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added May 2002

I'm so sorry I discovered your site a few weeks after laying Edith Headless to rest (couldn't convince her to gain 30 pounds LOL!). Pictures would have been hilarious!

Edith was a pants double, about the length of bicycle shorts, since that's where my fitting problems end. I wore pantyhose a size larger than my normal one, and my mom did the taping. I stood with my normal posture to be sure that we captured my fitting challenges (14" difference between waist and hips, only an inch between bottom rib and hip bone, fluffy tail feathers, well-developed quadriceps).

Cutting the form off was quite the challenge. I wish I'd known about bandage scizzors. I ended up with matching cuts on either side of my waist as my mom struggled to cut into the ditch that is my waist.

We used paper plates as the bottoms of the legs and across the top of the waist. To get the plates in without losing the shape, we ended up cutting the pantyhose and pulling them out.

Since there's no good way to put a stand on a pants form, I put pantyhose on her, bunched up the waist of the pantyhose, tied a cord around that (like closing a bread bag), and hung her from that.

I can't wait to make a new one!

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added May 2002

I have two tales to tell.... one of my "Sabrina" (my DTD) and Wicked Pat (the DTD of my good friend Wendy)

I pored over your website thoroughly and read the instructions about 40 times before my friend Michelle and I got started on Sabrina. I HIGHLY recommend that you have a "sewing" friend tape you up, rather than a non-sewing friend because they'll have a better understanding of what's going on. I would like to say that the main reason for my wanting a DTD was because of my size and disproportionately large hips. In ready-to-wear I'm overall about a 24, but the tops of dresses tend to be loose while the hips are REALLY snug. (my DTD's finished measurements were something like 52-46-61).

Michelle was a great taper. VERY snug through the waist and a little too tight in the hips (we were 3'' too small and I had to add onto the OUTSIDE of the form with stuffing and tape but the result was still VERY realistic).

My only recommendation is that maybe a long sleeve shirt, or a turtleneck with another t-shirt bottom sewn on would be a better idea.... I got the tape stuck to my arms during both my taping and the taping I did on someone else. Also when I finished mine, she had little "arms" but I found that they made my finished garments hang funny so I amputated them.

I have Sabrina standing on a heavy carpet roll that's mounted into a PVC toilet flange. I drilled screws into a double layer of particle board (I bought a 3' x 6' piece and had it cut into equal halves)... with this method you could easily add leveling/locking casters and put a DTD on wheels for ease (since I'm learning to grade patterns I move around her quite a bit)

As far as the creation of my friend Wendy's "Wicked Pat"... boy can I just say that being the taper is MUCH more fun than being the tapee!!! Remember to use the ladies' BEFORE YOU start and don't drink anything after you start. Also it's important, as you stated to maintain NORMAL postures and STAND STILL. My friend Wendy has the same figure flaw that I do so after the placement of the first piece of tape, I put another tight piece where her form would end to avoid the bunching around the waist and it worked like a charm. She did the stuffing and what not herself and she is very pleased with the result. The first layer was kind of loose but I tightened her significantly during the second wrapping and since I'd had a problem with her standing still I did a third wrapping on her body. All told it took two and a half hours.

Thank you Leanna, for your instructions on how to make what I'm sure will be an invaluable tool in my sewing!

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added July 2001

Thank you so much for introducing the world to the Duct Tape Dummy. I had almost given up sewing as my body no longer matched my mind's picture. Nothing I made ever fit. Enter the duct tape dummy. I was too shy to ask anyone to do this, so I tried on my own. It is tricky, especially the parts that your arms don't reach any more. I have used my old dress form as a base. My first hanging was a little soft and I could see the whole thing caving eventually. After my form went to my school's production of West Side Story, I redid the form wrapping in flat batting and scrunching batting into the rounded parts. It is great! I have compared dressing on it and me using several garments - the same. To anyone crazy enough to try it solo, block out a big chunk of time 2-3 hours. Being alone in the house helps. I used an old T shirt and a second with the sleeve basted in the neckline. I cut up the front and them "seamed" it back together with clear tape. It allows me to get back into it if I ever
need to reform.

Thanks again for your creativity and encouragement.

