Materials and Tools:
2 rolls of 24" x 7' aluminum window screen
20-gauge soft galvanized wire
large sheets of paper
piece of pipe (or other similar hard object)
Step 1: Designing the Dress and Getting Started
Draw a design for the dress on paper, then draw patterns for the bodice, sleeves, cuffs and flower pieces on paper and cut out. Note: The only seam in the bodice should be at the center back.
Trace the dress pattern pieces onto the metal screen with a pencil and cut out with scissors.
All the pieces of the dress will be attached using staples made from wire. Make the staples ahead of time or as you go.
- Cut a 2-1/2-inch piece of 20-gauge soft galvanized wire for each staple.
- Fold it in half and pinch the top using jewelry pliers so the fold is not too wide.
- To attach the staples, push them through the screen and at the back, cross the wires, push them down flat and tight and clip off excess wire.
Step 2: The Skirt
To make the metal screen skirt, use an entire uncut roll of screen. Find the center of the screen length and make a fold 1-1/4-inch to the left of the center. Press each fold flat with a piece of pipe.
From the fold measure 1-1/2-inch and fold the screen back over the first fold. Crease the fold with the pipe.
Measure 1-1/2-inch from the fold underneath and make another fold in the same direction as the first fold, creating pleats.
Continuing folding back and forth to the end, matching the top fold with the edge of the fold underneath.
Turn the piece around and fold the unfolded half to the right of center in the same manner. This will form a box pleat in the center of the skirt.
Fold the top edge of the skirt under 1/2-inch. Fold one side of the skirt under 1/2-inch. The pleated skirt should measure 24-inches.
Step 3: The Bodice
Measure the circumference of the bodice and adjust the width of the skirt so it will fit inside the bodice. Shape the skirt into a circle with the folded edge on top and attach it together with staples.
Fold up the bottom edge of the bodice 2-inches, turn it over and fold it up again 2-inches in the opposite direction. Press the folds with the pipe to create the waistband. On one side fold under 1/2-inch along the center back seam. With the folded edge on top, close the back seam using staples.
Fold under 1/2-inch on both front shoulders. With the fold on top, close the shoulders using staples. Gently turn under 1/4-inch at the neckline and armholes.
Slide the skirt inside the bodice so that it aligns with the top edge of the waistband and attach with staples.
Step 4: The Sleeves
Cut two rectangles of screen for the cuffs — making them four times wider than the finished width of the cuff. Fold each cuff in half and then fold the raw edges inside to the centerfold.
Fold under 1/2-inch at the underarm seam on one side only of each sleeve. Repeat this on the opposite side of each sleeve. At the top, moving out from the center make long pleats (about 6-inches long) facing outwards in both directions until the sleeve is the correct size to fit into the arm hole.
Gently "puff" the top of the sleeve with your fist and fingers.
At the bottom, moving out from the center, make short pleats facing outwards in both directions until it is the same length as the cuff. Slide the sleeve edge inside the cuffs and attach the cuff with staples. Puff the sleeve bottom using your fingers. Close the underarm seam with staples making sure the folded edge is on top.
Step 5: Putting the Bodice, Sleeves and Skirt Together
Attach the sleeves to the bodice using staples. The folded edge of the underarm should be facing the back. Insert the sleeve inside the bodice and staple through the folded edge of the bodice armhole first, then the sleeve. To make it easier, first attach a staple at the top center and the bottom center and then work around adding staples as needed.
Fan out the pleats in skirt with your arms — reach inside the skirt and gently pull apart the pleats so that the skirt is nice and full.
- Fold the edges of each petal under 1/8-inch to 1/4-inch.
- Use the end of the pipe or a small bottle to begin the edge fold for the center of the flower then use your fingers to round the flower shape.
- Press flat with the pipe.
- Place the petals so they overlap in the center then put the centerpiece on top.
- Cut a 12-inch piece of wire, folded like the staples.
- Put it through the center of the flower and twist is tight at the back.