Showing posts with label artist dress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label artist dress. Show all posts

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, 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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Sunday, February 5, 2017

DIY: the Palette Dress

If you follow me here, then you've seen the progression of what I've been calling the Palette Dress. One of the things I've been a little bummed about of late is that I've not been devoting as much time as I'd like to sewing. The last dress I stitched up was the Eyeball Dress and, while it was fun to make and even more fun to wear, it was just follow-the-pattern dressmaking. I miss creating crazy and fun ensembles like these. I long to go back to when I made the time to create monthly masterpiece-inspired dresses...but other "things" and interests have been eating up my time. One of which I can finally close the "book" on, ahem (eep! I KNOW. I'll be sharing more details to come but in the meantime, go on and get yourself that preorder copy, ermkay?). 
This past school year, I've also made a stronger effort to create quality video content both for my students...and for y'all. I have found that I really enjoy creating the videos and I am truly loving the benefit it has had on the art education of my students. I can throw so much more content, vocabulary and easy-to-see demonstrations at them. If you use the videos, I do hope you and your kiddos have found them helpful and fun.

All that to say...I miss creative sewing! So when I got the idea to create this Palette Dress, I was determined to dive right in. It all started with this pattern. 
I've had this in my (enormous) stash of vintage patterns for a while. One of my favorite bizarre pastimes is to go thru my boxes of vintage patterns, admire the illustrations on the front and imagine a dialog happening between the fine females featured. Would you like to hear this one? Like you have a choice, y'all. 

"Look, I'm not one to spread rumors, but the word is Darlene cropdusts the whole office just so she can walk around and smell her own farts."

I mean, c'mon, y'all. She's totally sniffin' somethin'!
While admiring that pattern (and dreaming up dialog), I thought what fun it might be to take that large collar and make it into a palette. So I created this sketch. And then drove to Joann's for some twill fabric and fabric paint. 
Ah, our bonus room. The Jack of All Trades room. It has served as the book-writing room, the video making room, the Facebook LIVE chat room and, as you can see, the fabric-painting room. I placed a sheet of oil cloth down on the floor before watching back to back episodes of Twin Peaks (current obsession) and going to town. 
The end result. I used Tulip brand fabric paint and even after a wash and dry, the colors remained as vibrant. 
 Stitching the dress up took no time at all. It was a super simple pattern. I'm used to dresses with breast darts, waists, gathered or circle skirts. The only "hard" part of this dress were the pleats down the front. After that, it was simply a zip, hem and sleeves (uuuuuugh, sleeves). All of which would have been less time consuming had I not been watching a cocktail of Twin Peaks, Schitt's Creek and Broad City on my craptop. Sigh. 
Then it was time to make the collar. Funny story: I LOST the pattern for the collar. That's right. LOST IT. I must have spent a horrid HOUR cleaning and looking for that doggone thing (btw, the ONLY way our house gets cleaned is if I lose something. Don't tell the hubs, he'll start hiding stuff like crazy). I never did find it. Tho it prolly doesn't help that I currently have five dress projects all over my smallish sewing room with pattern pieces scattered hither and thither (am I using that expression correctly? What is a "thither" anyway?). 
When I finally realized that I wasn't going to find the missing pattern piece until AFTER the dress was complete (cuz, let's be honest, that's how it goes), I thought, "I can do it. Pattern? I don't need no stinkin' pattern!" I did have the pattern for the interfacing. Non-stitchers, fun, boring fact: interfacing is that crapola inside your collars and whutnots that gives it structure and form. Yes, that is the accurate fashion design term. Google it, yo. Anyway, I did a wee bit of measuring and maths and BOOM! I created a detachable paint palette collar. With applique paint blobs and a thumb hole, thank you, vury much. 
Oh, what's that? 
You're wondering where my beautiful paint brush crown is from? It's from my art teacherin' friend Linda McConaughy. If y'all are going to NAEA in NYC (I'll be there, presenting 3 times, details this week!), she'll be selling her AMAZING crowns at the artisan market. 
I'm super happy with this dress. It's def not my usual fit and flair dress...but I do like the idea of an open waist (the design is actually a maternity dress and, before you even ask, no y'all!) because that means I'll have more room in my belly in NYC. Hope to see you there. If not, catch you on the flip side, y'all! 
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Monday, February 23, 2015

DIY: A Marker-Tastic Art Teacherin' Dress

 I dunno if you've noticed or not but things have gotten quite a bit...stitchy around here. I've moved into week two of Snow Daze (fingers crossed we return tomorrow, y'all) which means I've had extra time for the important things in life:

House cleaning? Negative. 
Dress-Making? Affirmative. 

