Pam and her daughter

added March 2006

I found your site many years ago and have been making DTD's every since.
My daughter was 6 years old when I made her first DTD.  We have always
made a full body DTD. She played with her first DTD doll for many years.
It actually became her favorite doll to play dress up with! Although, we
did have to patch the stick spots occasionally.
She is now 13 years old. Over the years, we have made 5 dummies for her.
We are getting ready to make our 6th.  Below are some of the things that
we have learned. We like to use turtlenecks and leggings. When removing
the dummy from your model, cut down the back to the butt. Then cut from
the wrist up toward the elbow and from the ankle up a little toward the
calf.  This allows your to remove the dummy like a jumpsuit and makes it
easier to tape back together. When my daughter was young, I used a
hanger with a swivel  hook top  to hold her dummy up. This allowed it to
be hung up in the closet when  we weren't using it.
Last summer, I started teaching a group of her friends to sew. In
November, we held a DTD day. We discovered that 3/4 - 1 inch dowels work
well in the legs and arms for added support. (anything smaller will
break if the dummy is dropped or falls.) We placed a 1in dowel in the
body to use to secure the leg and arm dowels. Of course, we attached the
leg and arm dowels to the body dowel with duct tape. We also attached
the body dowel to the hanger to prevent shifting. This worked fairly
well, although I prefer not putting the dowels in the arms. It seems to
make it harder to dress and undress. While some of  the girls have not
sewn with their dummies, they all loved their DTD dolls. They make great
models when their matching up that special outfit to school.
One last note is that we even make a DTD with feet! We used socks and
the girls laid our model on the floor after she was taped to do her
feet. The idea was that they would be able to put shoes on the DTD doll.
While the feet were a little off size when finished, the girls had a
blast making them! I would also do the the feet first next time and make
sure to cut large slits at the ankle to help in removing the DTD form.
Thanks for all the wonderful memories that your DTD idea and website
have provided my daughter and me with! Oh and one final thing if anyone
makes a DTD doll for their little girl, don't forget to give it a heart!
I taped a "Made with Love by Mom" label over the heart of our first DTD.
My daughter has made sure that this label was transplanted to every new DTD.

Peggy- A Little Bigger than "Me"

added June 15, 2001

I made "me" on Saturday. Very comical, especially when I had to go potty. It took my sister and I 3 hours. She is pretty cool, but I may re-do it, after several hours of no liquids. She is a little bigger than me, maybe I over stuffed. I am about a size 2 to 4, I used 2 bags of stuffing, but I am not full yet at the lowest portion. The waist is about 1 1/2 inches bigger, and the bust and hips are about 1 inch bigger. If we re do it, she will now be able to work faster, and I believe I would use more tape. We went through almost 2 full rolls.


Return to the table of contents.

Verda- Items used

added Oct. 15, 1998

It is a wonderful idea. I had my husband do the wrapping, he actually behaved well and did a meticulous job. The fit is unbelievable! The only thing I need to add, I think, is that we used 3 rolls of 60' 3M duct tape and 6 bags of 20 oz polyfill. Michael's chain was the least costly, $1.49 a bag. We set the form in 3" pvc pipe and set it in a christmas tree holder. It sits pretty well. Will look for an inexpensive lazy susan to place the legs on, or will make one.

I immediately altered a vest that was "hanging" and it fit just great now. I also "dressed" my form with a turtle neck and it looks sharp.

Thanks again, Varda Rotenberg, Philadelphia.
Return to the table of contents.

Tanya- Paper tape

added Sept. 16, 1998

I love all of the information that you have available on your site concerning duct-tape dress forms.  After reading the Threads online article about dress forms and consulting your webpage, I decided to make a paper-tape (not masking tape, but brown paper-tape, a.k.a. mailing tape) form using your methods for wrapping.  My boyfriend did the honors.  It came out great except that it is 4 inches larger in the waist (!).  I'm going to use your waist surgery instructions in your "Question and Answer" section to remedy this problem.  All the other measurements are perfect to the inch.  And what is unbelievable is how the form captures my posture.  We put a dress on my thick waisted counter part last night, making sure to choose a dress that is rather large in the waist (but fits well everywhere else:  it needs to be taken in at the waist) on me, to compare the fit.  I can see already that my fitting problems are going to be over with my new sewing buddy.  The dress fit her perfectly.  The bust darts were in the correct place, etc. etc.  I am a short (4'10), very slim woman, so this is going to make a huge difference in my life.  As for the paper-tape, my boyfriend found it very easy to make it conform to my shape. Also, the finished form is light as air and does not need to be stuffed as it is stiff as a board. Pins easily go through the tape though.  I'm not sure why the waist came out so much larger than I really am, but even with this little problem, I am extremely pleased.