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added March 25, 2000

My DH and I made my DTD. I'd love to tell you and all your website visitors about it, but I don't have time right now because I have to clean the apartment since company's coming over! But I wanted to drop you a quick line, will tell you the taping tale later. (After seeing me in the silver body cast, he kept calling me RoboChick!!)

Here's a quick suggestions:

Tip No. 1: A few people who wrote about their taping experiences also mentioned wanting to cover their doubles since they weren't too fond of the silver colour. How about this: do like I did, after she's all done and stuffed and on the stand, wrap with a final layer of masking tape. When I bought my duct tape, I noticed that masking tape was just across the aisle, in various widths. Masking tape is usually about 5/8" wide, but I found some that was 1.5" wide. Looks great. One thing to note: since masking tape is not as sticky, I'd recommend making that layer vertical. Since you probably put cloths by slipping them vertically on and off the double, if the layer was done horizontally, the clothing going on and off might start to make the edges peel off. It's not a real flesh tone, but it does look somewhat more realistic.

Tip No. 2: Don't know if anyone else cheeped out like I did. Instead of buying the batting or white cotton-like stuffing, I cheeped out and bought bags of foam chips (was half the price, looks kind of like a bag of popcorn). BAD IDEA!!!! Foam chips ended up ALL OVER the floor. And it compressed too easily. Made a huge mess, and I didn't have enough. The moral of the story, get the good stuff. Since I was stuffing at 11 at night, when I ran out of stuffing, I simply grabbed the newspaper, started balling it up, and found it worked pretty well. I ended pulling out the foam chips, and used it to stuff only the areas close to the T-shirt and tape (close to the "skin"), the arms, and neck. The center of the double was stuffed with newspaper. That may be a way to save on the bags and bags of stuffing.

When I finally go out and buy some film I'll take a pic of me and "Jo 2" and tell you (and everyone else) the whole story!

Cheers! Joanne

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added July 16, 1999

Ok Leanna, My turn! My Turn!!  To start off I am a man that loves to sew for my wife and kids and boy does my DW get aggravated with all the "Honey, can you come try this on" and "Just one more minute".  Then I just couldn't get the fit right cause patterns just don't fit her size.  Then I found a abbreviated set of your instructions on the net and Viola! I was inspired!!!!!

I finally convinced her the idea had merit and was not a sneaky husband trick!  So she valiantly stood still for me to "mummify" her.  I guess I have a sarcastic streak cause, I put the old Boris Karloff "Mummy" tape in the VCR for inspiration!!  As I had an abbreviated set of instructions I kinda made it up as I went.  First I split the t-shirt at the bottom and safety pinned it together like a pair of shorts, then I began taping...I used 18" strips of tape and went horizontally around each leg, thru the crotch and radically around her hips then up her torso to her neck.

The next layer I put on diagonally, gradually circling up her body.  She is very claustrophobic, so I had to work fast!!!!  It took 45 minutes to tape two layers and that's all I got before I had to cut her out.  I started at the neck and cut to just past the widest part of her hips, then peeled it off her arms and legs like a wet suit.

I thought expanding spray foam would be better than batting and I was right!!!!.  I stood it up and started filling it (1-20 oz Can) and allowed 6 hours for that layer to expand and set.  I realized that taping the seam wouldn't hold so I took some heavy monofiliment and sewed her back up using holes spaces 1/4 " apart and about 1/2 inch in from the edge.  As I filled I would stitch up some more until I hit her neck.  Took 3-20 oz cans total,  as I pulled the stitches tight I allowed the two sides to overlap and the foam filled out all the curves fantastically!!!!  I guess I should have put in "Frankenstein" for that part!!!

I put a heavy hanger in the top for the last and strung it to an eyebolt in the ceiling.  I chanted "It's Alive!!!" and danced a jig!!  When she saw how swaybacked she is, April understood why she was so hard to fit.  I tried several pieces I had made on her and it fit perfectly.  The greatest thing is I can now sew swimsuits, shorts and pants and SULTANA is now hung at my wife's height so I can hem and etc. and I'm always right on!!!!

Sultana is currently modeling a Stars and Stripes Bikini and "hanging out" waiting for me to get more material.
Thanx a million,
Randy Rodgers, Fairbanks Alaska
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added September 29, 1998

My sister is getting married next April and I am making her dress.  As I live in Northern California, and she lives in Southern California, the Duct Tape Double was a perfect solution to fitting problems.  I went to visit her, where we taped her up.

