A collection of more than 100 life-sized children's clothes crafted from paper by a dedicated Leicestershire artist have gone on display at Leicestershire County Council's Snibston Discovery Park in Coalville.
Felicity Austin from Syston spent two-and-a-half years creating the pieces, which have been modelled on items of clothing dating from 1940 to 1970.
BBC Leicester's Rupal Rajani took on the challenge of creating her own paper dress under the guidance of Felicity. The design is based on an image in a woman's magazine from 1951, printed in the build up to the Festival of Britain.
One of the main inspirations for the project has been a reaction to modern "throwaway society", which has meant many young women have not picked up the skills in sewing and knitting that were traditionally taught in previous decades.
Felicity also wanted to celebrate Leicestershire's manufacturing industry and the skills of the thousands of women who worked in hosiery and shoe factories across the county.
A number of the paper items were based on clothing made in Leicestershire. Liberty bodices were undergarments which originally were seen as replacements to corsets. They were famously linked with the Symington factory in Market Harborough.
Felicity's experience as a fashion designer meant she was easily able to cut patterns and adapt designs from cloth to paper. Her only casualty was creatively mended with the use of patches; "It was echoing something that would've been done in the 1940s".
The paper for the project came from many sources - from a supermarket fruit counter to patterned wallpapers. Felicity found the disposable paper she used to recreate an airtex gym blouse while having a massage.
The development of materials is reflected; "Before 1965 when lycra came in, children's clothes weren't stretchy. We didn't get stretch swimsuits before that; the only ones that did were knitted and then they stretched a bit too much in the water!"
As part of the process, Felicity met with four community groups who shared their memories of childhood clothes. Enthusiastic discussions about fancy dress costumes for the Queen's Coronation in 1953 are reflected in the completed exhibition.
One little girl was dressed as the village green where her local Coronation party was held. Her mother created a grass skirt, Union Jack bodice, and maypole hat. "Nobody bought fancy dress in 1953. They used what they'd got, including paper."
This paper Queen of Hearts dress was based on the memories of a Leicester woman. "She ended up crying because all the boys came and stole her jam tarts!" Other popular designs included newspaper dresses, Robin Hood and historical figures.
"It's a shame for ordinary people today not to have that chance to be challenged into being creative. When you look back at the post-war era, when people were hard up, they were incredibly inventive and that's missing today. That's a shame, it's a loss."
Some of the items on display hold personal significance for Felicity. This cable-knit sweater was made in memory of an old friend. The artist used four different types of wallpaper and cartridge paper, painted and textured with crayons.
This frilled party dress is based on a 1960s design worn by a friend, recreated using silk paper. "It was fun making it because it's pretty. I suppose I got a bit bored after making about 30 rosebuds, but I don't have to make anymore now!"
Visitors to the exhibition are being encouraged to draw outfits that they remember from their own childhood and bring them along to hang on the 'washing line of memories'.
Also included in the exhibition are other nostalgic paper artefacts, from Coronation memorabilia and old photographs, to school books and brown paper packages tied up with string. Some items, including this doll, were sculpted by Felicity.
Felicity said she hopes the exhibition will not eventually find itself in her loft; "I would very much like to see it go on to somewhere else. It represents a lot of work and I think if people like it and enjoy it, it deserves to go on somewhere else."
The 'Paper Memories' collection will be on display in the Fashion Gallery at Snibston until 15 May 2011. For more details visit www.leics.gov.uk/snibston