Picture of Sew a Newspaper Dress
This Instructable will teach you how to make a dress out of newspaper using a sewing machine. It makes a great recycled Halloween costume or a very interesting party dress.

This was part of a Halloween costume of The Old Gray Lady, a nickname for the New York Times. (Hence the makeup and hairdo.) It consists of a fitted, pleated bodice, a puffy petticoat, and a removable waistband, all made completely from newspaper and thread, with no glue or tape used in the process. It is surprisingly comfortable and wearable.

To make this dress, you need a stack of newspaper (I used one Sunday edition of the New York Times), a basic sewing machine, basic sewing skills, straight pins, a ruler, 2 feet of velcro, a spool of white thread, a pencil, a pair of scissors, a belt, a mirror, and a friend to help you with a couple of the steps.

This dress should fit around a size medium. It took about 8 hours to fully construct.

See the final step for ideas on how to incorporate this amazing dress into a costume for Halloween!

Note: Please keep this dress away from water and fire as it is made of paper!
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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
To make this dress, you need:

-a stack of newspaper (I used one Sunday edition of the New York Times)

-2 feet of velcro

-a spool of white thread

-a basic sewing machine (and basic sewing skills)

-straight pins

-a ruler

-a pencil

-a pair of scissors

-a belt

-access to a mirror

-a friend to help you with a couple of the steps

-around 8 hours of time

The dress was designed to fit around a size medium.

Step 2: Start Making the Pleats

Picture of Start Making the Pleats
-Get three sheets of full-size newspaper and stack them evenly on top of each other.

-Starting at one side, fold up the edge 1/2 inch. Use your fingernail to crease each fold to make sure they are crisp and defined.

-Fold the paper again in the same direction, making a 1 inch fold this time. Be sure to measure and keep the pleats straight.

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t.o.cait2 years ago
My boyfriend decided to build a suit of armour for Halloween so I decided to make a paper bag dress! I used your instructions and made the dress out of leaf bags from the hardware store. They're double-walled so it was very sturdy. I don't have a sewing machine so the dress is held together with duct and packing tape. I also made paper earrings and a crown and covered an old clutch in paper! It would never have turned out this well without your instructions. Thanks so much!!
prixprix (author)  t.o.cait1 year ago
That looks awesome!
prixprix (author) 2 years ago
Someone who made the dress wore it to a newspaper museum and made the Washington Post! Sadly doesn't credit the instructable anywhere, but it is awesome to see all of you rocking the dress design out in the world!
I made the dress strapless and it held up just fine. Wore a thin belt for accent rather than the waistband. No petticoat but wore this little skirt under. Added gold sequins along the neckline and bottom of the dress. Paper bow tie.
I served cocktails in this dress for 5 hours. It held up just fine.
Bekah Paper Dress-7.jpg
prixprix (author)  rebekahdillon2 years ago
Adorable! Love your accessories. Thanks for sharing!
Thank you for helping me get started. I wanted to WOW the judges at a recent Drag Ball in Vermont. And it stole the show....
I was afraid of the attached bottom being a bit weird in the car. So I took three sheets of newspaper and pleated them, did a another set, sewed the two together and bent them over a ribbon and sewed them to that. It seemed to hold up really well. I put ribbon on it to jazz it up a bit along with a black crinoline to flair out the dress a bit more. Thank you again.
prixprix (author)  rickythebarber3 years ago
So awesome, thanks for sharing pics! I love your update with the nicer skirt- sounds like a good solution to the tearing problem and it looks gorgeous!
Pommedhappy3 years ago
Made a lazy version (didn't do the nice neckline, reinforced armpits, or second line of stitching, and ended up relying heavily on sticky tape for the skirt. No straps either, we attached it to my bra straps with safety pins...). We spraypainted the corset with gold, though....
I got so many compliments, people are still talking about my awesome dress apparently (party was last week).
Looking back, I shouldn't have skipped the reinforcing of the armholes, they ripped a bit (but I came equiped with tape, so my friends were fixing my outfit through the nigh)

