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Conversational Threads

Looking for Cloth Tape to use in Draping

desigknityog | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

Does anyone know a source for the 1/4 ” wide black cloth tape that is used to map out style lines on a dress form?  If not, can someone suggest a low-tack glue that will not leave a residue that can be used to make a twill tape stick to my form? 

Also… I have recently bought the form and haven’t touched it yet?  Is there anyone out there who is also interested in becoming a self-taught draping afficionato?  If so, maybe we can encourage each other.



  1. fabricmaven | | #1

    I am not aware of a 1/4 inch tape that you stick on a dress form. Are you sure it isn't 1/4 inch twill tape that you sew to the cover on your dress form? It would just be easier in the long run to apply the twill tape with long running stitches than applying a glue that will ultimately degrade the form cover.  

  2. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #2

    The tape used is simply 1/4" twill tape which can be purchased at any fabric store. Simply baste stitch the tape in place for any lines you wish to remain permanently on your form and pin in place any temporary design lines you may wish to add for a singular design.Congrats on your draping ambitions...I always say it's the most fun you can have in your sewing room!

    1. desigknityog | | #9

      Thank you for your response and for your encouragement.  I am taking some steps toward draping... I can feel my walls coming down.  Your knowledge about fitting and tailoring a dress form is impressive!  Where do you teach?  Bonni

      1. User avater
        artfulenterprises | | #11

        I teach in Sonoma County, CA in our gorgeous wine country. I'm about 100 mi. north of the Golden Gate bridge.

    2. EileenBx | | #21

      Dressmaker Form tape

      I believe you can also use the tape that is used for painting walls. It's a one-side sticky tape that won't peel paint and gentle enough for dressmaker mannequin.  I'm surprised that Project Runway doesn't sell it. Maybe Mood sells it.

  3. rsew | | #3

    May I ask where you purchased your dress form?  I have been thinking about adding one to my sewing studio.




    1. User avater
      artfulenterprises | | #4

      I know you addressed your query to someone else, but since I've offered this info to the gatherings group before, thought I'd send it along again.Here is a list of dress forms I give my students.I have to disagree with one of the ladies re: Uniquely You foam forms. I found it very difficult to shape the "iron" polyester cover they send and the foam never really forms any kind of subtle shapes. Very limited use in my opinion. But of course...different strokes, yes?I am an advocate of making removable dress form covers based on a personal fit torso block garment. (A torso block is a one piece, darted bodice or princess line bodice that ends just below the full hip.) They are the most functional type of dress form. Tape forms with industrial foam in them fall apart quickly, are difficult to pin into, and difficult to hold together in the proper shape while you fill them up. Plus, they are SO not dressmaker-ish! You can learn a great deal in the process of creating your own fabric/cotton batt dress form cover.I've attached some photos from one of my classes so that you can see the process.DRESS FORM COMPANIESFABULOUS FIT 1-800-853-9644
      http://www.fabulousfit.comPaper Mache Misses Form
      Paper Mache Women;s Plus Size Form
      Oak Base Personal Women's Form
      Iron Base Maxima Misses FormDRESSRITE 1-773-588-5761
      http://www.dressriteforms.comGold Body Forms for mature figures
      Industrial Forms
      Tailoring Forms - Professional Model
      *Deluxe Full Body Forms $1550.00 but adaptable petite to tall waist lengths.STUDIO ROX 1-718-526-2966
      Really nice forms at a great price. Currently being used in design schools.WOLF DRESS FORMS 1-201-567-6572
      http://www.wolfform.comThe Mercedes of dress forms and the fashion industry standard. Pricey.
      All types of forms are available. Shipping is by LTL truck which makes the cost
      of shipping almost as much as the dress form when shipped across country. However, check with Wolf Forms to see if that is still their policy.ROYAL DRESS FORMS 1-516-887-5266
      https://www.ronis.com/store/There are other, less expensive forms available although I encourage you to purchase the best form you can afford.My personal favorite devices are the foot pedal that raises and lowers the form easily, collapsible shoulders which enable you to get snug fitting garments on the form, and a “spin-stopper”, which keeps the dress form from turning away from you while you are draping or fitting a garment. I also recommend that you choose a form that has a padded cover (batting and cotton twill or linen) as a foundation, rather than simply an extruded hard foam, paper mache or metal plates covered with jersey knit .Select a form which is about two sizes smaller than you are, but has approximately the same back neck length. A longer back neck length is OK since that can be padded out, but a shorter length could mean that the outward curve of the hip might interfere with establishing the waistline in proper proportions.Another area to consider is the position of the bust apex and the shape of the chest or breast bone. If you are very hollow in the area above your bust, a dress form that is shaped high and flat in that area will not work for you. I have had to commit surgery with an electric knife and power sander in order to help my students adjust their dress forms for a good fit.A third trouble spot is the back neck, especially for those of us in the baby boomer generation who might be developing a bit of a dowager’s hump. This can sometimes be compensated for by slightly raising the entire dress form cover by padding up the shoulder area so that the neckline is actually lifted away from the dress form’s stationery neck. If your head/ sits forward of the shoulder line, the back neck area can be somewhat problematic but not insurmountable. Be careful not to throw off armscye, bust and waistline areas however when raising the shoulderline.Depending on your figure type, you may also want to inquire about the derriere of your dress form. It is possible, with some companies, to choose a form with a nicely rounded backside or one that is quite flat in the back. Ask the manufacturer and look at the forms on line if you have a preference.

      1. zuwena | | #5

        Great explanation and pics.  Two questions

        --what is the best padding to use for building up the form, i.e., cotton or poly?

