Once upon a time… The dress made from books for a fairy tale reading

A new fairytale for adults commissioned by Litfest from contemporary fairy tale author, Claire Massey was premiered this Saturday 16th October at The Storey, Lancaster. Claire wore a custom-made dress made entirely from the pages of books, designed and hand crafted by Lancashire bridal designer, Jennifer Pritchard Couchman.

Using over 2500 pages from multiple copies of the recently reissued ‘Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales’ the gown took three days to make and has “lots of frills, lots of folding, lots of stapling, paper mache and glue.”

“Andy from Litfest approached me and asked if I could make a dress out of books,” says designer Jennifer Pritchard Couchman. “I traditionally create bridal gowns, using silks and lace, so the opportunity to create a dress entirely out of books was an fantastic challenge!”

Claire’s new fairy tale consists of resourceful heroines, lost towns, strange dresses made of grass, smoke, feathers, and finally of books, and a good dollop of the Lancashire landscape. “After many drafts, and a lot of agonising over things I’ve never before considered (can you make a dress out of rain? What would it feel like to wear smoke and feathers?) I’ve had to try to imagine what a dress made from the pages of books would feel like to wear – and most exciting of all, I got to wear the dress to read the story!”


Great designs by a very talented lady who makes you feel like you have known her for years.

Kay Murray