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making a duck-tape dress form

TwilaTee | Posted in Fitting on

Hi I’m new to this Forum. In fact I’m new to forums in general, as this is the very first time I’ve ever posted anything EVER! :o) I have a dress form. I bought it from Joann’s, its a twin fit, and its not very accurate. I am very interested in making historical costumes. Part of that is making corsets, and I need a very accurate dress form to do it properly. I came across this article: http://www.taunton.com/Threads/pages/t00002.asp . It describes making a dress form out of duck-tape. My questions for you all are: 1. Has anyone tried this, and what were your results? 2. Was this a difficult process? 3. Who did you get to wrap you in duck-tape? 4. Would anyone be up to help me make one? (as I don’t trust my husband to unwrap me when all is done! :o)!) Thanks for whatever help you could give.


  1. Gloriasews | | #1

    This form will copy your body form better than the manufactured ones.  Be sure to put on a drycleaner's plastic bag on (cut holes for your neck & arms) over your underclothes (be sure to wear supportive underclothes - ones that you'd wear with your clothing).  Your husband could wrap you up, following the directions in the article.  To get out of the form once it's done, have him cut it up the back CAREFULLY (so he doesn't cut you or your bra), & ease yourself out of it.  Tape it up where it feels thin (& up the back).  Make a stand out of PVC piping (or an old floor lamp or IV pole).  Once you have it hung on the stand (to match your height), fill the inside with expanding foam caulking & let it dry, making sure it's even to the form hangs properly.  You can finish off the armholes & neck with tape prior to foaming the inside.  Make a cover for it with t-shirt fabric or?  It's so realistic that I cover mine with an old caftan when it's not in use.  Good luck!

    1. User avater
      TwilaTee | | #2

      Thank you so much for your reply. I really enjoyed the idea of filling it with the expanding foam. That idea is much more viable than pillow stuffing. How do you keep the foam from escaping the duck-tape form? Can I hang the duck-tape form to my existing twin fit dress form?

      1. janlorraine | | #3

        You might try making a paper-tape form. The advantage to this method is that it need not be stuffed. You can then place this form over your existing dress form. I made one a few years ago and I am very happy with it.

      2. Gloriasews | | #4

        The foam expands just so much - watch it, then add more.  Once it's finished expanding, it sets & shouldn't run out.  It takes about a day to dry hard.  I used it also with the paper-tape version of the form - it kept the form firmer, especially once it was placed on a stand. 

        1. SewistKitty | | #5

          I have read that you should also have a fan blowing on you so that you don't overheat. It does get warm when you are being wrapped. Others have suggested that you tear the duct tape strips first because it speeds up the process. If you feel faint have water and a small snack such as a cracker on hand. Hope this helps.

          1. user-238478 | | #6

            AND  there are no bathroom breaks... plan ahead!


            When I was married, my now not so Dear  DH taped me.  It was a humbling experience to see one's self in all that silver gray glory: lumps and bumps and all....  The method does work. Pull the strips of tape tight! It needs to be a second skin.  There is a nice website devoted to the duct tape double. Google for it.. fun to read everyone hilarious contributions too.

            At the upcoming Cleveland Sewing Expo a More Day Before class is offering the paper tape process... I am giving it strong consideration. And thinking I better have a professionally fit bra on hand for the occasion as well (been a while since I had a good fit.. the girls are sagging a bit!)

            Good luck, keep us posted on how the process works for you.


  2. limelake | | #7

    Just a couple of things you should consider. If you decide to use duct tape, keep comparing your measurements against the dummy because it is easy to overstuff. Also, a problem with the duct tape version is that you can't easily stick your pins in it because of the gummy adhesive. The paper tape version does not need to be stuffed and does not make your pins gummy. It is probably also a little less forgiving so it may be easier to manipulate if you cut shorter strips as well as use narrow and wide strips as needed. I have helped someone create a dummy, but haven't been taped myself yet. Have fun!

    1. User avater
      TwilaTee | | #8

      Everyone seams to think that the method is a good one. But which kind of tape is better, for a beginner dress form maker. Is the paper tape more difficult to use? Does it not stick as well? Or in the long run is it worth all the extra effort because it is pinnable? If I used duck tape, can't I just make a cover for it that I can pin too? Or will the duck tape adhesive still give me problems. To tell you the truth I'm leaning towards the duck tape. For a few reasons. My husband is not patient, I don't want to have to dry anything to me, and if pinning is an issue, a cover can't be that difficult to make. I don't want to attach anything to my twin fit dress form, just in case I need it for something, or someone else. I really like the idea of using foam as filling. Wish me luck! I'm gonna try and do this tomorrow! If it's successfully I'll post pictures. Thank you for all your help!

  3. dh2dresses | | #9

    Hi, I have made a duck tape and also a polyurethane form.

    The duck tape was easy to do, but quite inaccurate, I found, as the stuffed shape got more and more cylindrical as time went by. Also, whenwrapping me I got quite a flattened and droopier bust area as my wrapper (my long suffering husband) did the top first, and then couldn,t get enough uplift. Beggars can't be choosers but it wasn't a great fitting tool.

    The foam was another stressful experience. I read the My Twin website info, especially to buy plaster bandage cutters. Hubby said no need, so off we went with the plastering. How much you need to trust your wrapper here, and definitely not for the faint headed. Panic stations all round when hubby realised to get me out scar free plaster cutters were indeed needed. Too late, and a few snicks later I was out.

    I did not skim the inside of the cast before pouring foam and the finish was v poor, so a waste of time. Ever a glutton for punishment, we did it again, but lined the inside of the bandage after removed with liquid plaster to smooth, and also flatten out the stomach a bit, and this time success. The final dimensions are still fatter than my actual figures, but the shoulder posture and bust areas are just me and so the model is very good for pattern fitting and semi fitted stuff. Close fitting stuff can be fitted after initially fitting on the model, and fine tuning on me. I have found the dressform brilliant, and well worth the effort and scoffing by all who know me.

    Good luck

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