The Girl in the Duct Tape Dress

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life67 Comments


Many afternoons, when she's not going to ballet practice, or play rehearsal, or hanging out with friends, Aidan can be found doing the other thing that's fairly high on her list of priorities: homework.

But sometimes, when homework gets stressful and she needs to refresh her creative spirit, she makes dress forms out of duct tape.



This is what I saw the other day after I returned from a run. Confused, because the play she's currently in has nothing to do with the Wizard of Oz or the Tin Man, she quickly explained the purpose behind the duct tape wrap.

The goal? To make a customized Aidan-sized dress form onto which she could plan and sew future Project Runway-worthy creations.


She got the idea from a book called "The Subversive Seamster." But as I walked in the door, she informed me she'd run out of tape and would I please pop out and grab her some more? I, drenched in sweat from my run, balked, but Dan stepped up, headed out and saved the day.

Before I cut the duct tape form off of her, we couldn't resist grabbing one of Cole's duct tape covered weapons to post for a slightly Barberella-esque shot.


Then of course I tried to make it somehow about me.


Then we made it about Aidan again.


Stay tuned for many fabulous fashions soon to be arriving from the House of Zielske.

Aidan Zielske, that is.



Cathy ZielskeThe Girl in the Duct Tape Dress

67 Comments on “The Girl in the Duct Tape Dress”

  1. #3

    Hey – but it IS about you – it’s all about you!! You’re the MOTHER of that wonderful girl!! (Ok, maybe it isn’t actually all about you.) But luv ya both! Thanks for a fun post.

  2. #8

    Wow! Aidan is so cool! What an awesome thing to do. I am so glad that she sees things that she wants to do and just goes for it. I can’t wait to see all the things that she makes. What talent! The Zielske clan is just dripping with it!

  3. #11

    I had NO idea… there anything you CAN NOT do with a bit(lots of bits!) of Duct tape? And I have to just add…. only a 15 year old would/could pull off wrapping themselves in tape like that!!! She’s got some serious style, that Miss Aidan!!

  4. #16
    Christine Guest

    If she’s into sewing/designing, Threads magazine from Taunton Press would be a great gift for her. But maybe I think that because my Dad bought me all the back issues as a graduation present back in the ’80s.

  5. #17
    Jenny S

    That’s awesome! We did this in one of my costume design classes in college. Cool that she learned this trick so early on!

  6. #19

    How did you ever grow such creative kids? Was I too busy ready Dr. Spock (oh boy does that age me) that I missed out on creativity????

  7. #23

    You are so funny. πŸ™‚ I’ve been meaning to make a dress form the same way for years now! That’s so cool that it actually worked, and Aidan’s looks great….I’m inspired to actually do it myself now. Tell her thanks for me!

  8. #29

    Will do! What was funny is that she had that thing on FOREVER, and then had to wait for Dan to get back with more tape, and she had to use the bathroom, but it was a no-can-do. Too funny!

  9. #34

    Great photos and story! I love it when kids have such vision and dedication.

    I also have fixated on a very small detail of your story–that Cole has a duct tape covered gun. It’s totally the type of thing my younger son would do.

  10. #35

    awww. you need to come and have some face time with my family… a little getaway. we can talk about our feelings. and dwell in reality.

  11. #38

    Love the cheetah print fabric! Would you be willing to share where you found it? I have a 14 yr old who would love that material. Thank you.

  12. #41

    Wonder where she gets that amazing sense of creativity…from Mama? Hmmmmm….

    That apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Incredible young woman, that Aidan…

  13. #43

    Aidan will really enjoy her duct tape double. I know I use mine a lot for sewing. What did she use for the stand/pole? My dad put PVC pipe in mine and set it into the rolling base of an office chair. I did not try making my DTD by myself though; I went over to my mom’s and she patiently wrapped me up.

  14. #46
    Jamie Danford

    Savannah is hometown to the second biggest St. Patricks Day parade/celebration in the country… that being said, I happened to be in a local craft store when I overheard two girls discussing their duct tape/saran wrap dresses for the parade. Seriously? I thought.
    However… out of all the peeps at the parade, I ended up running into the duct tape divas and they looked SO freakin’ sexy!!
    Who knew?!!!???!

  15. #47

    Love, love, LOVE it!
    The duct tape dress form and your daughter are both brilliant!
    Thank you!
    – Lee
    P.S. I consider duct tape a go-to solution for so many things!

  16. #51
    Candace Bunch

    OMG! came to mind…but did you know that she could enter it into the Duck Tape dress contest? I kid you not!!!! Just add a few embellishments from patterned duck tape and she would be good to go!

  17. #54
    Robin W.

    Aidan should check out the duct tape web site. They have a fun scholarship opportunity with prom attire. My son did this and even though he didn’t win; that year the winning couple did an incredible job of making it look like plaid! He and his date did get a nice box of goodies for entering, and they had fun!!

  18. #55

    Duct taping your own back and arms is quite the skill! Love the V neck Aidan. And Cathy your couch set up is gorgeous too. I guess with older kids your cushions stay somewhat where you put them!

  19. #57

    WOW is she the greatest and cutest ever!! How the heck did she do this on her own, it looks great!! Way to go Aidan on being so crafty and talented much like your sweet mom!!

  20. #58

    Both the ladies in your house are gorgeous! and keeping the men in your house safe of course. Signe will go nuts for the duct tape mannequin. I see a future of 3D scrap booking her body form over the next few years.

  21. #64
    Teresa Lynn Cotterman

    How cool is that….we had a “Duct Tape” day recently at the school for our homecoming spirit week. The kids loved it and we saw some of the most awesome outfits….pretty sure I wasn’t that creative at their age.

  22. #65
    gypsy chaos

    THAT book is wonderful. Figured out that introvert/extrovert refer to how we recharge our batteries – just prior to a three week trip with my extrovert mother. I am totally introvert! We might have killed each other if I hadn’t read that book.

    It also helped with my middle child too. It’s hard being one of those 3% people – you know: you’re in the 3% of people who do this, think like that, etc. Luckily my son has a mom who can relate!

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