I still haven’t worked out who I want to be or what I want to do when I grow up, so on this blog please join me while I try and work it out while keeping child-like creativity alive!  Find home and fashion inspiration; travel and days out; photography, writing and more. Have fun looking around 🙂



Making a book dress & meeting Maisie Williams

Meeting Maisie Williams

I’ve been busy making a fairytale dress from a stack of unwanted books for the Bookbarn out-of-print fashion show. It’s going to be judged on Friday by Maisie Williams (Arya Stark in Game of Thrones) We met her at the dress rehearsal and she was lovely.
This is all about how I made this paper dress…..

I heard about the fashion show and it sounded like really good fun. I’d been working pretty hard to build up Oshun stock for stack of books for making a paper dressfestival season and thought I’d treat myself to a couple of weeks off work to have a go at making a fairytale dress from paper. Every person or team picked out a domino from a bag, which matched to a number on a bookshelf with stacks of books for us to take home. We were also allowed to choose any three books from the bookshop. This was the most difficult thing – it was impossible not to get distracted! There are so many books! Seriously, it’s worth visiting only to be amazed at how many books they have. Not only that, they only cost £1 each. Along with the books we were given, we also bought several others.

I already knew I was going to make something with a fairytale princess feel, so I looked for books about castles and found three that were ideal.

I got started straight away and made a base for the dress from cotton. (I bought a whole roll for £5 in a Dunelm Mill sale about 12 years ago, but have hardly used it because the pattern is pretty horrible! I can’t resist a bargain.) I also spent several evenings, whilst watching telly, folding many many Making a book dressmany many pieces of paper – fan-style, like all the ones I did as a kid. I’d been given several natural history books, so I had lots of pages with green, so I used these to make the bustle and train to go at the back of the dress, with the plan that it would stand out because the rest of it would be black and white.

These fans were a complete pain (literally) to sew onto the cotton. I pierced each one with a ball-ended pin, which helped to get the needle through the thick paper, but some needed some extra force. (For some reason, I found the best tool for the job was a metal sink plug!) It took three full days to sew the whole bustle. I was so bored of it by the end. All of radio 4’s comedy programmes on i-player kept me going. Then I stapled the fans together so there weren’t gaps.

Usually I use net or stiff fabric to give volume and full-ness to a skirt, so the best equivalent I could think of doing, was forming a cone shape with the paper and making a row of them so it would look a bit like a wide frill. These I stapled onto the fabric. Right, I’m rambling on, so I’ll go through the rest of the process as quickly as I can. Next, I glued some of the black and white pages of stately homes and castles together to form a long line of them. Then I used a fancy decorating edging punch along the edge and glued it on over the how to make a dress from bookscone frills. For the sides I used pages from an older book to cut petal shapes with pinking shears and inked all the edges with green ink so they stand out from each other. I overlapped them and glued them on, along with smaller ones for the final layer at the front of the skirt.

I’d used thick sturdy elastic in the waistband, but the paper still pulled the skirt down. I didn’t want any embarrassing accidents on the catwalk, so I added fabric braces to be sure that didn’t happen! And onto the bodice…

It’s one thing to make a fabric pattern to fit your model, but it’s something else when there’s paper stuck to it! The softer, older paper was torn up and glued over most of it, but inspired by medieval dresses, I decided to try something different on the front section. I cut up strips of the newer black and white paper and wove them together (again, harking back to Infant school days). I cut off the spines of 4 books and sewed them on like boning of a corset. Ribbon loops were sewn on at the back so it could be laced up.


Paper dress

Final touches were flowers across the neckline and under the bust, which I was able to cut two at a time in my clever Spellbinders die-cutting gizmo.

Spellbinders Grand Calibur Die Cutting Machine

by Spellbinders [Spellbinders]
Price: £83.73 -

Lots of layering and scrunching and a paper fastener to hold them all together. Around the waist I made another kind of flowers with the help of you-tube. Cut into spirals and twisted with tweezers and glued intohow to make a dress with books place. Little curled strands of white paper were an added touch. More fancy hole punching on the shoulder straps and the frill at the bottom. The final embellishment were die-cut butterflies which I glued on here and there on the cone frills. Lastly, I glued lots of pages to the inside of the skirt, as due to the high-low design, that horrible print on the fabric was visible.

And that’s it. Phew! I really enjoyed the process, and it felt quite indulgent spending time having fun cutting, twisting, weaving, twirling and gluing paper. I’ll admit, I was glad when it was finished though!

