Pink Clone: How to Make Your Own Dress Form

27 Jul

I tend to get more crafty over the summer and I recently completed this really fun project with a friend. I came across numerous duct tape dress form tutorials and though it was a great idea. I’m not an avid sewer but I have made a few items and I hope this will encourage me to make more. It’s the best way to get a form with accurate measurements and it’s much more affordable. Even if you don’t sew, its a fun piece for decoration and planning or displaying outfits.

So if you would like to make your own grab a friend you trust. For it will be a slightly awkward but hilarious hour of them covering your body in tape and then cutting you out of it.  I’ll outline the basic tools and instructions for you. But if you want more detail and examples check out this sewing blog that has very helpful instructions on how to wrap the tape and Lydia Lark about how to finish it off and built a stand from scratch. If you aren’t interested in how to make it scroll down to see how cute an outfit looks on it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • The help of a friend
  • A long t-shirt you don’t mind sparing (I used one of my brother’s)
  • 3 30-yard rolls of duct tape
  • saran wrap
  • scissors
  • stuffing (anything you want: could be foam, plastic bags, fabric scraps, I used batting and polyfill)
  • plastic hanger
  • wooden pole or pvc piping
  • cardboard, foam board or wood

Now time to get started! I happen to find a bunch of pink duct tape for cheap so that’s what I used, but there are so many cute duct tape prints now. The only problem is they only have 10 yards so you would have to buy at least 9 to have enough. It takes three layers of duct tape to get good structure so I suggest if you want to use a pattern get 2-3 rolls for only the last layer and use plain silver underneath.

The best way to wrap it to strongly hold the shape is to alternate directions. Start at the bottom and wrap horizontally until you reach just under the chest. Wrap it tightly but not too tight it’s hard for the person inside to breathe. And don’t worry too much a bout wrinkles, the last layer is when you can be very tight with it and smoother. Next criss-cross the tape across the center of the chest and to the back, this will define the shape better. Then continue with horizontal strips until you get to the neck. Unless you’re lucky to have a turtle neck you will want to wrap the neck in saran wrap before taping it to protect your skin. When you’ve finished the first layer add a vertical layer and finally another horizontal layer. Don’t worry if it’s not always straight. If the tape arcs on the curves of the body let it, otherwise it will make unsightly wrinkles.

When you’re done all the taping cut up the back of it, be careful to cut only the tape and t-shirt not the bra strap or shorts of anything worn underneath. Now here is where I had a hard time. Most people say to just tape the back up again. But I found when I stuffed tightly to fill out the shape, the tape on the back popped off and it opened right up again. So I sewed up the back with heavy duty button thread which held much better. I put a plastic hanger in the shoulders to maintain its shape and trimmed the ends of it with a small handsaw to match the cut off arms. I traced out the openings onto foam board that I could easily cut out and tape over to close it up. For the stand I added pvc piping to the base of an adjustable rolling  chair, and I got a cabinet knob from home depot to put on the neck as a finishing tough. 

This project is really an anything goes type of thing so don’t worry about if you’re doing it right. Just make it work with what you have. I’m happy with how mine came out and it looks so cute in my room. So far so good about not being creeped out by the mannequin when I wake up. I think I may recover it in blue polka dot tape or fabric eventually. Leave comments about what you think of duct tape dress forms or your experiences if you’ve made one.


14 Jun

I’ve slipped out of my weekly posting schedule since I’ve been out of school. My posts will be more sporadic during the summer, because I try to get outside more and do projects in the nice weather free from school obligations. I’m also trying to enjoy it while it lasts until I find a summer job. Since my last post was about bicycle style here’s a snapshot from some of my summer biking adventures. These shorts are my favorite for riding.

Bicycle Chic

10 May

Summer is approaching and that means ideal weather for cruising around on your bicycle. It has become a growing trend for street style fashion snapshots to also include bicycles. Bicycles have made a comeback as an affordable and earth friendly way to get around. Vintage bikes have found a second life among fashionistas. Not only is bicycle style about creating a stylish yet comfortable riding outfit but also includes the style of the bike and its accessories such as baskets and saddle bags.