Thanks for the great sewing page,
Return to the table of contents.

kingwri- "God made it that way"

added July 8, 1998

What a great body double.  Yesterday my friend and I made my body double.  It only took about 1 hour and 45 minutes.  It took longer to finish the double after we had taken it off.  We had to make a few adjusts to equal the original measurements. I am glad that the instructions said to take your body measurements before you made the double. Now my next step is to start walking.  After looking at my double, I realized that I really need to focus more time on getting the body in better shape.  It was so funny when my husband can in and said " Why did you make one of the breast larger than the other", I replied. "I didn't, God did".  I was amazed at how my body really looked, I'm over fifty and with a little work, well let just say I look better now than when I got married thirty years old.  I would like to add that I used a patio umbrella stand that I got on sale for $6.00 and PVC pipe that I paid $2.00 to make the stand.  The cost to make my double was approx. $25.00.  This is "good thing".

Thank you,
Return to the table of contents.


added April 29, 1998

Thank you so much for the DTD. I'm a woman of 74 years that has been struggling with fitting and altering all my adult life. Patterns were useless. I started out at a little under 100 Lbs and over the years I have been on the dieting merry-go-round. About ten years ago I decided I was destined to be large even though I'm only 5 ft tall with a very small skeletal frame. I tried to watch everything that went into my mouth but I slowly gained anyway. I was close to double my weight when I discovered a way to get it down [JoAnna Lund's Healthy Choices Cook Books. Found on PBS.] I have lost 40+ lbs. so I have all my clothes to alter.

After making my DTD I found out why I had always had so much trouble fitting. I have a dowager's hump that shortens my blouses dresses, coats, etc. nearly two inches. It looks like I may have a scoliosis that lowers my Rt. shoulder considerably and raises my rt. hip a lot. No wonder I couldn't alter my clothes! Store bought clothes have to be altered so that has not helped either.

I have altered my winter coat and a pant suit already. What a pleasure. As I continue to lose weight I know I will probably have to make a new double but it is worth the trouble.

My 83 yr. old husband helped me and it was a little slow because he had to rest a few times during the wrap, but I found I could make a few changes as I added the last layer after I stuffed it. In some places he had pulled the tape too tight on the vertical that tended to shorten it a bit . I released the strips by cutting slashes in them ,then adding more strips over top.

I found the heavier d.tape {construction type] worked better in dry climates with too much static. The lighter type tends to fold and stick to itself before it can be applied.

The only problem I had was the hanger was a little too wide, Next time I will cut it off a little and stabilize the ends before I start.

Again, Thank you so much for the help!!! Barbara at
Return to the table of contents.


added April 17, 1998

Hi Leanna and other duct tape double aficionados,

After seeing the article in "Threads" and reading others' praise of the DDT, I decided to try one out on my unsuspecting mother.  She lives in South Africa and I sew clothes for her but, up till now, it's been a fair amount of guesswork in fitting and draping etc.  So, while she was home for a brief visit, I taped her up and now "Carol Too" hangs in my sewing room.  The DDT isn't as warm to hug as the real thing but she's a pretty good replica.  We had a ball wrapping her up and it was quite a memorable evening.

Wishing you all the best!

Sue Basone
Akron, Ohio
Return to the table of contents.


added March 28, 1998

I finally got organized to do it this weekend.  Talked my friend David into being the wrapper.  He was willing, but didn't have a clear idea of what should be done.  Fortunately, just as we were about to start his friend Luke dropped by -- he's a sculptor who has done tape models for other purposes.  Luke helped with the taping, and it went quite quickly (less than an hour and a half).  We used a bit less than 2 rolls of duct tape ... I'm 5'9" and weigh about 135 lbs.

As expected, there wasn't as much work to do in my case since men and women are shaped differently. :-)  However, one point came up that is definitely worth mentioning.  Men are less likely to shave their underarm hair.  Since the undersides of the t-shirt arms tend to gather in when taped, we had to extend the sleeves with thin plastic bags to avoid catching hair in the tape.

By the way, we used bandage scissors to cut the finished form away from the body.  They worked like a charm, and they're a lot safer for this purpose than regular scissors.  I recommend them enthusiastically.  Of course one might also want to have a pair of regular scissors for other uses.

I was surprised by the final result.  I seem to carry the left shoulder about an inch higher than the right (I knew there was a difference, but not that it was so large); and my normal posture seems to be slightly "rotated" for lack of a better word.  Interesting.

Haven't put the form on a base yet ... it's currently on a hanger in the closet.  May write you a follow-up once I've stuffed it and had a chance to use it for fitting.

Thanks for a great idea!

john kahila

********** Following added 27 March 1998 **********

Decided that I actually liked the form on a hanger, so chose to leave it that way.  Stuffed it with poly fill, it took almost 9 bags.  Don't know if I was stuffing too tightly -- seems that would be hard to do -- or if I just needed more fill because of possibly being a bit taller (at 5'9") than your average female wrappee.  At any rate, the finished measurements are quite close to mine.

