Sunday, February 24, 2019

DIY: Applique Frida Kahlo Dress

 It has been a long time since I forced myself out of my sewing comfort zone. Like, a really long time. In fact, it's been a long time since I've even sewn anything (I blame the writing of this book for that!). Some months ago, while shopping at the fabric store, the idea to make a Frida dress came to me. I immediately pulled up the image of Frida with the green floral background and purchased all of the fabric I could in that color palette. I thought "this idea seems beyond my capabilities but if I scoop up all the supplies, I just might try it." And so I did. 
 And, hold on to your pearls, THIS BABY HAS POCKETS!
 While shopping, I also scooped up a 1960's style shift dress pattern. I knew that a simple front with no waistline would have to be the "canvas" for this kind of creation. Now, y'all know that I'm all about the needle felting...and that's normally how I while away my winter days...but something about the look I was going for said applique. So I started sketching.
 I cut out and laid the front panel of the dress out on some wrapping paper. After tracing around the pattern, I started sketching Frida. If this Frida looks familiar to you, that might be because I was referencing my Frida latch hook design. After sketching her out, the REAL fun of cutting out all of the pieces and adding the iron on backing began. 
 I have done A LOT of applique but I've never used Heat and Bond...like, what?! I guess I just didn't know it was a thing! When I found it at the craft store and used it, I was like WHERE HAS THIS BEEN MY ENTIRE LIFE ON PLANET EARTH? It's that amazing. BUT a lot of work to add to each piece. 
 Once the backing was added, then I simply laid it out and ironed in place. I thought I was doing okay...until I started the HOURS of stitching. Applique is not for the wimps, kids. 
 I went through a lot of back and forth decision making with this dress. First up: to use a floral print for the flowers or stitch flower shapes. I'm happy I went with the floral print. I did something similar with her shawl. 

Then I had to reach out to my IG fam about thread color. Initially, her face was outlined in peach...but you just couldn't see her jaw line. So I outlined just the jawline in brown...and it looked like a beard. Eventually, I seam ripped the crapola outta the thing and used dark brown for her ears, jaw and neck. And I'm happy with that. Thanks, IG fam!
 By the way, ANY machine can do this stitch. And look, the back is as pretty as the front!

 Because the stitching took so long, I totally dragged my feet on finishing! The dress pattern had a couple options for sleeves. In the end, I wanted the dress to have a fun, tropical and retro feel so I went with the sleeves with a ruffle at the bottom.
 What do I hate most about sewing? Basically everything. Is that crazy? I'm not a detail person, I'm not a perfectionist when it comes to sewing ... and these are traits a good sewist has! But what do I REALLY hate? SLEEVES, y'all. Stitching in sleeves. 
 While in sleeve denial, I strolled down applique dress lane. My first applique dress was The Great Wave. Then I did my Warhol dress, the Lichtenstein pop art number and my sweets number
 Other than the HOURS of applique, this dress was a snap to make! I love this pattern and have plans for so many more. We'll see how far I get. 

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3 comments:

  1. One of my favorite projects of yours

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  2. Love this! I've made a cross stitched Frida, maybe I will see it on some clothing. Although washing it would be a pain.

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  3. I bet you already know this, but just wanted to make sure ;) It sounded like you added Heat n bond after you cut out the shapes? But then you are cutting twice, the best way is to attach the heat n bond to a piece of fabric and then cut out the needed shape :) You can even trace the shape on the side of the paper that will be peeled last (the side that will attach to the body of the dress), that way you are cutting out the pattern all together. Totally am hoping I'm not "wo"mansplaining this to you :) I really have to make this, like really really!! But what I hate about sewing is garment sewing, blegh

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