January 3, 2011

Duct Tape Dress

Difficulty: Medium
Time: 12 hours
Price: $15

I've wanted to wear a duct tape dress to a formal-ish event for a while. And not once of those colored-duct-tape-prom-contest-creations. I wanted to go the real route: use good old hardware store duct tape and make fashion happen from there.

To start the dress, I sewed a base out of cheap black fabric from a pattern. Since this was getting covered up, it was pretty ugly. I also made a fleecy top to go between the dress and my upper body to make it more comfortable.

Next, I enlisted the help of my brother to tape up the top. Wearing the black, he taped over the top until all of the black was covered up and also self supportive. Then, we cut me out of the dress top from the behind. To make the back close again, I used grommets and lace to make a corset back.

I wanted to make an architectural skirt. To pattern it, I put the dress on my duct tape dress form and balanced it on a stool and a few Harry Potter books until it was the same height as me. I used poster paper to make the skirt pieces.

Then, I just taped over the skirt pieces to cover the paper. The hardest part here was making the duct tape strips parallel and determining how little of the backs needed to be covered without leaving any visible paper. Easy as that! It only required two rolls of tape.
First panel: _____________________ All but the last:

My mom said it looked like a Frank Gehry building - I don't really disagree.

I wore the finished dress to a prom themed party. Getting into it required an assistant. Once it was on, I had no problems dancing!

The only problem with the dress was getting up stairs. This was more or less impossible, because the dress was basically an inflexible cone around my legs and I couldn't lift it up. My friend's boyfriend decided to remedy the situation by carrying me up the stairs. Amazingly, he didn't damage the dress, so points for durability?

My friend and I did a photoshoot of the dress in my garage to go with the hardware store theme of the dress. Unfortunately, the lighting wasn't great, and all we had was a point-and-shoot, but I'm still happy with the results. Also, it was my first time with non-costume makeup!