Tag Archive | cat

Franklin

img_4823I laid the four “in progress” amigurumi’s that I’ve been working on for what seemed like forever, the sheep, the ferret, the momma dragon and the black panther, in front of me and tried to pick which one I should complete first.

img_4826As I studied the four projects, my first thought was “I think I’ll start the unicorn pattern I just found on line.” I then had to scold myself and say “NO!” I could not start another amigurumi until I finish these four that I had already started. Of the four, the black panther interested me the most. The panther was a bit of a challenge and was for a friend so he already had a good home to go to, so I got started working again on the panther.

img_4829When my friend had picked a black panther as her favorite animal, I panicked for three reasons. One, I had never seen a pattern for a black panther before. After calming myself down and thinking it through, my first step was to find a pattern. After a few web searches and no luck finding a pattern for a black panther, I altered my search, and started to look for tiger patterns that I could crochet in black. I found several tiger patterns that I liked, but when I found this adorable tiger pattern, I quickly picked it as my black panther pattern.

img_4828The second reason I panicked was the color of a black panther. Obviously, the main color of the panther would be black but how was I going to accent black safety eyes on a black animal so they could be seen? What color should I make the nose and smile so that they didn’t just blend into the face? How about the ears? Was a solid black animal going to look good or would it look like a big black blob? After much thought and looking at many pictures of black panthers, I decided to give the panther yellow eyes, a gray muzzle and accent his ears with some gray yarn. I debated about giving the panther gray paws but I decided to keep them black.

img_4835The last reason for my panic was the fact that this whole amigurumi would be crocheted in black yarn except for the small gray pieces. I have a difficult time crocheting with black yarn. The older I get, the harder it is for me to see the black stitches. This meant that I would have to take my time crocheting this panther and watch my stitches closely, plus I would need to always work in the best light.

Except for working with black yarn, the pieces of the panther crocheted smoothly. Then it was time to stuff the pieces. It is always a bit of a challenge to stuffing dark color pieces with white poly-fil. It takes some time and patience to stuff the pieces firmly but to take care and not stretch the stitches too much revealing the white stuffing underneath.

img_4837Stitching the black pieces together also presented a challenge in both working the black color yarn and having the white stuffing pull through with the stitches. I had to use tweezers to pull single strands of stuffing from the stitches. This was time consuming but necessary. These single strands of stuffing made the panther look messy where he was stitched together.

img_4838This pattern called for the arms and legs to be crocheted so a thread or button joint could be done to attach them, but then the pattern called for the arms and legs to just be stitched on. I debated about doing a thread joint instead of just stitching them on but then decided to follow the pattern. Once the arms and legs were stitched on, they seemed secure and allowed the panther to sit, so I was happy with the results of just stitching them on instead of using a thread joint to attach them.

img_4830Once the panther was stitched together, it was easy to give him a big black smile on his gray muzzle. His name, Franklin, was the first and only name that came to me as he sat in the chair next to me, waiting to go to his new home. During the construction process, I became very fond of Franklin and almost did not give him to my friend, but I had made the black panther just for her and he needed a good home. When I presented Franklin to my friend, she was so surprised and also fell in love with him right away. I know she will give Franklin a good home.

img_4844With Franklin, the black panther, done, which “in progress” amigurumi would be next on the to do list? Stay tuned to find out.

Until then, crochet forth and black panther on!

Hello Kitty

DSCN2341I debated about it a long time, but I finally decided to crochet a Hello Kitty for a coworker/friend of mine. She just adores Hello Kitty. I have seen a couple of patterns for Hello Kitty during my internet pattern browsing and they all look very cute. So I picked one that I thought my coworker would like and got started on it.

DSCN2280The pattern that I picked has Hello Kitty in a dress with a scarf and of course the bow on her ear. The red dress and scarf gave the Hello Kitty a Christmas type of vibe, so I thought about changing the color of the dress and omitting the scarf, but the husband liked the red dress and the scarf so I decided to follow the original design and colors of the pattern.

