Showing posts with label Frida Kahlo costume. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Frida Kahlo costume. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

DIY: Rambo Meets Frida Kahlo Dress

 Hola, cats and kittens! Whatcha see here is one unibrowed lady that has finished her Rambo dress! What in tarnation is a Rambo dress, you ask? (FYI, no one says "tarnation" anymore, you might wanna update your vocab. You sound like Yosemite Sam and not in a good way.) Well, lemme tell ya. It all started a lil while back when SeamstressErin asked me, ME, if I'd like to participate in a sew-a-long. 

Ya'll. In case you didn't know this, sew-a-longs are for people who can actually sew. But I digress.
 According to Erin, she'd managed to get her kitten mittens on all of the turbans worn in the movie Rambo III. You can see 'em on the dudes below. Look, turban-ie!
 Her idea? To send a buncha bloggers a turban and see just what they would stitch up. It's been super fun (and totes intimidating!) to see what those sewers created. I've added a linky-loo to each at the bottom of this post so you can see for yo'self.
 When my turban arrived in the mail, it was magical. KIDS, this turban has been in the presence of Sylvester Stallone. He probably, like, looked at it! He mighta even, I dunno, stood near the dude wearing it. In fact, I'm willing to say he was all, "Man, that is a super sweet turban. The best outta all of them. Can I just, you know, wipe my brow on it?" 

AH! My turban has sweet Stallone sweat all over it! That would explain the smell. Actually, it smelled like camels when I ironed it. Which could only mean one thing: When Stallone sweats, he sweats camels, ya'll. Like a boss.
Now, as some of ya'll know, I love to create clothing inspired by either works of art or the artist themselves (check out my Campbell's Soup Can Dress, The Great Wave Frock, my light up Starry Night Dress,  The Scream Dress, a Jackson Pollock-y Number and my tribute to the surrealist Rene Magritte). So when I started thinking of ideas for this dress, I happened to be working on that stenciled and embroidered piece below. It totally reminded me of the artist Frida Kahlo (who has been in my mind a lot thanks to Natalie Friedl!). When I happened to lay the embroidery on top of the turban I was all "EUREKA! I love them together!" and my Rambo meets Frida Kahlo dress was born (still workin' name: Fr-rambo Frock? Frida Kahlo-ambo? It's a work in progress). 

By the way, don't you love how it looks like Frida is givin' ole Sly the side-eye. She's all, "Ummm-hmmm. I bet he sweats camels."
Oh, Frida, you so crazy.

Since this turban was based on Rambo the third, I decided to use three patterns. Actually, that's a lie. I decided to use three patterns because I'm an idiot. But I really liked the bodice of Simplicity 0320, the midriff of Simplicity 8087 and the flounce -n- skirt of Butterick 5880. Now, some of you know how deep my hatred of Butterick runs. Deep. It was about this time last summer that we battled it out during the making of this dress. Once again, like last time, I relied heavily on my pretend BFF Professor Pincushion. For any of you sewers out there that don't have a clue (like myself), this lady's youtube tutorials are a sewing-lifesaver. 
Putting this number together was not without it's share of seam ripping and swearing. Can you really do one without the other? First of all, getting that bodice and midriff of two different patterns to play nice wasn't easy. And, let's chat about the elephant in the room, shall we? The stripes on the flounce. ARGH! They no matchy! Some of the stripes lined up but others didn't. That's because they were on opposite ends of the scarf and apparently weren't woven exactly the same. So the flounce has a few flubs. Whatcha gonna do.

 A lil side and back view. For the back midriff band, I used some minty green cotton that was just a touch lighter than the embroidered piece on the front. One of the reasons I always return to that vintage Simplicity pattern is I love that stinkin' band. Not only is it flattering (says me) but it also allows me to play with more fabric patterns an color. 
Outfit details: Well, you know I made the dress...I also created those floral hair clips for the occasion by hot gluing some fake flowers to some hair clips; hand painted necklace: DIY here; bangles: gifts/thrifted; wedge sandals with fabric design: DIY here

