Self Portrait as Frida Kahlo

 

At the start of they year, when we were asked to name themes for the upcoming challenges, one that immediately sprang to mind was a creation inspired by art. This idea came from my near obsession with one artist in particular. I first encountered Frida in a rather round about way, it’s all a bit of a mystery. I can recall finding artist and blogger Elsa Mora while researching doll making. She had created a doll house of Frida’s home Casa Azul and spoke about her connection to the artist.

Though I had encountered her before, I suddenly ravenously curious about Frida. I researched her online and I borrowed books from the library. I watched documentaries and the feature film about her life. I even made a doll version of her so that she would be by my side.
Frida!
The art, life and sheer presence of Frida Kahlo have by this point influenced so many other aspects of my life that my sewing should hardly be left out.

Frida the woman and her artwork are difficult to separate. Most know for her self portraits (she did paint other subjects occasionally) they are, in fact, one in the same. Having studied her work, her life and art a bit I had some knowledge of her paintings already, and some definite favorites (The Two Frida’s, What the Water Gave Me, and Viva La Vida) I thought to pull inspiration from one of those works. Verdant greens, deep blues, red, whites, blood, gore, death and life. But just before I read the list of upcoming challenges, I purchased this book and found my inspiration within its pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Self-Portrait with the Portrait of Doctor Farill

In this painting, Frida is not featured in the customary heavily embroidered garb of her personal life and many of her paintings. Rather, she is simply attired in black and white. In the book there is a photograph of this outfit beside the painting. It is sort of eerie as it is missing the artist, the woman herself.

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Something about the tunic called to me. I decided I would make it. Just like that.

I looked to my patterns and sewing books, and found the perfect substitute in the Japanese pattern book Drape Drape One. I used pattern no. 15.

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What a relaxing experience it was! No fitting woes at all when you’re making a tunic! It should even transition to my real life wardrobe well. What a feeling! Lol

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For the skirt I used a vintage Simplicity pattern (4018) I purchased from Etsy.
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I will definitely shorten this, though. Unlike Frida, I quite like showing my legs ;0)

I was so high on sewing ease juju I made a bonus project!

Tunic W (for Wanett!) from Stylish Dress Book One. I substituted ruffles for embroidery, as one is doable in a weeks time and the other is not, at least for me. So, that’s three(!!!!) never before used patterns done in one week! You see how Frida inspires me?!?!

The Facts
Fabric | The same white fabric from my Gal Friday blouse (might have finally used it up), blue cotton shirting, black cotton sateen
Pattern | Pattern no.15 from Drape Drape One, Simplicity 4018 skirt pattern, Tunic W from Stylish Dress Book One
Year | ALL over the place! 1950′s to present!
Notions | Mostly thread, one zipper and a bit of interfacing for the skirt
Time to complete | A few of hours a day over three days or so. That includes tracing the patterns and cutting. Not bad.
First worn | While getting my Frida on for these photos.
Wear again? Yes! I love them all!
Total price | Really can’t say. The fabrics and patterns were all in the stash. The books cost about $50 together, but contain many other patterns. Simplicity 4018 was $6. I’m fairly cheap, so I know the fabrics didn’t cost much. I’m also wearing my vintage store find Enzo Angiolini booties from The Urban Jungle $15. And Sew Weekly meet up flower from Oona! With paper flowers my twins made in Pre-K ;p

Author

Nettie

Wanett Clyde is a wife, mama of four and library school student that manages to cram a lot into her days. She loves books, writing, creating, the color purple, sarcasm, summertime, staying up late, anything British, BROOKLYN(!!!), and her family.

32 Comments

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  1. I adore your outfit and this entire entry! Brava!

  2. Beautiful easy and elegant. I think you will wear that white tunic a lot. Freida Kahlo was incredible. An Art Icon and a Fashion Inon. Yay!

  3. I LOVE the way you’ve channeled Frida! I drove by her house many, many years ago when I was in Mexico, long before she was a cultural icon and I think it hadn’t been restored yet. I’m dying to go back and I think you’ve done a fabulous job capturing her essence.

    • Thanks, Loran! Her home has been restored! It is now Museo de Frida Kahlo. The photos in the book I mention above are taken in Casa Azul. Her dressing room and bathroom were ordered closed for 50 years by Diego Rivera, her husband, when she died. The book chronicles the opening of those rooms.

  4. Whoa! I’m in awe of your Frida doll and three (!) garments. Very cool. I hope you enjoy wearing them in real life. . .

    • Thanks, Lee!! That doll was a labor of love! The body is entirely handsewn. I used the Purl Girl pattern from Purl Soho designed by amazing doll artist Mimi Kirchner.

  5. This is the bestest! You were posessed by Frida’s spirit and that’s not creepy, it’s waaaay cool! The hair, flower, tunic, skirt, and bonus blouse are a wonderfully brilliant tribute to Frida. You make me want to know her and love her as you do. Very well done.

    • Thank you so much, Najah!! I love that I’ve made you want to know more about Frida! That bodes well for my future as a librarian ;P I know you will not be disappointed with knowing her better. She led a fascinating life!

  6. You do look comfy in these pieces! I would love to rock that tunic right now! Guess I’ll just settle for my sweats and a big sweater (indoors only of course). I love all 3 pieces-nice job!

  7. I was so hoping someone would do Frida, your interpretation is brilliant! and that book looks very interesting. Great job on all three pieces. Love it.

    • Thanks, Kazz!! The book is very interesting. I think you will be inspired by the colors and prints of the clothes featured in the book.

  8. Three Frida-inspired projects and all wonderful! I really enjoyed reading about your adventure researching and the resulting Frida doll and the tunics. It’s nice to be reminded that some sewing projects can actually be completely hassle free! Great job!

    • Thanks, Adri! I find that I enjoy reading about real people so much more as an adult. I’m starting her biography soon. Well, another one. I’ve read a few shorter ones already.

  9. You look so lovely in your tunics, and very “Frida-like.” You also look so happy which is even more important.

  10. This is stunning!! Really!

  11. I’m a big fan of Frida and you captured her look perfectly! Well done!

  12. I’m not big on Frida Kahlo, but that book looks SO good. Your outfit is perfect and good for you, making three things!

  13. great entry. i love that you took the time to include all of those extra details about your inspiration, and then still managed to show off that awesome and comfy-looking white tunic.

  14. This is so stunningly beautiful in its simplicity. Gorgeous.

  15. A woman after my own heart. I love Frida; when I saw your photo I instantly thought of her. You did a wonderful job, I especially like the ruffled tunic.

  16. Oh, I LOVE that! And I can’t believe I haven’t heard of that book! It’s going right to the top of my book wishlist. You are obsessed with Frida, I’m obsessed with the relationship between artists and their textiles.

    And your bonus items are fantastic. It’s like a capsule wardrobe in three pieces (with the leggings).

  17. Thank you!! I think you will really like this book. They cover the restoration of some items, cultural clothing of the region she lived and died in and lots of great photos and details about Frida’s clothes.