Picture of Make a sewing pattern from a packing tape mould
Make a sewing pattern by covering an object with a plastic bag and wrapping in packing tape.

I made a sewing pattern for a bike helmet cover, but this technique can be used to make a pattern for just about any object, even people!

Step 1: Cover and wrap the object

Picture of Cover and wrap the object
Cover the object with a thin plastic bag. A dry-cleaning bag is a good weight for this. Now wrap the object in packing tape. I cut lengths of around a foot (30cm) to make it easier, but the important thing is that you want to wrap the object tightly! Your packing tape will get lots of wrinkles - that's fine. Baggy bits? Just go over them again with more tape. Make sure the entire object is completely covered.
I did something similar to this once and the idea may have also occured to others... Instead of using tape I used that clear plastic wrap used in shipping. Word to the wise... While this can work a bit I think this tape idea is better because I found as I cut my pattern the wrap material shrunk a little once the pressure of being wrapped around something was off. Your tape idea is much more stable I'll have to try it!
djsfantasi3 years ago
Great instructable! I followed this as an example in order to create a "skin" for my animatronic penguin. My model is only a skeleton and I had trouble covering it with a plastic bag. When applying tape, it did not follow the contours of the body, but rather stuck to the bag and created "hollows" in between the "ribs" of the skeleton.. When I cut the tape away, I used a paint brush to cover the sticky side with flour to make it non-sticky.
Leo46134 years ago
I liked this when I found it, used it to make a pattern for making play helmets for my nephew. Then I thought, Why not make another, not cut it in half. instead stuff it and have a head form? So I did
Now I have a head form/Hat rest with hidden storage. The can I used as a base is on it's lid so I can make use of the inside to store things.
It will look better when I paper machie (? spelling?? lol) it up.
Play Helmet07.jpgPlay Helmet08.jpg
Seelos5 years ago
Excellent method, clearly explained. Thanks!
coraxonyx5 years ago
This is a great idea! A few of us have made dress dummies using the same principles, but your technique expands the idea and is very clever and straighforward. Thanks for the idea.
piaferre5 years ago
great idea, very simple and so usefull.
I saw something similar to this ages ago used to make a personal, accurate dress form and had forgotten how they did it. Thanks for the idea and thanks for refreshing my memory!
duct tape Have the person put on an under shirt and wrap them semi firmly in duct tape. You can then make a single cut up the front/back/either side and tape the form off of them in relatively one piece that is easy to tape closed again. Then you stuff the form with just about anything: crumpled paper, plastic grocery bags, poly-fill, etc... Viola, a dress form to match a specific person!
don_juanila5 years ago
Great first instructable! The mind boggles at other patterns I could make with this technique, thanks!
Simply brilliant! Thanks for posting!
Bug2k5 years ago
This is a fine idea. I can see making soft plush toys from hard model designs.
Yep, it works.
whiteoakart5 years ago
This is very similar to how we design seat covers for automotive seating! This can also be used to make stuffed animals, but that's a bit more complex patterning. Great job!
Quipe5 years ago
Wow, this technique would be really useful! I've been surfing instructables for weeks, trying to decide on a fabric project that would be easy as my first project - you've just made everything seem just easier! Thanks so much :D
megg (author) 5 years ago
thanks for the nice comments - i can feel the sparks of inspiration! i'd love to see someone use this for a project for a more complex shape.
Lizander megg5 years ago
I might use this to make a plush version of the Halo 3 ODST Helmet!! or maybe I'll use it to make a wearable version (instead of paper, put it on cardboard then hot glue it together!!! :D )?!?!
Lizander5 years ago
Dude! this is sick!! now I can make that helmet cover (airsoft) that I wanted!!! and for like 5 bucks as to 15!!
seamster5 years ago
This is great!
Uncle Kudzu5 years ago
so you say we can make people with this method? wonder how would i get a beautiful girl to stand still long enough to make a pattern? nah, too ambitious; never mind that just now. i may, however, attempt to make a soft version of my current avatar, Mr. Hard Head. but seriously, excellent instructable! well executed in every respect.
Wow, that's GENIUS! Thanks so much for explaining it so clearly, I'm really excited about this! I've been wanting a riding helmet cover for awhile now. Yay! I'll be linking to this as well.
iectyx3c5 years ago
Clever and useful for other 3D modeling projects as well. Good job!
megg (author) 5 years ago
thanks, guys!
theRIAA5 years ago
VERY cool and useful. great job!