added January 2010

Thanks so much for your quick response!  We are heading into town for supplies right now. I made a DTD before which was okay but did seem to stretch out (or the tape slipped maybe). Looking forward to trying out your plan!
I write a blog called The Haphazard Homestead. I'll take some photos and write it up (with links to your site). I'll send you a note when it's up.

My first DTD did stretched out after a few years so I revamped the process to prevent that from happening. The tape does loose it's sticky over time. I changed the process to add the longer sections of tape (especially on the final wrapping) so when the sticky loose does start the tape still holds the shape for quite a good long time.

added November 2009

Hi, Leanna,

I did get the CD of the duct tape form instructions.  I'm going to try it this weekend.  I had seen articles on the internet and some videos on Youtube but this is much better.  I read that these tend to fall apart after a few uses.  Have you had that problem ?

Hi Monica,
Yes, over time the tape does loose it's sticky quality. I changed things in the instructions a severakl years back to help overcome this. My instructions have you doing 3 layers of wrapping and the strips of tape should be as continuous as you can do them. I used to say to use small pieces of tape but that degrades much faster.  
Good Luck making your Double,

added November 2009

Hi Leanna,
I hope this email gets to you! I was wondering, on the duct tape dressforms, can you use pins to pin fabric to it like a fabric covered form?
Thanks for your help!

Hi Sophia,
Yes, but the pins do get sticky from the tape adhesive.

Leanna, I am starting a similar business as yours in the Denver CO area, and I was wondering how you charged for the double. My business is in period clothing, ritual robes and garb, children's heirloom, and fetish wear. Do you make a form for every one of your customers? Also, how would you fit a tight fitting figure shaping garment such as a 12-boned corset? I would appreciate your input.

Usually $75. I don't do many of them, only if the subject is far enough away to make fittings hard to do. Nothing is better than the real body to do fittings on, but for clients who can't make the distance, a Double sure is nice. Mostly, I use the Double of me for sewing for myself.

To do corset stuff you have to wrap the client in the corset. Once stuffed the form has a little give but not enough to move things around like a corset does.

I sew for a woman that has a 59 inch bust and a 75 inch hip area. I have been searching for a dress form so I can better fit her, but none that I have seen come close to the hip measurement. Would this be an option for me to make for her?? I don't quite understand how you get the pipe or pole to come up straight in the center of the form after it is made. If it wasn't straight all this effort would be for nothing. It is hard for this woman to get around as it is, and if I can pull this off, it sounds like a perfect solution for her and me.

Your customer is a bit larger than this method can help. She would have to be able to stand to be wrapped for a good 2 to 3 hours. If it's hard for her to get around this may be too difficult for her too. I have gotten several stories from larger ladies on how hard it is to endure the wrapping process. Some make it through by taking frequent breaks to sit, but this lengthens the process.

Getting the pole straight is a job, but there are many things in the instructions to help you get it right.

For your situation I would suggest wrapping the body only once. The instructions say to do it twice for stability, but I doubt your lady will be able to do it. You will probably end up with a less then accurate form, but for her I think it would be worth a try. It sounds like even a form an inch off her true measurements would be a great help to you.

Well ..... my friend had done one of these but she said they are temporary ..... how long do you think yours lasts .... of course our bodies do change I bought a store bought one ..... the squishy body type ... and love the concept .. but it is so limiting in some ways .. I still don't think the shape is correct .... and for those of us who are doing corseted type costuming ... we have to have more than one .... so this would be great to have an less expensive way to do one and one that is very custom and ...... the arms and sleeves ...... I have been having problems knowing what something will fit like with sleeves ..... and being able to raise my arms and have mobility in an outfit ...... how does the duct tape dress form work with that ?

Well, I've had my Double for about 5 years. Now, it really does not reflect my figure any longer for I have changed, but that's not the double's fault. It's still in good shape. I don't think it will last hundreds of years, but neither will I, so why does it have to? It will last long enough for your body to change so much that you have to make a new one.

