Tuesday, June 01, 2010

duct tape dresses: lessons learned

So you want to make a dress out of duct tape. Nevermind that you have no experience in such things. Nevermind the naysayers that are convinced you are simply nuts. Determination and several rolls of duct tape will you get you there.

First you need to do several internet searches about duct tape projects to get the basics down. Once you have a slight idea about how everything is put together, find a pattern to use.

I wanted to make a dress for my daughter, so I looked for an "easy-sew" pattern for a little girl dress. This was my first experience going through patterns. Each book had a section for what were supposed to be "easy" things. I found this one there and it cost about $2.

Next, buy tape. I had no idea how much I would use. I overbought because I wasn't sure. Her dress ended up being two full rolls of 22yd Duck Tape brand white duct tape, plus a little of a third roll. I've also bought one roll of flamingo pink tape and one roll of blue and green tye-dyed tape that I plan on using for embellishments at a later date.

First we measured baby to see what size dress to make. This seemed simple enough. However, I did not take into account that each piece we cut had a 5/8" seam allowance, so the little summer dress looks more like formal wear (way big on baby, but that's fine; she'll grow into it).

I wish I had pictures to document the next parts, but I don't because I was not that forward-thinking. If I ever do this project again I'll do better about taking pictures.

My Sister helped with this project. Next we took long pieces of duct tape and overlapped them, sticky side up. About every foot we went over the sticky part with cling wrap. We did this until we had one large sheet of "material" to use. The pattern told us how big of a piece we needed. It took us about two hours to make a 4.5'x4.5' piece. (I can't imagine doing this by myself - it seemed like a two-person job to us.)

At this point Sister declared she couldn't have any more fun playing duct tape games with me and I was on my own to interpret the greek that is reading a dress pattern. Honestly, I halfway read the pattern and halfway just used common sense to figure out how the pieces went together.

When choosing the pattern I did not look closely enough to see that parts of it were actually ruffled. When I came to that part it took me a little while to figure out how to ruffle duct tape. I ended up making pleats and holding them with scotch tape and then attaching it to the dress with duct tape. It was an adventure, and finished it, but I felt like I was reinventing the wheel throughout the process.

(back of dress - note the tie!)

(close-up of collar)

Another unforseen problem with a white dress out of duct tape is that it's very difficult to photograph. Light bounces off of it, making it look shiny. Nice, but loses all detail.

(front of dress)

I should note that initially baby was afraid of the dress. I tried to show it to her and she turned around and ran in the other direction. This happened several times that I tried to show it to her on Saturday after we finished it.

However, last night she put it on and pranced all over the house. It was huge on her, but she didn't care. We kept telling her how pretty she looked and she owned it.

Totally fierce.

Would I do it again? Yes, but not for a while.


Cerulean Bill said...

That's not really duct tape, is it? It looks so... normal!

genderist said...

You underestimated me, Bill. :) heh

Kelly Hill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kelly said...

This is unbelievable!!! I must see a picture of her wearing this!

Kelly said...

Yes, we need to see it adorned by the model herself =) Wow, I am IMpressed. I can barely color an entire picture let alone make a dress out of the stuff my husband worships! Haha, good job!!!

genderist said...

Kelly H and Kelly N - I emailed you one. Did you get it?

bill said...

Well, I am surprised. It looks almost normal. Not sure what i was expecting, but something more... ragtag, patched up, something from Lilo Abner's Dogpatch? Well, you may not know what that is, guess I was expecting something more...unfinished.
Congratulations to you and your ingenious ideas.

Ashley said...

OK, so call me dumb, but I am confused. Did you only use duct tape and saran wrap to make this? Or did you use duct tape and material instead of sewing it? want to see a picture of her wearing it too!

Kelly H. said...

Got it! She looks so proud to be wearing her Mama's creation. Very cute :)

Marian said...

I was in Michael's craft store this evening and they had a duct tape dress (similar pattern to yours) on display. Yours looks just as good as theirs, though they did theirs in stripes. Cool.

Teacher Angst said...

I want a pic too...and what possessed you to do this???