Wednesday, September 25, 2013

DIY: Campbell's Soup Dress after Andy Warhol

Forget the dress, check out that soup-er mural! It's simply un-can-ny how much it resembles the work of Warhol. More condensed details on the fourth grade's latest masterpiece soon, but for now the h-Andy work of this dress will just have to be suffice. Or is the word "sufficient"? Eh, you say "tomato", I say "shut up, fool!" Because I'm rude like that. 
I dunno how you spent your weekend, because, as I mentioned, I'm rude and therefore forgot to ask, so lemme just tell you how I spent mine: Making a Campbell's Soup Can Dress in honor of our artist of the month, Andy Warhol. Oh! And did I mention that I almost committed sew-icide (death by sewing a nightmarishly impossible task)? Because I did. Seriously. Each one of those appliqued letters was at least ten years off my life. Which I don't suppose is possible being that there are 19. But whateves. Me and math have never gotten along.
You might recall I'm on a bit of a mission to create an outfit for each of our artists of the month. Thus far, I've managed to sew up a Great Wave dress in honor of Hokusai and a splatter-tastic number for Pollock. And now I can add some Andy Warhol to my dress-terpiece wardrobe. Yippie! It only shaved 190 years off my life (and, yeah, it took me from initially mentioning that math problem until now to come up with the answer)!
This whole mess, er, dress started when a sweet parent approached me about having the kids create posters for an upcoming canned food drive. I'd already had it in my head that our school's cafeteria needed a new mural and had mentioned such to Rebecca. With her big soon-to-be-an-amazing-art-teacher brain, she thought up the idea of the kids creating a class set of Andy can murals. And the rest is history (with details to come, pinkie swear and spit shake).

Check it out: the Souper Dress is a screenprinted paper dress that was made and sold by Campbell’s Soup Company in the late 1960s. Obviously, the creation of this dress was inspired by the one and only Warhol. How I'd love to get my kitten mittens on this number...if only it wasn't selling for hundreds of dollars on that devil website known as ebay.
 While student teacher extraordinaire was busy workin' on that, I was plotting my outfit to accompany said lesson. Because if it's one thing I've got, it's priorities. And a serious lack of mathematical skillz.

My mom happened to spot this dress on a recent thrift store jaunt and, knowing my can-plan, scooped it up for me. Can you believe it's perfectness? I swear this bad boy was just beggin to be Campbell's-soup-ized. To can-onize this dress (because after all the work, I'm declaring this thang a holy relic), I added a silver ban to the top and bottom. I didn't shorten the dress at all although in this side-by-side it appears that way. And, of course, I appliqued the crap outta the thing with all 19 of those letters. Not like I was counting or anything. Ahem.

Now I never really go about anything the right way or even the easy way, so if you are gonna embark on your very own Warhol number, might I suggest you go to a legit DIY blog. However, if you are up for a challenge of sew-icidal proportions then, welcome to the Thunderdome, friend! Grab your Xanax and let's hop to it! 

I began by laying my dress out and placing a sheet of tissue paper on top of that. I kinda love lettering so planning the size of the letters and penciling them in was fun for a I-like-to-pick-at-my-hang-nails fun kinda way.
After that, I chose the fabric for my letters and ironed some fabric stiffener to the back. Wait, there's another name for that, right? Because "fabric stiffener" just can't be right. That makes it sound like I showed the fabric some dirty pictures of sewing machines and thread and it got all hot and bothered. And that's just weird. Wait, what were we talking about? Lemme start again, sorry...

Iron some stuff on the back of the fabric that will beef it up (heehee), pin tissue paper to fabric and cut. Wow, I managed to get all that out in one sentence when it took me an entire paragraph above.
Because I thought the pins would create puckers in the fabric when sewing, I tacked the letters down with Stitch Witchery which is that roll of stuff on the left.
And then the appliqueing commenced. Which, as you can see, is just a zigzag stitch really close together. I struggled with turning the curves of the letters which shoulda been a harbinger (the one SAT vocabulary word I actually remember) of what was to come with those curvy swirly "Cambell's" letters.
Speaking of...I actually contemplated felting these letters in place knowing they were to be a beast. But I opted to first give it a shot applique-wise and then resort to felting if needed.
Are there any pro-applique'ers out there? Because one look at this photo and you can see I'm strugglin'. Pushing all the fabric of the dress through the machine was not my cup of tea. Do the Real Housewives of Applique-town have a certain machine with a longer sewing machine arm, a flatter presser foot and a built-in margarita maker, perhaps?

