Sunday, February 26, 2017

DIY: Kid-Created Self-Portrait Dress

Last spring, I found this amazing frame-covered fabric and my head just about exploded from excitement. I wish that were an exaggeration but it's really the little things, like AMAZING fabric that get this girl all head-explode-y. I had really wanted my kids to create selfies on it then and debute their work at last year's art show...but between frantically finishing projects and slapping them on the wall, we just ran out of time. Not to mention, we ended up going with a 1950's diner theme and the kids ended up splatter painting my ensemble instead. So there's splat. 
So this year, I decided to just bust the fabric out for my earlier finishers and leave it as an option for them to create on. It seems I have more early finishers with my kindergarten through second grade. Those are the grade levels that contributed the most. I didn't give much direction other than to draw their portrait with a black marker, color it in and do their best. 
In fact, earlier this week when I said, "Remember, please do your best!" 

First grader: Yes, Boogey.
Me: Who in the world is Boogey?
First grader: That's my mama's love name for me.
I laughed and that's when the rest of the class chimed in: Ms. Boogey!
Me: Let's just stick with Mrs. Stephens, okay?
First grader: Okay (whispering)...Boogey. 

There are so many happy memories tied to this dress! 
 On Friday, I had a kindergartener look me up and down and say, "Why do you dress different everyday?!"
Me, knowing full well what he meant but still...: Don't you dress different everyday?
Kindergarten: Not THAT different. 

Touche, kindie, touche. 
When the kids grew tired of drawing themselves, they started to draw me...or me with them. I'm so loving my big hair day on the bottom left. 
When the kids finally finished the fabric this weekend, I was determined to get it stitched up. I really wanna wear it next week at NAEA in NYC. When I told my second graders that I was going to make the fabric they were drawing on into a dress, they were completely stumped...even though we've done this before.

Second grader: Wait. This {pointing to the floor} is gonna be a dress? 
Me: Yes! And a bunch of other art teachers are going to see it.
Second grader: Wait. {is this a new thing? Why am I always "wait"ing?!} Are we gonna be famous then?
Me: Oh yeah. Totally!
And the crowd went wild. 
Many of my kids had colored the IKEA Coloring Book fabric that I stitched into a dress and they know the drill. They love that dress and have so much fun pointing out the spots they colored. It's my favorite dress to wear when I travel to art teacherin' gigs as the folks at airport security seems to know me based on that dress. It doesn't stop them from going through my luggage of oddities tho. 
Final touch: a French hook to close the top of the dress. We'll see if I ever get around to that. Why do the smallest of tasks seem like mountian-moving to me?!
 I love that I didn't give the kids any direction as it really allowed their artistic personalities to shine. I have highly detailed drawings all the way to scribble-ville and I wouldn't have it any other way.
I was so surprised that I knocked this dress out so fast...tho I should't be. This is only the MILLIONTH dress I've created in this style. I cut the fabric Friday night, got the bulk of the work done on Saturday and today I just added the second sleeve (ugh. don't get me started on slllleeeeeeves), put in the zip and stitched the hem.
I think the kids are gonna love this dress!
I know I smile at the little faces on it! 

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  1. Everything about this is fabulous!

  2. Anonymous2/26/2017

    I love your style and approach to teaching. I think this dress is AMAZING and I'm totally inspired!

    1. And it was so easy! The fabric is currently super cheap ($6 a yard!) on many posibilites!

    2. You're amazing!! Love this so much. Can you link up the fabric, I can't find it? Thanks. Your students are so lucky to have you.

    3. Sure thing:

  3. You continue to top yourself! This is amazing!! I'm sure the kids love it.

    1. Aw, thank you! I think they will love it too :)

  4. Your students must loooove Ms.Boogey! I would too. <3

  5. This makes me so happy. I love that you just OWN the crazy art teacher persona/style! (Sometimes my partner says I look like Ms. Frizzle [of "The Magic School Bus" fame] before I leave home...I take it as a compliment :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  6. Well Cassie, I've been enjoying your posts for years and you always amaze me! But...this dress TOPS IT ALL!!!! Oh my gosh! I so love love love your idea to have the kids draw portraits!! I think I would have thought to do that if I had seen that fabric, BUT I am sure it would not have looked as fab as you and your students make it look!! You are really Awesome!!!!

  7. Anonymous3/11/2017

    Ms. Stephens, I don't normally view social media or post comments to strangers, but I saw a photo of you and a link to your site. Your lovely smile and colorful outfits look so cute that it made me smile. Thank you for sharing!

  8. Gorgeous!! what dress pattern did you use?

    1. I used a couple of patterns. I used a Simplicity PR pattern for the skirt...and a vintage pattern for the band and the bodice. I'll have to check for the pattern ##s when I'm back home (vacay at the moment) xo!

  9. I love your ideas. I never thought I’d ever think about that. Very awesome and inspiring. I hope you update us on how the kids reacted after seeing the dress. I'm sure they loved it. I'll have to bookmark your page, or find you on one of my social media accounts so I don't lose you.


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