Paper Tape Dress Form – Chapter 2
Annette, my boss, did the actual taping. She has a good eye and I thought she would do the project well without rushing. Plus she’s fun!
1. BASIC OUTLINE: Annette got the paper taping technique down on the second strip.
We started with doing the first basic crisscrosses on the bust line, back, and around the midriff. She first filled in my upper back and shoulders. We used mostly long medium and thin strips, crisscrossing them. Crosshatching is really important to the forms structural integrity. This part was fairly fast.
2. UNDERARMS: If we were to go back and do this again we would have done the underarm much higher, more shaped, and stronger in the initial stages rather than after. Instead it was toward the end when I wasn’t able to lift my arms very high. Wide short strips suit the side part and smaller strips to shape the armhole better.
3. BREAST: A variety of tapes (as you can see from the picture) was used to do the chest bone and then mostly very small strips for the breasts. I stressed the important of the breasts as I had done a duct-tape form before and the breasts shape came out a disaster. Bad breasts and the form could be ruined. So, the breasts got crosshatched the most and took a long time. They were very sturdy and well shaped by the end! I’m very pleased!
4. LOWER BACK: This part was the worst! I have an old lower back injury and being frozen into one particular shape was torture. If I did this again (and if you too, dear reader, have back issues) I would do the butt and front area first and the lower back last. At any rate, larger longer strips wrapping from the front to the back and vice versa was used.
5. HIPS/BUTT: Almost done! This was done quickly with several big strips crosshatching on the butt area. Then I was wrapped mummy-style from front to back with wide horizontal strips. Annette taped me all the way to mid-thigh. You could probably stop right under the butt but I liked the extra length.
6. Optional: SHOULDERS: Finally! I hated waiting for this last part but I was determined to get the shoulders in too. Most paper-dress forms I’ve seen end before the shoulders and they just get the shape of the armhole. However, I want to do lots of shirts and dresses with nice sleeves fitted to my shoulders. At this point, Annette was running out of time and I was desperate to get out of my paper tape coffin. So she just ran some big medium sized strips vertically down far enough to get the shape and I strengthened them later.
Here is the final product before cutting…
7. Time to CUT! The best way is to make two cuts, one from the bottom and one from the top. Annette did the two cuts and was just about to free my lower back when her phone rang! ACK! Luckily she kept it quick and with one or two more cuts I was free!
Hindsight is 20/20
A few things I wish we had done differently.
- Do the armholes early on BEFORE you get locked in and can’t raise your arms well.
- If you have back issues do that area last. For example, my lower back sucks so that should have been done last.
- If you have more time and patience I suggest using smaller, crosshatching strips for the entire form as it makes a huge difference in getting your correct shape and structural integrity. As it was, I still got a great shape and we kept it to 2 hours. I don’t think I could have stood any longer anyways!
- After the fact, I would have done the neck even higher than I asked Annette to do originally as I would have had the option to do even higher necklines and chokers. Although, I could probably do a separate pieces myself and just add it on.
In the next chapter we have the steps for after the form has been cut off. Stay tuned!