Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Duct Tape Dress Form

Here are pictures of my Mother's Day dress form. My oldest daughter asked what I wanted for Mother's Day. As I have said before, I have not sewn for myself in a really long time, and I lack someone to help me fit and measure patterns BEFORE cutting into the fabric. I decided that a dress form would be just the ticket. However, when I began to price them, I was shocked at the cost of a good one and the poor reviews of the cheaper ones. So, I began to search the Internet for alternative ideas and came across an old Threads magazine article about duct tape dress forms. After reading through the directions, I knew I could do it but decided that my daughter would be a better taper than my husband. When she asked what she could do for me for Mother's Day, I had my answer ready.

For those of you who have never done this, let me provide the simple directions: You put on an oversized t-shirt with your usual undergarments and have a friend (preferably) wrap you in duct tape until the entire torso is covered. Then, they split the back with scissors to cut you out of the tape. Once out, you splice the back together again, stuff with a filler (I used newspapers), create a cardboard bottom to allow it to stand up, and voila' you are forever captured in duct tape.

I expected this to be a painful ordeal, but I must say it was not too bad. The entire taping took a little over an hour to accomplish. The duct tape was constricting, but my daughter was careful enough to leave the tape slightly loose to allow the occasional deep breaths that I needed to keep my brain adequately oxygenated. Also, with the layers and body involvement, there is a loss of mobility--which means that I could not sit down or move my arms or shoulders. My legs got really tired and slightly achy, so I walked around the livingroom a couple of times to get the blood moving back toward my heart and avert venous stasis development (always the nurse).

Once out of the wrappings, I spliced the back together again and began stuffing myself with crumpled newspaper. I found that the slick paper from coupons worked the best around the edges, slipping right into the various curves of my torso. My husband walked through twice and watched the proceedings but had little to say. That was probably a good thing, since the visual of myself was shocking. I knew that I had gotten bigger over the years, but how big could not be ignored--duct tape does not lie. Talk about a rude awakening--that was enough to put me into a bad mood forever. However, I saw no benefit from pouting. The truth was there in sticky silver--I have gotten too big and cannot excuse myself anymore.

Once packed, my husband cut cardboard ovals to use as an inner support and a base. I told him to make the inner one slightly smaller. He started to answer, then probably thought better of it. I know what he was thinking: what's the difference? She's as big up here as she is down there, but God love him, he kept the comment to himself. A very good plan on his part!

We secured the cardboard with more duct tape and set the headless monstrosity on a bar stool stand. My daughter commented that a beheaded Mom torso was quite troubling. I thought that a fat beheaded Mom torso was the pits, but I kept my thoughts to myself, too.

I did fit the pink top over the dress form. It is a little snug, so obviously the thing is slightly larger than I really am. However, that is no consolation prize. The truth is, I have to get back on track if I want a smaller statue come the fall. I know one thing: this is probably the best motivator that I have ever had. If this doesn't get me to drop 10 lbs or so, nothing will

The Promised Pictures

OK, so I promised to post pictures from the Simplicity pattern 4273. This is my practice top. I used knit instead of muslin to prevent waste and an additional trip to the fabric store.

I don't know if I mentioned, but there are no sewing stores in my town. There is a Hobby Lobby that has some limited fabrics, but not much that I would want to purchase for clothing. Their selection is mostly cottons for quilting and home dec fabrics. The nearest fabric store is about 20 miles away. I realize with modern transportation, this is really nothing; however, if I don't have to make the drive, I won't. Besides, I have so much material on hand, it seems silly to purchase more just to make a sample. Isn't that a waste of my precious sewing time, too?

The picture is pretty awful. I had taken it about 30 times and each one was worse than the previous one. I finally got so frustrated that I decided to just stop. So, this is the early morning look in the pink practice top. I gave up trying to take a picture in the lavendar dress. Though the hanger does not do it justice, it really looks nice on. It's a good summer look for me that basically cost me nothing since the material was straight from the stash.

Unfortunately, that was all I got to sew over my 4 days at home with the dog. I had such high expectations, but foolish things like dinner, groceries, laundry, and cleaning 7 years of crud off the kids' bathroom baseboards somehow became a priority. I think it has something to do with the eldest daughter's boyfriend coming to visit for a week in June. I don't want us to look like total slobs--just partial ones!

I did cut out a work t-shirt, but have not done anything else. Perhaps this week will be more productive.