Project Runway – Season 5

Winning design made from vaccuum bags, coffee filters, and thumb tacks by Kelli (from

Winning design made from vacuum bags, coffee filters, and thumb tacks by Kelli (from

Project Runway is one of my favorite shows to watch. Last night in the season premiere, the contestants had to make an innovative outfit from materials that could be found in a grocery store. They had a brief time (30 minutes, I think) to scour the store and buy items, totaling no more than $75. While some did a nice job, others were less inspired.

I was a little surprised by how many of the contestants used table cloths as the primary material for their designs. Truly, isn’t a table cloth just a big piece of fabric? Where’s the innovation in that? There were a couple of not-so-attractive “picnic” dresses. One designer used a table cloth and then added a collar made from produce and a belt adornment made with a sliced yellow bell pepper ring. While it was decent looking, it appeared to be a last minute thought.

Solo Cups Dress by Daniel (from

Solo Cups Dress by Daniel (from

In my opinion, the most awesome dress was made from plastic cups! Though the designer didn’t win, I think he should have. He took a very difficult material to work with and made it into a dress. Granted, it’s not as wearable as the winner’s but still. There was also a design that involved braiding the yarn in a mop head. That was pretty cool.

So this got me to thinking, what would I do if I were a designer on the show? One thing that I thought was lacking in the designs was the use of food. I know you just can’t go using a can of corn to make a winning design, but what about popcorn kernels or other dry food as a way to do beading?

Last night I came up with the idea to use dry dog food. Hopefully, the design doesn’t have to smell good. I would choose a dog food that has multiple colors and shapes. If it were less expensive and less smelly, I’d go with a variety of dried beans, rice, and/or dried fruit. My thought is that I need something small that wouldn’t be stiff like a bunch of uncooked pasta and would have some different shades.

I would still have to buy some kind of backing material for it, so I would get those thicker napkins that don’t rip easily. Or maybe I’d resort to using a napkin-like table cloth that has a water resistant backing. I’d need some twine or small roping. I would also need a lot of adhesives. I think glue would probably work best. On second thought, maybe masking tape would be even better. If it were available, I’d also buy a spray adhesive and some kind of flexible sealant.

I think I would make a short dress. The top would be overall solid with some accents and the bottom would be patterned in some way.

I’d start by making a basic pattern of the dress out of the napkins/tablecloth. Then I would separate whatever little food items I had. Since rice is the smallest grain, comes in big bags, and is the most lightweight, I’d make that my main texture. I’d spray the top part of the pattern with the adhesive, spread the rice onto it, and let it dry. Then I’d work on the bottom. I would lay multi-colored beans out on the table in some kind of pattern. Then I would take the masking tape and put it on top of the pattern so that the pattern would stay in place as best as possible. I would repeat this a few times and make sure that I had one strip that was long enough to act as a belt.

I’d make sure to create some kind of hidden waistband with the twine so that the weight of the bottom wouldn’t tear the dress in 2 pieces. I would then take the strips and attach them to the waistband. I’m thinking a vertical or diagonal stripes would look good. Then I’d add some adhesive to the dress and add the rice again. I think I’d use those reddish brown colored beans to trim the dress. If I had time, I’d make a necklace, too. Maybe I’d braid the twine and glue some beans to it. Or take a single line of twine and add a cluster of beans to it like a pendant. Oooh, earrings made from Craisins!

This would be my “beans and rice” dress. 🙂 Takes you back to elementary school, doesn’t it?… Make it work!


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