Luke did one thing during the wrapping that seemed to help later when stuffing: he trimmed the bottom edge to its final position, and then reinforced with several horizontal strips of tape before cutting the form away.  Made the lower edge relatively uncrushable.

I haven't fitted a whole garment on the Double yet, but I am currently using it to help me visualize sleeve adjustment for a unisex top that I like except for the drop shoulders (Burda 3797).  I just started learning to sew recently, and am still a novice.  The Double is helping me to understand the "theory" of sewing a lot better; it complements my instructor's explanations very well.

Return to the table of contents.


added Feb. 4, 1998

I have completed my DTD with help from my DH.  He was so gentle and patient throughout the taping process.  I have MANY curves so taping took us about 4
hours from the time we began to time of cutting tape off.  Might have gone a little faster if hadn't had television on.  But my feet/legs were nearly
killing me by end of project.

I elected to wrap myself in plastic wrap rather than use t-shirt and went with 1 1/2" PVC pipe (no hanger).  I probably have 6-7 hours in
taping/marking/stuffing and approximately $30 in materials.  I felt like David Page-Coffin's statement in his article regarding having a working form ready
in less that two hours for no more that $15 was rather misleading.  But I am glad to have her and looking forward to sewing for myself again.  Probably
haven't done that in over 10 years and 30 pounds ago.

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?  This problem was bad
enough when cutting the tape with scissors.  I have elected to make a body cover of swimsuit fabric to pin to unless you assure me otherwise.

Thanks so much for your contribution to Threads magazine.  I will be taking my DTD to our American Sewing Guild meeting this next Monday and sharing her with
the members and encouraging them to make their own DTD.  Thanks again.

Debbie VanHoecke aka:
Belton, MO
Return to the table of contents.


 Just had to tell you that my daughter taped me up today and 'Tillie' looks amazingly like me -- sad for her I must say!  I have stuffed 'Tillie' but have to re-arrange the lower half.  Too much stuffing in back and not enough in the front.  I measured the waist and it is exactly my measurement.  I put a denim shirt on her and she looked so much like me it was scary!  Can't wait to actually size a pattern on her.  I must tell you -- I was lying in bed the other night thinking about making ''Tillie' and thinking about how I would stand her up, etc.  and Bing!  I remembered a brass suit valet stand  my  husband was no longer using  which was sitting in a corner of
the basement.  I draped Tillie over that, taped her up and began stuffing. Stuffing was not simple tho but I think with the re-arranging she will be

Thanks for your great idea and all your help
P.S  when you said a size 10 needed 1 1/2 rolls of tape, I decided to purchase 10 rolls.  A bit too many!! I used two rolls and barely a part of a third!!!

Thanks  Cathy in Colorado

Return to the table of contents.


Chapter 3
The DTD is now known as Mabel II, so please show the proper respect.

The fifth bag of polyfill did the trick - and I used all but a handful. The bottom piece was attached to Mabel by cutting a paper pattern first, then cutting the foam core.  This was a great time to check the symmetry of Mabel II, and I found the tube was not at a perpendicular to the floor, so did a bit of rearranging polyfill around the tube and straightened that out.  The bottom piece was fit into the tape just at the edge on the inside and taped.

At this point I did some careful measuring of critical spots to assure she actually was my duplicate because I was very suspicious of some of the lumps, bulges and sagging spots!!  :>) DH was pretty careful, actually, as I needed changes that were very minor in the bust area [he taped me a bit too tightly] and tummy area [he taped a bit too loose].  I cut a slit 4" behind the bust, and under the arm, and inserted more polyfill and used the stick to pack it.  Measure, and stuff, measure and stuff - and THEN rearrange some. Now, the poor thing needed some sort of clothing.  I picked up a great lycra cotton remnant, sewed it into a tube that would just fit over the hip  [largest area] and pulled it down over the form.  Skin tight, covers all the creases and patches and other blemishes and can be pulled off and washed.  As a final decorating touch, I put a very thin layer of batting over each boob to smooth out the ecrunchie look.  Mabel II was pleased with that touch, and then was really happy when I tied a lovely satin cord around her waist in a nice mauve color.

Thanks Leah, for the great encouragement and instructions on your page.  I have wanted a form for over a year, and just could not afford the prices.

DeAnn, Mabel II and DH

Return to the table of contents.

Leah's Mom



Hi All,

I just finished Taping my Mom and thought you'd like to know the outcome.

Supplies used:
6, 20 oz. bags of poly fill
2 large rolls of tape

My Mom weighs about 160 pounds. Taping took about 2 hours. Stuffing took about 2 hours.
I haven't put a head on it yet, but am very pleased with the results.

I did discover that wrapping with long, continuous strips created a very secure form and am going to change the instructions to reflect this. It came out much more accurate than others I'd done. And it went faster too.

Mom                                    Double
bust = 40"                           bust = 39 1/2"
waist = 37"                         waist = 37"
hip = 42"                             hip = 42"

Return to the table of contents.

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.