Celebrating Ingenuity

More than just about anything else craft-related in this world, I covet a dress form. I'm not kidding--I lie around and daydream about the far-off day when I have the $300 to spend on one. On that day, every sewing project I undertake will be different. I will be able to fit things--fit things, I tell you--that I am making for myself. I will be able to drape fabrics. The possibilities for what I will be able to do will be endless.

Sadly, it is going to be a long, long time before I have that kind of discretionary spending.

If you're like me, you've been nodding your head in sad acknowledgment as you read this. Well, nod sadly no more, my friends. Blogger MJ over at Making Do with the Not So New has come up with a solution. When she wanted a dress form in order to fit clothes for a squirmy toddler, she didn't throw up her hands and whimper about the cost. Oh no, she did something about it, and made a dress form out of duct tape and scrap fabric!

Now, if you're going to do this for yourself, you are going to need someone to help you, because it involves close wrapping of the body with duct tape. Happily, Mr. Scrimp is the type who will think this is hilarious and I shouldn't have too much trouble talking him into swathing me in duct tape from the neck down, especially if it means I no longer drag him into the sewing section at our local JoAnn Fabrics to sigh over dressmaker's dummies.

You can find the tutorial here. If you do it before I get it finished and posted about, please comment or email me and let me know. I'm intensely curious to know if this is really as easy as it looks.


  1. You can also use the brown package tape, the kind you have to wet down, or paper mache. I find that ductape forms work poorly on anyone who has curves. I made one years ago and the inward curve of my back pressed out. I think there is a way to correct it using careful tape application but my next attempt is going to be paper mache. :-)

  2. so so brilliant. I'm going to do this on Lily. She LOVEs dresses and when I make things for her, but if I try to pin something on her to get the fit right she declares that she doesn't like it (because it doesn't feel right yet!) and expalining to her that I'm going to fix it does no good at this age. Thrilling her with a perfectly fitted dress is a brilliant idea. Actually, I bought a cookie cutter Walmart party dress for $15 (it was cream with gold embroidery) and then let her pick out an organza (pink with silvery sparkles) and I'm going to make a fancy poofy tucked skirt to go over the dress with a bow in the back. She's going to freak out when she sees it all done. We are taking her to the Nutcracker and I don't want her to see it till it's done. ;] I've actually looked for children sized dress forms and NONE of them were adjustable!!! How lame is that? Kids grow so fast too... you'd have to spend like a hundred bucks every 6 months to keep up with their growing! Duct tape is so much cheaper. ;] Actually, the duct tape idea is really great for anyone because dress forms (I've used them a lot and have one) NEVER fit right. There is always some padding and tweaking that has to happen to get them close and then they still don't match up just right with a real person. I bet you'll like your duct-taped dress for a lot more than if you did have the money to buy a "real" one. :]

  3. I forgot to put this link in that post, but there are some directions for grown ups (fitting around the bust, etc.)


  4. I did it years ago with my sewing group. It was from a article in Threads magazine. I'll try and dig up my copy and let you know which issue. Perhaps their website has an archive of articles and would have it. It was a riot to do in a group. We used old tee shirts underneath.



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