Hello Dolly!

I spent a fun Saturday with my friend making Dolly. The instructions were from Thread magazine and to make her we used about a kilometre of duct tape, a coat hanger, a tall cardboard tube, one table leg and a breadboard (yes that made for an odd shopping list).

This is how we did it:

1) Drink, eat and wee before your start (once you get going you won’t be able to move enough to do any of these things)

2) Put on some decent underwear (i.e. a good bra) and cover that with an old t-shirt that you don’t mind doing without, wrap any bits that this doesn’t cover in cling film (neck and lower hips)

3) Cut your duct tape into various lengths – I used two 500m rolls of silver tape.  I understand that there is a danger that some types of tape shrink but Threads did recommend Duck tape which you can buy in the UK from B&Q.  You will need some really short bits and some longer bits (say up to half a metre in length).


4)  Get someone to wrap the tape around you quite tightly.  We wrapped it horizontally around my waist and hips and crossed it over the bust area, using smaller bits to fill in the holes and crevices.  You need to put about 3 layers of tape.  We finished with a bit of white tape to mark my waist, shoulders and centre back and front.

A Jane Suit

5) Carefully cut up the back through the duct tape and the t-shirt (avoiding your bra and any bits of flesh that might be in the way) and remove.

6) Make two notches at the top of the cardboard tube for the coat hanger to sit in and tape securely.  The tube we used was a bit shorter than me (you need one at least as tall as your height to the base of your neck).  The base of the tube is supported on a stand made using an upturned table leg screwed onto a bread board.

7) Tape shoulder pads into the shoulders and lady lumps to keep their definition, then place the dummy over the coat hanger and tape up the back.

8) Stuff the dummy as tightly as you can.  She turned out to be very greedy!

9) Check the dummy’s measurements against your own before finishing her.  I found the waist on my dummy was quite a bit bigger than my real waist. I think because I had been moving around as I was wrapped.  To remedy this we cut darts into the tape shell to reduce the size and then re-taped the holes back up.

10) Cut bits of cardboard to go into the arm, neck and hip holes and taping them securely in place to stop the stuffing coming out.

11) Compare your height to the base of your neck to that of your dummy and alter the length of card board tube to match.

It took us the best part of a day to make her.  The wrapping didn’t take long at all but the stuffing was quite time consuming and  fiddly.

I’ll probably have a go at tidying her up and decorating her when I have a chance but in the mean time I was glad to see she fitted into my new Beignet skirt beautifully!


6 thoughts on “Hello Dolly!

  1. I’ve seen articles on making one of these, but never tried it – I must admit that my second hand dress form doesn’t honestly represent my figure
    I might have a go at this. It actually sounds rather fun.

  2. I made one this September (2012). She is rather greedy (I liked that expression). She took three garbage bags of machine shredded newspaper. I wanted to use sawdust but that deal fell through. She fits my jackets quite well. I have one problem – I used a wooden hanger at her shoulders but the dang hook came off when I lifted her up. I have however decided that I will buy a piece of 4 x 4 plank, have it cut to the height of my legs up to just under my hips, attach a piece of board the same diameter as my form and glue it to the top of that. I think I will also attach a piece of board to the bottom of the plank and put coasters on those.

    I was thinking to have a swivel so I can turn the form from the top of the 4 x4 but I do not know how to do that.

    Any ideas anyone?

    • I like the idea of resting it on a bit of board. I must admit that mine’s developed a bit of a tilt as I pulled a bit too hard on a top I was putting over its shoulder. I probably need to have a play with the cardboard tube but that will mean cutting her open and restuffing her.

      Mine twists around because the cardboard tube slots over the table leg. It is a useful feature to have.

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