A side note: I've had my Double for 8 years now and it's starting to show places where the tape is loosing it's stickiness. The Form is about an 2" larger than me now all the way around because the pressure of the stuffing is pushing on the tape in it's weakened state. Time for a new Double for me ;)

You are correct in thinking that corset wearers need to do things differently. You will need to wear your corset when being wrapped. There really is no easy way to corset the double once it is stuffed.

The Duct Tape Double (in my humble opinion) is the best dressmaker's form because it does model our every bodily oddity. No body is a perfect shape and we as dressmakers need to know where the asymmetrical places are to properly fit garments. BUT- no form, not even the Double, is a substitute for the real body. Every form has limitations for it can not move like the body can, so you still will have to put the garment on your body to do the final fittings and test your mobility.

I would love to have a pants form since it's so hard to get pants to fit my long crotch, short waist, high hips, etc. Maybe if you figure it out I'll make a whole body form!!!

I have discussed this idea with several people and it seems that the most common problem is supporting the ankle area so the form will stand up. I have seen whole body forms in professional studios that have really heavy duty wire running up both legs that inserts into the stand. But I have no clue where to purchase such wire or if it would be such a pain to get it up the leg of the form. It's hard enough to get the tube straight up the middle of the torso only form.

I don't know if doing this for pants would be useful since the posture would be such that the legs might not be at the right spacing to make designing possible. I'm sure you could do it but how would you stand so that your posture was right and your thighs would not be so close together that you could not fit fabric on the form to see the fit?

I think a good solution is to make the form to hang instead of stand. Get a really heavy duty hanger to set into the shoulder before stuffing and it should work out great!

Hi, I'm 16 and just starting to sew. I was reading your DTD FAQ, and saw something about a pants double. Why do you have to have a stand? Why not hang it from something? I thought about it, and I thought you could doing a whole body one but putting a hanger in the T-shirt and then filling it. For the pant double, you could just wrap higher up than pants normally go (past the waistline) and put a hanger in there. You would just need to tape it tightly. Maybe I misunderstood, but it was just a thought. :) Kristen

This is a great idea. If anyone out there tries this, please let us know how it does.

My question for you is - don't you have a problem with your straight pins "gumming up" when you stick them through the duct tape?

I haven't had a big pin gumming problem. I use mostly quilting pins that are long with that white knob at the end. It's not really like the scissors gumming which does pose a difficulty during the wrapping process.

If I were working with extra expensive silk, I could imagine that some of the gum could get on the fabric while you pull pins out that were into both fabric and form. But then again, this has not happened to me, yet.

Actually, this is what I learned to do first. You wrap more loosely for patterning than for the dress form. And you wrap only one layer, mark seam lines, darts, and plump line for grain, then cut off. Cut all seam lines and lay flat to use as a sloper. You do need to add your design ease for your garment, but it works quite well.

I suggest you use 3/4 " PVC pipe have your husband drill a hole on the inside of each leg, about 1/2" down on pipe( one hole only per pipe) knot elastic thru one hole to the other. Instant legs, they can withstand a lot of weight and movement.
Hope this adds to your creativity.

Exactly how do you use a dress form??

Lots of ways, for what you have said in fitting the pattern to fitting the garment to draping fabric right on the form to make a garment. The first thing I did when I had mine don is to make myself a gown that had this bodice front gathered at the raised waistline. I put it one the form then draped it over one shoulder and set the garters so it stayed put over my front and gracefully fell over the shoulder with no attachment in the back. It's incredibly dramatic and it really stays put.

But with the DTD what do you pin the pattern too??  Are you pushing the pins straight into the tape??

Yes, right into the form. It's kind of fun and masochistic at the same time.

I'm a duct tape god in my own world. Last year I wore a 3 piece suit made of duct tape covering an existing 3 piece suit. Needless to say I got allot of attention. Of course, where I live it just made it to the local paper. I was so inspired by the first duct tape suit I decided I was wearing a duct tape tux to my senior prom. Now the prom is coming up I asked my girlfriend if she would let me design her a duct tape dress so that we can make a matching impression on the class of 2000 and it aorta got out of hand and now me my gf and at least 3 other couples are going in full duct tape outfits, different styles and colors of course just to make it so we are not to conformist to each other but still making the same impression. While surfing around for info on ordering different colored duct tape I came upon your site, thinking it was about making duct tape dresses. Looking at the pictures I thought that was a really odd way of making them since I made the original suit with out wearing it, after it was cleaned and pressed so it had all the creases in the right places. Anyway, I was wondering what you think about the idea of making the dress on the girl, since the way you made the dummy things would work if the dress were to be skin tight, and I would like your feedback and ideas about how to make a duct tape dress since you're further along that road then I am.