I am also a fan of vintage bikes but have yet to find the right one. A bike is a great way to get to classes on campus quickly but the campus environment poses a few challenges for those that seek a vintage style. The most classis vintage bike style is a cruiser but they typically have one speed which is not ideal for traveling up and down the hill to D&M every day as an art major. Electra  my favorite producer of new bikes inspired by vintage styles. They offer a super deluxe cruiser model that has 3 speeds to make it more adaptable and comes in classic red or aqua colors. But ranging from $350-600 electra bikes are not feasible on a college budget and even if I could afford one I would be weary of bringing it to campus in fear of it being vandalized or stolen. This lead me to keep an eye out for a used bike to beat up but vintage comes with a price too and requires a lot of tuning up. Unable to make a decision of what bike to purchase I now own an air pump, bike bell, and wire saddle baskets with no bike to use them with.

Besides a bike the next essential item I need is a helmet. Helmets can really mess up your hair and are an eyesore but are an important safety necessity. I have found some inventive designs that remedy this problem. These helmets on esty are sleek with a cute bow in the back that doubles as a reflector. Etsy can be a great source for inventive bike designs and accessories but I also really like the genius concept of Yakkay helmets. They use a basic safety helmet design but disguise it with a fabric hat cover. And the covers are interchangeable to go with different outfits.

The recent popularity of bikes have made a larger variety of styles and features become more accessible to find a bike suitable to your style and environment needs. Some bikes are specifically built for women with frames that sweep down to makes it easier to step on and ride comfortably. Check some of them out to to think of how to get from point a to b in a fun way.

Style Me Pretty

2 May

I love fashion but I focus mainly on clothes and there is more to an outfit than just clothes.  To completely style an outfit you must also consider accessories and makeup which I am often guilty of neglecting. I was reminded of this while reading a recent post from The Beauty Department about styling jewelry and makeup together. I forgot how much you can add to your style with makeup and accessories. Part of the reason I don’t use them much is because I can sometimes be low maintenance. Accessories are one more thing to remember when getting dressed in the morning and too many can overpower my small frame.  I prefer to keep things simple with small earrings and maybe one small statement piece and I believe less is more when it comes to makeup.

I have a love/hate relationship with makeup. Whenever I do wear it I keep it minimal so it looks natural and because I am a little lacking in makeup skills. I don’t like to use full coverage makeup daily because it is unnecessary and women should feel just as beautiful without it. Although lately I’ve let myself get so comfortable in my own skin I stopped wearing makeup all together. But I am reinstating my daily regimin after questions began to rise concerning whether I get enough sleep since my fair skin is prone to revealing under eye circles. I tend to use makeup to feature a certain area which is usually my eyes. I think eyes are very flattering and it is what people focus on when communicating to you. So my routine mostly consist of concealing under the eyes, a base to even out my eyelids, and curled lashes with mascara. This brightens my eyes and helps me to look more awake if I just rolled out of bed for an early class. If I feel a little daring I’ll add some eyeliner, especially if my outfit looks mod.

That’s the fun part about make up and accessories they can really change the feeling of an outfit. A smokey eye creates a very different styling than clean crisp winged liner reminiscent of past eras. Zooey Deschanel recently appeared in People magazine without any makeup and talked about her signature style stating, “I love dark eye makeup. It’s stylized and evokes a certain era”. I also like to create vintage looks when I get playful with my makeup going for fuller lashes and white liner on the lower lid popularized in the 60s. My favorite pairing from the Beauty Department’s article is the art deco necklace with bold eyebrows and retro liner. The various makeup tips I find on their website is making me more conscious of incorporating it into my styling. How do you like to pair makeup and accessories with your daily style?

Spring in Your Step

25 Apr

When warm weather comes everyone breaks out their shorts and flip flops. While flip flops may seem like a comfortable go to for hot weather I’d like to encourage people to consider other options. Flip flops all look similar and don’t allow for much personal style not to mention the awful noise that gives them their name. It may feel good to have your feet free and unconstricted but by the end of the day they can make your heels hurt and your toes get irritated by the thong that holds them on. Research shows that a person’s gait actually changes when wearing flip flops because of their lack of arch support and constant foot scrunching to keep them on.  They’re all right for a day at the beach but I wouldn’t keep more than one pair in the back of your closet to wear on occasion.

