Sunday, October 16, 2016

Crepe Paper Costumes (1920)

In my research for what was originally planned as an extensive Halloween collection for my Etsy shop (which unfortunately had to scaled back due to my hand injury), I discovered a lot of the gorgeous costumes in 1920's illustrations were actually meant to be constructed from paper. It makes a lot of sense to use paper instead of costlier fabric to make an outfit that was only meant to be worn once. Although these dresses look so fabulous I would have wanted them to last more than a single party! 

Here is an article from "Dennison's bogie book" (1920) about creating crepe paper costumes. The book is mainly an advertisement for paper products but it has some great ideas in it. Dennison Manufacturing Co. was a paper company founded in 1844. The company still sort of exists, but they no longer make these adorable paper products. (They merged with Avery in 1990 to become the Avery Dennison Corporation, and now mainly sell adhesive labels and related products.)
This article doesn't give you specific instructions for each costume, but gives you an idea of how they were created:
I would think most of these costumes could be recreated with modern materials and a little creativity! Which is your favourite? 

For more party inspiration, here is the entire booklet from 1920. There are some adorable paper decorating ideas and instructions:

My own Halloween plans are far less elaborate and consist of staying home and handing out candy. Anyone doing anything exciting this year?

That's All.


  1. Gosh, I hope those crepe-paper outfits survived all that frantic 1920s dancing - if the motion didn't tear them, I can imagine them getting pretty damp, and the dancers ending up orange for days.

    1. Yes, it doesn't seem like a practical choice for dancing. Crepe paper isn't particularly durable!

  2. I'm strangely drawn to the stripey dress with the huge frill/peplum at the bottom! What imaginative dresses, and charming illustrations.


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