A creative teenager made a beautiful wedding dress for just £30 using toilet paper. Rachel Lefleur, 16, from Orpington, Kent, began making the dress a year ago aged 15 for her GCSE art coursework. Stapled, glued, and taped together, the dress features a sweetheart neckline, bodice with lace-up back and full skirt and train of white toilet roll ‘roses’ dipped in glitter. The gown – which cost a total of £30 to make with glitter, glue and beading – took four months and ‘hundreds of hours’ to complete, and Rachel used 19 rolls of Cushelle to create it, costing just £10.
Creative Rachel who started making the dress last October, lives with her parents Denise, 51, and Gavin Lefleur, 48. The A* student said: ‘I’d never made a dress before but I was inspired by watching images of American toilet paper clothing contests on YouTube and thought I’d give it ago. ‘It became a real labour of love and I couldn’t even guess how many hours I spent on it. But I’m so pleased with the finished result.’ Rachel got an A* for her art GCSE and is now in year 12 studying art and design for A-Level. Proud mum Denise, a legal secretary, added: ‘We’ve had toilet roll strewn across the house for months and it was stressful watching her try and get it all finished in time. ‘I’m so proud of her, the dress is beautiful and any bride would be lucky to wear it. You’d never guess it was made from toilet roll.’ When first tasked with a project for her art GCSE at Moor House School in Oxted, Surrey, Rachel planned to use newspaper to create a garment.
But, inspired by watching online videos of the American Annual Toilet Paper Wedding dress Contest which sees designers compete bridal wear from toilet tissue, she decided to use loo roll instead. Rachel added: ‘I’d never made a dress before but most of my artwork had been drawing-based and I fancied doing something related to clothing. ‘When I thought of using toilet roll I released it could be a white wedding dress instead. I told my teacher what I planned to do, she looked doubtful and said it couldn’t be done well The dress’s detail meant that Rachel often missed nights out with friends to work on it.
The dress’s detail meant that Rachel often missed nights out with friends to work on it ‘But I knew I could create something beautiful and was determined to prove her wrong. ‘I bought loads of rolls of Cushelle because it’s good quality paper. I needed my design to be strong, own brand tissue wouldn’t cut it. As the March 2016 deadline approached, Rachel tells how it was ‘stressful’ finding time to complete the gown with other coursework piling up. She said: ‘My life became the dress. I was spending hours upon hours on it, and missed nights out with my friends. But I was totally dedicated to making the dress a success.
‘In March, mum Denise helped her daughter transport the dress to the school in five separate car journeys and there Rachel fitted the skirt to a size-eight mannequin. She said: ‘I was terrified to let anyone else touch it so piecing the dress together took ages, but finally it was done. Theoretically, it could actually be worn, though obviously it’s weather-dependent.’ The dress is now displayed in the school’s reception and Rachel hopes that it can one day be made into a ‘real dress’. She said: ‘It was cheap to make in terms of cost of materials, but it took a long time. I’d love to see it made into a wearable outfit as a nod to all the hard work I put into it.’