Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Mod Mini Skirt Project: Campbell's Soup Skirt-- An Andy Warhol Tribute Piece!

Making things pretty lay-out wise

So, I've blogged about the paper dress movement, and its correlation to pop art. What I haven't talked about is the most sensational paper dress of them all: the dress known as the "Souper Dress."

What's the Souper Dress you ask? Starting in 1962, the most famous pop artist of them all, Andy Warhol, began creating his famous Campbell's soup can works. The incorporation of mundane commercial objects as "fine art" at first offended the art establishment, but now the cans have come to be an important part of art history and an easily recognizable symbol in our culture. Warhol himself said that, "a group of painters have come to the common conclusion that the most banal and even vulgar trappings of modern civilization can, when transposed to canvas, become Art."

An original ad for the Souper Dress

So, whatever your thoughts about Warhol's work, it certainly provoked discussion and continues to be debated to this day.

But, back to the Souper Dress. In 1966-67, Campbell's soup decided to capitalize on Warhol's inclusion of their product in his art and on the whole paper dress movement by selling a paper dress with their soup cans as the design. Campbell's marketed their paper dress as "The Souper Dress" (nice play on words there Campbell's). If you sent in two Campbell's soup labels plus $1.00, you too could own the Souper Dress, which by the way now sells on eBay for anywhere from $700 to $1800 depending on the condition. Yep, the Souper Dress has become quite the cultural icon.

An image of an original "Souper Dress" from the era

So, I wanted to pay homage to pop art, Warhol, the paper dress movement, the Souper Dress. But how could I? Certainly, it would be impossible to find Campbell's soup can fabric unless I screenprinted it myself. And that wasn't going to happen.

But it WASN'T impossible! My husband found a dealer on Etsy who sells a material that's akin to canvas bag material (advertised as twill blend I believe) with the Campbell's soup cans printed on them. Oh boy! I was just a tad ecstatic...

So, despite this crazy twill blend being a weird foreign material to me, I embarked on making my very own skirt out of Campbell's soup can fabric. And I'm really happy with the results. I lined things up as good as I could stand (remember-- I'd rather not get too picky, because I'd rather have fun than pull out my hair).

And the result, I think, is a fitting tribute! Plus, it's a great conversation piece. The one thing that's a little sad though...the people who say, "You must really like soup." And they're being serious. Ah, such is life.

Happy sewing!

This just seems fitting. I'd hate to be the stuck in that soup can.
Is there some kind of weird double entendre here that I'm not getting?


  1. Best mini skirt ever!
    I love Andy. I think I need this fabric, I don't do minis any more, but a pencil skirt would be just great.
    I've paid homage to Andy in some silk screen printed tees (size 10-14 fits adults), if you're interested have a look, http://stitchitupstella.blogspot.com/

  2. M'mmm M'mmm good


  3. All very cool indeed. I love the shape for the skirts you've made and the fabrics. So much fun I can tell. How do you decide which to wear? You are such a neat sewer too, I can't even see a thread or piece of fabric on your floor! How I wish I was like that.

  4. This is so cool, Astrid. I've had my eyes on this fabric for quite some time now - and I'm sure I've spottet it else where (as in not on Etsy but a webshop), but I simply can't remember where!! I would love to make a dress of this fabric but the shippingcosts to Denmark are simply to high (if I were to buy on etsy that is). I love twill fabric, especially the blends - I think that twill is excellent for skirts and dresses, and you have sure proven me right. In my opinion this is your most beautiful skirt so far...

    Hugs from Denmark,

  5. Wow! That skirt is just fantastic! Love it :-)
    I love the shape of it and it being a skirt and not a dress it's not too much and looks very wearable.

  6. I had never heard of the Souper Dress before! Thanks for the cultural flashback...and I agree: this is my favourite mini of all.

  7. Oh, and "You must really like soup"? Some people....
    I used to have a shirt that was pleated all over in a Issey Miyake kind of way, and people I worked with were constantly telling me, "You should really iron that shirt." Argh.

  8. @khristeB: Thanks so much for the compliment. If you're interested in the fabric, I got it from this Etsy seller: http://www.etsy.com/listing/16246443/warhol-inspired-hand-screened-soup-can They are only selling it in a 6 yard piece right now but you may be able to convo for more. Nice work on your project as well! : - )

    @Christiana: Ha ha! Thanks : - )

    @Long & Winding Bobbin: Thanks! Love your name BTW.

    @Psycho-Sue: Awww...thanks : - )

    @Vintage Fabric Addict: I actually have a really hard time deciding what to wear. I buy vintage clothing too, so I am often really indecisive. I'm pretty good about cleaning up my messes, because my husband's a neat freak!

    @Groovymama: Too bad about the shipping costs-- you're right that they'd be quite high. The fabric is quite heavy-- I used a needle for the thickest fabrics. Thanks for the compliment-- I consider this my "crowning achievement" in that it incorporates so much of what I love into one piece.

    @Eline: Yep, I thought about a dress, but it seemed like it'd be too much so I went for a skirt. Thanks for the compliment!

    @Another Sewing Scientist: No problem-- I love to share history that I find intriguing : - ) Yeah, it's sad about the peoples' comments. Thanks for sharing your anecdote as well. Makes me feel better!

    @Bloggymom: thanks!

  9. Wow love it. How many yards should I order to make the same skirt? I've never sown before should I find a tailor or can you recommend someone? JacquiFitz@aol.com