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Best friends ever.

2007 August 16
by Hélène Martin

I got wrapped in duct tape. I now have a perfect dress form (commercial value: few hundred bucks; value to make: $14).

Notice the shoulder slant and the hip asymmetry — those important features are hard to capture with a commercial dress form.

  • 2 very close friends (yay for asking people to pat your ass)
  • At least 80yds of duct tape (I’m not very big and we used it nearly all up)
  • One old t-shirt
  • Extra fabric scraps
  • At least two pounds of fiberfill or some other stuffing material (plastic bags, for example)
  • Something clever to use for a base
  • 2hrs

I started with a large t-shirt I didn’t care about which I took in to be very fitted. I added some muslin to the bottom, sleeves and neckline so that I could get all the important details (neck width, arm circumference, widest part of the hip). My lovely friends cut long strips of tape and started wrapping me from the bottom. They criss-crossed at the bust line, at the waist and around the shoulder blades to get the right contour.

We did the second layer in white so that it would be easy to mark. Unfortunately, 20yds is not enough for a full layer so the top is silver. Two layers gives a pretty sturdy shell. Be sure to do this on a day that is not too warm: duct tape does not breathe. This is not advisable for people who have a fear of constriction or small places. Although you do not need to wrap particularly tightly, the feeling of total incapacitation once fully wrapped is not for the faint of heart. I also lost circulation in my legs from standing still for so long.

Once completed, the shell was cut from bottom to top at center back. I don’t have a picture of it standalone, but it impressively kept its shape very well. I put in stuffing from top to bottom taping the back closed as I went.

I haven’t come up with a particularly clever way of making the thing stand on its own, yet, but I’ll be looking around this weekend. I stuck a cardboard shipping tube down the middle to make it my height, but it’s not sturdy. I imagine something like a Christmas tree stand would work well.

The thing is easy to pin to, an eerily-exact replica of me and actually feels close to human. Pure creepy.

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