If the pain you could be causing your feet and ankles doesn’t make you want to give them up just think of all the fun shoe styles you are neglecting by always running to your boring flip flops. I feel like flip flops have killed the sandal. Sandals still allow open freedom but have enough straps to stay on your feet. They come in many different styles and they can be flat or have a wedge or heel.  Ballet flats are also a very comfortable and cute alternative. Flats made of lace or have cutouts are breathable for hot weather. Remember the jelly shoes every little girl used to have? Well now they’re back in style and you can choose from an array of cutes pairs from sites like Modcloth. And the best thing about jellys is they are easy to rinse off if you get lots of sand and dirt in them from your outdoor adventures. If you’re really looking for comfort without wanting to put on socks and bulky sneakers sneaker flats are a good option. I know I like to bring out my keds in the spring they are easy to slip on and great for activities like biking.

So next time you’re looking for warm weather shoes be nice to your feet and have some fun with style.

I ♥ Bass Shoes

18 Apr

Although many girls hated having to wear saddle shoes as a kid, I made it my mission to find a pair a couple years ago. I never had a school uniform growing up but I secretly wanted one and was bummed when our public school voted against introducing uniforms. I’m not entirely sure why I was drawn to the prep school look. Possibly because I was an overachiever and would prefer a private school atmosphere, or maybe because I wanted to emulate Rory Gilmore. Whatever the reason, I was often drawn toward to look at the Bass shoes on display at Macy’s when I shopped there. These classic shoes fit my tailored and vintage inspired fashion taste.

Bass shoes has been making quality leather shoes since 1876 in styles including oxfords, loafer, boots, and more. In high school I found it difficult to spend  $80 dollars to purchase a pair of saddle shoes so I waited until the right opportunity arose and was able to get a deal at the end of the christmas season. Since then I have added three more pairs of Bass shoes to my closet including a second pair of saddle shoes, penny loafers, and oxford boots that are among my most cared for shoes.

Last spring one of my favorite designers Rachel Antonoff began a collaboration with Bass shoes to create a line featuring an edgier more fashion forward take on their classic styles.  Her collection also added a femininity to otherwise unisex looking oxfords with floral prints bows and heart shaped cutout details. I love the collection’s fun and inventive styles but ranging from $100-160 they are an unnecessary expense for me at the moment. I really liked the collection last spring and am pleased that the collaboration has continued to produce a new collection this spring. The styles are even more innovative with neon colors, patent leather and clear plastic and expanding to sandals and different types of shoes. Hopefully I will be able to acquire some on sale as newer collections are released. For now I just have to enjoy the eye candy.

Review: Style by Lauren Conrad

11 Apr

I have a surplus of flexcash on my student ID that I’m trying to use up before the semester ends so I did some shopping at the campus bookstore. Aside from picking up supplies and fashion magazines I perused their I came across the book Style by Lauren Conrad. I am a frequent visiter of her site The Beauty Department a blog offering all sorts of beauty tips and tutorials.  The book’s cover reminded me of the simple design of their website and my general interest in style books intrigued me to pick it up and take a closer look. I wasn’t disappointed.

I found the photography and writing of this book very reminiscent of The Beauty Department and an aesthetic that has become synonymous with Lauren Conrad; simple, to the point, yet classy and elegant. A quick glance at the contents gave me an idea of the range of topics the book adressed but appeared to be basic information. If I were spending my own cash I probably would have been more hesitant to purchase it, but it seemed like the best choice to spend my flexcash on so I bought it.

When I had a free moment at home later, I sat down to peruse my new purchase.  It began with basic information I already knewsuch as basics every women should have in her wardrobe, which is great information for those that wish to build a more fashionable closet and style. As I continued to reading I appreciated how not only does she cover everything from head to toe including shoes, accessories, makeup, and hair, but also went beyond to address shopping habits, purging and organizing your closet, outfits for different lifestyles, how to pack for different trips, and how to look your best in photos.

 I like that she uses favorite items from her own closet for all her examples and shows various ways of styling them. Although familiar with a lot of the advice I still learned numerous tips and tricks such as how to make a quick hem, ways to care for my clothing to make them last longer, and the usefulness of a cobbler.

I’m glad I was able to purchase this book and would recommend it to anyone that is slightly interested in fashion. It serves as a thorough introduction to personal style but also good inspiration with tutorials and recommendations useful to a seasoned fashionista. Its simple organization that makes it easy to reference, as I’m sure I will from time to time. Although it’s not quite coffe table sized, at slightly larger than an average book it fits nicely on my bookshelf to keep for reference. For $12.99 this book is worth the money especially in comparison to the pocket sized guide to vintage shopping guide I got for $18.95 at list price. Back when Lauren Conrad was a cast member on the reality series The Hills, I wouldn’t have given this book a thought. But she has come a long way since then establishing herself in the fashion world through her beauty blog, books, and designing both high-end and affordable clothing lines.


