|Violetta, dressed in pearls|
That's when I started discovering all the online tutorials for Duct Tape dressmaker's mannequins!! Eureka!! I enlisted my husband (I'm doing a sewing project for him, making seat covers for his vintage car, so I figured he owed me a couple of hours of time) and I went to the store for supplies. I reviewed dozens of tutorials, and explained to hubby what he was about to do. And being a man, he listened to... some of it. And of course, he was sure he had a better way. We took lots of process photos but they all kept inserting sideways, so I'll only share those that are aiming the right way.
Right here, I'd better say, this is NOT a tutorial. As a matter of fact, I don't even recommend you try to follow the tutorials you might find. Because, you see, they might indicate that it is EASY to build a duct tape mannequin, and I'm here to tell you, they are LYING. It is a serious challenge and you might not be too thrilled with the results.
Instructions say to start with a tight firm wrap around the waist (over a slim fit garment; I was wearing a thin knit), which my husband did, but then he began to deviate from my direction. As a result, it was not as snug as it should be, as you can see below.
Isis was very curious abou the crazy ongoings in our living room.
In the photo below you can see that my left shoulder is lower than the right .
Then, the next job was to tape it back together. This might have been the most challenging part of the whole project, but not one of the tutorials mentioned that! At that point, I sat the dummy in a chair and found something else to do. I was tired of Duck tape.
My husband, wonderful man that he is (no kidding) cut a 2x2 piece of wood that I had bought, and build a support for the body that you will see in the photos below. I cut cardboard for the ends of the arms and neck, inserted them and sealed them with Duck tape. I also cut a piece for inside the waist, and for the bottom of the body.
The tutorials mostly said to stuff the dummy with pillow stuffing (though a few used wads of newspaper and a couple actually used spray foam). I bought a big 10 pound box so that I could stuff it tightly. Big mistake. Stuffing it tightly makes it stretch, and stretching in places caused wrinkling in others. It was bad. I know I'm not skinny, but it started to bulge uncomfortably. In the end, I took most of the stuffing out, leaving in the barest minimum to hold the shape. And honestly, I think it turned out somewhat OK, though not quite what I anticipated. I'd still like a real dressmaker's mannequin, if I can ever find one that has my proportions. Anyhow, Violetta (my mannequin) now is in my art studio room, where I also sew, and she has been trying on some of my clothes, such as this former sewing project:
Sideways, I know, but here I am with my new twin!