  Sorry if I didn't explain this very well, but it worked for me as I did not have any one here to help me when I made my own.  Hope it helps.

    1. SewFit | | #12

      hello!  When I read your post, I laughed so loud my dog looked at me strangely....I admire your creativity but I can't visualize myself trying to lay onto the tape  wrap.....LOL.  

      1. lauriebond | | #14

        yeah well, you should have seen me! AND I'm NOT a contortionist!

    2. mimi | | #13

      Too funny!!  I love your description of how to apply the tape.  You are really one determined sewer to go to such lengths <he> to make sewing easier!


      1. lauriebond | | #15

        all from the lack of patience! thanks for the message!

    3. Gloriasews | | #17

      What width of painter's tape did you use?  & how many layers?  Also, how did you get out of the form - cut it up the front?  Did it dry hard & last for years?  Did you put a plastic cleaner's bag on before you started taping? 

      I would really like to try that, as I, too, don't have anyone to wrap me.  My present form is a butcher's tape form, but I have gained a couple of inches since I made it.  I was thinking of maybe covering it in the little (small size bubbles) bubble wrap to add the 1 1/2" that I need & taping it with clear packing tape.  Does anyone think that may work (rather than taping myself into a new form)?

      1. ineedaserger329 | | #19

           I wouldn't use bubbles, they would pop if you pin to it. I would use the batting that quilters use and add bulk that way. It's nice because you can add layers for thickness and it comes in a sheet so i think it would be easy enough to use. Good Luck!

        1. Gloriasews | | #22

          I thought the same thing about the bubbles popping - that's why I was going to use clear packing tape over top of them - thought they would be more flexible.  I do have the quilter's batting, though, so will try that first.  Thanks!  Happy sewing!

  6. ineedaserger329 | | #20

       I'm in PA....Chester County. I'm no expert, I've never made the duct tape dress form, but I could probably do it. I found the site online and was thinking of making one myself.  

  7. justchris | | #27

    Tashmarie, I'm in Columbia Maryland - maybe too far?

  8. ottonpantherbaby | | #28

    There is a wed site  by Jan bones she has written several books patterns on videos on lingerie http://www.sewinglingerie.com  one of the book's is called the dress form book.You make the form out off paper tape which is easier then duct tape, the book is $10.00. and a lot of information.

    Good Luck














    1. justchris | | #30

      I made two forms using brown paper tape and each held up for years - unfortunately I didn't and kept growing!! The finish is a very tough Papier-mâché. The first one I did around 1960 and I used a very thin cotton jersey top (very tight) and dh glued the tape to it. I remember when he cut me out of it he cut right through my bras! The form ended larger than my measurements so I took careful measurements, cut it in four, and trimmed a little before re-taping. I loved these forms as they were perfect to fit the tight clothes we wore in those days.I think this is the tape to use. Kraft paper, water activated, non-reinforced (it needs to tear easily)

      Edited 6/18/2007 9:22 pm ET by justchris

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