I love your idea, but I don't have much advice for you. I've never tried to make garments out of Duct Tape, but I think it's really, really neat!

I think I might start off by going to Good Will and buying some cheep and simple gowns to tape over kind of like the way you did your suit. Put the gown on the person, tape the basic parts, then let your imagination take over and style them with the tape, adding things like flowers or other accents. You can even get colored tape at some hardware stores.

If you can scan some pictures of you and your friends on prom night, I'd LOVE to see them!!!


There is a contest for Duct Tape Prom Fashions. Go to:

for more information and to see pictures of the past winners.

I finally got my sewing body taped up, but the duct tape is very odifferous. When I got home from work last night, my whole house smelled like the adhesive. Do you have any suggestions for getting rid of or cutting down on that smell? It has my allergies in a real snit!

Thanks, Vanessa

I have had a few reports of this and I don't really know why some of you have noticed a problem when so many do not. I think it may be the brand of tape, or maybe because you are susceptible to it because of your allergies. I never smell anything because I'm just not good at
noticing smells on a whole.

I would try leaving the form outside to air it out. I doubt this will totally eliminate the smell, but it can't hurt. And maybe covering it in a jersey knit fabric may help.

I'll ask a few of my friends who are allergy prone if they have any ideas that might help. If you find something that helps, please let me know.

I've spent a lot of time at your site in the past - I love the idea of doing a personal double. Actually, we started one, but didn't finish it. Used duct tape, and the fumes are more than my asthma can take. Is that normal, or is there another brand I should use?
It was downright scare to see how much I look like Alfred Hitchcock!


I don't know about it being "normal", but you are not alone. I have had a few reports of folks having their asthma bothered by the duct tape. I have suggested trying a different brand. I have used some that I didn't like the odor of either. I have not gotten any one who tried this reporting that it was better.

The only other suggestion I have would be to do it in a well ventilated room, windows open and fans going. But if it really bothers you I would say that it's not worth suffering over. I worry about folks wrapping themselves too tight too and getting hurt. There are other ways to make a dress form double if you really want one.

Good Luck if you do decide to try it.

Hi Leanne, I have really enjoyed your web site.I am a dressmaker in Ontario, Canada. By coincidence, my business is also called A Stitch In Time. I have made the paper tape dummy in the past but thought I would try the duct tape dummy. They are faster to make. The tape is readily available. My biggest concern is the odor that continues to come from them. I am concerned that it may be somewhat toxic and in my small sewing area, this is a concern ,not to mention the odor that penetrates the clothing that is on them for a while. I am wondering about a method of sealing them to prevent this. Maybe after time, the odor goes away. I am curious to know if this is a problem for you and if you have any suggestions.

Thank you. Charlene

The odor has never been a problem for me. I have a couple forms in my sewing room at all times. I do not leave garments on them for long periods so I can't say that the smell transfers any. I used to have a gown on my personal form for display, but since that form is no longer the same as I am, I no longer leave it on display. Since I don't notice the smell, I don't think I'm a good judge of this anyway.

I have had a few folks write that it has been an extreme bother for them. I think there is one letter in the Q & A section concerning one lady's difficulties. I didn't have any advice for her at the time and asked for any comments anyone might offer to help those who are bothered by the odor. I doubt time would simply solve it for these folks. Maybe a spay sealant would help, but I would think that the smell of the sealant would be an added bother.

I think the only answer to this question is that if you are bothered by odors, use the paper tape method. It's a good method too. And some folks have even reported that they find it easier.

A Special Thanks-

To all my Internet friends who have given suggestions for this page. Whether it was an easier way to make the form you discovered while trying this method for yourself, or helping me phrase an instruction so it could be understood better, your help has been indispensable. If you have noticed your words added to this page, give yourself a big pat on the back.