Tuesday, August 5, 2014

DIY: The "Uh, Are You an Art Teacher?" Ensemble

The other night I was meeting up with a group of non-art-teacher buddies (yes, I have those. Two, actually, thank ya vury much) for dinner. I was just coming from my first day back at school so I was in my normal art teacherin' garb. Paint palette in mah hair, pencil-y shoes, some sort of embarrassingly obvious art teacher dress...you know, the norm. When I wear this wacky tackiness, I honestly don't think twice about it. In fact, I often forget that I look rather ridiculous. My non-art-teacher buddies, however, never forget. 

NATB: When we go out, people seriously look at you funny.

Clueless Me: No they don't!  

NATB: Um, yes they do. It's like they are trying to decide, "Is this a crazy person? Does she realize there are crayons in her hair and she's out in public?!" And you don't even notice!
Okay, so I totally thought this was bogus until yesterday. I got it in my big fat art-teacherin head that I needed to create some miniature art supplies. I'd seen some amazing ones here (gah, y'all! This artist must have magical fairy fingers!) and was totes inspired. So I ran to the nearest big box craft shop and loaded up on Sculpey. When I got up to the register, I realized I didn't have my teacher ID for a discount. Then this went down:

Me: I'm sorry, I don't have my school ID. Can I please get a teacher discount?

Not-Looking-Up-From-Scanning-Countless-Sculpey-Blocks Check Out Chick: You have to be a teacher.

Me: I am a teacher, I promise! I just left my ID at school. 

Still-Preoccupied Check Out Chick: I'm sorry but I don't have any way of knowing if you're really a teacher. 

Me (remembering my convo with NATB): Look at me.

Check Out Chick, startled: Huh? Oh. Wow (taking in that number above). So, you're an art teacher, huh? Kay, I believe you!

And I actually think she gave me double the discount, y'all. As she should all crazy art teachers.
Thank goodness for that wee discount otherwise Ida never been able to make these mini-masterpieces. You know, cuz every approaching-middle-age lady needs a set of Art Supply Shoe Clips, amiright? More on those in a minute, for now, let's talk about that discount-gettin dress, shall we?
You might recognize this fab fabric from my Dreaded Art Supply Order post (which I will be posting a revision of. Y'all made SO MANY super duper suggestions that I've already rewritten my order!). I decided to pair it with some orange and red chevron fabric I thrifted years ago that were curtains in it's previous life.

As for a dress pattern, I settled on that 1970's number on the left. I totes loved the bodice (I fer realz have a thing for dresses with a midriff band. In case you've not noticed every-freakin-dress-I-stitch has a midriff band. Band? Belt? Thangie? You know what I mean). However, I wasn't loving the skirt options. Here's the deal, that mini is just a lil too mini. I don't believe in shaving above my knee caps so I pretty much look like an orangutan from there up. Just ask the hubs. Good thing he's into primates. As for the maxi, y'all, I can't do a maxi in the art room. Every time I squat in a maxi (um, that sounded bad. I mean squat down to pick something up off the ground, not like, to pee outside or something. I may look like an orangutan but I'm not an animal, geesh), I inevitably step on my hem, start to stand and fall over. It's quite classy. For that reason, I decided to go with my skirt standby, good ole Project Runway Simplicity 0320.

Now, let's address the big fat hairy elephant in the room...those 1970's bat wings...
Yeah, those. Y'all know I'm not really a lover of stitching sleeves but I was willing to forego my hate for these guys. I mean in the sketch they looked so hippie and cute! In fact when I wore this dress the other day, all my flower-power teacher buddies reminisced about the dress they had as teens with "wings". However, these guys should really come with some sorta warning label. The entire time I wore this dress, I could see those wings outta my peripheral view and kept swatting at 'em. Once I thought there was a bug on me, another time a bird and I swear I even saw a group of dancing bears. But that was after accidentally consuming some of that Sculpey clay (hazards of eating and crafting). So there's that.
I also have decided that absolutely no dress is complete without pockets. However, I really hate where the pocket are placed in this particular dress pattern. It's impossible to have your hands in your pockets and NOT look like you are piddling (scroll upward, y'all and tell me I'm lying). I opted to use some more of that chevron for pocket town.
Oh! Can we talk about that vintage pattern for a pinch? Cuz it was just about the weirdest pattern I've ever used. Tell me if you find this odd: it had me separately create the front and back of the dress...
And then stitch the front and back together at the side seams. Huh? I mean, I've always done it where you make your bodice and your skirt and attach those together. I actually kinda liked it this way as it made gathering the skirt portion a lot less taxing. I just found it kind of odd...have y'all every sewn a dress this way? What are some of the pros and cons cuz I'm thinking of going down this road again when it comes to other dress patterns.
Oh, look, crafting shrapnel. This is what you don't want your dinner table lookin like, FYI. Not unless you want Dancing-Bears-on-Shoulders hallucinations. 
To make these into shoe clips (and sweater, hair, nipple, whatever clips) I simply glued a little alligator clip on the back. I'm kinda addicted to making these right now (well, as of last night) but I'm in need of more mini-suggestions. Whatcha got for me?
And there you have it, kids! An ensemble that will most definitely get you stares and the occasional discount. Off to see if it'll work at the liquor store! 


  1. I think that the dress is sewn in that order so that you can adjust the fit via the side seams at he end.

    1. Ah!! I love it...genius sewing pattern making. Thank you for the input!!

  2. Anonymous8/05/2014

    I freaking LOVE this entire ensemble!!

    1. And I freaking LOVE your comment ;) Thank you !!

  3. Seriously, your students must love seeing what outfits you come up with! I admire the effort you go to... and the outcome! :D

  4. Let us know if it worked at the liquor store! This as well as all of your dresses are awesome!

  5. A hundred years ago (in the 70's), I had this exact dress in the maxi version. It was made of lavender gingham. I am pretty sure my 12 year old self looked pretty stunning in it!
    I love your dress so much. It is fab! I wish I had time to sew something special for our school open house on a Friday.

    1. Oh, that lavender gingham sounds like a match made in hippie heaven! Lovely!! Thank you for the mini-ideas! Love the idea of sharpies and markers :)

  6. As for the minis, maybe a brayer, sharpies, markers.
    (The comment section wouldn't let me type the rest of this in the above comment, sorry)

  7. Anonymous8/12/2014

    You're so Miss Frizzle in this dress. Students must love you.

  8. Currently making minis now! What kind of glue did you use to attach to the alligator clips? Hot glue? E6000?

    1. I used hot glue...I love E6000 but it's so stinky! Have fun :)

  9. Anonymous8/25/2014

    Love the dress, the shoe clips, everything (even the oddly placed pockets...very odd!)

    Dresses are usually sewn this way in the manufacturing side of the fashion industry to save time. It's not as friendly for adjustments but it's a lot faster to sew four flat seams (two waist seams and two side seams) than it is to sew four flat seams (bodice and skirt) and then a fiddly, round center seam.

  10. I love that fabric, what is it called


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

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.