It's called priorities, y'all. And I've gots 'em.
By the way, can I make a confession that's not really a confession because I betcha have figured it out already: I'm breathing down the neck of 40 and I still like to play dress up. Is that awkward? Should I seek out a support group? I'm guessing it will be the most superbly dressed support group in all the land, riiiiight? Who's hosting the first meeting, y'all and will there be cookies and grape-flavored adult drank? Count me in.
 No, you aren't experiencing deja vu. Yes, you've seen this dress pattern three times. Ahem. Remember when I done tole you last week I was making three dresses outta this pattern? There was this Mondrian number, this colored pencil piece and now whatcha got here. Do I have to tell ya that I totes dig this dress pattern? I mean, it has everything I love in a dress: a form-fittin' bodice, a fat flouncy skirt and, of course, a big ole bow. Puurrr-fectimacation.
So when I shop for fabrics, I usually buy first, think later. My hands move much faster than my brain when it comes to swiping that credit card through the lil reader. My hands are all, "hurry before that sluggish gray mass between her ears finds out we just dropped coin on even more fabric!" I usually walk outta the fabric store like I'm waking up from a dream. "Whuh just happened and who just stuck three yards of marker fabric in my bag?" Meanwhile my hands are all high-fiving each other (which looks quite ridiculous to be standing in the parking lot of a craft store clapping at your confused self, but, such is my life).

I actually scored that sweet marker fabric from here. Sadly, they are all out of the green but do have some lovely orange on super sale. The chevron came from a local shop but I did find a similar one here for you. 
 If this looks a pinch familiar that's cuz I totally used a gray version in my pencil dress. I just love this print so! You can find this orange goodness here
After throwing all of these prints together, I realize I look a lil bit like a can of Mountain Dew meets Orange Crush. Which I see no problem with atall. But I am from the South so you know that stuff is our equivalent to water. If you think I'm fibbin', go google yourself "Mountain Dew Mouth" and tell me I'm lying. Go on. I'll wait.

 Nuther refill of Dew-Crush anyone? No? How bout just a cuppa sugar with a splash of syrup and drizzle of honey. Something to dip your Moonpie in, y'all. 
 I'll have you know that this here is the only dress outta the three where I didn't screw up the pleats. And there were only, like 9 pleats, y'all. Le sigh. 
To finish off my Dew-Crush-tasticness, I decided to wear this palette hat I felted ages ago. It was just a thrifted find that I gave a lil make over to. That craft was super simple. You can go here for all the gory deets. 

In my pics you totes can't see my shoes but here they are! I painted these ages ago and they are starting to show some wear. Mostly cuz I painted them with acrylic and I shoulda gone with some sort of leather paint. You can check these out along with some other wacky painted footwear here
 And there you have it, another freaking dress thanks to my Snow Days/Sew Days. If you aren't a stitcher and have found these posts not your cup of tea, my sincerest apologies. I do hope to be back to art teacherin' sometime this decade. In the meantime, I've got a house to not clean and another dress to complete! Later, y'all!
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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

