For my up-cycle project I made a 50s style dress out of paper. Here is the final product.
The reason I wanted to make this dress is because I am attending a Time Travelers Ball in mid February. Last time I went as someone from the future so this time I want to be from the past. When trying to decide what to make for my project I watched ‘Singin’ In The Rain’. This movie was made in the 50s and is set in the 20s. As shown below, there are a lot of great outfits in this movie but the one I thought might be possible to make is the flapper one in the second row. To me that’s a classic 1920s dress.
The flapper dress looked a little too easy so I started looking at 50s fashion instead. I was drawn to the two dresses shown below. I decided to replicate the style of the second one because it’s more fun and the first dress looks more like something one would wear to work in the 50s.
For this project I used paper recycling bags. These bags are provided at grocery stores and are also handed out at the dorms on campus (where I happen to work). I also ended up using some thinner paper from the giant rolls of paper that people use to make big posters.
To make this dress I decided to split it up into a couple of different sections, the skirt, the belt, and the shirt. I planned out the dress during our quick drawing in class.
For the skirt portion I thought about laser cutting a bunch of sections and taping them together to make the skirt wider at the bottom.
I looked up how to make a regular skirt and saw the technique of crimping the top so that the bottom is longer than the top (4). They also said to use material 3 times the length of the waist size. I flattened the bags and cut off the unusable parts, then I taped the bags together and made one big flat piece. Then I folded one side over and over until it had a length of 32 inches (my waist size). It ended up looking like a giant paper fan.
I planned it out and took some measurements and made this shirt out of the same paper bags as the skirt. The method was to make three belt like sections and then use a lot of long sections to connect them from the waist to the bust to the shoulders as shown below.
This kind of worked but the material has no give because its paper. It also was really hard to get the right shape and it kept looking very boxy. I didn’t have time to make the straps/sleeves at the time but I thought I would make them later. This is what the first shirt ended up looking like.
After I started working on the shirt part I realized that the sleeves on this dress were going to be really difficult to make out of paper, so I decided to change the design to look more like the dress below. I like this dress because of the pleated skirt and the wide belt as well as the different sleeves.
Instead of adding straps to the first shirt I made, I decided to make an entirely new shirt because I didn’t really like the first one. I ended up also switching to to a different paper that was thinner so that I would have more control.
For this shirt I had more of a plan. I made a lot more measurementsI decided to make three separate sections and tape them together. The sections are the bottom, the bust, and the straps.
After making the shirt I taped the shirt and skirt together to make one dress.
Then I decided that I didn’t like the way the straps of the shirt looked so I looked around for more inspiration. I also didn’t like how crumpled the shirt ended up. I found two 50s style dresses that I really liked and decided to combine the two concepts. The first dresses I liked because the skirt, skirt, and belt are all different colors. I also liked the bow on these dresses. The second dress looks a little more high fashion for the time so I decided to cut off the straps on my current shirt and make it strapless to emulate this design.
I also added another sheet of paper to the shirt to the shirt so that it was not crumpled and added a little piece to the top to replicate the first image from above. Then I quickly made a bow and taped the belt to the dress.
In order to get the dress on and off I decided to add a zipper down the back of the dress. I got a 30 inch zipper at Joanne’s Fabric and taped the zipper in. The tape didn’t work completely so I sewed the top half on and reinforced that with duct tape.
Then I was done!
Video from class presentation: