Tuesday, April 22, 2014

DIY: Felting a Dress is a Scream!

So the other day, a maintenance dude was in my art room installing what appears to be The World's Largest Flat Screen T.V. (seriously, ya'll. What am I gonna do with this thing, shop on QVC whilst the kids are art-makin'? Hey...wait a minute...). Annnyway, we got to chatting and dude tells me a story about his high school art teacher that is so deliciously demented, I just have to share it with ya. Apparently, this art teacher salvaged her daughter's hair after a hair cut and, wait for it, knitted it into a sweater.

[I'll pause here until you finish with the dry heaves.]

But wait, there's more! Dude then proceeds to tell me that whenever you were working on your masterpiece, the art teacher, forever in her Hairy Hoodie, would lean over to offer advice and, when doing so, the hairs would tickle your face. 

[Again, I pause. Heave away.] 

"Because all art teachers are weird, you know," said that formerly tickled and tormented soul. "Even you!" Mind you, I just met this guy and he's already got me (accurately) pegged.

Why tell you this story? Because I remembered it when I was felting hairs into this dress. Not human hair, mind you, but that of some colorful sheeps and, well, maybe a rogue cat hair or twenty.

And I'm left with the thought: Will my sweet art-lovin' students tell stories of their Hairy-Dress art teacher?!
I scream at the thought.
According to my calculations, there here is my 12th Hairy, er, Needle Felted Creation. For my latest felted -n- foxy masterpiece, follow this linky-loo which will lead you down a rabbit hole of cheeseball needle-felting tutorials and a look-see of my Needle Felted Projects of the Past.

With that outta the way, let's chat about this here Munch-inspired Scream dress, ermkay? I gave ya'll a look-see (as well as a brief history of el Munch-o) in this What I Wore post. I've had my mind set on creating a Scream dress since my Adventures in Making an Artist-A-Month Dress began. And I've had my eye on this years-old (and slightly ruined from a formerly failed DIY) dress as the perfect canvas for this Scream-tastic adventure. I began by drawing my design out in chalk as it's easy to erase with an elbow or completely rid of with a toss in the wash.
Way back in January, when hubs and I took to the Smoky Mountains for some adventuring, I stumbled upon a knitting/weaving/felting shop that had this amazing felt roving. When I saw it, I immediately knew it'd be perfect for The Scream and scooped it up for a mere $14, ya'll. I thought the mix of colors would save me a lotta labor layering colors...which I spent a lot of time doing in this piece.
And in 30 minutes, I had a wee bit of sky in place.
Many more than 30 minutes later, I had made some progress...however, it's become apparent to me that I need to size-up on my needle felting tool as that little bitty pencil-sized thing takes For.Eve.Rrrr.
However, I was determined to finish this super hairy beast. So I strapped on my headphones, jammed out to some rando tunes (I ran the musical gamut from Mazzy Star to Siouxsie and the Banshees and some Lily Allen. I tole you, rando) and worked until the loopeyness set in...

At which point hubs came in to check on me (I wasn't responding to his hollerin' due to said headphone/jam-out sessions). He brought Ashie with him who we promptly styled with a rogue piece of roving. Question: Do you prefer the Conan O'Kitty on the left or the Cat-Faux-Hawk on the right? Let's be honest, this cat looks good in any random roving we put on her head.

When the dress was finally complete, it seriously weighed a ton. I totes wasn't  expecting it to be so hot and heavy, heehee. Ahem. To smash down the roving (and lock the fibers into place), I flipped the dress inside out, as seen, and ironed the crap outta it on the steamiest setting available.
This helped flatten the otherwise lumpy and bumpy look to the dress. Which is never appealing.
By the way, I saved the Scream-y face for last. I was certain I was going to mess it up. And that's like the most important part. Mess that up and you lose the image entirely.
And I did struggle with it a bit. Originally, I created the hallows of the eyes in brown. However, that appeared much darker than is seen on the original. So I toned down the hallows with a very fine veil of peach roving. This worked to push the eye sockets back a pinch and made it so the pupils could come forward. It was a happy accident and I'm excited that I discovered a fun way to play with value whilst felting.
Of course, no post about The Scream would be complete without a dorky attempt at The Scream. I had to channel my inner Home Alone/Macaulay Culkin. My sincerest apologies.

