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added February 2005

Just wanted to share my duct tape dummy experience...

It's just myself and my 4 year old daughter at home, and I've been wanting to make a dummy for weeks now so I could get started on some ideas that I wanted to try out. I asked my mother to tape me up and she just gave me the crazy look. Same question was asked of my sisters and even a few good friends. When it finally became clear that I was in this on my own, I pulled out the tape tonight and decided to just jump in.

Taping up the bottom half of me was ok, but then I had trouble with the upper half. I am just not that flexible to contort my arms in that position to wrap around securely. I enlisted my daughter to help, mind you she's 4, and she promptly proceeded to tape my right arm to my body. Just a word of advice, duct tape and bare skin DO NOT mix. Once we got my arm de-taped, she and I worked out a system to finish this up. There's a children's television show called Dora the Explorer, and on one of the episodes, they use "sticky tape." My daughter was singing the main song from the show the whole time, which kept making me giggle. After two layers of wrapping and singing, I was ready to cut myself out. By then, my scissors were sticky from the tape and I was struggling to make the first cut, but I finally got it off with a big rush of relief!

After I stuffed her, I mounted her on my old Christmas tree and she works great! I'm so happy, and it only cost me two hours to make, a little skin, and a heavier pocket for the money I saved not going out to buy one! Love the site for all of the ideas too! Thanks! I'm proud of my silver buddy!

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added November 2002

About 5 years ago I decided to make a body form so I could fit my pants perfectly. I was working in a Fabric store at the time and heard women talking about how to make one. I was told to get paper tape, about 3 inches side, a large T-shirt and tape away. First of all, I was alone, I didn't want anyone to think I was crazy. I wanted the legs of my pants to fit well, so I started taping just about 5 inches above the knees. I figured is I overlapped the tape it would be stronger, so I started wrapping. I had a nice fit in about 1 1/2 hours.

The problem was, I forgot the scissors! They had fallen on the floor. I was so tight in this new body-suit that I couldn't bend over, and could hardly shuffle across the floor. I couldn't figure out how to get the scissors, so I tried leaning on a chair, and bent over to reach them, about that time the chair slipped and I was laying quite stiffly on the floor. Well, at least I had the scissors. I couldn't bend over far enough to start cutting from the bottom up, and I had wrapped my arms to the elbows, and they stuck out the side with no movement left in the joints. I felt like the tin man with no joints. Now after 2 1/2 hours I was getting claustrophobic and started panicking. I couldn't get the scissors to go under the tape to start cutting. I felt like I couldn't breath because, again I wanted a tight fit. I started hyperventilating and then started sweating!

Finally I got a small cut going up the front of my leg, and inch by inch worked up to my leg joint, then crossed over to my belly and up the middle front. I was so relieved when I had the tape off, that ran around the house naked for 1/2 hour.

Eventually I put a hanger in the top of the form, and stuffed it. Then I retaped the open spaces. I hung it in my closet. It really looks quite real. One day my kids opened the closet and freaked out! It looked like a person at first to them, and they came out screaming.


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You would have laughed at me. My husband wants me to get some new clothes but I want to make them. I am a fluffy woman and flat patterns play games with me. For 2 MONTHS I have been trying to find my Threads Magazine with your article. I did find the one with the letters section containing your e-mail. AHA---saved!!!! I read your web site. It's pretty informative and funny. You sound as if you'd be a good friend. What else do you do besides tickle people with your duct tape doubles?

thanks, Sus

Ya, I get lots of laughs doing my site. So many great folks are so wonderful to share their experiences. It keeps me focused. When I tend to take myself too seriously some one sends me a silly wrapping story and I regain my perspective on life. I'm so glad I can help people look at themselves, seeing what is really there and then resolving to do the best with what God gave them. I've been criticized about my "matter-of-fact" view of bodies, even to the point of saying I'm an immodest person. Well, maybe, but I'd rather be this way then pent up about it all. I just think any body is beautiful and I hope mostly that my site gives folks the perspective to cloth their body to the best it can be instead of having the attitude that "I'm ugly, fat, crocked, etc. so why try?"

What else do I do? Well, if you've roomed around the site you may have stumbled across my Belly Dancing pictures. Since I made my hobby my profession, I needed a new hobby - - - so I choose Belly Dancing because I love music and costuming, and needed an exercise program after the back surgery. It works great, and it's fun to boot!

I don't often have time to write long letters but if you'd like to write now and then I will do my best to answer before Christmas. (giggle) Most people I've written back to I never hear from again. Some times it's because I am very opinionated and figure if you have written to ask me a question I'm going to give my opinion as clearly as I can. Some folks get put off by that. Ho hum.

So write when you can :)

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I have been surfing the net for about two years now and I have to tell you, this was one of the most enjoyable webpages that I have visited. The main reason is that I am an absolute duct tape fanatic. I have done things with duct tape that would make you dizzy. The best was onetime in Southern Mexico when Iwas about to climb into an aircraft which I would then jump out of- at 15,000 feet! I pointed out a rather large hole in the leading edge of the wing to the pilot he shrugged and pulled a roll of duct tape out from under the right hand seat. 15 minutes later I noticed the duct tape patch come free in the slipstream due to a rather heavy rain. I also used duct tape to make dummies when I was in high school. We used to have so much fun! I fooled teachers, my parents, and even my girlfriend with 'Otis.'

