DIY DUCT TAPE HOMECOMING DRESS - Maddie Ryles
How to Make a Duct Tape Dress
If you want to make an impression and stand out at your next formal dance, consider making a duct tape dress! The finished outfit looks impressive, but it is actually quite simple to make. You will need to use a sewing pattern to construct the dress, but you don't need to use a sewing machine to assemble it. Once you know how to make a basic dress, you can make all sorts of unique and interesting outfits!
Cutting the Pattern
Take your measurements to figure out which pattern size you need.Sewing patterns do not always correspond to the clothing sizes sold in stores. For example, if you were a size 6, your sewing pattern size might actually be a 12. Look at the chart on the back of the pattern, then take your own measurements in the corresponding areas.
- In most cases, you only need to measure you bust, waist, and hips. Sometimes, you'll have to measure from the base of your neck down to your waist.
- If you don't own a measuring tape, ask the employee at the cutting counter in a fabric store. They usually have 1 that you can borrow.
Find a pattern for the style of dress you want to make.The simple, beginner-level patterns work the best for this because they use minimal seams. They are also much quicker to make than other types of dresses, and often don't require things like boning or lining.
- Patterns are usually sold in specific size ranges, so you'll need to buy the range that contains your size.
Cut out all of the pieces for your pattern.When you look at sewing patterns, they won't just have a single outline, they will have multiple outlines. Find the one that corresponds to your size, then cut along that line.
- The lines usually vary to make them easier to distinguish them from one another. For example, a size 12 may be a solid line, but a size 14 might be a dashed line.
- Read the labels on the pattern pieces. Some patterns include multiple variations of the same dress, so you should only cut the ones that you need for your version; don't cutallof the pieces out.
Pin the pieces to muslin, then cut them out.Even if you pick out the right size, there is still a chance that it might not fit you perfectly. You need to make a muslin version of your dress first. Pin the pieces to muslin fabric, then cut them out with scissors.
- If you can't find muslin, use thin cotton fabric instead. You can even use an old (but clean!) bed sheet.
- You don't need to add seam allowances. Your pattern should already include them.
- Most pattern instructions have a guide on how to pin the pieces to fabric in the most efficient way possible.
Pin the pattern pieces together along the seams.Most patterns are pretty self-explanatory, but if you need to, follow the instructions that came with the pattern. Your seam allowances will depend on the pattern, so read the instructions.
Try the dress on, then make any adjustments.You can try the dress on yourself or on a mannequin. If the dress is too tight in one area, loosen it. If it is too loose in another area, tighten it. You can do this by taking the pins out and moving them.
- If you are using a mannequin, make sure that you adjust the bust, waist, and hips to fit your measurements.
- If you had to tighten the dress, trim the seam allowances down to match the rest of the seam allowances.
- In some cases, you may have to cut a new pattern piece and make it larger or longer. Fortunately, muslin fabric is inexpensive.
Creating the Duct Tape Fabric
Take the dress apart and spread the pieces out.Make sure that the right side of the fabric is facing down. Keep the pieces organized and make sure that they are all facing in the same direction. For example, you want 1 left bodice piece and 1 right bodice piece. If you have 2 left bodice pieces, flip 1 of them over.
- Make sure that you work on top of a cutting mat. You'll need this to protect your work surface when you trim the duct tape.
Cover the pattern pieces with duct tape in overlapping layers.Choose a pattern piece to start with. Roll out a strip of duct tape long enough to cover the length of your piece, and carefully lay it down. Keep adding strips of duct tape until the entire pattern piece is covered, then move onto the next piece.
- Keep all the strips of duct tape running in the same direction. If you hit a curve, go right over it. You'll trim it down later.
- Overlap the duct tape strips by about to 1 inch (1.3 to 2.5 cm). Don't worry if the duct tape extends past the edges of the pattern piece.
Trim the duct tape to meet the edges of the fabric.Run your finger across the tape where the edges of the pattern piece should be. The thickness of the fabric should create a raised edge in the outline of the pattern piece. If you can see this, cut along the outline with a craft blade, then peel the excess tape away.
- If the fabric is too thin, peel the tape off of the cutting mat, along with the fabric pattern pieces. Flip them over, then cut the excess tape off with regular scissors.
Add any notches or darts that appear in your pattern.Flip your pattern pieces over so that you can see the fabric side. If you cut notches or darts into your fabric pieces, you should cut them into the duct tape now, using them as a guide.
- If you did not cut any notches or darts, check your paper pattern pieces. These notches and darts are important, because they will help reduce bulk.
Assembling the Dress
Sew the dress according to the pattern instructions if you know how to.Reach the instructions that came with your pattern to learn how to assemble your dress. Treat the fabric side as the "wrong" side and the duct tape side as the "right" side. Omit any linings.
- Do not press the seams with an iron, even if the instructions tell you to do so. You'll melt the duct tape.
- Each pattern is different, but in most cases, you'll need to use a straight stitch and a in (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
- Backstitch when you start and finish sewing. This will make your stitches stronger.
Tape the dress together if you don't know how to sew.Find 2 pattern pieces that go together. Choose 1 of the pieces, and peel back the fabric by the recommended seam allowance. Trim the fabric off with fabric scissors, then overlap the 2 pattern pieces. Press the tape down to seal the pieces together.