I started with the legs as I like to do when I am crocheting an amigurumi. In this pattern the legs and body are crocheted as one piece. I followed the pattern and the little feet and legs came out so cute, but when I got to the body and finished crocheting the body’s last row, something was not right. 

Where was the rest of the body? I re-read the pattern again. No, I had not miscounted. This short stubby piece on top of the legs was the body. I debated about adding more rows but then decided to crochet the other pieces and see how it all looked before I started modifying the pattern.

DSCN2157The arms and ears were crocheted next and then I got started on the head. Crocheting the head took some time and concentration. It took a lot of counting while crocheting. When I finished the head it looked so funny and misshaped to me. I wondered if I might be in an alternate universe or something where everything that should be right was wrong. 

I was beginning to have second thoughts about completing this project, but I decided to press on instead. After a lot of debating and the husband’s help I got the eyes inserted and then I started to stuff the pieces.

IMG_1787Stuffing the head presented another challenge. It would have been easy to overstuff the head and make it round but Hello Kitty’s head is flat like the rest of her body. So, I had to stuff the head with enough stuffing that it was full and firm but still flat which was very unusual to me. 

When I finally got all the pieces stuffed to where I liked, I laid all of the pieces together on my cutting table. I was not pleased with what I saw. The head was misshaped and it looked funny with the short stubby body and the long legs. At this point, I really wanted to abandon this project and move on to another project, but I had too much invested in both time and yarn in this amigurumi to quit. So I soldiered on.

DSCN2350As I started to stitch the pieces of this Hello Kitty together, she finally started to come to life. Her head did not seem as misshaped once her ears were actually stitched on to her head. And her body was not as stubby once it was stitched to her head and it was even less stubby once I had crocheted her skirt to her body.

At this point, I did deviate from the pattern. I wanted to crochet her bow instead of cutting one from felt. I followed the same pattern I had used previously to make a bow tie but I made it smaller. With some red yarn, I chained four then crocheted 3 in rows till I had the desired length I wanted for the bow. I then folded the ends to the center and stitched them together. Because of the smaller bow, I did not crochet the center piece of the bow but simply wrapped the red stripe with white yarn to make the bow.

DSCN2273For the scarf, I did not count how many chain stitches I started with. With some red yarn, I chained until it looked like the right length around Hello Kitty’s neck and called it good. Next I crocheted once around the long chain, then slipped stitched around the edge with white yarn. I think both the bow and the scarf turned out very cute. As I stitched them to Hello Kitty, she took on a personality and came to life even more.

Stitching on Hello Kitty’s whiskers and glueing on a pink round felt nose were the finally touches to complete this Hello Kitty.

DSCN2352Even though there were multiple times I wanted to tuck this project away with other UFO’s (Un-Finished Objects), I am glad I did not.

It the end, she turned out to be very cute I think!

I gave my coworker her Hello Kitty and she thought it was adorable and that did my heart good. 

It made be think about the UFO’s I still have tucked away. Maybe with a little more work, they could turn out to be as cute as this Hello Kitty did. 

Maybe I had better pull them out of their hiding place and see.

Until then, crochet forth and Hello Kitty on!

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 3

DSCN0598A Hong Kong seam is made when you finish the edges of a seam by covering them with bias tape. It sounds simple enough to do, but there are always new sewing lessons to be learned every time you try something new and this time was no different.

But first a note to myself, make sure and cut the skirt pieces with a larger seam allowance to accommodate the bias tape. This gives you room to sew the bias tape on and not affect the circumference of the top of the skirt.

DSCN0570Two lessons that I learned about applying bias tape from the construction of this dress were to make sure and watch which side of the bias tape you’re working on and to watch which side of the fabric the bias tape is going to fold to.

DSCN0574Lesson one, remember the advise about making one side of the bias tape longer than the other while ironing the bias tape? And remember being careful to do just that as you ironed? Well, use that to your advantage when you’re sewing the bias tape on. When I started to sew the bias tape to my first seam allowance, I did not think to make sure I was sewing the shorter side of the bias tape first. By making sure that shorter side of the bias tape is sewn down first , that gives you the longer side to fold over. This gives you the little extra fabric on the back side, making it easier DSCN0575to catch the bias tape as you stitch in the ditch on the top side. When you stitch the longer side first and then fold the shorter side over, not only is there not the extra fabric but you are short fabric from folding over the longer side. Once I figured this out and sewed the short side first and then folding over the long side, the sewing on of the bias tape became much easier.

DSCN0577The second lesson of watching which side of the fabric the bias tape is folded to came when I added the the bias tape to the hem. When I sewed the bias tape to the seam allowances, I sewed it to the top of the fabric and then folded it to the back. After stitching in the ditch on the top, I had a nice clean finish on top and it did not matter if my seam was a little wavy on the back side. After binding the seam allowances of the two seams of the skirt, I had plenty of bias tape left over so I decided to use the remaining bias tape to finish off the hem of the skirt too.

DSCN0602But, since I did not remember to think a couple of steps ahead and see what was going to fold where, I sewed the short side of the bias tape to the inside of the hem. This meant I would be folding the longer side of the bias tape to the front of the skirt. Even though I had remembered to sew the short end first, I had not thought about what side the bias tape would be folding to. At this point when I stitched in the ditch on the inside of the skirt, the wavy part of the seam from catching the bias tape would be on the top side of the skirt in plain view. And the nice clean finish would be on the inside where no one could see it.

DSCN0601To fix this I could unpick the bias tape and sew it again, this time to the outside of the skirt and fold the bias tape to the inside. Rolling my eyes at the thought of unpicking all that bias tape, I thought of another plan. I would not finish the bias tape with a stitch in the ditch seam but sew a nice even edge on the top of the folded over bias tape. This way I would have a seam on the bias tape but it would not be wavy like the one I had sewn from the opposite side. The inside part would have the wavy seam instead. This worked out just great! My seam on the bias tape side is nice and smooth and even, but if you look inside you will see a seam that hits and misses the ditch between the bias tape and skirt. This is fine with me. It looks great on the outside and it still looks acceptable from the inside, and I did not have to unpick a single stitch.

DSCN0600Because I had attached the buttons and button holes while completing the bodice of this dress, the last step was to attach the skirt to the bodice. At this point I still had plenty of bias tape left so I decided to use it to finish this last seam attaching the skirt to the bodice too. Because this seam is inside the dress, I did not care which side had the clean finish and which side had the wavy seam, and using the bias tape did give the seam a nice beautiful finish. Note to myself – keep bias tape and Hong Kong seams in mind for finishing seams where a serged seam would be exposed.

DSCN0605This dress turned out so adorable once it was completed. I love the true camp collar and how much easier it was to sew than the collar the original pattern called for. With the changes that I made to this pattern, I will definitely be using this pattern again for future projects. I also love the Hong Kong seam of the skirt as well as the bias tape hem. I learned many sewing lessons from the construction of this dress, especially regarding the making of and the applying of bias tape. I hope some little girl will enjoy wearing it.

Until next time, sew forth and sew on.

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 2

DSCN0556When it came to making bias tape my first thought was just to purchase some, but then I stopped myself since I was supposed to be learning new sewing skills while making this project. Making bias tape was something I have never done before so now was a great time to learn.

The first step was to cut out strips of fabric on the bias. Since I had some white kitty fabric left, I decided to use it to make the bias tape with. I had no idea how much bias tape I needed for this project, but I had enough scraps to make 4 yards so that sounded like plenty. With the markings on my cutting table and my trusty metal ruler and my blade, it was easy to measure and cut the bias strips to the proper sizes.

DSCN0562Next came stitching the bias strips into one long piece. This took some thought. After thinking that I had the angles correct I sewed the pieces together, only to find out that I had not angled the strips correctly. A quick internet search taught me that the strips needed to be sewn at right angles. After learning how to sew them the right way, I unpicked and sewed the strips together correctly. The main thing I learned here that it is important to take the cutting of the strips seriously. Carefully cut strips out make it easier to sew the right angles.

DSCN0566Ironing the bias tape into its folded shape was the next step. Years ago, my mom gave me a bias tape maker. I promptly brought it home and tossed it in the closet with my other sewing notions. Now it was coming out of the closet and making its debut. It took a little bit of finagling to get the bias strip in the bias tape maker but once it was in, it was easy to see how the maker was going to fold the strip and make the forming and ironing of the bias tape DSCN0568easier.

 

While searching the internet on the angles, I did read that it was best to make one side of the bias tape larger than the other, not much, just enough to give you a little sewing edge. I decided to follow their advice. The ironing of the bias tape was time consuming but not difficult. Once again I learned that carefully cut strips and carefully sewn angles make it easier iron the folds. Accuracy is a key point of successful bias tape making.

In a short time, I had 4 yards of bias tape made and I was ready to start sewing the Hong Kong seams of the skirt.

Until then, sew forth on and bias on!

Simplicity 2907 – Hong Kong Kitty – Part 1

S2907 - Version 2After enjoying altering a pattern that I had previously made, I turned my attention back to Simplicity 2907. I like the design of this little girls dress with the camp shirt attached to the drop waist skirt. What I did not like about the pattern was the bodice of the shirt being cut for a stand collar and then a camp collar being attached. So, I either needed to alter this pattern and give it a stand collar or cut the front to make it an actual camp collar. The camp collar on the dress is much cuter than a stand collar would be so I chose to make the alterations to the front of bodice by adding a facing. But there was more to be learned from the making of this dress. I decided to use Hong Kong seams to finish the seams of the skirt and this lead to the making of bias tape. This would be two new sewing skills, Hong Kong seams and making bias tape, for me. But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start first with the alterations that I made.

DSCN0552The first steps were to select the fabric, alter the pattern, and cut the dress out. I knew I wanted to use up the kitty scraps from the wrap top I had made previously. And I wanted to make the front and back of bodice from the pink fabric and the sleeves and collar from the white, but that did not work out as I had hoped. As you may recall, the last time I made this dress, I used a thin yellow fabric for the bodice. After attaching the dropped waist skirt, I was afraid that the little girl’s panties would show through the yellow at the top of the skirt and I didn’t want to worry about that this time around. Using the pink for the front and the back would solve this, but DSCN0554I did not have enough scraps to do that. So, I picked the white for the front and the pink for the rest of the bodice pieces. At least the white kitty fabric is heavier than the yellow was so maybe there would not be a see through fabric problem with it. I found some scraps of denim in the stash for the skirt. I would not be lining the denim, so this would work great for the Hong Kong seams.

DSCN0604Altering the pattern was simple. I mirrored the front pattern piece to make an attached facing. Instead of the first steps in the sewing process being sewing the odd box shape and cutting the funny notch for the collar, I simply sewed a camp shirt top like I make for myself, with the folded over front facings to complete the bodice front, and a pieces of twill tape to complete the collar. I did not do Hong Kong seams on the bodice. I was saving those for the skirt. I was smart enough to make the buttonholes first before I attached the skirt so that there was no arguing with the bulk of the seam on the bottom buttonhole.

Soon enough, I had the bodice completed and it was time to sew the skirt. The first step would be to make bias tape. And that is a story for next time.

Until then, sew forth and camp collar on!

Catting Around With More Pleats – Part 2

DSCN0853DSCN0854With the bodice now completed, the skirt was next. Unlike the box pleated skirt that I made previously, I did not want a pleat at the center front and back and side seams of this skirt. I wanted the knife pleats to fold away from the center front and back. So, I started by pining these points, center front and back and side seams.

With the skirt divided into fourths, calculating the pleat became much easier. I started folding and found that two pleats per quarter would gather the skirt to the circumference of the bodice. I folded the pleats towards their respective side seams.

Once folded and pinned in place, I sewed around the top of the skirt to hold the pleats in place. With that, the knife pleats were done. I believe this skirt was easier to make than the box pleated skirt was because of the time that I spent and knowledge that I gained in making it. I had already experienced a lot of trial and error on the box pleated skirt, making this knife pleat skirt much easier to calculate.