Thank you very much for another great use for this miracle invention. Sincerely, Ben Page.

I loved your story about the hole in the plane. I just heard one about a submarine! You know, I've never met a person who uses Duct Tape who wasn't also fun loving. It's just one of those things in life that fosters a good spirit in folks I guess.

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I finally got my husband to help wrap me.  I've been reading that it takes 2 - 4 hours to wrap a duct tape double, and many of the stories talked about how the wives thought that their husbands were slow.  Mine has been building a spool rack in the garage for the last 8 years.  It's going to be the most perfect spool rack in the history of them... if he ever gets all the pieces together.  I knew my husband was "slow", but when everyone else said that it went quicker than they'd thought, I figured I'd try it.

Enter then, my husband...  slide rule in hand.  Sigh.  We started after the kids went to bed - I didn't want to be responsible for the therapy bill later on.  So, at 8, the children went to bed and my husband began wrapping me.  Four hours later...  He's still working on layer #1.  I'm worried that I won't be able to stand much longer.

Finally, on hour 5, he began layer #2.  By this time I was nuts!  At hour 6 I became claustrophobic and began to yell to him to cut it off me.  By hour 7 he'd finally cut it off up to the neck.  No double for me.

That was 3 months ago.  I've been afraid to do it since.  I've developed a fear of duct tape!  What's that?  Ducttopia?  Is there anyone in Tampa or Brandon (Florida) that can do it without measuring each piece of tape??? I'm leaving for Newfoundland on the 10th and won't be back until the end of August.

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added May 25, 1999

I teach at a local sewing machine dealer.  Many of the women sew because they have various figure challenges.  They approached me about teaching the duct tape double class.  Between the magazine and your site, I was able to put together a class.  I was hoping to get an odd number of students so that I would also get a double.  Instead, I got odd students!  We had way too much fun.  At one class, a student brought a book - 1001 things you can do with duct tape.  I read various items aloud as they wrapped each other.  It turns out that it's very difficult to laugh hysterically when one is wrapped in tape.

One of the students had recently undergone a radical mastectomy with no plans for reconstructive surgery and was having a terrible time getting her clothing to fit properly.  With her duct tape double, she can now alter her clothing to fit properly.

Another student put her double over a slightly smaller dress form she had received from a relative.  She loves it.

Several weeks later, most of my class showed up at a sewing machine club meeting.  They proceeded to wrap me with duct tape!  The one person who was actually sewing was very distracted by our activities and howls of laughter.  After I was thoroughly encased, they made me open a box.  The shop owner snapped my picture as I held up a T-shirt emblazoned with "When the going gets tough, the tough use duct tape!"  (Sorry, I don't have a copy of the picture to send you.)

Thanks again for your hard work with the web site.  Our class gave us many hours of fun.

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added May 6, 1999

Try this out.  At a family get together for my son and his new wife, I did a duct tape double of my niece that I was to make a prom dress for.  We did it on the the deck with a crowd of folks watching and my engineer husband (who did a wonderful job on mine) giving directions, a couple more folks pulling and cutting tape (the hard part).  All in all it was a bunch of laughs, and a truly amazing sight for everyone--in other words, "the life of the party."

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added April 17, 1998

Hi!  Thanks for being so patient with the questions I asked about the duct tape double.  I went to my local fabric store on Friday and got wrapped by one of the clerks.  You forgot to figure in the "giggle" time in the wrapping estimate.  It took her exactly 2 hours.  It went very well.  I stayed after and started stuffing.  I only had 5 pounds of stuffing with me so I ran short.  I haven't finished it yet, life got a bit too hectic this weekend.  They kept sending customers to the back room to look at the double and several asked if this was to be a class.  Thanks for putting the info out there on the Net for us to use.  I'll let you know more when I actually
finish and put it on the stand to scare the dog!  The hardest part (other than finding the time to finish it) is going to locate a Christmas tree stand in the middle of April.

deborah c
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added April 1, 1998

I'm new at sewing, never learned until last year when I made the time. It was very hard to get useful info until I found the Net. The info from the sewing lists have been a lifesaver. Even when it was over my head, I still gleamed a little of it. Enter the dress double. I had even bought one (big mistake). I got so discouraged because even though the measurements seemed correct, nothing fit me right. I bit the bullet in Sept. and asked a friend to help me do a duct tape double. My Southern husband thought this must be one of those Northern things I do, or that I had just gone gooney!

That night when I finished stuffing mine it was very late so I sat it on the seat of my exercise bike (in the corner of the bedroom). The next day my husband must of been shocked when he got up and went to work, She was silver and quite a strange sight for his eyes. That night as I crawled into bed my husband called out in the dark "How long is the Tarbaby going to be there? She's getting about as much use out of that bike as you do." I thought I would die, I laughed until I cried.

Now Tarbaby stands in her own room downstairs in my sewing space, and has her own identity.
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My husband and I finally got together for the first part of making the duct tape double.