Style Icon: Alexa Chung

4 Apr

Alexa Chung is master of the relaxed but perfectly put together look. Her slightly messy hair always looks good with her simple layers of classic staples. She is girly with an edge by adding tailored  pieces like a peter pan collar, oxford shoes, or leather jacket here and there.  She keeps to simple patterns and colors choosing to add quirky accessories like whimsical cat purses. I love her style because I also like mixing masculine touches and I appreciate what an advocator she is of the peter pan collar.

The only thing I don’t like about Alexa Chung is how skinny she is. She appears scary skinny in some photos, granted I understand she is a model and has recently gained more weight. Many people are naturally tall and thin like Alexa and Twiggy a favorite 60s model of mine, but I can’t help be be offended when I look at super skinny models. It makes me feel bad about my own small size 4 body. Some of my friends tell me I could model but I reply to their surprised faces I would never want to be that skinny. Models used to be curvy in the 50s and it was considered unattractive for a lady to lack a womanly curvy figure. I personally love the vintage dress style and am disappointed when I cannot find dresses small enough because my figure can never fill them out.

Ideas of beauty are shifting once again starting with overly skinny models being banned from catwalks in 2006. Some designers now ban size zero models like Victoria Beckham did at her show for NY fashion week in 2010. I admire those who maintain healthy weight under the pressures of the spotlight. Especially actresses because Hollywood can be just as bad if not worse an influence for crazy dieting. Zooey Deschanel is a thin actress but still has muscles on her athletic legs like any average girl. Hopefully the trending vintage styles will continue to encourage models with curvier figures.

What a Pair

29 Mar

Forget spring, last week felt like summer break. I love to wear dresses in warm weather because they are so comfortable and easily look stylish. I love buying  new dresses but I refrain from spending too much money on them by inventing dresses with separates I already have in my closet.

Many people underestimate what is in their closet, but with a few tucks and accessories you can create all sorts of looks. Pairing shirts and skirts to form dresses is a classic idea that goes back to the 1950s. Women would often tuck a blouse or cardigan into their full skirts for comfortable house dresses similar to Betty’s outfit shown from Mad Men. That way if you are on a budget you can buy fewer pieces then mix and match for a more versatile wardrobe.

Simply tucking your shirt in makes your ensemble look more put together and cohesive, not to mention emphasizes your waistline.

The ultimate waistline flatterer is a belt by visually and physically cinching it. If you aren’t already you should become more acquainted with your belts.  And I don’t just mean the leather ones you usually use to hold up your pants. Consider fabric belts that come with shirts or tunics. I always have those around even if I don’t have the piece it came with because chances are I’ll use it to tie together other outfits. Adding a belt can help break up colors you’ve paired, but they can also hide the top of the skirt giving the illusion of a dress. And the fabric ones are great for tying bows in the back.

Don’t be afraid to pair items you wouldn’t automatically assume go together. You may make an unexpected discovery you like, and you can always wear it differently if it doesn’t work because they’re not attached. Give it a try! Here are some of my favorite pieces I’ve been mixing and matching lately to give you ideas. 

Here Comes the Sun

15 Mar

After a strange winter spring is finally approaching. The sun is out and stays up longer now that the clocks have changed. Due to the limited closet space in college living I like to rotate my wardrobe as the seasons change. I can’t wait to bring home the heavy winter sweaters and coats to trade for light floral and pastel clothing and dresses. Here is just a peak at the spring patterns from my closet. Spring is my favorite season because the sun warms us from the winter blues and the flowers bloom bright spring colors. April showers to bring those flowers are around the corner reminding me of one of may favorite classic movies for fashion inspiration. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Les Parapluies de Cherbourg) is a 1964 french pop-art film starring Catherine Deneuve. The entire dialogue is sung creating a unique opera style. The entire film is a work of art with a fantastic wardrobe and set. This is a colorful movie despite the dramatic romance story and dreary rain. The film has since become a cult classic for its 60s fashion. Clothing designer Dear Creatures used the film as inspiration for one of their past collections. They photographed a blonde model in boldly wallpapered rooms accessorizing their outfits with Deneuve’s signature black bow headband from the film. This highly saturated pop art film will brighten the spring rain ahead, although I personally never let the rain get me down. I just throw on my yellow raincoat and wellies to add a little sunshine to dreary days.