The tape I was using was so sticky that it took my mom and I both to get it wrapped and cut without it sticking to itself. The other problem I had was that it kept bunching up and forming wrinkles at her waist (I think she was moving her arms too much). It took 2 hours to do, and 2 rolls of tape. I cut it off with bandage scissors, packed it in my suitcase, and brought it home.

I had also taken very careful measurements of my sister, so I would have them to compare when I stuffed the body.  I have finally gotten it stuffed.  I used the PVC pipe stand idea.  I worked great!  I used 5 bags of stuffing; she is 5'10" and about a size 12.  The waist is a little bit bigger than hers, and the hips ended up kind of oddly shaped.  She is going to be here this weekend, so I will check her measurements again and try to adjust the hips.

The bunching that had happened during taping didn't end up being a problem during stuffing. I am very pleased with how it came out.  As soon as we get some cool weather, I am going to have my husband wrap me (we don't have air conditioning and I would die of the heat in that tape).

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added May 30, 1998

This was an eye-opener. I had lost more weight than I thought..just having had very major surgery and everything I have "hung" on me. Now I know why.

My hubby sat down and unrolled the tape as I very slowly turned round and round. He made clips as necessary and I kept turning until we got to over the shoulder parts...then it was onto more turning.  Took only 1 and 1/2 hours. (He even went to the fabric store and brought home bags of stuffing--until he asked why we couldn't just put it over the other form---from way back when? So I got back online and found out how others had done it....Now to get him to help me "stuff it".

Feels nice to be able to sew again...something more than just pillows, i.e.. didn't have the necessary strength before. Thanks for putting this way of doing the double online.  Hopefully, I'll be able to get my mom to let it be done on her.

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added April 2, 1998

I had been looking for a dress form for a while, but since most of the sewing that I do is Renaissance costuming, nothing worked. When I have my corset or a bodice on, my shape is *completely* different than any (reasonably priced) dress form can duplicate. When I heard about the article in Threads, I knew this was the answer. My mother and sister did an absolutely fantastic job of wrapping me. They struck the perfect balance between perfectionism and speed. (My dad ran for cover--he took a *looonnnggg walk and didn't come back until we were almost done.) It took just a little over two hours to do the wrapping. I wore my corset under the tee shirt and covered the lacings with plastic wrap.

Our observations:
        1. Two people cutting/wrapping is really an advantage.
        2. WEAR SUPPORTIVE, COMFORTABLE SHOES! I had soft flats on, and my feet and legs ached terribly.
        3. Make sure the room is relatively cool--it gets really hot in there.
        4. Go to the bathroom first! This was not a problem for me, but we could see where it could be.

I stuffed her last night, lacing the corset around the outside so that the shape and size would be right. Although, I have to admit, I kept looking at it and saying, "That can't be right! That's *way* too big!" and then measuring and finding that, yes, it *was* right. Oh, well.  I used a fabric tube for my pole; as for the stand, well, I'm really ashamed to admit this, but I picked someone's trash for it. I was driving to work one day and saw this white floor lamp base--about 30" high--sitting by someone's trash can. I argued with myself for two blocks. "You're *not* going to pick someone's trash." "But you've been thinking about this for weeks. Where else are you going to find something so perfect--for free?" My common sense finally won out over my pride and I turned around. When I got it home, the tube slipped down over the lamp pole as if it had been made for it. I guess it was meant to be.

I am going to cover her in some ivory knit fabric--since I live in a very small house and don't have a regular sewing room, she's going to have to be on display all the time. I figured that when she's not helping me fit a new costume, I'll put one of the old ones on her and stand her in a corner. Now *that* will cause some double takes until we get used to her!

Plotting Wench
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Janet & Daughter

added March 10, 1998

I can't say enough about how excited I am about the results of this project!!! It solved sooo many problems for me, I am showing it to all my friends, and encouraging them to do the same.

I sew mostly for my 18 yr. old daughter, who is a senior in high school, is in the dance company, does ballroom dancing in a youth program at a university about 25 miles away, and dates quite often.  As a consequence, she is never home, and I'm always waiting up for her to come home so I can do the next fitting.  I have even checked her out of school to come home for fittings.  No longer!!  We made her a double last month, and I can sew for her even after she goes away to college, and never need her to come for a fitting.