DIY: A Kandinsky-Inspired Dress, Part 2

'Kay, so when I decide to quit art teacherin' and become a Big Time News Anchor, this will be my promo shot. My tag line will be sumpin like, "Cassie Stephens...where there's news, she'll find it (especially if it's celebrity gossip as she's exceptionally shallow). Where there's sports, she'll report it (for example, the fine sport of sniffing out sales at Anthropologie). And where there's unfortunate fashion choices, She'll. Be. There." Eh, whatevers. Maybe I'll just stick to art teacherin'. 
I may or may not be a totes glutton for punishment. Just when I was No Where NEAR the finish line with my first Kandinsky frock, I up and started a second one. You know, because needle felting for hours on end totally wasn't to blame of the pain in my neck (erm, no, that'd be the hubs) and the  reason I couldn't turn my head without rotating my whole body. You know, classic Terminator style. Every time I turned in such a way in art class, I'd widen my eyes and say in my worst Austrian accent, "I'll be back." To which my humorless students just replied, "huh?!" It's so sad when a comic genius like myself goes unappreciated on a daily basis. But I digress.
In case you missed it, that's last week's Kandinsky can-can on the left. Both were made from Target dresses. I scooped up the white one from the clearance rack along with the hot pink belt. The LBD was a thrift store/Target label find. Personally, I'm more of a fitted bodice, puffy skirt kind of girl so I like the fit and finish of the one on the left better. Howevers, I do love how they look side by side, such a contrast of crazy.

I mightah mentioned that Kandinsky is coming to our local art museum The Frist Center for Visual Arts. Where I will be taking some kids field trippin and where I will be wearing one of these crazies. Or both. Every good field trip deserves an outfit change, amiright? "Excuse me, Mrs. Museum Docent, mind if I leave you with all 80 of these angelic children whilst I slip into Kandinsky Can-can Number 2? And by "Number 2", I don't mean I'll be, like, number 2-ing, I'm just going to change. Into my second dress. OH FORGET WHAT I JUST SAID...[slow turn of entire body toward docent] I'LL. BE. BACK."

To which the docent will laugh uproariously because she will have a perfectly wonderful sense of humor. Unlike some under-10-ers I know. Humph.
Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles, 1913. While I was working on this dress, I definitely had a "favorite square". I'm in love with the one in the second row, second from the left. That sea foam-y turquoise color is my you can tell from the painting in the background behind these snapshots. Is there one that you are drawn to? 

So in my sewing room, I actually have a stash of thrifted clothing that is just waiting to be DIY'ed. Some of it is tattered and some of it is boring (by my tacky standards). And I can't seem to part with 'em because for me, they're like blank canvases. Which makes me sound artsy and uppity when I'm really closer to fartsy and shluppity (I've no idea what that means and yet it describes me perfectly). What I'm trying to say is that I'm a hoarder with benefits. The benefit being that when I get an wild and wacky idea, I usually have the crapola on hand to make it happen. 
Like this Lil Black Dress. Or Lil BLANK Dress as I like to call it. It's a funky little number with a peebled pleather neck and cap sleeve and a rectangular panel of fabric down the front. I'd originally bought it cuz I thought it looked classy. And then promptly never wore it because, well, it looked classy. When I pulled it outta the hoarder heap, I realized that the rectangular line of fabric down the front would be just the place for me to felt those concentric circles. Which, by the way, I'm hoping come across as concentric circles and not a dress of colorful nipples. Pretty please lie to me and tell me it doesn't. Puh-leeeeeease!
To start the dress, I did a lil bit of math to make it so my dress was divided into equalish squares. Then I proceeded to watch back-to-back episodes of old Project Runways and felted away. Okay, I guess I should go into a pinch more detail. I use wool roving and place a cushion inside my dress. With my little needle felting tool, I commence stabbing the roving until it came through to the other side of the fabric.
Once that color was felted in place, more was added and felted. If you're kinda new to this blog, I'm not trying to be vague about this's just that I do it a lot. And I've blogged about it a lot. And made a handful of short video clips. I've also made One Million felted sweaters, dresses, even a hat. If you troll this blog for a hot minute, you'll find a million plus. 
Do ya see how simple this is? Even still, because of the translucentness (look! I invented a word!) of the roving, I did have to layer the crap outta it thus taking forever. Like everything I do. I function at a drunken and demented snail's pace, so there's that. 
Yay! Rainbow Brite Areola!
Oh, look, here you can see that faux leather detail at the top. I like that it gives the dress a tough edge.   
And there you have it! I'm saving this number not only for the art museum but also for Dot Day week. Fingers crossed I'll have at least one kid remember what a concentric circle is! Otherwise, I'LL BE BACK to teaching it. Again. 

Later, cats!

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