But You Don’t Even Like Cats Dress

Back in early November I came home from my local quilt shop with 3 yards of Lizzy House’s Hits Parade jersey in a cat print. As I’m showing my husband he blurts out, “But you don’t even like cats!” Ha! He has a point. I’m not much of a cat person, but that’s because I’m allergic to them. In fact I think most cats are quite cute, I just can’t get near them. But dang I love this fabric like, whoa. It’s so fun. Kitties!

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The fabric sat on the counter in the kitchen for weeks while I worked on various holiday projects and that whole Victorian get up until Sunday when I finally had the head space to tackle sewing math. Math is fun!

The resulting dress is 1 part Washington Dress, 1 part hack, and 1 part self drafted. I am so freaking excited about how it turned out! It looks just like the dance dresses I wore and loved back in the 1990s.

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So here’s the break down on how I turned the Washington Dress into more of a skater style dress.

First off I had to tackle the fit issues I encountered when I made my original Washington. Straight from the envelope I have two issues. The bodice is too short so I traced out the pattern, sliced along the lengthen here line, and then added 1 inch in length. I also took out some of the fullness I was getting between the armhole and the bust with a small dart. Both were easy alterations to make and I’ll be sure to do them whenever I make the Washington bodice in the future.

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Next up was figuring out how to achieve that sweet 90s style ruched neckline. I knew I could turn to Tilly and the Button’s Agnes pattern. It is so very cute and I love the style, but I really didn’t like the idea of purchasing a pattern just to look at one pattern piece. Especially since I’d achieved such a great fit with Washington. So instead I decided to try working it out myself and if it looked terrible I would purchase Agnes.

To alter my existing pattern, first I traced out the front bodice onto some swedish tracing paper (love that stuff). Then I lowered the neckline. I knew if I started the ruching as high up as the original neckline it would look kind of odd. I think I lowered the neckline about 2 inches and re-drew the curve. Before sewing the bodice pieces together I cut a piece of 3.5 inch long 1/4 inch elastic and stitched it down the center front, pulling the elastic along the way. Worked out pretty perfectly. I also cut the neckband piece to be longer and accommodate the lower neckline. I usually forget this part, so I’m glad I actually remembered this time!

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For the skirt I turned to my handy reference book Patternmaking for Fashion Design. Drafting my own patterns always makes me feel like a total badass, but this book makes drafting 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, and whole circle skirts so easy. I measured the waist of the bodice and then looked at Patternmaking’s handy chart for figuring out the waist radius. The next part was the only hiccup in the whole process. The first skirt I drafted was a 3/4 circle. I wanted a lot of fullness. But it was not to be. The kitty fabric wasn’t wide enough for me to cut a knee length skirt and still have the kitties facing the right direction. So I flipped back to the chart and drafted a 1/2 circle instead. No big deal. The skirt still has a decent amount of fullness and now I won’t have to worry quite as much about accidentally flashing people if a breeze comes along and lifts my skirt.

Spin skirt spin!!! Weeeee!!!!!!!

The fabric was really nice to work with. It is thin and not terribly warm, but also didn’t curl up as much as other jerseys I’ve used. I only wish it came in more adult prints. I love the kitties, but I’m not quite sure its work appropriate. I work at an arts school, but even they might find a cat dress a little much. We’ll see. I’ll probably have to wear it at least once to see my boss and her friend get excited by the kitties!!!!!

I’ve already made another one of these bodices as a tester and it turned out so nicely that I want to add a skirt. Just need to pick out fabric and I’ll have two of these beauties. I’m also glad to have found more use for the Washington pattern. It’s nice, but also very distinctive and by switching up the neckline and skirts I’ll get a ton of use out of it.

 

 

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Roar!!!

I’m not going to lie. I’m pretty darn pleased with myself over this one.

Yesterday when I picked Lu up from school I noticed a sign saying today would be dinosaur day at preschool and kids should wear anything dinosaur themed to school. Problem was Lu didn’t have any dinosaur clothing…yet.

But now she does!

I just happened to have a yard of dinosaur fabric from Natural History by Lizzy House. I’d picked it up after Lu started taking a big interest in dinosaurs about a month ago. And I’d planned to make a skirt, but hadn’t gotten to it yet. In fact I’d planned to do something a little fancier than this, but I had one night. Simplicity wins.

I did not use a pattern. Elastic waisted toddler skirts are not terrible complicated, but maybe someday soon I’ll do a tutorial if there is interest. And I fussy cut two pockets for the front, because a girl needs a place to hold her dinosaur friends.

Roar!!!

Hope you have fun at school today!

Happy Home Quilt

Last week my little family traveled to Colorado to spend a week with my sister in law and I was able to unveil their house warming gift! They bought and moved into their first house last spring and I’ve been plotting a home warming gift for a couple of months. But what fabric to use? Something geeky? Something traditional?

Well, after finishing my husband’s quilt, we looked at the other half of the collection and my husband requested I use it for his sister. Sold!

So the front of the quilt features the magenta/orange colorway of the Franklin by Denyse Schmidt collection. Gah! I love this collection. So classic. So pretty. But what pattern to use? We scoured my favorite sites and decided on Suburbs from Cluck Cluck Sew. I mean, it seems like a natural fit for a house warming gift, no?

However those houses did present a conundrum. I do all quilting on my little home machine. It’s a good machine, but not one I’d use to do a heavy overall quilt pattern. And I had this idea of quilting around each house, but then there are all these blank squares that need…something. Just deciding on how to fill those spaces took a couple of weeks. I was stumped.

Eventually I decided to do a combination of machine quilting and hand tying the quilt. I had grand visions of hand quilting trees, and their monogram, and clouds, and a bunch of other stuff. But in the end the simplicity seemed to fit the quilt and my sister in law’s family much better.

But the back of the quilt. It’s my favorite part.

The backing fabric is from Natural History by Lizzy House. I love the way the homes look like they are in the middle of a night sky. A big night sky like you might encounter someplace like Colorado in the summer.

Of course the week of our visit was rainy and stormy, so no star viewing for us, but that’s okay. This California girl was happy for the rain. Too bad I couldn’t bring it home with me.

And my sister in law? She loves the quilt!