It's perfect for casual Fridays at the office. Steer clear of cats, coal mines, ferrets and weasels.
Step 1: Beginnings...
I began by scouring the mighty internet for birdcage and crinoline photos in order to consider potential shapes and see what might actually be feasible. I also started thinking about materials and researching how actual bird cages are built. Sketching helped to conceptualize the ideas that were running around in my head.
Step 2: Brass is a worthy opponent (ie: picking a material)
I decided to go with brass because I loved how the antique brass cages had a bit of a sheen. I did not, however, realize that this decision would make the project a thousand times more difficult than working with steel.
After a bit of searching online, I was able to order a small quantity of different sized brass and copper rod and strap samples to see what options might work. Some of the online metal shops don't charge a cutting fee for small pieces, so it's worth tracking down one of those.
I opted to go with 1/16" brass round rod for the cage mesh and 1/8" x 1/2" brass strap for the majority of the dress. I also picked up some 1" strap for the belt so there would be a little more substance there. Industrial Metal Supply in LA was kind enough to order a bunch of 1/16" round rod for me, as it wasn't something they generally carry.
At this point, I went back to sketching. Once the materials are settled, it's generally easier to figure out what can and can't happen with the originally conceived idea.