So last night was the dress rehearsal for the fashion show and I got to see the other entries. Everyone had come up with some brilliant ideas. One had lots of big, cleverly folded flowers and was called The Hanging Gardens of Babylon; another was a cute child’s princess skirt; another had intricate snowflake-style cutting; one was entirely woven; another had origami dresses on it and another had paper incorporated into a cool punky skirt and corset. Everything’s going to look fabulous on the night and now I’m really looking forward to it.

If you are interested in purchasing the book dress, it is for sale at Threads of a Fairytale. It would be a perfect World Book Day costume!

Art and Craft, Threads of a Fairytale,
00no comment

Other posts you may like:

Weekly Wardrobe – a vintage velvet dress
November 28, 2016
It was the wonderful Glastonbury Frost Fayre on Saturday so I wanted to wear something a little bit Christmassy. A purple velvet dress fitted the bill, so that’s what I went with! I bought it from ebay a few years ago when I was invited to a friend’s 1940s party, and I thought this one looked like it matched the theme. The collar, length and style are very 1940’s, but it’s from C&A’s so it’s probably actually from the 1980s….
Weekly Wardrobe – pastels
June 5, 2016
Hello folks! Hope you’re having a lovely weekend. I’m starting a new regular thingumajig on here, which, as you can see, I’m calling ‘Weekly Wardrobe.’ In view of style and fashion being a frequent theme to my posts, I thought Why not share what I’m wearing? I was unsure at first, feeling it’s a little, well, self-important of me to think people will be interested, but let’s face it, in this day in age when tonnes of people are sharing their outfits on the internet, I think I’d like to join in! My fashion taste is a little random; sometimes hippy, ’50s, steampunk or lagenlook, but I like to think a little bit quirky. I’m a hoarder and rarely buy items brand new, so I’m afraid I’m not much good for ideas for you to exactly copy, but maybe offer style inspiration. I’m also going to be linking up with the fabulous Catherine Summers at NotDressedAsLamb and following her weekly themes for #iwillwearwhatIlike in rallying against the list some questionable journalist thinks people over thirty should stop wearing….
Oshun dress
Cultural Appropriation in Fashion. Should it really matter?
September 7, 2017
  If you know me, then you’ll know I am a person who happily trundles on in life, getting on with things as pleasantly as I can, doing as much as possible to avoid drama or confrontation. However, I think someone linked to a blog post I wrote over year ago, as I’ve come back from holiday to a flurry of angry comments on the post called OSHUN – THE STORY OF MY CLOTHING BRAND, AND THE YELLOW DRESS INSPIRED BY BEYONCE’S IN LEMONADE. I thought I would respond to those comments in a blog post, rather than reply to them individually, as hopefully I will explain myself and my opinions in a more complete and thought-through way. So to understand what I’m about to talk about, you might want to have a look at that post first and have a read of the recent comments below it. In summary though, it was written at a time when Beyonce appeared to be channeling the ancient African deity, Oshun, so I wrote a bit about her for those who hadn’t heard of her before, and explained how I came to choose her to name my clothing business and a dress after. I wrote a brief message a couple of days ago addressing this on my Threads of a Fairytale website, and if you don’t mind, I’ll quote it now as an introduction: “Hello! I’m back from holiday and had a wonderful time exploring the Acropolis and other ancient remains and ruins around Greece and Albania and have come home full of inspiration. Three new goddess dresses influenced in design by ancient Greek attire will be appearing in the Threads of a Fairytale shop very soon – one in pink, one gold, and one in a mottled green and grey – all pure silk chiffon. I will continue to be inspired by religions and cultures from all around the world; ancient and modern, because that’s the way art grows, develops and nourishes one’s soul and interest. The term “cultural appropriation” seems to be more in fashion than fashion itself at the moment….If you’re a regular visitor to this page, you’ll know that I changed my clothing business name from Oshun to Threads of a Fairytale a couple of months ago and explained my reasons here. And no, the change had nothing to do with cultural appropriation because I’m sorry, I simply don’t agree that it’s a problem here. We have been influenced by our neighbours of all colours and heritage since time began and I think that’s a wonderful thing. Segregating oneself and not allowing this to happen comes from a place of ego, not from a place of good”. If you are going to comment here or on facebook (or anywhere), I would appreciate it if you take the time to read this whole piece to fully understand where I’m coming from, and hopefully even take a minute to think about some of my points. I haven’t written this to try to get anyone to change their opinions – of course we’re not all going to agree, but I want to say at the beginning that I have listened to your comments; looked into them further, and really given it some thought from all points of view before writing this……

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.