Customising the Dress Form

So a couple of months ago I picked up a second hand, battered, dress form…the post is here. Today I finally got around to customising it! 🙂 I had read in a few places about using duct tape to make a mannequin in your own shape. I decided to adapt this idea by creating the shape using the duct tape and then wrapping it around  the mannequin. I decided this was neccessary as I have a heavily accentuated arch in my back and have always had a bit of a tummy. No matter the dimensions I set the dress form to it was never going to quite capture these features.

Anyways, I armed myself with two online tutorials, a semi-enthusiastic boyfriend, some cheap silver duct tape, and some pretty purple ‘duck’ tape I ordered from the US to pretty up the outer layer.

In hindsight I really wish I had bought the ‘real’ duct tape for the lower layers, not the cheap stuff. Oh well, live and learn.

We started by wrapping a line around my hips, then under my bust, then a cross over the chest to define the bust. Because the duct tape was so cheap it was a little too stretchy and this resulted in the strip under the bust being too tight….man am I glad we do not live in the age of the common corset! It was then just a matter of wrapping it around and around and trying not to think about how horrendous it must look to have all your features on lycra-like display. Boyfriend swung between amused (“haha I should lock you outside like this.”), bemused (“Oh, the things we do on a Sunday.”), and slightly frustrated (“Why am I doing this again?”). This is how I looked after the first full layer:

See all that weird bunching at my upper chest? Yes that would not have happened if I had bought real duct tape, instead of BigW’s idea of duct tape. Take note!

When roughly two layers were done boyfriend then had to cut it off, going straight up my back (through the duct tape and the old shirt I wore). Two inches in he declared it would be easier if I laid down on the floor. The reply was “Um, I can’t”, I was well and truly without abdominal motion. He helped, and I was suddenly reminded of turtles stuck on their backs. But I was on my front. Nevertheless it was easier to cut like this, and I was free in no time.

The next part was up to me, and took quite a while. I had to manipulate the rubbery lump that was my shape around the dress form. I put my fabric scrap bag to good use as filler, filling in the belly, boobs, and other lumpy bits with scraps. I then taped it all in place and did my layer of purple Duck Tape. The result is not perfect, there is a slight dip in the belly (I elbowed it…woops), and I think the back arch is meant to be a little deeper. But I think the result is a very good guide. It might be a bit bigger than real life in some places and a teeny bit smaller in others but it’s hardly enough to cause drastic fitting problems in future.

The whole thing would probably look smoother if it didn’t have the cheap duct tape under the purple but I am pretty happy with the result 🙂

I was also pleased with my emotional reaction: “I need to lose weight…but hey, could be worse!” lol

Reference tutes:


One thought on “Customising the Dress Form

  1. Pingback: Positive practice and frustrating decisions. « Cotton Handy

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