Help Me Make My Paper Dress Last
October 28, 2008 7:47 PM   Subscribe

What is the best way to attach newsprint to a dress to insure reasonable longevity?

After being challenged to go as something "scary" for Halloween, I opted to dress as the stock market . I have ripped pages from the Wall Street Journal and have thusfar attached them (in tiers) with fabric glue to the skirt of a never-to-be worn again strapless bridesmaid's dress with an A-line skirt. ( I plan to use black ribbon and fabric paint on the bodice to recreate the ticker and blacken an eye to indicate being slapped by the invisible hand.)

This dress will be worn for about six hours total on Friday, but I would like it to stay intact for most of those six hours. I have even less experience with paper dresses than I do with sewing. I wonder if any of you crafty folk have any ideas at all about how to make this work---a shellac? a sealant? a finising/decoupage solution?

It looks pretty amazing right now, by the way.
posted by thivaia to Grab Bag (8 answers total)
You could spray the entire thing down with spray fixative, but I would stay away from any open flames. Or smokers. Or particularly warm light bulbs.
posted by nathan_teske at 8:34 PM on October 28, 2008

I would stitch the paper (from a folded over end) onto the dress using double thicknesses of paper and a sturdy thread (maybe carpet thread or embroidery floss) using a running stitch. Don't bother spraying it with anything - you don't want to deal with increased flammability or rigidity.
posted by The Light Fantastic at 9:23 PM on October 28, 2008

Best answer: Historically, most paper dresses were made of a Tyvek-type material that was fairly strong. Newpaper on the other hand is highly degradable and turns to mush and falls apart easily. If I was making your costume, I'd use rubber cement or hot glue to attach newsprint to a Tyvek dress and then would have backed the strips of newspaper with Tyvek to make them sturdier. Any decoupage or clear sealant applied to the textile mounted paper is going to risk making the ink run or the paper fall apart, which would be a bummer after how much work you've spent on the costume.

Maybe just anticipate that the dress, will not last the night and take lots of pictures of yourself in it early in the evening!
posted by pluckysparrow at 9:24 PM on October 28, 2008

Wouldn't it be scarier if the stock market got progressively worse and worse over the evening?
posted by Picklegnome at 9:50 PM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I love the idea and it sounds awesome. I'm afraid, though, that even getting to the event (provided you're planning to sit in a car) is going to maybe really mess up the paper.

How about using clear contact paper and gently laying it on more sheets of newspaper and putting that in with the other paper -- maybe every other tier? -- that could give it some durability and heft and wouldn't make it too stiff. then if you lose some sheets it won't be a big deal and you'll have that tattered look going on, too.
posted by amanda at 9:58 PM on October 28, 2008

Ooh! Another idea! How about fusible web! No sewing required and you can iron it on!
posted by The Light Fantastic at 10:09 PM on October 28, 2008

If you want to spend a little cash and make it a bit more sturdy, you could scan newspapers into images and either print them on fabric and attach it to the dress with the fusible web mentioned above, or print them on iron on transfers you could put on the dress.
posted by thejanna at 6:18 AM on October 29, 2008

Response by poster: Thanks guys. All were good ideas. The wealth of knowledge on this site never fails to amaze me.
posted by thivaia at 8:59 AM on October 29, 2008

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