Thanks you so much for this instructables, first time I actually take the plunge and try something!
prixprix (author)  Pommedhappy3 years ago
Oh I'm so glad to hear this! I'd love to see a picture of yours, the gold corset sounds amazing! Glad the instructions worked out for you.
okay, hopefully attaching the right images, We had a lot of fun with this!
KSGlenn3 years ago
Thank you Laura so much for putting these instructions up! I had a great time dancing in this dress and then going to a Halloween party. I had to reinforce it with tape (All that dancing) but it held up great. I cannot really sew, but I found it completely doable and rewarding to make. Thanks for sharing your creativity!
prixprix (author)  KSGlenn3 years ago
This looks so fantastic! Love how you used some color in the newspaper, and what a perfect backdrop. Amazing photo, thanks for sharing! So glad you had fun with the newspaper dress.
idk why it's sideways... lol
photo (1).JPG
prixprix (author)  salatinecracka3 years ago
It turned out so cute! You did such a good job putting it together. How awesome for the prom! The red sash is so perfect. Have a great time :)
mesheath4 years ago
I loved making this dress! Thanks for the instructions! I wore it to my office party as "Huey Lewis and The News" (I stapled a picture of them in the green heart on my chest!)
If I ever decide to wear it again, I will try and fix the petticoat so that I can sit down without it tearing!
prixprix (author)  mesheath4 years ago
That turned out so cute! Glad you enjoyed making it.
klohoff4 years ago
Just finished making this for my daughter to wear as her Homecoming dress. Your instructions were fantastic and she was thrilled with the final product. One of her friends made a duct tape dress, another made a bubble wrap dress, and still another made one from leftover yarn. I was nervous at first, but it was done in one day.. just in time for pre-party pictures!
prixprix (author)  klohoff4 years ago
That's awesome! I'd love to see a picture of how yours turned out!
One last pic... of all the girls in their homemade dresses.
prixprix (author)  klohoff4 years ago
Wow this turned out so cute! So fun how they all did recycled dresses. I like the modified slim skirt version. Thanks for sharing!
Absolutely...the dress held up through a night of heavy duty dancing. The petticoat did tear, but it wasn't noticeable and she kept wearing it. She brought a backup dress just in case.....the bodice stayed completely intact and she got tons of comments even today at school!
klohoff4 years ago
One more... the pictues above don't have her face because she had no makeup on yet... here is a pic with her friends.The only thing we did differently was to make a more straightlined skirt... she didn't want it to be poufy.It was beautiful.... pretty easy to see her up in front. The girl on her left was the duct tape dress.
bubblegummy5 months ago
cutest. It's even handmade and free!!! (except for the newspaper) Thanks Prixprix!!
liadukes10 months ago

I noticed that your pictures showed you standing up. Was it easy to sit down in? Also, is there a way to protect it against the weather?

prixprix (author)  liadukes10 months ago

You could sit on a bench or a chair with no back, but the back of the torso is stiff and flares out, so a car or couch is challenging and could rip it. It is not really meant for weather. I've heard that you can try ironing the newsprint before sewing to minimize ink smearing, and maybe you could use an artwork sealant on it after, but it is a flammable paper dress so be aware of that.

sofiadaepic11 months ago

Dude, this is awesome! You have some legit skill! =D

hi is there a way of downloading this without becoming a pro member? its amazing!!
NOODLE!1 year ago
This. Is. AMAZING. want to make this.
sabu.dawdy1 year ago

shoes to go with your dress :p
prixprix (author)  sabu.dawdy1 year ago
Amba81 year ago
Love your paper prom dress ;) A bit too summery for freezing cold London x
prixprix (author)  Amba81 year ago
yo.lizzy2 years ago
Hey, I love your dress and am making in for halloween, I'm going as a newsie, liberal media, or an undecided voter.
prixprix (author)  yo.lizzy1 year ago
Awesome, I'd love to see pics of how it turned out!
I'm working on a design for a book-page jacket, and I am so glad that I found this! I don't sew, and book paper acts differently than newsprint, but your pleating and ideas about construction in the waist and bust areas are immensely helpful - and the Velcro closures are GENIUS!
prixprix (author)  angelprojekt1 year ago
Thanks, glad it helped!
OMG THIS IS PERFECT FOR MY NEXT CRAFT PROJECT !!!! Do u know how to make other newspaper garments also?

You could try looking on Instructables for other newspaper craft ideas, but this is the only one I've done
prixprix (author) 2 years ago
Also, these awesome girls made a music video wearing the newspaper dresses they made from this design!
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