I had a meeting with Laura Chenoweth today. She has a self named line of natural dyed organic cotton clothing based out of the north end of Halifax. A few places in Halifax carry her work and she has a shop/studio. She was telling me how she has people in India hand block print, screen print or dye her clothing with natural pigments and dyes and are produced there, and she sells them here. If anyone is interested, her website is

Some of Laura's designs, a natural dyed hand block printed organic cotton dress. Find it Here

Some organic and natural dye facts for all you cool kids out there

-a teacup of pesticides is being used for every tshirt you own
-24% of insecticides are used on cotton crops
-the water table in India is being very contaminated by the switch from natural plant based dyes to synthetic dyes from consumer demand
-you can get nearly any colour with a natural dye that you can with a synthetic dye, with the exception of hilighter neons. to show this, here are some silk samples i've done in various natural dyes. I try to do as much dye work as i can in natural dyes.

purple madder and vinegar, curry and alum, madder and curry and alum, cochineal, 
onion skins and vinegar, curry and black tea and alum, madder and alum, purple logwood and alum,

 some of my natural dye work from NSCAD University's annual wearable Art Show

As consumers of fashion, educating yourself about what you are buying is very important. A lot of people are unaware that the textiles industry is one of the largest pollutants in the world. If the consumer demands change in process, change may happen. Here are some links for more information about sustainable textiles.

Personalized Body Form

This post is going to be about how to make your own custom duct tape body form of your own body, for draping and or sewing purposes (so everything fits perfectly!). 

This is my much loved body form, with some masking tape over top as well. If you're not into the duct tape, you can easily make a slip cover for it or cover it in a THIN layer of plaster bandages or paper mache. It's interesting to see what your body looks like from a three dimensional view.

-2 Large rolls of duct tape. This prediction is for an average sized person. If you are small/large or tall/short adjust this amount accordingly. DO NOT USE A DIFFERENT TYPE OF TAPE. duct tape is flexible and allows you to breathe. 
-2 Tshirts. These should not be made of spandex and shouldn't be too oversized. You're not going to get them back, so pick some you have no attachment to. 
-Stuffed Animal Stuffing. You're going to need a lot. i bought a "four pound" bag and used over half. 
-4 Shelving Brackets. You can get these at a dollar store 
-Thick cardboard tube (like the kind that those big rolls of paper come on). if you REALLY cannot find one, go to an elementary school and ask them, or an art supply store. 
-A wooden hanger
-Shoulder pads
-Foam core board
-A friend that you are comfortable with them touching you and/or seeing you in varying stages of nudity

Step One:
you  need to sew your tshirts together so the bottoms are touching and the necks are on the opposite sides.. you can do this by hand or with a machine. If you use a machine, i'll recommend the zig zag stitch so that the thread doesn't break. 

From there, cut off the bottom tshirt across where the arms start, cut off a sleeve, and sew it to the neck so its like a turtle neck. (i made illustrations on MS paint, please forgive the bad quality)

Step Two:

Call up your friend, and wait for them to arrive. Put on the shirt,and have them begin to duct tape the T shirt. begin with the band under your bust and then a v across the chest to where the shoulder meets the neck. 

fill in the bust area with small pieces. place them on, and if a part does not lie flat (over a curve) snip into the tape and then overlap it. This technique can be used for the whole body form. I drew a diagram in the corner of the picture below. 


Step 3:

continue to wrap the person in duct tape. the bust MUST be done in small snipped pieces, but the rest of the body can be done by pulling of strips of tape from 12-18" long and placing them along the body, and snipping where it does not easily lie flat.

 After the bust, the upper back is done, then the neck and the back. The hips come next, and after that is the lower back and the stomach. The reason for this order is to allow the person to breathe properly. 

the first layer should be done horizontally for the most part. the form should include hips and bum.  

Step 4:
take your measurements in the form so when you stuff it, it's the right size. have your friend draw a line from the top of the neck to the bottom of the duct tape under the bum. draw a zig zag line down the form, and cut along this line to get out of it.

 a zig zag line with the strait line running through it is used so it is easy to tape back together. take off the form. take some deep breaths and try not to faint. 

Step 5:

whew! that was a lot of work, and your assistant's job is now over. now you have some sort of weird floppy body dress sitting on the floor. 

The next step is to cut the cardboard tube to be the same height you are (if you want an identical form) or to whatever height you desire. cut two slits into the top and insert your hanger. feel free to secure it with any extra duct tape you have hanging out. 

Attach the shelving brackets at the bottom with whatever materials you have handy so it stands up. I used duct tape, but for the more aesthetically conscious you may want to use glue.

Step 6:
so, at this point you want to tape the shoulders shut (but not the whole thing) and begin to stuff around the hanger. In case you haven't realized this, the hanger is to give the shoulders structure. make sure you can't actually see or feel the hanger from the outside, its just to give structure and stability. 

the curved part at the top of the hanger should be where the neck is. stuff all around the shoulders, checking the measurements. You won't  need to use as much as you would to stuff a teddy bear, the accurate measurements are more important.

 put the shoulder pads in the bust and keep stuffing and taping and stuffing and stuffing and stuffing. 

step 7:
when your whole form is stuffed full, measure the size of your arms, neck, and hips (where the shirt would have ended. the width and the depth is important. cut out the shapes out of foam core, and place them into the holes at the neck, arms and bottom. tape into place. 

at this point you should be looking at a double of your body. add two more thin layers of duct tape, first vertical, then horizontal. at this point you should be finished.

 you can add a thin layer of batting and a fabric slip cover to make it into a professional looking judy, add a thin layer of paper mache and paint, add a different decorative tape, plaster strips, or leave it au natural duct tape. 

If you have any questions feel free to ask! happy body form making!


discovered on pinterest,

This is my capsule wardrobe! SOME PEOPLE POSTED IT ON PINTEREST! awesome.