Monday, January 6, 2014

DIY: A Felted, Light-Up Starry Night Dress!

Okay, first of all, lemme just say Thank You! for all of your amazing comments and input on teaching vocabulary. I started jotting down your suggestions and when I was done, I had three pages of incredible ideas. You guys are seriously awesome! For that reason, I've decided to create a follow-up post with a list of all your ideas (along with linky-loos to your blog if you've got one).

Second thang: Looks like ya'll are interested in an Artsy Book Club! I'm so thrilled, I seriously thought that when I suggested it no one would be down. But it looks like I'm in good book-lovin' company. I'm going to do a little homework to find a list of books we might be into and then I'll provide a poll for ya'll to vote. Suggestions are welcome, pretty please and thank you.

Now, without further a do-do, I present to you my Felted, Light-Up Starry Night Dress!
When I decided to create a dress for each of our monthly artists and began brainstorming famous works of art, I knew there would be just now way around Starry Night. And while the other dresses I'd created had been done with applique (with the exception of the Pollock Splatter Paint number), I didn't think that technique would really showcase the brush stroke business van Gogh is famous for. So I settled upon felting the thing.
 Just a lil back history: Vincent van Gogh painted The Starry Night in 1889 from the window of his sanitarian room...this according to the all-knowing wikipedia. However, I'd always heard that he painted the scene out doors while wearing a crown of candles. This info probably came from my all-not-knowing imagination. Regardless, this painting is considered a real turning point in van Gogh's painting style. AND it's rad.
Now, ya'll, I love felting. Way more than applique because it's much easier to control. That being said, this dress took me for-evah! So it's a good thing that I enjoy it so much. But I do believe I'll be giving it a short rest for at least a week. I might have stabbed my fingers a good two or twenty times and need a little bit of a break to heal.
Since I knew making a Starry Night dress was imminent, I'd had my eyes pealed for a navy blue dress during my thrift store jaunts. When I stumbled upon this dress, I knew it was perfect because I could basically use the entire front as a canvas...and it had pockets. I had this crazy notion that this dress was gonna light up (kinda like my Christmas dress) and I knew a pocket to hold the battery pack would be muy importante.
So I began by sketching out the entire thing...in chalk. Which was like the best thing ever because it erased easily and didn't effect the color of my fabric or wool.
And now here's countless photos of (slooow) progress of the dress. Hubs made a sweet little video of me felting but I can't seem to find it. For a more in depth look at how I go about needle felting, check here.
Despite what you see here, you actually don't need a lot of wool roving to needle felt. A little goes a long way. And, if you shop around online a bit, you can find some great retailers who aren't gonna charge you and arm and a leg like those big box craft shops.

You can see it's just a matter of placing the roving and then punching it until the fibers attach to the fabric. This is the first time I ever felted onto a 100% cotton garment. I'm usually working on a sweater. This took a little extra punching but I did get it to stick. By the way, I have a foam cushion under my dress that I punch into. Needle felting tools like the one you see here can be picked up at one of those aforementioned big box craft shops.
We did a lot of car traveling over the holidays. Hubs didn't think I should felt in the car (which is a total bummer because my mother-in-law had hooked me up with a little portable table and everything!). I think he had visions of us getting into an accident and me impaling myself with the needle tool. So I did the gold thread embroidery around the stars during those road trips.
And, after several days, it was as finished as it was gonna get!

Thankfully, I scored a Snow Day today. This meant I could stay up as late as I liked the previous evening...and I worked until the wee hours adding these LED lights.
I scored these for a mere $2 at an after Halloween sale at Big Lots. Notice that it has three settings: On, Flashing and Fading. Fading is my favorite as the stars really appear to twinkle. I think the kids are gonna Freak. Out. when they see this.
To add the lights, I ripped a little hole in the seam of the pocket and threaded the lights through it.
The lights were evenly spaced and there were 20 of 'em. I did have to add a couple of stars to find a place for the lights. To insert the lights into the dress, I cut a small hole in the center of the stars and sewed the light into the hole. I then tacked the wire connecting the dots down in several places on the dress. Fingers crossed these lights never stop working or I'll have a holey, light-less dress on my hands.
And there you have it! By the way, that little red-light clicker I'm holding in my hand isn't the light switch for the dress but the remote for my camera! For Christmas, hubs not only bought me a new camera but he also bought me this attachment that allows me to take pictures with the click of a button. I'm so happy, no more setting the timer for ten seconds only to trip over the cat and fall on my face before the camera snaps. Not that that has ever happened to me, ahem.

Don't forget to suggest an artsy book for the book club is a title comes to mind! Until then, have a great week!


35 comments:

  1. I love this so much. I don't even know what to say. :)

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  2. Unbelievable.... I want to do this with an apron! I learned how to felt in my craft club!!! Love this!!!! A.MAZ.ING

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  3. You are so totally radsauce! This dress just confirms that fact yet again!

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  4. O.My.Goodness. I love this dress so much. And it lights up too. Fab.

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  5. I think it may be post christmas hormones but this nearly made me cry! Something so touching about that painting it's my faves you can see the awe and wonder in it. And cotton not wool? A revelation, I guess it not one for washing though. A fine piece of work and the twinkling lights, I may go and have a little sob now!

