Found-Paper Dresses: Turn Papers into Frocks

Paper Dresses
Photos by Sharon White Photography

“A small project like these dresses is a great way to use up some of my smaller scraps of paper. I look for inspiring papers everywhere, and have found great patterns on the insides of envelopes! Think about the composition of the piece, and how the different patterns and colors on the found papers work together. Don’t be afraid to leave areas that are less busy. Using a combination of calm and busy patterns in the dress will showcase the beauty of the recycled papers.” – Jennifer Collier

Project Details

Artist: Jennifer Collier

Instructions: The instructions for this project can be found in the Fall 2018 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.

Techniques included in this project: Sewing paper, pleating paper, working with found papers, creating sewn button loops, constructing a garment from paper.


  • Found or recycled papers, such as old maps, book pages, letters, sheet music, etc.
    • One 16″ x 11″ sheet
    • Three 10″ x 2″ sheets
    • Two 11″ x 8″ sheets (This sheet is for the back of the dress and the unpleased side of the front.)
  • Sewing machine with a zipper foot (I always use a zipper foot for this technique, so I can get a really narrow seam. It is also essential for one part of this project.)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Thick string or cord, approximately 10″
  • Tape, clear
  • Dress templates
  • Tracing paper
  • Pencil
  • Buttons
  • Optional:
    • Pins
    • Glue

Gather your favorite found papers and discover great ways to use them in the Fall 2018 digital or print issue of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine.


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