Here is the paper cancan dress I created specifically for the Posters of Paris: Toulouse-Lautrec and His Contemporaries, June 1–September 9, 2012, exhibit at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
The dress is assembled with some paper tape and 2 1/2 bottles of my favorite Crafter's Pick glue. Using six different kinds of papers and without using a pattern, the dress took about 2 weeks to complete. Most of this time was to ensure that the glue was dry before I proceeded to the next steps. The moisture in the glue made the red paper run sometimes so there were a bit of trial-and-error delays (plus I changed my mind on the design a couple of times).
I am by no means a seamstress or clothing designer so the fact that I didn't use a pattern presented it's challenges. The hardest part was the construction of the corset. Instead of just gluing two ends of a sheet of paper together and compressing it into the shape of a corset with force and glue, I assembled it like a real corset would be made. I cut out nine strips of paper, each a different shape and size, and separated them with the paper "boning". I finished off the top and bottom with hand stamped detailed ruffles. All of the edges are neatly completed and they lay flat for comfort and attractiveness.
Originally intended as a two piece for display on a mannequin (more on that fiasco in another post), I ended up having to glue the top and bottom together for display on a hanger. With a paper/string lace up corset and a grosgrain ribbon at the back of the waist (the only small part that isn't paper) the dress can be worn as a costume on an x-small/small frame.
For display purposes, there are two transparent threads holding the skirts up; but these can be cut off if worn as a costume and the skirt will fall back down into place. Even though the dress is made of paper, it is actually very sturdy; but need I mention that although it is a wearable garment, it is not a washable garment?...
Up-close, hand applied stamp detail to the paper ruffles.
For information on pricing and purchasing, please contact the museum directly. Below are photos of my products on display.
I also created a wire hanger to go along with the dress (as shown) and the store manager cleverly jazzed it up with a feather boa.