Are you interested in making your own clothing, but don’t want to buy an expensive mannequin? Are you having problems finding a mannequin with dimensions similar to your own? This fun project will cost less than $50, and will only take a few hours to complete. It will allow you to make a personalized mannequin with supplies found in the average household.
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Step 1: Materials Required
- 1 fitted t-shirt
- 1-2 rolls of high-strength duct tape (Professional Strength Duck Tape works well)
- 8-12 sheets of paper towels
- Stuffing (We used cotton stuffing, but you can use anything similar)
- Two 2’x2’ cardboard sheets
- Hanger (A metal hanger would be best)
Note: A friend will be needed to help with the taping portion of this project.
Step 2: Put on the T-Shirt
Put the fitted t-shirt on the person you wish to size your mannequin to.
Step 3: Extend the Shirt
Extend the t-shirt using paper towels to right below the hips and up to the neck (like a turtle neck). Tape the paper towels to the bottom and top of the t-shirt. They can be taped either to the inside or outside of the shirt.
- · You will need a friend to help you starting on this step of the project.
Step 4: Tape Around the Bust
Start taping under the bust.
Make a tight circle all the way around the body.
Step 5: Add Chest Definition
Tape an “X” from shoulder to bust.
This will ensure definition of the chest.
Step 6: Complete Cover the Shirt in Tape
Tape up the rest of the shirt using long horizontal strips from the bottom to the top. Make sure not to make bumps or creases in the tape. If bumps occur try to smooth them out, otherwise you’ll need to restart from Step 2.
- Avoid puffing out the chest or sucking in the gut. This will alter the shape of your body, and ultimately the fit of your clothing.
- Try to keep the tape horizontal so that overlapping does not distort the body.
Step 7: Cut Through the Shirt
Using scissors, have your friend help you cut a straight line down the middle, back of the duct tape. Cut both the shirt and the tape.
Warning: Be extra careful not to cut the model with the scissors.
Step 8: Remove the Shirt
Take off the shirt with the duct tape layer.
Step 9: Reseal the Shirt
Line up the edges where you cut the duct tape. Ensure that the two pieces do not overlap, then tape it back together.
Step 10: Seal the Neck and Arms
Cut pieces of the cardboard out in the shape of the neck, arm, and bottom holes of the mannequin. Place pieces in their respective spots, then tape them in place. This cardboard is there to prevent stuffing from coming out, so the shape doesn’t need to be perfect.
- Be sure to cut a hole for the hanger in the cardboard piece that will fill the neck hole of the mannequin.
Step 11: Stuff the Mannequin
Stuff the mannequin through the bottom hole with your stuffing. Fill out the mannequin so that it’s fully supported. Avoid over-stuffing the mannequin. It should be filled out but not bloated.
Warning: Be gentle when working with the hanger. If you use a plastic one, it’s easy to break during this step. If it does break, you may need to return to step 9. We were able to tape ours back together.
Step 12: Seal the Base
Place a piece of cardboard over the bottom hole and tape it up
Step 13: Congratulations!
Now you have a mannequin with your measurements to sew your clothing. Good luck!