I wasn't expecting much ... my husband is an engineer and definitely doesn't have an artistic eye or much patience for handwork.  Though I
was on target with my assessment of him, the double still went surprisingly well.  The last post I read on this suggested it goes
better with longer strips so I asked George to do it that way.  Otherwise, we followed the original instructions.  He didn't keep the
shirt smoothed out at all underneath and it bunched horribly at the small of my back.  Also, he wasn't very careful with the tape.  There
are plenty of places where smaller pieces should have been used around the armholes and the tape wasn't kept as smooth as it could have.  Like I said, he just doesn't have the patience.  I did tell him that he couldn't possibly make it too tight -- only too loose.

By the time he completed the first horizontal wrapping, I had decided it didn't matter how lousy a job he was doing -- I was so much fatter than
I had realized.  MY goal was NOW to lose weight so I'd need another double made!  So I lightened up and encouraged him to just keep going.
I figured we'd learn from this one and maybe in a few months we could try it again.

By the end of the second round, I was feeling faint -- it was TIGHT!  I had visions of fainting and wondering what my shy, overly cautious hubby
would do.  Would he rush me to the emergency room?  I could just see the doctors saying "Mr. Cavanaugh, could you step in here with us. Now just WHAT were you doing with your wife when this accident occurred?"  I took a deep breath and knew I would have to get a grip.

By the third wrapping, it had loosened a little and I was fine.  The end was in sight and I was getting excited.  I sure could see why I struggle
with fitting -- a trip to the scales afterwards confirmed my worst fears -- I am now the heavier than when I was nine months pregnant with any of
our children :(

In spite of all this, the double turned out well.  Using the string and scissors as a plumb, he accurately marked lines and managed to cut
through the fabric bunches at the back.  I know I'll be able to use this!

One of the kids had an old music stand; it comes apart for storage -- the bottom works perfectly as the dress form stand.  Tonight we'll tape
and stuff and I'll let you know how that goes.

I can't get over how well it came out; hope this encourages some of you to give this a try.

Mary in Dalton, GA

We finished it last night -- It was a lot of work but I am so excited. George and I worked in our living room because it had plenty of space
and light.  We were taping the bottom to the form when my daughter came by with a new boyfriend.  He picked it up and went scurrying off to our
bedroom and my daughter just cracked up.  The poor guy could only wonder.  I'm glad it's over and safely tucked away in my sewing room

It really looks fine -- the places where he didn't tape smoothly kind of bother me.  I was thinking about it this morning and realized it was
only duct tape cellulite!  It won't affect the fitting at all!  Now to jacket fitting!

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Last weekend, my best friend came from North Carolina just to wrap me in duct tape.  It was a real eye-opener.

First, I added enough length from another T-shirt to make the whole thing just below mid-thigh.  That way, I'd have lots of extra room for the
tape to draw in fabric.  Then I sewed an old T-shirt sleeve to the neckline.  I didn't intend to do it, but I sewed the seams on the
outside of the neck.  Turned out to be a good idea:  my neck didn't get rubbed by the seams after taping began.

I wore a bra, old but typical of the styles I wear.  Early into the first tape layer, I noticed in the mirror that I seemed to be wearing a
silver breastplate.  I told Dawn I just needed a spear and a helmet with horns, and I could sing soprano.

As each layer drew it in tighter, I looked more and more like a woman wearing a body corset with attached bustle.  For the first time, I could
see my left shoulder is higher than my right, and my left hip is lumpier than my right (oh that cellulite).  The rest seems pretty symmetrical, for an ancient fertility goddess...or a Wagnerian soprano.

Because I planned to mount it on my existing dress form, Dawn took chest, bust, waist and hip measurements while I wore it, then wrote that directly on the tape in indelible marker.

As Dawn cut me out, steam came out.  Do this in air conditioning, folks.  It does get warm in there.  Whole process took about two hours.

I mounted her on my dress form, secured the neck with tape, then used fiberfill to pad the voids.  This was kind of tricky, since I had to allow for the space between the unclosed back seam and still fill firmly.  That was why I had Dawn do the measurements -- I could measure
to check my accuracy of fill.  OK, I got a little impatient, so the form's really not all that firm, but neither am I.  She seems to be working out ok so far...

It only took about thirty minutes to pad her and secure the back seam.  That part does take two people:  one to hold the form edges together, the other to tape them closed.

When my DH saw this silver creature standing in the bedroom in the moonlight, he demanded I throw something over her.  He also offered to paint her flesh colored.  I dissuaded him from that when I told him I'll buy some lycra or spandex to make a tube to cover her silver essence.  I put a skirt on her that I need to hem, and a wide brimmed hat.  DH didn't wake up startled by the other woman in the room...

I'm thinking of calling her Hebe, after the goddess who hunted peacocks.  I'll be using her to indulge my own peacock tendencies -- to make well-fitting clothing in a variety of nice colors.  Then, again, the opera ain't over till the fat lady sings.  Well, I'm a musician, I sing soprano, and I'm fat (well, flabby).  But Brunhilde just doesn't appeal to me...  Any suggestions for a good name?

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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.

Would you like to share your tale? Click on the comment link below.