Saturday, July 12, 2014

DIY: A Felted Fiesta Frock with Balls

Do any of y'all ever have imaginary conversations? I'm not talkin about ones where you replay annoying encounters with that hipster snob at the uber-chic coffee house and dream up amazing comebacks to her horrified look at your mispronunciation of "latte" (Y'ALL, so what if I want a soy LATE [with an emphasis on the T cuz there's two of 'em], it's almost $5. I'll call it whatever the frick I puhlease, thank ya vury much). Naw, man. I'm talking about the imaginary conversations that involve being interviewed. On T.V. By the likes of Barbara Walters. My most recent Imaginary Interview with Babs went a lil something like this:

"Cassie Stephens, you've done it all."

(humble nod) "It's true."

"You've felted a hipster likeness of your cat onto a sweater ("hipster" is a lil harsh, doncha think, Barb?).You've created some of the tackiest of art teaching clothing (aw, now, tacky is in the eye of the beholder, amiright?!). But do you find, in those quiet moments when you are stringing lights through a dress, that your life is missing something?"

(head bowed) "I do, Barb. I do."

(shocked intake of breath) "And what is it, Cassie Stephens? What is it that your life is missing?"

"A dress with balls, Barb. Big fuzzy colorful balls."
But before we get into that, let's do a bit of a rewind, shall we? I recently unearthed this dress from the back of my closet and tossed it into my give-it-to-Goodwill pile. I mean, even though this happened the last time I wore the dress, that was several summers ago (that's right. It was summer. No idea why Chewy was in a Santa hat. You know Wookies, they play by their own rules.) Since then, I'd deemed the dress too plain for my taste and too white for the art room (it'd only stay that lily white around the 5 year-old set for a hot minute. No longer.)

When I was getting ready to teach my Felted Pet Portrait class at The Skillery a coupla weeks ago, hubs made the remark that it was too bad I couldn't wear one of my felted sweaters for the occasion (it's summer in Tennessee, y'all. It's hotter than Ryan Gosling in a Speedo). I had just pulled this sweater outta the closet to show to the class when I got the idea: I'll felt this same floral pattern onto that uber boring -n- white dress!
Deets on that sweater here, kids. Now, I gotta tell ya, that sweater endeavor took forever. When I thought about doing a similar floral motif to the dress, I had serious flashbacks of the hours bent hunched over that sweater stabbing it mercilessly with my needle felting tool. With my felting class the following day, I knew I didn't have that kind of time to commit to the dress.
(Gah, why do I look like I have some sort of terrible spray tan, y'all?! Orange much?) Now the balls came later, y'all. Let's chat about the felted florals a pinch, ya wanna?
You know I'm nuts-o about this needle felting biz. For more detailed instructions, you can check out these short clips explaining the floral needle felting process. Please try to ignore my Skeletor hands.
And one more:

Now, I'd never worked on thin 100% cotton before. If you look closely at my dress, you can see that the needle felting tool left behind some pretty unappealing holes in the fabric. Which, once ironed, pretty much disappeared. 
For some reason, this dress didn't take nearly as long as I anticipated. Which made it so the dress was complete before my self-appointed needle-felting-class-teaching deadline. Where not one of those participants noticed my dress.
I was all, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! Look at my floral bosoms and tell me it isn't the hottest thing you've seen since Ryan Gosling in a Speedo. 

After some serious self reflection and imaginary interview time with my girl Babs, I finally figured out why no one took note of my dress: It didn't have balls.
So I marched myself over to JoAnn's and stocked up on the most colorful and tackiest of rickrack and  garland-with-balls (anyone know what this stuff is truly called?). Now, if you decide to follow my lead and spice up your own wardrobe with balls, lemme just tell you something: This stuff ain't cheap. Assuming that something this tacky would be inexpensive, I loaded up on 3 yards...only to find out at check out that it was $11 A YARD. WHUUUUUT?! You ain't never seen a person pull up that JoAnn's coupon on their phone and whip out their 15% teacher discount so fast. I almost fell out. 

Once home, I spent some time pinning the garland-with-balls, rickrack and other rando trimmings from my stash to the bottom of the dress. This was easy to zip through my sewing machine and, I think, balances out that colorful floralness on the top.
Outfit deets: felted ball necklace: Paper Source; belt: Anthropologie; shoes: Frye; bangles: gifts from Diana and Aunt Rosemarie
Since the dress kinda reminds me of a fiesta, I decided to wear it when I hosting a wee art-teachers-n-donuts get together I had at my house. I just so happen to be the proud owner of a "donut machine" (which is basically a waffle maker in the shape of donuts, y'all) and while I'm no bueno at getting the proportions right to produce perfect donuts, these guys were so delish, don't nobody cared. Add my famous Krispie Kreme icing on top and you've got a taste bud fiesta.
And there you have it! Now I can finally tell Babs, "Why yes, I have done it all. Balls and all."

I'll be back with you kids soon with an Artsy Book Club assignment and a little What the Art Teacher Wore. Have a super week!


  1. Two of the best sentences in blog land in recent history:
    "Look at my floral bosoms and tell me it isn't the hottest thing you've seen since Ryan Gosling in a Speedo. "
    "I finally figured out why no one took note of my dress: It didn't have balls."
    Cassie my dear, you are a delight!

  2. marvelous. babs should be so lucky.

    i've got a floor length white knit maxi (yes, i don't know why) and i've been meaning to embroider it. hmm. i guess that's all i had to say about that-- um, seriously, you're amazing.

  3. Lucy Z7/13/2014

    It's called pom fringe or pom pom fringe. I love it too and put it on everything I can. I just says "party" like nothing else! Love the dress!

  4. I guess the technical term is pom pom fringe or ball fringe, but I prefer the term "dingle balls." Because dingle balls.

  5. Oh my gosh, I just LOVE that dress!

  6. Wow!!! Beautiful dress. I just loveeeee it!!!
    Let's Make it Lovely


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