Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DIY: A Lichtenstein Dress That'll Knock You Out

 'Kay, can we all just say it right now: the best part of this ensemble is the hair. Gee, thanks, guys! This is actually what my hair looks like if I don't flat iron it. What?

Since the start of my artworks-turned-frocks journey (frock-works? I need a name, y'all. Whatcha got?), I've had Lichtenstein on my mind. Which sounds totally weird I know but it's the truth, Ruth. His work is so colorfully comic bookish that I just knew it'd be a hit with the kids and I (mistakenly) thought it'd be a snap to complete. Little did I know that the creation of this number would be a descent into applique'in madness. But more on that in a sec. First, more goofy wig/dress pics!
When the applique'in times got tough, I turned to a lil internet shopping to relieve the tension. I just knew this outfit wouldn't be complete without a red belt (Pin Up Girl Clothing, y'all. Check it.) and a crinoline to match (found on the cheap via Amazon). Of course, as the world knows, Target secretly pipes in a magical You-Didn't-Just-Come-in-Here-for-Laundry-Detergent-YOU-ALSO-NEED-A-FOAM-WIG! potion through their air vents thus making it inevitable that I purchase the wig. Although you should try 'splainin that to a hubs. For some reason, they seem to be immune to the magical Target potion. Humph.

Lest you think I only applique'd the front of my frock, oh no, I placed a big ole "POP!" and "BAM!" on the back of my arse. You know, just in case I wake up one morning with a Kardashian can. 

For my "blank canvas", so to speak, I used this cute lil 1980's dotted number that I (re)discovered as I was packing away my summer duds and replacing with my fall-ish ones. I've worn this dress several times and every time I did, I always thought, "this would be so much cuter with a shorter hem" and then I would think "SQUIRREL!" and promptly not alter the dress. This time, howeverness, my first order of biznatch was to hack -n- hem a good 8" off this thang.
By the way, art teacher buddies, have y'all introduced Lichtenstein to your students? I'd love to hear about what projects you've done. I did find my buddy Phyl had created some rad landscapes with her kids inspired by ole 'stein. Check it here, friends. I'm thinking a mural perhaps? Or maybe some painted ceiling tiles (my principal lady is on me to have the kids paint the ceiling tiles. I've never done that. You guyzzz?! Hep me!).
For the action words, I would first sketch 'em out. Then I would stack two pieces of the lighter fabric (because I didn't want the black to show through the yellow so I did a lil double layerin') and one of the back. My sketch was then pinned to the fabric and the cutting commenced. 
BAM! The only easy part.
Playing with the background fabrics was my fave part cuz I'm a girl that loves to play with fabric. Seriously, I think I could happily spend my days just combining (seemingly-random to the normal person, perfectly-matching in my crazy eyes) fabric swatches. After deciding what looked best together, I drew my designs out in chalk and cut them out.
And then the stitching began. Seriously. Didn't I learn anything from the Andy Warhol Campbell's Soup Dress? Appliqueing the lettering was so unfun. I guess that's why it took me so long to get to this here dress. I had to wait for the wound to heal before giving it another go. 
Not only was there the appliquéing of the letters, but also the black shadow. Oh, and the three layers of fabric. I mean, do I know how to have a good time, or what, y'all?!
I mean, lookie here. Is it any wonder I found myself in the aisles of Target wearing a foam wig and talking to myself (ha, like that's anything outta the ord)? I told you, a descent into appliqué-crazy.
I tried to do the majority of appliqué separate from the dress. This was cuz I knew rotating that lump of a dress around my machine would be most unfun. So I tried to only save that for the outer edges. I do believe I went through three spools of black thread and wound my bobbin at least a dozen times before all was said and done. 
But in the end, I'm super stoked I toughed it out. This just might be one of my fave artist dresses. I even got a lil outta hand and created something to match...but for that, I'll post in yet another photo-heave post. For now, let's just stick to frock-talk, shall we?
Of course, what's a lil Lichtenstein without imitating some of this paintings, riiiiight? I opted outta painting my face (you've seen this, right? Nutz.) but I do have a lil phone prop for times like these (what, don't you?).

"Hello?"



"Girl, this ain't Jeff. This is Jeff's wife!"


By the way, did I tell you that I got Target to taking a whopping 5% off the wig? Yeah, it was a little dingy from being tried on by everyone in state of Tennessee so they took a whole dollar off! I might have head lice but a got a buck in my pocket, yippie!
P.S. One cannot wear this wig without making annoying faces. My apologies.
See? What'd I tell ya?! 

I'd love it so if you'd leave a comment. Especially one that justifies the purchase of a big foam wig. Don't do it for me, do it for the hubs. 


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36 comments:

  1. Of course the wig was essential. I'd call it a teaching aid! The whole ensemble is fabulous.

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    1. Yes!! That's what it is! "teaching aid", I love it ;)

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  2. Love the wig...completes the outfit...a must have!!!

