Sunday, July 23, 2006

Attack of the duct tape monster

Somehow I got the idea that I should make myself a duct tape dress form. Is a duct tape dress form right for you? Are you unwilling to spend a lot of money on your dress form? Are you a non-standard shape or size? Do you have a hard time fitting certain parts of your torso attractively? Do you have the ability to stand still while you're sweating like a pig and your back is aching? Do you have a very close friend who you'd like to grope you repeatedly?

There are many sets of directions on the internet, but I approximately used these free directions for making a custom dress form. I am considering stuffing the form with spray-foam instead of polyfill, but more on that when I get around to doing it.

Required materials for this stage of construction:

  • shirt to be sacrificed
  • a lot of duct tape (I used Scotch brand, official duct tape of NASCAR. I'm not kidding about this.)
  • saran wrap
  • sharper scissors than we had
  • pen (for marking the form)
  • cat (for distration purposes -- you'll need it)
  • the undergarments you intend to wear with whatever you'll be fitting on the form
  • as much bloating as you can get your hands on (You want to fit clothes on a biggish version of yourself. If you're really dedicated, spend all summer sitting on your butt like I have.)

Step 1: wear undergarments and shirt. Cover all exposed surfaces with saran wrap. Commence sweating.

Step 2: begin fitting bust by using "cross your heart" maneuver. Be prepared to explain this to your helper, who may not have seen those silly bra commercials and might start by trying to smash your bust flat.

Step 3: keep coating until top of torso is covered. Upgrade sweating to level "rolling droplets".

Step 4: cover hips and thighs horizontally, then recover them vertically. Upgrade sweating to level "Niagra falls". Resolve to go to the gym just as soon as you get this thing off. Mark your waist by wriggling around and watching where the tape creases.

Step 5: cut duct tape and shirt off (up the back) without destroying undergarments (thus rendering dress form obsolete). Be prepared to curse scissors if they are so dull that they cannot cut shirt. Upgrade sweating to level "chilly with fear" if exacto knife is deployed.

Note on the Eunny-top I was swatching: this is postponed pending aquisition of 2.25mm circ that sucks much less than the INOX. My wool loves the join on that needle.


  1. i remember reading the way-original instructions for this (the ones the woman who submitted this to threads must have written on her web site eons ago, and i've had in the back of my mind to do it since then. your instructions (complete with multiple levels of sweating) are way more entertaining, of course. curious: why the plastic wrap? also, i'm thinking bandage scissors might make the cutting off process safer. i wonder how cheaply i can find a pair. finally, i hope you did this in july in an un-air-conditioned house! oh--and i'm also awaiting your verdict on the spray foam.
    p.s. have you seen the new knitpicks options needles? have been curious about someone's experience with this.
    p.p.s. hi krista! :)

  2. Hey, Lisa

    I remember some instructions from years and years ago from someone who had a lumpy figure that wasn't reflected well by dress forms. Of course, at the time my only issue was not having money, so I just filed the information away.

    The plastic wrap is to keep the duct tape from bonding to my skin. I used a vee-neck shirt because it had somehow acquired a small hole it in already, and because it covered my arms, but I didn't want the tape to stick to my hips, chest, or neck. You don't need the plastic wrap anywhere that there isn't exposed skin.

    It was 114 degrees F where I was today, with a heat index of 145. There's no home AC that can fix that for you!

    As for the knitpicks needles, I haven't tried them for two reasons: I don't know how good the joins are and they only come in sizes 4+. I've been knitting on 2.75mm and 2.25mm needles lately. I have one planned project on size 6s, but besides that I'm sticking to really lightweight yarns for now. Let me know if you try them, though.

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