Friday, 13 November 2015

A Hipster Cat Quilt for Oliver

I think I may have gone a bit far with this project. It was the cat fabric that first attracted me, and I thought about how my kitten Oliver needed a bed so he would leave Tigger's alone. I'm kind of attached to this little guy. I mean, look at him.

So I searched "quilted cat bed" on my phone and what did appear, but Shwin & Shwin's Hipster Cat Quilt. I really just couldn't help myself. I'm a quilter, what can I say. About $70 later I'm walking out of the store about to make a quilt for my cat. Ridiculous. He still doesn't have a bed.

This quilt is easy and fairly quick to put together. I opted to use raw-edge appliqué, a bit different from the original tutorial. I printed and taped together the template, then traced it onto Steam-A-Seam. I fused it onto my fabrics, cut them out and fused them to the quilt top. I used a blanket stitch to sew around the edges with coordinating thread. 

The fabric for the background is Fishbones, the backing is Scatter and the bowtie is Mice. All are all from Makower's line, Cats. I thought the grey and white dot and white and grey patches worked nicely too for my little grey kitten. The bright pink was in my stash.

Despite the small size of the quilt, the quilting gave me a bit of trouble. I wanted to free-motion quilt it and my thread kept breaking. My machine didn't seem to like quilting through the Steam-a-Seam, so I slowed down and it seemed to improve. I trimmed the edges and squared it up to get ready for the binding. 

I figured I might as well use up the last of my mouse fabric and added in the bright pink for a pop of colour. I machine sewed the binding and I have to say, I think it's one of my best yet. I cut my binding strips 2 1/2" and sew them onto the back first. Then I press them towards the edge of the quilt and use Wonder clips to clip them on the other side. I put the edge of the binding a bit less than 1/8" over the line of stitching, then stitch a bit more than 1/8" along the edge. This means that my stitching line on the back (usually) stays on the binding too. I only went over the edge for about 3 inches this time!

Oliver was instrumental in the creation of this quilt. We managed to capture some photos of him helping with the layout, sewing and burying threads. That part is much easier when your cat is on your lap under the quilt, moving around where you're trying to bury the threads. 

You might have noticed his bowtie as well. Again, I couldn't help myself. The scrap fabric was there, I had elastic, Halloween was approaching.... I even managed to get him to stay still long enough to pose for a couple photos on this dark and rainy afternoon. I was going to wait for some natural light for photos, but in November dark comes early at this latitude. 

Definitely the most ridiculous and cutest project I've ever made! I recommend checking out this free pattern. I think it would be fun to play around with different fabric combinations or make smaller cats and do four blocks with contrasting backgrounds. 

What's the most ridiculous project you've ever made? Any sewing or pet confessions?

Monday, 2 November 2015

Fall Cape

I blame Jess of the Sewing Rabbit for starting my current cape fixation to go along with my plaid flannel obsession.

I never really cared for capes before, but I spotted a cape on a mannequin at a fabric store and it caught my eye. Plus I had a 50% off coupon and there was a whole display of this sleek plaid fabric in different colours. So I bought the pattern - McCall's - and decided to give it a go. I opted for a red and blue plaid with narrow stripes for the exterior, a navy lining fabric for the interior and a a grey suede-look fabric to bind the edges.

I used the cape on the mannequin for my inspiration, which differed slightly from the pattern. Instead of using a single layer of fabric and adding fringe, I sewed the pattern in the plaid and the solid lining, then basted them wrong sides together. I used 2 1/2" strips sewn together and attached them to the cape like a quilt binding. Another time I'd probably make bias tape and bind the edges that way, but quilt binding is something I'm comfortable with.

To fasten and secure the cape so that it doesn't fall off, I sewed a buttonhole on the left shoulder and a button along the edge of the right flap. So the right flap folds across my chest and buttons underneath the left flap at the shoulder. On the left flap, I stitched a toggle, which attaches to its loop, sewn on the right shoulder.

The cape ended up longer than planned, but I'm getting used to the length. I figure it'll keep me warmer. The hood is also quite big, and makes for a bit of an evil or mysterious look when it's pulled up all the way. I'll have to get a photo of that as well.

The plaid fabric is fairly thin, so despite it's look, the cape is not overly warm. Perfect for fall, but by the time we finished taking photos, the sun was down and my new knitted hat and mittens were needed. Luckily, there's lots of room for layering underneath, to help it last into late fall or early winter. I'm quite happy with how it turned out and despite my original hesitation to wear it out in public, it's been well received.

Shawls, capes, blanket scarves and ponchos seem to be everywhere this season, in all kinds of materials. Have you sewn one up? How do you wear it?

I'll leave you with this sunset, behind our bare trees. Here's hoping that fall holds on little longer.