Now, let us talk about the wonderment that is the Frida Kahlo, shall we? I've always admired Frida's surrealist artwork for it's honesty. This woman's life was a tough one and each one of her paintings exposes so much raw anguish that it's impossible not to feel her pain. Do ya'll know her story? It goes like this: When Frida was 6 years old, she had polio so her right leg was shorter than the other. For ease of walking, she would wear several pairs of socks at at time. As a child, in order to hid this, she took to wearing long skirts.
 When she was 18, she was riding a bus that was in an accident. One of the metal handrails went completely through her body, leaving her nearly dead. She had over 22 surgeries due to this accident. In the end, those surgeries resulted in the amputation of her leg. For the rest of her life, she wore a series of plaster and leather corsets to help her sustain her body. It was during that first bedridden year after the accident, that Frida took to painting (sometimes on those plaster corsets) and an artist was born. 
 "I am not sick. I am broken.

But I am happy as long as I can paint."

I've always loved Frida's sense of style. But it turns out that there was much more to her look that I ever imagined. You see, in the 1930s- 40s, fashion in Mexico was very European. However, there was a national pride movement that both Frida and her super famous hubs Diego Rivera were apart of. To showcase that pride, Frida started to dress in a style called Tehuana after it's place of origin. In this culture, a women's ensemble had three key parts: a headdress (Frida adopted the flowers), a short square and ornately designed blouse (this easily hid Frida's corset), piles of jewelry and a long flowing skirt (which also hid her prosthetic leg). Her signature look, which hid her imperfections, remains stylish today.

 Oh! I forgot to point out, I used some of my scraps to make a Rambo-esque floral headband. 
 And there you have it! A dress that was once a sweaty turban now lives a new life as a Frida Kahlo-inspired frock!
 A very special thank you to Erin for inviting me to participate in this Rambo Sew-a-long! I had so much fun and was truly challenged by the task (but really, when am I NOT sewing-challenged). Now, follow these links to check out more Turban-tasticness!

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Friday, June 20, 2014

In the Art Room: The Best Dressed Art Teacher!

Hey, kids! That super cute art teacher you see before you (who I think could totally pass as a younger, cuter kid sis of mine), you've actually seen before on this here blog. You might have even voted for her during a lil Best Dressed Art Teacher Contest I hosted I while back. Face not ringing a bell? 

How abouts now? She looks just a pinch different, doncha think? It's amazing what a good eyebrow pluckin' will do.  Meet Natalie Friedl, Best Dressed Art Teacher extraordinaire! I was lucky enough to interview Natalie about her all-around art-teaching-awesomeness and I'm so excited to share her words of wisdom with ya'll today. So, without further jibber-jabber, take it away, Natalie!
Hi, guys! I'm Natalie Friedl and I've been teaching elementary art for 10 years, 9 of these glorious years have been at the wonderful Torrence Creek Elementary school in Huntersville, NC (right outside of Charlotte).  I am originally from NE Ohio where I graduated with an Art Ed. And Studio Arts degree from Kent State University.

I'm also married to the hunky Alan Friedl and we have a beautiful 5 year old princess named Felicity.
Me and the check we gave to Second Harvest Food Bank from our very first Empty Bowls night.
I teach the wonderful world of ART to Kindergarten through 5th grade artists at Torrence Creek Elementary School and have since the doors opened in 2005.  We are a Charlotte Mecklenburg School.  For the last eight years our population has been about 1200 students and this is our first year with half of that.  This year was very busy: in the fall I presented a workshop called "Hooray for Clay" with my partner-in-art, Alicia Waters, at the North Carolina Art Education Conference.  And in the spring, I presented our school's first Empty Bowls success at the NAEA conference along side 5 other wonderful CMS art educators.'s been a whirlwind of fun and art! I wouldn't have it any other way!
One of my favorite pics of a students empty bowl with her artist statement. To find out more about the Empty Bowls project and have your students participate, visit their website. 
  I love being an Art Teacher and have two important pieces of advice to other art educators:

Make like minded friends.
Don't get me wrong non-artsy people are good folks too but artsy-smartsy peeps just get our craziness! The best thing I ever did was to become friends with my BFF Sarah Beirne ( while in art ed classes at Kent State University and then meet Wade Cox at the NAEA convention in New Orleans and help to hire Ms. Alicia Waters (  These 3 amazing art educators are my ART TEACHER BFFs!  They are my support system for great ideas, new lessons, CRAZY talk, venting, NAEA and NCAEA travel buddies but most importantly my friends.

