Last Christmas/Halloween I was gifted the most beautiful mannequin by Fables In Fashion. It was a complete surprise because I had been complaining about wanting a better way to display things for sewing tutorials for a while and even started to save up for one again… and then she showed up at my apartment with one *_* I am so grateful to have such amazing friends, I honestly feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

We named the new addition to the household Quinne…. because we are unoriginal like that!

This is the story of how Quinne had her make over and turned into this:



When she came out of the box Quinne looked like this:DIY-Duct-Tape-Mannequin245

She was amazingly pretty and actually had the same measurements as me which was a very pleasant surprise. Originally I was just planning on blinging her out a bit but after using her and draping some patterns I decided that if she was going to really work she needed some shape change.


As this shape she was extremely pretty and while the measurements were correct, the proportions weren’t.  She had much wider shoulders than me, a barrel shaped stomach and her neck was so long that it reminded me a bit of something from Silent Hill. I’ll be honest, seeing her in the corner of my room in the middle of the night terrified me >_>

I’m little but I’m a curvy girl with an hourglass shape which I love and having an mannequin that doesn’t have the exact same shape becomes a little pointless if I can’t use it to make patterns on. Most of my home made dresses are very fitted around the bodice area so her having triangles for boobs meant that I couldn’t even zip up half of them on her.

The other problem Quinne originally had was that she was completely stiff so it was quite hard to get my size clothes on and off. My arms and shoulders are movable and I can squish myself into various places to get into clothes. Sometimes I like to minimize the curves for certain outfits and Quinne just couldn’t do that.

I don’t look like this from the side, my boobs aren’t quite that pointy and I have much more junk in my trunk…


So it was time to give Quinne a make over! Insert a 1980’s montage of trying on hats!

Anyway we thought that she was made of cardboard under her fabric so I stripped her down and had a look.

All of the trimmings were just hot glued on.



Naked Quinne:



Unfortunately underneath her fabric she was actually fiberglass >_<

So that was a problem. I got tiny painful splinters all over my hands which took forever for me to remove!


For a little while I considered cutting through the fiberglass but after some googling I decided that really was not a good idea. Don’t mess with fiberglass and always research new materials you don’t know much about before trying anything. Your non-splintery fingers will thank you!!!

So with that out I had to do some serious thinking about where to go from there.

I knew I wasn’t going to use the fiberglass torso so I removed all the hardware and put it to the side for the moment.


After thinking about it for a few days I decided on “The Duct Tape Method”. This method has been around for as long as I can remember and I’ve made a couple of these for other people over the years. It’s not hard to do and you just need some basic materials.

Off to the shops I went to get some duct tape and a shirt from the thrift store.



Make sure you pick a shirt you don’t like, you won’t be getting it back so make sure you won’t ever want it again! If you want something very true to size use a fitted shirt. I just picked something out of the $2 bin which was quite loose as I wanted the finished product a little bigger than be, more on that later!



Start by taping around the most important measurements: bust, waist, hips. Make sure you’re wearing your favorite bra so it’s more accurate of how you’ll look when wearing your actual clothes.



Then just continue adding tape until you’ve got a decent frame. I like the do the shoulders first so it’s quite secure and the tshirt fabric doesn’t stretch out.

Enjoy your new look as Leeloo from The Fifth Element…



You will probably need some help to get this done especially around the back!



The way you do this will depend on what you want to use your mannequin for. I didn’t want arms so I did little cap sleeves. I also didn’t want it to go right down my butt because I don’t wear fitted skirts. You can go as far as you want though obviously. The chest area is something to think about as well. You can make it defined or not. I chose not because I prefer them covered up. and most of my clothing reflects that. So what I ended up with was a rough approximation of my figure because I still wanted it to be quite stylised. Easy!



Now you need someone to get it off you! Cut the whole thing right down the back so you can remove it. Make sure you don’t cut your underwear or pants as you go, just cut the taped shirt XD



Then you have this… shirt inside and duct tape outside. Super creepy!



Use some duct tape to close up the back again.



Now close up the holes with more duct tape and stuff it. You can use old clothes, fabric, pillows or actual stuffing depending on what you have on hand. I also stuck a broom handle inside so she was a lot more stable.

I then taped it all shut and used the cardboard tube from the duct tape to make a neck and taped that on too!



I closed up the bottom of Quinne with a piece of cardboard to make it flat and I screwed the hardware from the old Quinne to the bottom so she’d have a base.


Quinne looked a bit deflated on one side so I gave her an augmentation using a bit more stuffing 😉



And to make sure she had a smooth surface I taped her up some more.



Now it was just a matter of some cosmetic surgery!

Originally Quinne had a really bright print. I really liked her print when she was by herself but I thought that when I put my clothes on her it clashed quite a bit with all of my prints. I didn’t want to loose it though so I decided to mute it a bit by bleaching it out.

Unfortunately it was not susceptible to bleach so that was out. I decided to give her an acrylic wash once she was all put together again.


Getting her fabric back on was a challenge because she was obviously not the same shape anymore and had a lot more curves. I did it by wetting the fabric and then adding darts and working the fabric until it fit. I then pinned until it was dry, hot glued it in shape and snipped the extra off.




I added the other fabric back on the base too.



And then I hot glued the trimmings back on.



The it was time to tackle the colour. I watered down white acrylic paint and gave it a wash. The paint muted the colour but also gave the fabric extra stiffness which will soften over time. The mannequin is still squishy so she’s easy to get in and out of things!



I added her head piece with some extra lace and a lace skirt to hide the crappy bottom section and she was all done!



And there she is!


Welcome back Quinne!



She’s got much more of a curved figure now and is very practical. Her proportions are a bit bigger than mine which is my preference because it helps me in knowing how something is actually going to look and feel when it’s on. I can squish her and move her stuffing around and I use elastic to change her shape depending on the outfit I want to style.






So while Miss Quinne took some work to get perfect, she’s now going to be a regular here on the blog as I’m sewing a lot more.



It’s great to be able to actually complete some of my long term projects!

What do you guys think? Time for some new sewing projects? Do you think Miss Quinne should make regular appearances here?