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Topic: Tutorial for my homemade packing tape dressform  (Read 95307 times)
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« on: October 22, 2008 11:12:18 PM »

Before you begin, you MUST have another person with you to help with this project.
First, get your materials ready. Your going to need:
-a roll of brown packing tape. 1 side has dry glue on it & it sticky when wet. I bought a huge roll for about 7 bucks at Office Depot. The beauty of using the paper tape is that it shapes itself after drying like instant paper mache strips. And later on you can put pins through it without lots of sticky residue getting on your sewing pins.
-a spray bottle with water
-a rag or sponge [not necessary]
-an old fitted t-shirt that you are willing to sacrifice to this project. The shirt should be as close fitting as possible and not  too thick or textured. Crew neck or turtleneck are ideal, and the length should not be too short.
-stuffing or old clothes to stuff the dress form when complete. I just used a bunch of old clothes.
-coat rack, old lamp base, tripod, or music stand to make a standing dress form. I used a wooden coat rack that stands about 7 feet tall.

Before you begin taping, it helps to prepare a bunch of cut pieces in different sizes.

The trick is to use smaller strips for curvier areas like breasts, collar bones, neck, and larger strips for flatter areas like the small of your back and your shoulders. alls of the strips should be fairly skinny.

I mostly used a lot of 1" by 6" strips, but cut some long ( 3"x18" ) and super short (.5"x3")

Now its time to start taping. The tapee should be wearing the fitted shirt and his/ her usual undergarments. He or she should be standing up.

Wet each strip as you need it, because they dry fast and are extremely sticky when wet. To wet the glue, lightly run a damp (not sopping, just damp) rag or sponge over the shiny (glue) side of the tape. Do not put the tape under running water, as this usually causes too much glue to be washed off and it won't stick later. What I found easiest was to lightly spray a whole strip, & then place it.

Begin with a horizontal strip running around the midsection below the chest. Make sure that it is not too loose, we want the shape to be as close to the body as possible.

Next tape the chest and and shoulders, like making a harness. Use small pieces in all different directions over curvy parts, and try to keep them laying flat against the body. If you encounter a fold or wrinkle happening in the tape, you can notch it to keep it laying flat.

Lastly, tape around the stomach and lower back and neck area. My shirt was not a turtle neck, so I didnt put anything on the neck, which is still fine.

It helps if you tape symmetrically, so in the end all areas are evenly covered. Ultimately you need about 2-3 layers or tape to create a sturdy shell. [Honestly, I used 1 layer.]

The tapee can help by cutting more tape or taping the front sections within reach. Try to avoid twisting and bending so the torso shape isn't crushed or distorted too much; eventually they won't be able to move anyway.

Tips for Taping Shapes
I already mentioned about using short thin strips to cover rounded areas like the chest, some other areas you should watch out for are the dips by the collarbone, area between the shoulder blades in the back, around the waist (lovehandles?), and underarms to shoulders...

To keep the integrity of a depression area, push the tape into the valley part first, then smooth outward letting the edges of the strips fall where they may.

I used a V- shape pattern to tape the back between the shoulder blades.

If you notice an area tenting too much, don't be afriad to cut it off (just the tape, not the shirt) and re-tape that area with smaller pieces.

Having the tape overlap in all different directions will create a stronger contoured shell.

You might also want to create "spines" (such as a cross shape over the front and back) to support the entire structure more.

To create extensions (say, if you are using a crew neck shirt instead of a turtleneck) use a vertical strip, tape to the inside of the shirt with the sticky side out. Then fold it over onto itself so that the ends are sandwiching the shirt but the tape sticks out to the length you need the form to cover. Space these extension prongs a few inches apart, and then tape them together using the same method (folding the tape over onto itself, but sandwiching the tape next to it).

Use a hair dryer to dry any pieces that are still wet.

If you are making a dress form for sewing, now is when you want to use a marker to draw your own waistline, hips-line, shoulder line, center line, etc on the form.

You can use a ribbon or string to measure the line.

Using the scissors that can cut through fabric, carefully cut through the center of the back, vertically.
You are cutting through the paper tape AND the shirt underneath (which is now a part of your dressform). Be careful not to cut the person or their undergarments by accident.

They should be able to wiggle out of the shell without bending it too much. If you were using a long sleeved shirt it might help to get a third person to help pull the sleeves forward.

Using several short fat strips, carefully join the cut line together. If you want to avoid excessive tape buildup along the back, you can also seal from the inside.

NOTE: If you are making a hanging dressform using a rigid hanger, insert the hanger and affix it to the underside of the shoulders before sealing the back. The hanging hook sticks up through the neck hole.

After the split line is sealed, finish the bottom and neck edges by folding strips of tape over from the outside to the inside. You can trim the sleeves off and do the same to those, or knot them and shove them inside the form.

Stuff the inside
The form should be stiff enough to not collapse, but you can stuff the inside if you want to make it sturdier.

Things that should work include: packing peanuts (in a bag, unless you seal off the bottom and armholes, fill through the neck, then seal), polyfil, old pillows, old clothes...

I pulled my dress form over a wooden coat rack stand, stood next to it to see how high or low to position it, because I wanted to pretty much be even with it, I cute out a piece of cardboard the shape the fit to close off the very bottom of my dress form [like if I stuff it with clothes, so the clothes font fall out] and taped that up with duct tape. I did the same with the arm holes.

Note: Most of these instructions & all of the pictures are not mine. it is another tutorial but I added notes to these instructions. I posted pictures of my dress form jsut like this 1, & some people wanted a tutorial, but since my camera isnt workin right now & I dont have much time to type, I copied this tutorial. Enjoy !

[I am very happy with my dress form.I had my doubt, but am glad I did this.]
« Last Edit: August 11, 2010 11:41:56 AM by jungrrl » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2008 08:18:01 PM »

Wow. Great job.

I wonder if I can talk my DH into doing this for me?Huh?
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« Reply #2 on: October 25, 2008 08:58:17 PM »

Wow, that's a really quality tape dress form!  It seems like a lot of tape dress forms turn out all lumpy-like, which is why I'm always afraid to do it.  I didn't catch your original thread with your dress form... was it all smooth and beautimous like this one?  I'm sure all the difference is using that kind of tape... is it a terrible pain to dampen every strip before putting it on?  How long did it take you in total?

I'm sorry if you've answered all these questions in your original thread!

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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2008 10:04:56 PM »

Oh, how I wish I'd see this two months ago when I attempted to make one of these for my sister. What a mess. I just kept on going around and around and smashing it flat until we'd covered her, and the cut her out of it. We did get her shape, but it would have been much neater if I'd had this tute!

« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2008 06:04:45 AM »

im so unhappy with my dressform mannequin, she has a bizzare shape, and a huge neck :/
maybe ill try this Smiley very useful post

What you don't understand you can make mean anything.

All the effort in the world won't matter if you're not inspired.
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2009 12:32:15 AM »

I just attempted mine today, overall I'm quite pleased, it's not completely done, I still need to tape up the back, stuff it, hang it and what not but the general form is there.


I'll post again when I have it all finished and beautified!

PS Great tute, thanks!

« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2010 09:50:14 AM »

Can't wait to give this a try!

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