My team is a WONDERFUL support system too! Mrs. Joyce Mutter, our technology teacher and Beth Smiley, our media specialist help me to carry out my ideas into real life success along with being the best co-workers and friends a girl could ask for.
They get my crazy and we all need that.
Get involved.
Become a NAEA member, go to the conferences, become a state art ed association member and travel to their conferences or if you are lucky like me your district has art education professional developments. Shout out to Cheryl Maney - Visual Arts and Dance curriculum specialist!
By joining these organizations and attending their functions you become knowledgeable on what's new and you meet important people!
 Just like I did when I met my new friend, Cassie Stephens!
 Now, about Natalie's Frida Kahlo look...

I love teaching art to the little artists of TCES and this Halloween I decided to take a sick day to enjoy my favorite holiday. Well, I was so happy to find that Frida Kahlo herself had recently become a substitute in our system.  I quickly called her and she agreed to sub for me on Halloween!

I was sad to miss the fun but my students filled me in on her life, stories she told, new Spanish words they learned and completed the class with an oil pastel drawing of her including her pets, colorful tissue paper flowers and glitter galore! Most TCES artists loved her thick Spanish accent too!

To this day the kids mix my name up with Frida by calling me "Frida Friedl" and it cracks me up because I remind them that I was absent that day. So FUN! 
The amazing artwork that resulted in Frida's substituting stint.

Frida Kahlo has always been one of my favorite artists because of the vibrant colors she uses and her Mexican culture. Not to mentions, she was an amazingly creative and strong woman. After I traveled to Mexico several times I was under Frida's spell.  She is a colorful person to look at herself from studying many of her self-portraits.  It was a no-brainer for me to dress up as her.
 I drove to school with a black wig tied up with flowers, a large uni-brow and bright red lipstick. As I entered the school my Spanish began to flow and Frida Kahlo was in full force for the rest of the day.  We learned about Frida's life, studied many of her self-portraits and created a portrait of her with one of her pets using oil pastels, tissue paper flowers and GLITTER.  We even listened to Mariachi folk music as we created and also learned about El Dia de Los Muertos.  It was a fun and an exhausting day that left the art room floor very messy yet sparkly.

This was my first time--but not my last time-- dressing up in full costume as a famous artist. I have a lot more up my sleeve for next school year! I do enjoy wearing art themed shirts such as Warhol's soup cans, crayon shirts, Make Art Not War, Keep Calm and Teach Art.  I am not a stranger to crazy hats, crazy hair or crazy socks days either.  There have also been many a time where I have worn complementary colors and had reindeer antlers coming out of my head.

I urge all ART TEACHERS to dress up! The kids EAT IT UP and will remember more from you teaching with a unibrow than your paint-splattered apron!

(OMG, yous guys, don't you LOVE Natalie?! Can I puh-lease adopt her as my kid sister??)
I have tried a variety of super fun activities but the art making projects that mean the most are the ones in which we create art to help others.  Most recently our school participated in students rebuild in which we created enough magazine beads to give clean drinking water to over 40 people in Tanzania ( This year was also our first Empty Bowls night in which the entire school created or helped create a bowl and then they were sold and auctioned off.  We raised over $2,000 for Second Harvest Food Bank!!!

 Some other very meaningful art experiences that we have participated in are cards for Vietnam Veterans and The Memory Project's - books for Africa.The first picture is of the magazine beads my students made for students

Thank you SO MUCH, Natalie! You are truly an art-teachin' inspiration! Her students and colleagues   are so lucky to have her, doncha think?! Unibrow and all. 

Now, this isn't the last you'll be seeing of Natalie and some other folks from the Best Dressed Contest -- oh no! They'll be featured in non-other than SchoolArts Magazine thanks to the editor Nancy Walkup. How exciting! I'll be sure to share that with you in the near future. Oh and if you need more art-teacher-dressin'-craziness, go here, ya'll. It's like a Starter Kit to Crazy Town. Until next time, ya'll!

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