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  6. I love this dress! It is even better then your first light up dress, if that is possible

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  7. You have completely outdone yourself this time! I LOVE this dress! I would totally wear this one if you ever decide to part with it! And the lights! Beyond awesome! These artist inspired dresses ROCK!!! Oh and I agree with your husband on the needle felting in the car... you hit a bump and it could be a little scary! :)

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  8. BACK UP THE TRUCK! BEEP BEEP BEEP!!!! I love this! P.S. I too am a big lots lights hoarder. I have been known to hit 6 big lots and buy all the green and purple lights in two states... oh that is another story. I just love all the felting colors and the dress WOW. I agree about the big box stores we have a couple of farms just down the road where I can buy the wool. We use kool aid to die the wool at school- pretty fun! I really want to do it more just with kiddos I don't have as much time. Oh and buy the way, I don't see a problem with felting in the car why if you just keep the other finger out of the way why not live on the edge! :) I still wished you lived closer we would be felting fool friends!

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  9. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow. Wow. FREAKING wow. This is so amazing. I absolutely adore it. You've completely and utterly and unbelievably outdone yourself. You must be so damn pleased to be able to wear that wonderful dress after all your work on it. And the kids are, as you say, going to totally freak out.

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  10. You are absolutely amazing! Nothing more needs to be said <3

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  11. Oh my goodness! That is the up there with the coolest craft dress ever (competing madly with your Christmas tree skirt)! Your pupils (and their parents) are so blessed to have you as an art teacher.

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  12. Anonymous1/07/2014

    Cassie, that is an absolutely STUNNING dress! You captured the brush strokes so well! Wow! This is definitely a triumph and your kids are going to loose their minds!!!

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  13. I need this dress! This term we are studying van Gogh at my school and next week is art week. I've planned to do a starry night mural like the picture of one you had on your blog. It's the first mural I've done by making a grid and enlarging each piece, I hope I can make it work. I feel I'm doing a disservice to the children by not turning up in a dress like this, don't think I could manage to make one over the weekend! Hope you have fun wearing it.

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  14. Just speechless at how brilliant this is! Your kids are so lucky that you're their teacher!

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  15. That is one of your best yet! My kids (ages 7 - 16) all think it is awesome too. :)

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  16. This is ridiculously cool. I wasn't sure about felting onto fabric other than wool, so I'm glad to see this! I'd be curious to know how the felting holds up on the cotton after a few wears... :) GREAT JOB!

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  17. This is amazing! I love it so so much. I'm really interested in doing something similar, but I'm worried about how I would wash it. Is there a way to attach the lights instead of sewing them in, so that it could be hand washed or dry cleaned?

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  18. Anonymous1/24/2014

    to keep your costs down even more, you can score a white/offwhite wool sweater from your thrift shops, rip it apart, and dye it (wool and other protein fibers are super simple to dye with food coloring/koolaid, vinegar, and a microwave). that is my favorite way to get cheap needlefelting wool!!

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  19. Awesome creation! And I love the addition of the twinkling lights. Book suggestion - The Goldfinch. Its about a boy who survives a terrorist attack AT AN ART MUSEUM and steals a famous painting in the aftermath when he's 13. Haven't read it yet but heard its fantastic.

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  20. HAHA! I saw this post on Pinterest and didn't quite get the type of book club you were suggesting until I did more reading on your blog. I love the drawing a day idea and now you have a suggestion for a good book to read during your next break!

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  21. This is a skilled job, "he is not only reflected master design and sewing technology, also embodies the aesthetic point of view, and you I like this blog, thank you.
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  22. Anonymous10/24/2014

    This is a poor attempt to copy that girl from Arizona's prom dress in which she painted Starry Night onto a wedding gown. Now that WAS awesome!

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  23. Hey now. My niece is an original and she doesn't do anything poorly.
    And you should be nice. :)

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  24. Thank you for your inspiration. You sight is amazing, and all you ideas. I teach art and this really goes that extra mile. I love it. Blessings, to you

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  25. Cassie, I know you already have this Starry Night dress, but I thought you should know about the Starry Night fabric at JoAnn's right now. I also found some Monet fabric while I was there. Just food for thought for you and your crazy (and fantabulous) creations. You've inspired me to even start my own themed outfits for next school year. Thanks!

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  26. This is gorgeous!! About how long did this take to complete?

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  27. Anonymous11/01/2015

    Absolutely stunning!! Any idea where I can find lights like that? (I've googled without success.) I'll check Big Lots again.....

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    1. Hi friend! I really don't know...however, I don't know that I'd recommend them! I went to turn on my dress just the other day and the lights had all gone out but one! Ugh! I guess I bent a wire or something and now I have to restring the whole thing. So! I don't know if these lights would be the best. I know I found them during the holiday season in BL if that helps! Try googling miniature LED lights, maybe?

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  28. Thanks for sharing. Love that light up night dress. You can found more from http://www.turnneon.com/

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  29. OMG! This dress is unreal! Vincent is surely jumping for joy that someone loves his painting so much to go to all the trouble to recreate it like this to share with students. You are amazeballs!
    i would love to make stuff to wear in my art room but how on earth do you stay clean???? I wear a HUUUGGGE art smock that covers me down to my feet but I still end up messier that all the kids. I wore a new cardy today and I have clay all up one sleeve. Yes, clay will brush off when it is dry but I usually keep clothes I want to stay pristine at home and where what i am not bothered about into the art room as they will inevitably get covered in paint and stuff.How do you wear all your amazing creations and not destroy them in the art room???
    Shell

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Thank you so much for your comments. I appreciate each and every one :)