Introduction: Paper Map Pinafore Dress

When I saw that there was going to be a map contest, I knew I wanted to make a big project. I thought I should try and make a dress. I didn't have a dress form to make a fitted dress, so I decided to make a pinafore dress.

This dress is obviously not for everyday wear. It's a good idea for a costume, a recycled fashion outfit for an event, or a good prop for a mannequin/dress form for a display.


  • Maps
  • A skirt with a zipper in the back
  • Sewing machine
  • Needle + thread
  • Tape (masking, shipping, etc.)
  • Scissors

Step 1: Get Your Maps

Ask your friends and family members for any old or spare maps they might have laying around. Chances are, someone does. I was lucky enough to have loads of my friends and family send me maps they no longer wanted. Highway maps are perfect for this project because they're very large.

Open them up and determine how long you want your dress to be. I decided to cut each of my maps in half, so they were about 24" long by 24" wide. How many you need will be determined by how large your skirt is.

Step 2: Fold Your Maps

Fold an inch of the map over on one edge. Then turn it over and fold over half an inch. Keep folding that way -- inch, turn, half an inch, turn, etc. until you reach the edge of the map. This creates pleats. This will be your first section of the skirt -- it will probably be about 10" wide by 24" tall.

Make more sections and use a strip of masking tape along the top edge and double-sided tape along the sides to attach them together.

Step 3:

Once you have enough sections taped together to go all around your waist, pin it to your skirt. Make sure to not cover the zipper with the maps. Sew it with a straight stitch using your sewing machine. Try it on and make sure it fits!

Step 4: Make the Top

Grab some more maps. Cut strips that are about 24" x 4" and fold the long edges into the middle, then fold it in half. This will create a sturdy strip that's 24" x 1". Create more until you have 26 strips total.

Step 5: Weave the Top

Tape 13 strips down at one end, and weave in the other 13 strips. You should end up with a square.

Step 6: Fold in the Ends

Fold the end tabs under where you can, and tape the other ones to the back.

Step 7: Sew the Top to the Skirt

Using a needle and embroidery thread, hand-sew the woven top to the skirt.

Step 8: Add a Waistband

All I did for the waistband was fold a strip of a map so it was a few inches wide and long enough to go around the skirt and tape it to the top of the skirt using double-sided tape.

Step 9: Make the Straps

Cut a strip of a map that's about 5" wide (and long enough to go from the top part of the dress to the back of the skirt) and fold the long edges into the center and then fold it in half. Tape the straps on the back inside of the skirt and then put the dress on. Tape the straps to the inside of the top of the dress.

Step 10: All Finished!

Now you have a dress that you can't sit down in!

In all seriousness, this was a really fun project. A weird project? Yes, but a fun one. Like I said in the intro, I think it would look really neat on a mannequin in a store's display window or it would work really well for a costume party.

Maps Challenge

Runner Up in the
Maps Challenge