Because I make all her dance costumes, we modified the method to accommodate our needs, and it worked out great!  Every dance costume I've made her has trunks under it, and usually they are part of the lining, which is the first thing that I make.  So I have to be able to fit this part as easily as the rest of her.  So we used a sleeveless unitard with an old, very small, short T-shirt under it.  This gave us a way to put a crotch and legs on her double. (This would be a great way to make a pants fitting form.)  We also taped the sleeves of the T-shirt so that I could fit those tight-fitting sleeves and armholes.  The unitard fit very smoothly and made it really easy to do a nice job taping.  And for her neck, I just grabbed a piece of interlock I had laying around, and taped it to the neck of the T-shirt while she was wearing it.  This allowed me to get a nice, smooth fit there also.  I only taped about 3 inches down the legs of the unitard, and used the excess leotard to close off the bottom of the legs.  I didn't need anything else to help them hold their shape.

We put a wooden hanger in the top, and I hang it from the ceiling in my sewing room.  Because it is hanging, it is not a stable as a floor stand, so I hung it close to the wall so that I can give it just a little push against the wall if I need it to be very stable, like when I am pinning in to it.  It is very easy to spin around, and very easy to work on.

The first project I made for her using the double was a Standard gown for her Ballroom dancing.  These are the ones for Waltz, Tango, Fox Trot, & Quickstep, with the huge, full fluffy skirts.  The bodice and sleeves needed to fit like a glove, and I knew it would be a real test of how well her double mimicked her figure.  Well, the short version is-it was perfect!!  And we had people left and right stopping us and asking "who made your gown" and "who designed your gown" and "how much does a gown like that cost?"  (Most of these gowns are professionally designed, and made, and cost anywhere from $600 to $2000, we made hers for under $200.)  She won 3rd place in the nation in that gown, and was awarded a wonderful scholarship to the No. 1 university ballroom dance program in the country!!  And we owe it all to her DTD!---Okay, not really, but it sure helped reduce our stress!  I was able to sew her gown with her never being here for a fitting, and it fit her perfectly.  How's that for great results!

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added Feb. 13, 1998

A friend and I just duct taped each other yesterday.  I felt like Xena. Anyway, just a note on the weight of the tapes.  I asked my husband to pick up some duct tape at the Hardware store.  He got contractor grade.  My friend picked up a Scotch tape brand.  The contractor grade tape was extremely difficult to unwind and my friend had to keep making darts in it so it would curve properly on me.  It was almost impossible to do continuous strips.  When I did her using her tape, I was able to continuously wrap her, and needed to do very little darting except at the bust.  Her tape was lighter and unwrapped of the spool very easily.  When we were done, there was very little difference between the two weights of the forms.  So for anyone who has a choice of weights, I would recommend the lighter weight duct tape.  I am in the process of stuffing and have glued two shoulder pads into the breast area.  I think that I may also glue one into the tummy area if I can find one large enough.  I'm not particularly heavy, but after having two babies, I do have a little pouch there and I think that many of us are probably in the same boat.

I am very excited about getting this finished and being able to use it. I've always had a hard time adjusting patterns since I am very narrow through the back and shoulders,  long wasted and very busty.   I have always hesitated about buying a ready made dress form because I didn't think I would be able to get it accurate enough.  As soon as I saw the article in Threads, I knew I had to do this.  Thanks for sharing your ideas.

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added Feb. 10, 1998

What a trip! My sister and I were able to tape each other up today. I have stuffed myself and tomorrow I will add the bottom and do the finishing
work. Nancy and I decided three people are better than two. A neighbor came over to see what we were doing and we enlisted her help in cutting lengths
of duct tape. I am happy we did because I was the tapee at the time.

All my wonderful asymmetric points show up very clearly on the form. It also proves to me that I need to fit the gym back into my lifestyle! I am
looking forward to using it this week to make a new outfit.

Ginny Selber Jones
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added Jan. 30, 1998

My daughter helped me make my duct tape form.  I must say, it was an experience.  I'm glad I didn't eat before I started.  My form came out really nice.  We found that if you clip the tape when going around curves (bust line etc.) the tape seemed to lie better and didn't wrinkle as much.

Again, thank you for your instructions.  Have a Great Day!!

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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.