May 31, 2012

A Joyful (Duct tape) Form

Since you may have read in the last post that Rebecca wrapped herself in duct tape to make her dress form, I thought you might be interested in reading my friend's (Joy - from Joyful Expressions) post about her duct tape-dress-form-making-experience. I'm sure many of you have wondered what this is all about. I've never done it (I'm sure I'd be squished totally flat and I don't need any help in the Flat Department), but Joy's post...well, I just had a really good laugh!

Joyful Expressions My Christmas Present -- Michelina/Tina

A lot of my pictures of Michelina/Tina are on my other computer, so I can't let you laugh at those right now.  I have wanted a dress form for years, and I even purchased one a few months ago from Hancock's.  I bought the Medium size so I could unscrew it to be as fat as me.  I unscrewed all the knobs, but no way on earth could I get that thing to look like me.  It doesn't take into account shoulder slope, boob slope, high hip, sway back, high waist, prominent shoulder blades, round back, etc.  I decided to research the "do it yourself" dress form on you tube.  You make it by wrapping duct tape all around your body until you nearly suffocate, and then you cut it off -- well, your helper cuts it off.  My husband had heard my friend, Phylly, and I talk about it -- although I had no idea he was actually listening.

One day a few weeks ago, my husband came into my sewing/quilting studio and walked up to me and took my hands in his hands.  HOW SWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET! 
He said he didn't know what to get me for Christmas.  He said he had been researching dress forms on the internet and you tube and told me he wanted to make me one for Christmas.  I tried not to drop over in a dead faint that he actually had not only heard me talk about a dress form but had RESEARCHED it!  Awesome!  I told him that was a GREAT idea. 

He went to the local hardware store and purchased 8 rolls of duct/duck tape.  He also decided that he was going to try his own system, so he purchased about 12 cans of insulation foam in the squirt cans.  You spray it into a hole/space/cavity and it expands.  He had determined that he would use the foam to make my boobs stay put because some of the makers on you tube had difficulty with the boobs staying stuffed with polyfill.

Sooooooooooo....last weekend, after church, Jerry came up to my studio with the tape and the spray in hand.  I decided I better find something to wear UNDER the tape.  Most wear a big tee shirt.  I didn't want to wear a big tee shirt because I'm already big enough!  I chose a Cudl Duds long sleeve top with a crew neck for my top and a tight leotard short for my bottom.  I wanted the upper part of my legs to be wrapped so I could use Tina for pants fitting also.  I'll let you know why that was a bad idea later. 

About the name:  Michelina/Tina.  When Jerry got me all wrapped up in the tape, and I looked in the mirror, my first thought was, "OMG, I look like the Michelin Tire Man!"  I decided to call her Michelina.  Later, when I showed the picture to my friend, Phylly, she said I looked like the Tin Man and should call her Tina.

-----------I'm back and it is several days later.  Life got busy all of a sudden.  Back to the duck tape dress form.  Below are pictures of the dress form AFTER it was cut up the back and removed from my body -- then thrown in the car for a trip to our other house 150 miles away -- then brought in out of the car and stuffing attempts begun.

Jerry had brought the insulation foam boobs and decided he would put them into the dress form first.  Only problem was, the dress form was all squished and funny looking.  Remember, Jerry decided to make the boobs out of insulation foam by filling my bra up with it.  Seemed logical.

The foam kept squirting out for hours.  I couldn't imagine that my body actually resembled these oddities.  Jerry opened Tina up and tried to put the boob blobs into Tina.  But, NO!  The cavities in the dress form and these foam boobs did not match at all.  The form was way too small.  We then decided that we should put the dress form back on my body and stretch it out.  Sounds simple, huh?  Check out the dress form..
Remember how I said I would tell you later why NOT to use stretch garments under the tape?  Check out the bottom half of Tina.  Looks like the incredible shrinking butt!  I could not start to get this thing back on my body.  The stretch in the shorts I had worn sucked everything all up and it was NOT going to UNsuck. 


I got a pair of scizzors and cut the bottom off of Tina.  That left me with very little to work with, and I was so exhasperated by then, I just threw the whole thing in the trash.  We decided we would start all over -- someday.

On December 29th, "someday" came.  I was reading the new issue of Threads magazine when I noticed an ad for a dress form from Fabulous Fit.  I went to the website and checked it out.  I went to Pattern Review and checked out the reviews on it.  All were very good.  I decided to call FF and have some questions answered.  The main thing I wanted to know was how do you adjust for LENGTH: Shoulder to apex, shoulder to waist, waist to knee, etc.  The not-very-friendly lady (probably just the New York lingo) acted like I was crazy to even ask such questions.  All is very, very, very simple and anyone can do it, and on and on.  I asked her what her return policy was, and I think she stopped breathing for a minute.  Finally, she said, "You better be sure to choose the right one."  I had asked her what one, and she said Size 8.  Since I have not worn Size 8 since I was 8, I couldn't imagine that could work.  She then said a Size 10 would work.  You have to start with your frame as it would be if not lathered with layers of fat.  That made sense. 

After two long distance calls with FF, I ended up ordering Marsha (because she looks like a marshmallow).  On sale at $400 off, Marsha was $1300.  I told myself that it was okay to make such an extravagant purchase because, after all, Marsha was 1/10th of the cost of my last sewing machine.  She is supposed to arrive in two weeks.  I will post my progress with her as it develops.  Here is a picture of her as a Size 10.  And, yes, I actually used to look like that.  If I would just lost about 25 pounds, I could look like that again.  BUT, I ask myself, WHO CARES what I weigh?  Nobody.  Hence, I will make clothes that fit my current body shape.


  1. That is so funny! Joy always makes me laugh. I have had my duct tape dress form for 7 years and have had great success with mine. I even have one for my daughter. (Currently doesn't match her 8 1/2 months pregnant body) Gravity and menopause have taken their effects, so I'll be replacing her soon. That will be my gift for losing all of this weight.

  2. Oh My! That is the funniest thing I have read in a long time! I still have tears running down my cheeks from looking at the pictures of Joy's .... cupcakes! Joy's husband better not give up his day job. Joy writes so well - thank you for sharing.

  3. I happened to read this blog while on the SF site going thru learning webcasts, this is SO SO funny! But, I can see DH doing the exact same thing! Anyway one of my knitting books has 4 pages of directions on how to do the duct tape body b.c knitters do fit their sweaters but not as much as they maybe should do?? ( some just wing it, I dont!) It IS easy to do th duct tape method but if anyone wants to find out how to do it it is in the knitting book " Custom Knits" by Wendy Bernard
    There are lots of pictures to take you thru it, then you really really have your own double~ I still have one from Jo Annes but I just use it to hang things on , it IS hard to get your double~ the duct tape thing worked much better than buying on as my problem is that gravity has taken it toll front and back,,,,,,oh to be 25 again! good sewing to all! Now back to learning,,,,,

  4. I needed a good chuckle, Joy...thanks for sharing your life with us :-)