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  3. Love the dress!
    Here are some fabulous Lichtenstein portraits my students did!
    http://aschukei.blogspot.com/2014/05/6th-grade-roy-lichtenstein-self.html

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    1. I LOVE THEM!! Thank you for sharing, I will be borrowing your ideas, thank you!!

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  4. I let the 8th graders paint ceiling tiles at the end of the Art 2 course. It's a bit of a hassle taking them down and what-not (plus the dust and other gross debris that falls from our old building, blech) but, they love it. I tried to convince them to get on the tables and paint them like Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, but they looked at me like I was crazy. . .
    LOVE the dress and the wig!

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    1. Okay. I'll breathe deep and give it a go. But I'll be sure to breathe deep AFTER stepping away from debris falling from the ceiling ;)

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  5. This…… is so freaking awesome!!!!!! I thought you were going to say you made the wig! I can’t believe it came from Target! And it totally makes the outfit!

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    1. Wish I could say I made the wig! I know mine wouldn't turn out nearly this amazing :)

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  6. Anonymous10/21/2014

    Holy cow, this is utterly fabulous!! Next to the Magritte outfit, this one is my very favourite!! That wig is so awesome!!

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  7. This one is the best - that wig - ya gotta love Target.

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    1. Yes. I do as does my ever-shrinking wallet ;)

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  8. So fun! Loving that dress. Wish I was brave enough to wear a wig like that. You look fabulous!

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    1. Oh, girl, I've not left the house in the wig yet...I'll keep you posted on how THAT goes ;)

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  9. Ms Yvonne you are looking lovely in your new dress ;)

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  10. This dress is FABULOUS! I love teaching Lichtenstein! Yes, my students painted both landscapes and action words. We stamped the dots with tempera and the back end of a pencil (the eraser). The blog post is here: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2012/01/zip-zap-zoom-boom-pop-pow.html

    We also did a project using 'thought bubbles' (no words) and facial expressions to express feelings. The project is mentioned briefly on my blog (with some associated images) here: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2012/01/confessions-of-compulsive-stapleflicker.html

    Hey, remember my appliqué dress? (It's here: http://plbrown.blogspot.com/2014/01/its-done-it-all-started-with-pile-of.html) It wasn't hard at all, because I FAKED it! I attached all the appliqués with 'Wonder Under' fusible webbing. Then, they were already adhered in place when I did the stitching around the shapes. So much easier! Have you tried this?

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    1. Okay, okay, where were you when I was stitching, Phyl?! I need you on speed dial (do they have such a thing anymore?!). Suriously. I was just thinking the other day, "I need to call Phyl" when I realized I didn't have your digits. How funny is that! Off to look up Wonder Under and (re)check out your post.

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  12. Cassie, wait, you are totally doing the the hard way! I used to do it that way too (slowly, with lots of fabric puckering and cursing) until someone showed me the joys of WunderUnder. Now I applique all the time (including last night. Art nerd alert.) and it is so easy. I blogged about it back in June. Try it out, like Phyl said! http://mrselliottart.blogspot.com/2014/06/rainy-day-art-making-how-to.html

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    1. WHHHHHUUUUUUHHHHHTTTT?! OMG, heading to your blog NOW, thank you!!

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  13. Anonymous10/22/2014

    Oh the wig was SOOOOO worth it!

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  14. That dress rocks! And the wig was a "must-have"! It completes you!

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  15. UH-MAY-ZING! What did your class think of it? If they weren't totally blown away, what's wrong with them!! But I'm sure they were - keep up the brilliant work.

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    1. Oh, I've not worn it yet!! I'll keep you posted :) AND thank you !

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  16. Christy10/22/2014

    The wig is amazing. Fabulous. A must-have. I had one similar but not as cool a handful of years ago from Oriental Trading. Just a front in a back. My friends & I had hot pink, blue, and neon green to match our poodle skirts we wore to our school fun night. Good times, my friend. Good times.

    As far as the painting of the tile goes let me say this - it is like painting a sponge. Many times. Oh, and funkiness falls from the ceiling when you are removing and replacing. Be prepared. Good luck. You need to save up the energy for that one. I painting an entire drop tile ceiling a good 15+ years ago when I was painting murals instead of teaching. Still haven't got over it. Just sayin.' Man, I am not that old. How is that possible? I must have been 12 when I painted murals for a living. yeah, that is it.

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    1. Oh, friend. THANK YOU. This is all good to know. I know my principal said we had extra tiles...so maybe we could work on those instead of having big holes in the ceiling. I could also have the kids draw on paper the same size of the tiles and tack those in place...couldn't I? Thank you so much for the tips...I don't like finding out stuff the hard way!

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  17. I love it! Yes..the wig makes the whole story of the outfit come together. More like an art/performance piece. I love the phone pictures..awesome!!

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    1. Thank you! I had to justify the purchase of that wig AND phone...so these photos will have to do the trick ;) Thank you for your kind words!

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