- How much you peel the backing by and how much you overlap depends on the seam allowances in the pattern. Usually, this is around inch (1.3 cm).
Scrunch your fabric to gather it, then secure it with tape.Duct tape fabric doesn't behave like regular fabric, so you can't gather it in the same way. If your pattern calls for gathering, scrunch a 2 to 4 in (5.1 to 10.2 cm) length of duct tape fabric, then fold a in (1.3 cm) wide strip of duct tape over the gathered edge to secure it. Work your way along the top edge until it is gathered.
- How much you gather the duct tape fabric depends on how long the fabric is to begin with, and how long it needs to be in the end.
Topstitch the seams down, if desired.You don't have to do this, but it will give your dress a nicer finish. Turn the dress so that you can see the seams. Sew down the hems using a straight stitch on your sewing machine and a to in (0.32 to 0.64 cm) seam allowance. Use regular scissors to cut off the excess seams as close to the stitching as possible.
- If you don't know how to sew, you can cover the seams with in (1.3 cm) wide strips of duct tape instead.
Hem your dress by folding and taping the raw edges in.Peel the fabric away from the duct tape by about inch (1.3 cm), or however wide you want your hems to be. Cut the fabric off with fabric scissors, then fold the exposed duct tape down.
- Alternatively, you can fold 1 in (2.5 cm) wide strips of duct tape over the raw edges. You can use the same color as the dress, or you can use a different color.
- If you know how to sew, you can fold the hems down by about inch (1.3 cm) towards the fabric side, then sew them down using a straight stitch.
Add the closure recommended by the pattern.Most dress patterns will have a zipper closure, which will give you the most durable and professional finish. You will need to sew it in according to the pattern instructions, however. If you don't know how to sew, you can use self-adhesive Velcro or even eyelets.
- If you are adding in a zipper, you don't have to fold the raw edges of the fabric down. Duct tape doesn't fray, after all!
- If you want to use a zipper but don't have a sewing machine, you can sew the zipper in by hand using a thread, needle, and straight stitch.
- If you choose to use eyelets, be sure to add some laces to close them up. Shoe laces will give you a cool, punky look that matches the duct tape theme.
Choose a design to add to your dress.You don't have to add designs, but they are a great way to spruce up a plain-looking dress. They can be as simple as polka dots to as fancy as flourishes and scrolls. You can even give your dress a theme, such as Batman, and cut out the Batman logo.
- The designs will look the best on plain, solid-colored dresses.
- If you used patterned duct tape, you might want to skip the designs, or your dress will look too busy.
Lay down strips of duct tape on a cutting mat.Decide how big you want your design to be, then tear off a strip of duct tape a little bit longer than that, and lay it sticky-side-down on a cutting mat. Lay down more strips of duct tape until you have a duct tape sheet a little bigger than your desired design.
- Choose duct tape in a contrasting color. For example, if your dress is black, try white duct tape.
- If you want to have multiple small designs, you can make a bigger duct tape sheet in order to fit all of them.
Cut your desired design out of the duct tape with a craft blade.You can free-hand the design, or you can sketch it out with a pen first. Carefully trace over your outlines with a craft blade.
- If you are working on black duct tape, use a white gel pen so that it shows up.
- Use stencils to help trace the design if you don't want to draw.
Peel the design off of the cutting mat like a sticker.You may need to use your fingernail or the tip of a craft blade to pry the corner of your design up from the cutting mat. Once you have the corner picked up, carefully peel the design away from the cutting mat, just like you would peel a sticker.
- If you made multiple designs, peel just 1 design up for now.
Press the design where you want it to go on your dress.If you mess up, carefully peel the design up, move it to where you want it to go, and press it down again.
Repeat the process with more designs.If you cut multiple designs, now is the time to add them on. Use them to decorate your dress as desired, such as the bodice or skirt.
QuestionWhat colors should I use?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can use any color you'd like! You could also just pick one color, but use a variety of shades.Thanks!
QuestionWhat if I have no one to help me do the T-shirt dress?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou can do it on your own. Wrap the duct tape around your torso, then cut the dress down the front. Take it off and close the gap with duct tape. Cut the dress open in the back so that you can add a zipper and wear it.Thanks!
QuestionHow long does it take to make a duct tape dress?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt depends on what sort of dress you are making and how detailed it is. If you are making the dress from a pattern, expect to spend at least 1 to 2 hours. If you are using a T-shirt base, plan to spend at least 15 minutes on covering it. The more details you add, the longer it will take.Thanks!
- The sheen to silver and occasionally gold duct tape wears off; beware and be gentle when constructing your dress.
- Wear a slip and a tank top/cami while wearing your dress. Nothing is worse than having an irritating dress.
- Use some glitter duct tape for a sparkly finish. This is ideal for designs and accents.
- Make accessories for your dress, such as a duct tape belt or duct tape flower.
- If this is for prom, make a duct tape suit for your date to wear!
- If your dress has spaghetti straps, cut a piece of duct tape twice the width of the strap, then fold it in half lengthwise to finish the strap.
- Duct tape is not breathable. You may end up sweating a lot in this dress.
- Don't make the dress too tight. Fabric stretches slightly when you wear it, but duct tape does not.
Things You'll Need
Muslin or cotton fabric
Sewing machine (optional)
Sources and Citations
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