And there you have it! One felted The Scream dress that's hairy-feltedness is sure to tickle the face of some poor student who will live to tell about it to generations to come. And by "generations" I mean their many therapists.

Until next time, I hope your week is a Scream, ya'll!


  1. You are amazing! This is amazing! Oh and I love my TV in my classroom to show clips on youtube of like real life clips. For example for Chinese New Year I showed a real parade that had taken place in San Francisco that past weekend. SafeShare.TV makes all the ads go away with youtube clips. Might be neat to have a clips of artists or craftsman using the techniques that you are using in class. Also if your computer has a camera on it and you want to do detail work and are afraid the students in the back won't be able to see it you could show it up on the big screen.

  2. I saw this the other day and thought of you. It's a needle felting machine (it comes with wool fabric).


  3. You are so clever! I love this! I think your students will tell stories about how their amazing art teacher created work-of-art clothes and wore an incredible outfit every day. I'd say you're a million miles away from hairy-jumper-lady in the weird art teacher stakes!!

  4. Your artistic talents have no boundaries, the dress is amazing.

  5. Wow! That is incredible. What a good find with that roving, it looks absolutely perfect. You're probably doing your kids a favour, making it easy for them to seem normal, however nutty they get they can just tell stories of the teachers they grew up with and everyone will think "Ahh bless, they never really had a chance..."

  6. What an amazing work of art. You are giving your students the memories they will pass on to their children which is fantastic.

  7. I was thinking what a perfect dress for you and then I found out you made it. It is really cool. Pat S

  8. Wow, Wow, and Wow again! That turned out fabulous! Amazing!

  9. Two things: First... the dress, FABULOUS!!! As always! Second... the story about the "hairy" knitting, Eeeewwww!!!! Sorry, but that isn't even borderline crazy, it's just crazy... I saved both of my kids baby teeth that the Tooth Fairy collected, but, I don't have any plans to make them into jewelry ( yeah, you can do that, saw it once, reminded me of something cannibals might wear...) I am obsessed with fibers and fabric but I draw the line at items made from human by-products.... super creepy.... ( just my personal opinion, no offense to anyone out there that would use human by-products in their art, just not for me... )

    1. hey I saved a few teeth from my kids, and when one was in junior high did a science project on effects of different pop on teeth... those teeth came in real handy!

  10. and this is why we were meant to be friends! EnOuGh Said! <3

  11. Cat-Faux-Hawk has my vote. And this dress is totally, totally freaking amazing. You've outdone yourself once again.

  12. OMG!! This is AMAZING! I love it!! And definitely faux-hawk kitty!! :-)

  13. You are amazing. I absolutely love your creativity and great skill.

  14. This is just fantastic! I love all your DIY dresses but this is my favourite yet. It really does look incredible :-)

  15. I got to see the actual portrait at a wonderful Art Exhibit in Atlanta, GA held in honor of the 1996 Olympics. Your dress is an incredible salute to this picture. You caught the look of desperation and also the background! YAY for you. And thank you for sharing it with all of us!

  16. frickin fantastic!

  17. Love love LOVE your dress! You could also use it to discuss complementary colors!! I gagged a solid 10 times about the human hair sweater. Sure, us art teachers are nuts, but I'd like to think most of us aren't at that level of insanity. Gross

    P.S. My cat, General Tso, is your cat's twin. He prefers the faux-hawk. Lol.

  18. You are crazy, and very talented !

  19. This dress is so amazing, you are so clever. Did you know simplicity make an electric needle felting machine? It's shaped like a sewing machine and might be good for the large areas although I've never used it so can't vouch for how good it is but it might worth looking into save you time and pain!

  20. Hi, I teach needle felting classes in San Diego, and one of my students forwarded me this page. What a GREAT dress! I love it, and think it's totes successful! And, yes, I highly recommend a needle felting machine. I have one, which I use when I needle felt scarves (that will be worn as a garment, and when I want to make sure the felting is securely set). It will make it so you don't need to do all that cray ironing, and keep the fibers really flat. It's expensive, but so worth it if you are going to do more dresses.
    x, Val

  21. Una gran bella ideea!congratulazioni! Stupenda!

  22. I love this. I must have a go at making my own clothes. You have inspired me.

  23. You let me understand you extremely passionate about art, Passion and Creativity are the most important thing to have, So beautiful!!!

  24. This was really an interesting topic and I kind agree with what you have mentioned here!

    Eid Collection

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