DSCN0329This time I decided to not hem the lining and top fabric together. This also gave me an idea on how to make the stitch in the ditch seam easier. Instead of sewing the top fabric of the bodice to the skirt, folding the lining up and stitching in the ditch, I would sew the lining to the bodice, fold the top fabric up and sew around the folded fabric.

You would see the seam and there would be a fold, but I felt that would be fine. If it wasn’t fine, oh well, this was a trial dress to learn from and I wouldn’t do it that way again.

DSCN0330It felt odd sewing the lining to the bodice first. It felt like I was sewing it backwards. After completing the sewing, I ironed the seam up and ironed the fold in the top fabric of the bodice. I then positioned the folded top fabric over the lining/bodice seam and started sewing. There was a lot of play in the fabric, so I had to sew carefully to get a nice seam, with no folds or tucks.

With the stitch in the ditch seam, you can ignore a small tuck or fold or a crocked seam here and there because it is all done inside the dress. With the seam on the outside, there could be no tucks or folds or crocked seams since it would all be visible from the outside. Once this seam was sewn, I thought the look was good. The exposed seam and the fold looked fine. But, I don’t know that it was really any easier to sew than the stitch in the ditch seam due to the care that had to be taken sewing to this exposed seam.

DSCN0858DSCN0857I hemmed the lining 2 inches shorter than the top fabric so it would not be seen.

And with that done this dress was completed!

It turned out very cute. Cuter than I expected with the cats and the stars. The knife pleats came out great and the reversed stitch in the ditch seam looked fine. I hope some little girl will be happy wearing this dress.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.

Catting Around With More Pleats -Part 1

DSCN0321Since I was feeling confident about box pleats, I decided that my next project would be another little girl’s dress but this time with knife pleats. I also picked shoulder cap sleeves instead of full sleeves for this dress.

DSCN0324Selecting the fabric was both easy and difficult. The easy part was that I had just purchased a lining fabric with cats on it for $1 per yard at Walmart. The difficult part was picking the dress fabric. After looking in the stash I found this beige and blue star piece which seemed like it might work. The colors matched ok, but did stars and cats go together? It looked ok to me. Once again, the idea for this dress was to try out some knife pleats.

DSCN0291After selecting the fabric, I cut out the pattern. Because of the pleats, I cut the back of the skirt on the fold with no back slit. This time though I remembered the troubles that I had previously when attaching the bodice when the skirt had no back slit. To get around this problem, instead of a row of buttons down the back, I would make a keyhole button loop and button at the top of the back of the bodice. The back of the bodice would be one piece at the bottom making it easier to attach to the skirt.

DSCN0287Wishing I had embroidered something on the plain green cotton bodice of the last dress, I picked an embroidery design for this bodice. Of course, it had to be a cat to match the lining. Embroidering the design was the first step in sewing this dress.

DSCN0294The next step was to sew the bodice together. Normally, to do a keyhole button loop, the front and back of the bodice are cut on the fold, then you would add a v-shape in the neck line, sew around the neck line, and finally cut the “v” open and turn. There would be no seam in the bodice back, but then the armscye would have to be sewn differently so the neck could be turned. With a back seam, the armscye could be sewn as usual. I did not want to rethink sewing the armscye, so I did not cut the back of the bodice on the fold. Instead I added a back seam, but I did not add the extra inch for the buttons. I would change the sewing of the keyhole button loop and button so that a back seam was involved.

DSCN0297How did I do this you might ask? I will tell you. Step one, I serged the edges of the back seams. Next, I sewed around the neck line, then sewed the back seam of the bodice and lining separately, stopping 3 inches from the top on each seam. I pressed the seams open, then placing wrong sides together and adding the keyhole loop, I top stitched a box to complete the back seams and attach the loop, then I sewed on the button. This is basically the way the pattern said to finish the back seam of the skirt when you have one. It worked out great. The bottom of the back bodice was one piece, but it still had an opening to get the dress on and off.

Because I did not change how the armscye’s were sewn, attaching the cap sleeves went smoothly, especially since they did not extend to the bottom of the armscye. I then sewed the side seams together and with that the bodice was complete.

Up next, the knife pleated skirt.

Until next time, sew forth and cat on.