        --where is the best place to purchase and how much does one need for an average build up to about a size 16.

        Thanks. Z

        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #7

          The best padding for a dress form is cotton purchased from an upholsterer. Do not buy the finer quilt quality cotton batting from a fabric store and definitely don't use poly batting...way too bouncy.
          About two yards should be sufficient but of course the amount necessary depends on the size of the dress form you begin with to reach your size 16 body double.

          1. zuwena | | #19

            Thank you so much.  The idea of an upholsterer crossed my mind but I wasn't sure what I would ask for.  I shall pursue that line of endeavor next week.  Z

      2. Ocrafty1 | | #8

        You seem extremly knowledgable....how do you go about making removable dress form covers?  I do custom sewing for several clients and it would be wonderful to have a 'body double' for them....many fewer trips for fittings.


        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #12

          Hello Ocrafty1,Yes, zip on covers for clients is a great use for this type of dress form cover.I learned this technique from my French draping instructor, Suzanne Stern, who was "first hand" in the atelier of Jacques Fath in the 50's.The form has a foundation of tulle, covered with batting, covered with a personal fit torso block which I think you can see in the photos. My classes are usually 5 days long, too long I'm afraid to detail here...Usually those 5 days are preceded by a class in creating a Basic Block & Torso Block...also a 5 day course since most students have never had any experience in patternmaking.However, I teach in California wine country in northern Sonoma county. It would be a great retreat for a sewing adventure. If there were at least 6 students interested in taking the class I'd be happy to arrange something. It would, of course, involve a journey with your dress form, so you must consider the logistics.Best wishes,
          SusanEdited 1/14/2009 6:49 pm by artfulenterprises

          Edited 1/14/2009 6:50 pm by artfulenterprises

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #14

            Oh, how I wish I could attend, but I live in Indiana...much too far for me.  Our economic times don't help either...DH works in Kokomo, a hugely automotive employer city.  Delphi, and Chrysler are laying people off by the hundreds every few weeks.  I'm not employed, although I got my Elem.Ed. degree 2 yrs. ago. There just aren't any jobs here. I decided to do custom sewing and am trying to build up a clientelle, but with our economy it isn't going so well.

            I have an older copy of Threads that shows how to do part of a custom form cover. Unfortunately, I didn't subscribe way back then, so I don't have the whole thing.  I think I'll experiment and see what I can come up with.  Anything that would be close would be better than what I've got now.


          2. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #15

            In Feb/Mar 1993 Threads, my instructor, Suzanne Pierette Stern, wrote an article on Draping a Cover for a Padded Dress Form. (Is this the one you are speaking of?) While it doesn't cover the information I've developed over the years in addressing the needs of home sewers, it is a wonderful foundation for the process. Perhaps the article, if you can find it, would give you a leg up. In the meantime, I will redouble my efforts to make a DVD to help ladies as far away as Kokomo and beyond!I certainly empathize with the state of Indiana's economy...California and the rest of the nation is suffering right along with you. My best wishes for a prosperous year to you and all of our fellow Americans. Susan

          3. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #16

            Artful, your energetic and positive advice has been most helpful on this subject. Many articles in many books and magazines make the whole process seem complicated, almost too much effort. Thank you for simplifying things. Your thoughts and teaching is greatly appreciated. Cathy

          4. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #17

            You are welcome Cathy..it's kind of you to say so. I must return the compliment as I always find your offerings wise and generous as well. Threads Gatherings seems to attract an amazing group of women...how lucky we are to have found each other!

          5. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #20

            (Blush) Thank you. I look forward to learning so much more from you. Cathy

          6. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #18

            Me again, Ocrafty1,In looking over my lesson archives, I located the Threads issues with articles written by Suzanne Stern. You can find her in #44,45,47,48 giving lessons and also in #40 with a delightful memoir and lesson on draping an evening gown. She was brilliant and beautiful. I hope you enjoy discovering her. She passed away about 4 yrs ago...but she is definitely one of those people you never forget. I was so fortunate to have her as a teacher and friend.#48 Aug/Sept 1993
            “The Real You”- Fitting a Muslin Shell Perfectly - Suzanne Stern#47 Jun/July 1993
            “When Draping Calls for Darts” - Suzanne Stern#45 Feb/Mar 1993
            “Draping A Cover for a Padded Form” - Suzanne Stern#44 Dec ‘92 / Jan ‘93
            “Draping a Dress Form” - Suzanne Stern#40 Apr/May 1992
            “Draping a Gown on a Fitted Tulle Foundation” - Suzanne Stern Pg 46
            “Memories of a Parisian Seamstress” - Suzanne Stern Pg 44Best,

    2. desigknityog | | #10

      I bought my form on ebay.  If you are interested, I can look for the name of the seller and the price I paid, as I can't recall offhand.  The forms and prices of some of the companies referenced in "artfulenterprises" reply also look very good.  I hope that you find a form that you like.  Bonni

      1. rsew | | #13

        thanks for your reply.  I purchased a form from StudioRox.com  on Monday and just received it today.  the price was right -I purchased a sample so I am happy.


    3. EileenBx | | #22

      Dressmaker Forms

      You can special order forms from JoAnn Fabrics. I went there one day and a customer who had special ordered hers decided she didn't want it. It was a plus-size form, which I was looking for and used my 20% discount. Got it at a good price. eBay also sells dressmaker forms.

  4. zuwena | | #6

    In New York the style tape (black) can be ordered from Panda International at http://www.zipperbank.com.  This tape is not adhesive.  It is usually pinned in place.  Z

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