Sunday, January 29, 2017

Cats in hats...getting your mind off the apocalypse

Rice Cake in his dinosaur hat

Sometimes, to keep from tearing your hair out, it's a good idea to keep your hands busy and your mind occupied. I've started crocheting again and I'm still plugging away at learning to sew.

To get my hands back into the motions of crochet, I chose this small project: a hat for the cat. I purchased a book called, appropriately, Cats in Hats by Sara Thomas. It includes some crochet and some knit patterns.

The first hat I wanted to make was the stegosaurus or dinosaur. Rice Cake approved it. Sort of.

The problem was that this hat was in the knit portion of the book and I don't knit. I've done it. But I don't care for it. And I wasn't about to start up again for a cat hat. So, I chose a base from the crochet section and then just created the fins on my own and attached them. This is what I got:

Not bad, right? The next part involved getting the cat to wear it. I spent a couple of days introducing the hat to both cats. Squeakers was very suspicious of it and wanted nothing to do with it. But Rice Cake didn't mind it so much. At first, when I placed it gently over his back, it freaked him out a little and he walked all hunched like until it fell off. But I used it as a plaything and put it on his head a few times until one day, he was sitting on the sofa and I tried it on him and he just let me do it.

I didn't tie it on and I think I'll tie up the ends and try to slide it on him next time. Looks like I'll be making some more hats for the cats--this cat, at least. Maybe if Squeakers sees Rice Cake in his fancy hats, he'll be more interested in the idea. We shall see.

As for sewing, egad.

Do you remember the t-shirt I made by tracing one of my favorite tees to create a pattern? Well, I wanted to embellish the hem because I didn't like the length very much. So, I did it. Here's how it looks now:

It looks okay, but the trim is stiffer than I expected.

I made some jammy pants. This was actually my second pair. The first I made according to the size on the pattern and they are really too big and baggy. So this pair I made in a smaller size. I wear them all the time.

I made this shirt and added this really nice trim to it. I'm still having trouble getting necklines to lie flat.

Again, the size I was supposed to make according to the pattern was too large on the shoulders and under the arms, so a lot of tailoring went into making the shirt look this way. And in doing all that, it moved this rather large dark spot right over the boob. I wear it anyway.

And I'm still working on this next top.

Another major tailoring  project. When will I learn that I'm going to have to seriously try to fit these patterns before cutting out the fabric? Anyway, the fabric here turned out to be super sheer and delicate so I ended up creating a lining. All by myself! I still have to sew the sleeve hem and then it's ready to wear.

The problem is that I keep making these tops that are too fancy for every day wear. What I need is t-shirts for wearing around the house and to the store. So, I took another one of my favorite tees, this one with set in sleeves (The one above doesn't have set in sleeves, it's called a kimono sleeve. The sleeve is part of the bodice pieces. Very simple to make, but the fit isn't as neat.)

I even took an online sewing class on how to create a pattern from your own clothes. That class, naturally, had nothing to do with creating a pattern from a knit top, but I figured, piece of cake, right? And I've done it once already.

So, I laid out the top and started putting pins in it, then I connected the pin dots on the paper. But every time I tried to double check my work, the lines were different. It was very frustrating, especially when it came time to do the sleeves. They looked pretty wonky.

Well, I took some fabric that I had left over from an earlier top and made one. Here's how it turned out so far.

You can see where I've been pinning it to shorten the sleeves (there's a story in itself!) and the hem. The neckline is too low. That's part of the sleeve story I guess. It goes like this...

When I held my new pattern up to my body, the neckline seemed way too high. And rather than trust the pattern, I lowered it. And now I don't like it. I had planned to make the sleeves longer anyway. So I measured my arm from the edge of my shoulder down to about where I wanted the sleeve and then I extended the sleeve pattern by that much--and ended up with grotesquely long sleeves.

Honestly, I don't get it! (Not entirely true. I should have extended the pattern piece from the top of it, at the shoulder, not from the bottom edge. Honestly, sometimes I don't know about myself.) Nothing measures correctly. (User error, I'm guessing.) Nothing turns out right. (Well, that's life, isn't it? I mean, just look at this whole Trump thing!) Just more and more work. (Oh, it's good for you, stop whining.) But I'm doing it. (Damn right you're doing it.) And it is kind of fun, even when the projects turn out unwearable. (Not even good enough for Goodwill!) So, I guess I'll add some kind of binding to the neck of this thing and wear it around the house.

I have registered for a sewing expo! How cool is that? It's in Lakeland. I'm going over on a Friday afternoon and coming back late Saturday. I've signed up for three sewing classes and I'll spend the rest of the time hanging out and buying stuff.

So, get a craft going and get your mind off things for a little while every day. You'll be happier. Maybe. It's worth a shot.

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