When it was all said and done, I was pretty happy with my goofy dress. Which provoked mucho commentary when I hit the grocery store after school. Here's just a pinch of the convo I engaged in at the checkout counter:

Checkout Clerk: Oh! I love your dress! Did you make it?!

Me: Um, yeah. I did.

CC: Oh my goodness {Calling to the other checkout clerks:} Hey, guys, come over here and see this dress! She made it! 

Awkward Checkout Clerk: Neat. {Looking in my cart} You aren't buying any soup? That seems weird.

Me: Yeah, well. I'm trying to cut back.

ACC: That's too bad. {Checkin' my dress out again} I hear it's "Mmmm...mmm...good." Can I help you out with your groceries?

Me: {Trying to suppress my freaked'outed'ness}NO! I mean, no. Thanks.

Stay tuned for the post on how the fantastic fourth grade created these murals. Until then, finish that soup! AND stay away from Awkward Checkout Clerks. Toodles!


  1. OMG OMG OMG!!! You need to be on Project Runway! I would be your biggest fan!!!!!!

    1. Oh, gurl, that's sweet of you to say, I can ONLY IMAGINE what M.Kors would have to say about this dress;)

  2. Cassie, you are absolutely 'SOUP-ERB'! I worship you, I swear!

    I'm loving the mural - I used to, like decades ago, do a 'mystery grid assignment' with my 7th graders where I cut up and distributed parts of an image to kids to graph and enlarge. I'm guessing you did this the same way. We did several pics, from a giant multicolored sunshine to a rainbow giraffe. And then there was the funniest of all - Andy Warhol's portrait of Marilyn Monroe, which was funny because when it was assembled and hanging, the kids did not have a CLUE who it was! Evidently, your soup can mural is a much better choice!

    1. Haha!! We looked at that Marilyn print and only a handful of kids recognized her. Most of her said, "isn't that the lady whose dress blew up?" which I was impressed they knew. I had to really sell them hard on Andy and his cans...they just didn't "get" it. And yet they'll believe a story of a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea. Go figure.

  3. Oh GOD, this is so cute! LOOK AT HOW CUTE YOU ARE!! I'm dying, I'm dead :) haha!

  4. Anonymous9/25/2013

    *jaw drops* You are amazing!!!

  5. Ginger Rogers9/25/2013

    You have really outdone yourself with this one. I loved the previous one with the wave, but this is really totally heroic!! "in a picking your hang nail kind of way" made me laugh. Love your blog to bits.

    1. Thank you! to top a can dress, I dunno!

  6. Your dress is seriously cute!!! I love the murals too!

  7. Love it! I've always been a big fan of Warhol. In fact, for a 7th grade presentation on a modern artist, I picked Warhol and gave a presentation dressed as him (I even powdered my short hair white!). Perhaps it would have been more flattering to go as one of his works of art, as you've done, instead!

  8. Gurl you are OFF THE HOOK! I am doing a big Warhol unit soon and inquiring minds would love to know how you did the murals. Gracias!

    1. Up next on the blog, I promise! And thanks for reading :)

  9. Freakin awesome!!! I looooove the dress!

  10. Cassie, I was reading about you just yesterday in a Nashville Art Magazine that I picked up at the wine store in West End. Congratulations on your Teacher of the Year Award! I was fascinated with your creative approach to teaching! And now I can see more ! Looking forward to more blogs.

  11. So amazing!! Listen, did you ever post the mural project cuz I would love to see how you did that!!! Thanks a mil!

  12. Thanks for the blog post buddy! Keep them coming...


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