Sunday, January 6, 2013

Aimee-day! Part 2

I finished my dress form at approximately 12:03AM last night!

My roommate had to make a trip to the store to get some things for dinner, so I went with him and we got everything we needed in a few stops: hose clamps for car-fixing, green duct tape for me, and tortillas, cheese and tomatoes for our enchiladas.

Here are the finished pictures of Mia! I named her that because I don't feel like saying duct tape dress form all the time, it's part of my name backwards, and it sounds like "me".


You can see very obviously now how I must have tiny shoulders- I STILL could take some out of my dress to make it fit better.

I think Mia looks adorable! I need to clear off that corner of my sewing desk so she can sit there all the time.

And now, the fun part- the making of Mia! I'll go ahead and post photos even though I'm making a stupid face in most of them. I was pretty much grinning like a fool the entire time, whether it was from funny comments being made, or because I was actually being tickled as the duct tape was applied. At one point they were being lewd, I wasn't paying attention, and I made some comment about how I was getting sweaty. I got duct tape over the mouth for that one. Anyway. Look how Mia was born!

Stand up straight, silly.

There, less wrinkles.

My husband helped for the more personal parts. I'm not sure who did what after a certain point because I was standing straight trying not to watch so that I wasn't taped into a funny posture.

Yay, I'm getting a dress form!

Grunt is bored and doesn't he look confused? Crazy humans.

Starting to get hard to move around.

Photographer got bored. This is Scylla having a drink of water.

A great way to get rid of Christmas wrapping paper!

Grunt may have gotten duct-taped. Can you see it in the tree where he rubbed it off?

Starting the second layer.

He thinks it's funny to poke me and make me wobble. Because I can't really move my legs anymore, they have to be careful not to push me over backwards.

Haha, very funny.

Yes, I'm really at that angle. I sort of tipped side to side and walked around on my tippy toes to turn for my tapers.

Yay green! Theoretically the final layer.

My mom's puppy Peabody, being trained to be a service dog.

They were not kind when a few strands of my hair got taped into this thing.


Ok, now to cut me out.

That really hurts.

Trying to hold my skin away from the inside of the form. Unsuccessfully too. Jamie is trying to figure out why those old scissors suck so badly.

Ow, ow, ow.

A joint effort! And my good scissors.

Trying to slide his finger up to cover the really sharp point on my good scissors. That's not easy because the duct tape was supposed to be skin-tight, remember?

Yay the hard part is done. Still trying to suck in my belly.

That tickles!!

Trying not to laugh because he's holding very sharp scissors up in my armpit- but I'm seriously ticklish there.

Cutting off the sleeve of the leotard.

Ok, we've cut up one side and across the shoulder, now to "slip" out of this thing.

They did really good on my hips. I had to have help to free my leg.

Jessie don't you dare- OH kay you did anyway. 
Well, I guess this is a clean, if embarrassing, picture. Yes, I was half-naked. After this I ran with my duct tape skin into the other room to finish extracting myself and get dressed.

This is what they did in the few minutes it took me.

Operation on that sliced side.

After this, mom and Jessie went home, and we went to bed. I put the duct tape skin on top of the DVD rack so it wouldn't be laying out in the floor like a murder victim.

The next morning: the skin had collapsed somewhat, but that's alright.

Stuffing station. Those are grain bags from the Oskar Blues brewery, advertised for free on craigslist. That's where Zoomie took me with the trailer the other day. Those bags make GREAT stuffing for the larger areas. The plastic grocery bags compress very small- those went entirely in the chest through the arm holes to fill out the breast bumps. We had a large collection of bags and they went into those tiny bumps. Just sayin'.

Tights, while a great idea to get a more skin-tight accurate form, are horrible. Once you are not in them, they aren't inclined to remain stuck to the duct tape. I had to line the sticky legs with, you guessed it, wrapping paper. The leotard did alright as long as I held the bottom to be able to get the stuffing through the leg hole. There really is only one good handhold to use as leverage when you're shoving the stuffing in.

Partially stuffed.

I recommend chopping off your nails. Stuffing a dress form is apparently really hard on the hands.

Stuffing the breasts.

Look, she can stand! Sort of.

I paused after this. My hands were sore, I wasn't sure what to do next, and I had no green tape. 

I found out she exploded when we got back from the store. It was quite interesting to try and smash the sides back together, but eventually I did it. I recommend not even bothering with your final layer of tape until you are at this point ready to close up the limbs.

You might have noticed how Mia stood listing to one side earlier. 
I borrowed my husband's laser level to be able to draw a straight line on the bottom of her legs. I cut the top half, then used the laser again to draw a line along the inside of the leg and cut them off evenly. I just sort of eyeballed the correct angle to make her stand straight, plus I could sort of see where the tape had crinkled.

I measured across the leg hole, and cut two perfect circles using one of those circle-drawing gizmos (not a protractor, what IS that thing called?). The first was slightly too big, so I trimmed it another 1/2 inch smaller, then cut the second circle to match. I tried to stuff the legs firmly, then taped the circles on and made the legs pretty.

I wasn't taped as high on my neck as it had felt like, so I had to create a neck. This is just a cylinder of cardboard, trimmed along the sides and center back. The tallest part is in the front. I traced the top to make a cardboard lid.

Voila! A neck.

For the armholes, I didn't think a hard surface was necessary, so I stuffed those as full as I could, then just taped straight across them. Hehe, more wrapping paper. 

After that, I simply applied tape very carefully to get it as smooth as possible. The breasts are covered in strips of tape that were short- maybe 6 six inches long, and also split in half longways. The green rolls of tape are only 15 yards. I ended up using 3 new rolls because I covered what had already been done over the belly and back to get that cut side secured and everything smooth. To cover up the tape edges, I had lined them up along the side and one long piece extends from the neck down between the breast and armpit, to the outer thigh.

And that's how we made Mia!


  1. I just drew in a few measurement lines.

    BUST= Me: 34 1/2 Mia: 35 1/8 Difference: 5/8
    WAIST= Me: 29 1/2 Mia: 30 1/4 Difference: 3/4
    HIP 7"= Me: 37 Mia: 37 1/4 Difference: 1/4
    HIP 9"= Me: 38 1/2 Mia: 38 1/2 Difference: 0

  2. Hey for a first time I think we did good. And the lewd comment was when you said you were getting moist.. Came out good though and I need the laughs.

  3. That is so amazing! I came over from Stitchers Guild and I really enjoyed seeing the process. I tried it once (unsuccessfully) and clearly I just needed more helpers! It is a big job - I hope you get a lot of use out of your new custom dress form.

    1. Ripping the tape seemed to be very tiresome and they would switch off to give their arms a rest. I do think it is more fun with extra people.

      I am very excited to say that we move into our new rental house Oct 1st- I've been trying not to think too much about all the things I want to do- couldn't bear to drag out all my craft stuff only to pack it up again.