I really enjoy constructing items out of objects that are headed for the landfill. This year I decided to make a dress out of several phone books that I got from friends and family. It turned out great, I made a matching purse, hat and shoes! I entered the outfit in the "Trashion" Show in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The show is held on the first weekend in December, they have a recycle Art Show every year and this year it was at the Convention Center. I won 3rd place in the adult category and best paper outfit! It was a wonderful opportunity to participate in a cause that I feel strongly about- educating people about the tremendous amount of trash that ends up in landfills and to try and get everyone to think about what they can do to minimize that.
Step 1: Supplies
For this project you will need the following:
old phone books (6 or 8, depending on thickness)
an old lightweight denim skirt
a couple of old cotton shirts
Baling wire and wire cutters
Step 2: Underskirt
The underskirt can be made out of fabric or an old curtain or sheet.
I wanted the skirt portion to be 25" long from the waist so I measured and cut the waistband off the old skirt.
I needed the waist to be 32" around so I sewed several darts in the skirt to allow it to flare out at the bottom.
Leave an opening at the top of the back for a zipper.
Step 3: Paper Triangles
Tear the pages out of the phone book. Bring the top of the page down to the bottom and fold. Make another fold, this time vertically, open. Fold each top corner down so that the top comes to a point. Place a small piece of scotch tape where the 2 corners meet. With the scissors, trim all but 1/2" of the unfolded bottom part off.
Continue folding these paper triangles until you have a couple of hundred to start with.
I made the large ones for the skirt bottom section, medium triangles for the top of the skirt and very small ones for the top section.
Step 4: Sewing Paper Onto Skirt
Starting at the bottom hem of skirt, place a paper triangle on the hem and pin with the point down.
Set the machine on the longest stitch length.
Step 5: Yellow Pages Border
If you choose to include the yellow pages in your dress, place a few rows of yellow pages into the dress.
Step 6: Add More Rows
continue layering and adding rows, working your way toward the waist.
Step 7: Finish Skirt
Stitch the wire around the bottom edge of skirt on the inside near hem. This will help the skirt to flare out.
Step 8: Making the Bodice Foundation
Use a store bought pattern for a corset. Cut up a couple of old cotton shirts for the foundation and stitch together. The color doesn't matter, this is going to be hidden by the folded pages.
Step 9: Bodice
Begin working at the top of the bodice and layer triangles so they point to the top. Continue adding rows and work your way toward the waist.
Step 10: Waistband
Sew a 3" wide belt out of an old cotton shirt. Fold pages into triangles and stitch onto the belt.
Step 11: Sew Top to Skirt
Pin the top of the dress to the skirt section. Hand stitch in place. Sew the zipper to a 2" wide strip of fabric covered with phone book pages. Hot glue this covered zipper to the back opening of dress.
Step 12: The Finished Dress
Now isn't that cute? This is not a dress you'd want to wear out to the movies but it's different for sure and calls for a special occasion.