Kitty’s Log: Stardate 12252013, The Quest For Power

Stardate 12252013: Things have taken a turn for the worse here on Day Three of the Power Outage / Blackout. The temperature outside has dropped to minus sixteen degrees Celsius (-16C / 3 degrees Fahrenheit) and inside the Enterprise, it is now 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit). I can see my breath when I exhale and there is no hot water.

Pig in a Blanket.  Hold the pig, add a Kitty.

Pig in a Blanket. Hold the pig, add one Kitty.

I am up to wearing two sweaters (jumpers) and am now too ‘girthy’ to fit through the kitty door.  My frozen raw food meal has been served to me….still frozen.Bundling UpWe suspect that we will either starve or freeze to death.  An emergency Away Team has been mobilized.

Scotty Cat

Scotty Cat

Three of us make up the Away Team (including myself) and we will head out on the next shuttle in search of heat and food. Two of us will stay on board the Enterprise, attempting repairs. We expect the worst but hope for the best.

We bit adieu to the Home Team (with an unspoken belief that they will perish) and begin our journey.

After some searching, we locate a cooperative race with power/electricity in an adjacent galaxy. The natives are friendly and welcome us inside.  Some resistance is met by the residing Grey Queen, but we put aside our conflicts for the sake of the mission.

The Grey Queen

The Grey Queen

The locals posses a tree equipped with dangly items hung all over to play with, and they provide us with fresh catnip!!!!  Joy. :) We are offered hot food and a place to sleep.

It's a Catnip Christmas, Charlie Brown.

It’s a Catnip Christmas, Charlie Brown.

Stardate 12262013: We venture out with the natives to explore this new galaxy. We encounter strange yet friendly races and interesting scenery. I  document our travels.

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

Nice Boy and Squirrel

Fine Young Lad with Squirrel

Friendly Locals

Friendly Locals

Stardate 12262013PM: We are contacted by the Enterprise. Repairs have been successful and power has been restored!!!!!!!!!!! We will head back tomorrow at 0900 hours.

Stardate 12272013: Our journey back to the Enterprise is not without obstacles.  Our shuttle sustains damages and we must wait for roadside assistance to arrive with aid.  I remain in the tiny box within the shuttle. I am not a fan of the tiny box, but as lead of the Away Team, I stay stoic.

Flat Tire and Kitty in a Box

Flat Tire and Kitty in a Box

I am unsure at this time, who or what is trying to thwart our success, but suspect it may be the Borg.  Rest assured, we will not be assimilated and we will persevere!

Repairs are made to the shuttle and we continue our journey. FINALLY, we arrive at the Enterprise, equipped with heat, power, hot water and internet. We rejoice as we are reunited with the courageous Home Team, shaken, but okay.

Sadly, casualties were incurred.  Several houseplants could not withstand the temperatures and did not make it. We honour their bravery and reflect on the oxygen and beauty they provided us. (Then, I eated some of their leaves, ooopsie! :) )  Mission Successful!  Kitty out.

YES!!

YES!!

Deer and Doe Belladone

Deer and Doe Belladone

(Thanks Kitty.  In other news, I can now sew!!  And, will be able to finish my Belladone (I’ll blog it next week) for Sunday when we will celebrate Christmas at our house.  So, if you are in the area, drop by for some tofurkey, wine, gifts and good conversation.  Thanks everyone for your concern, help and well wishes and I hope you all had a terrific Christmas and Boxing Day!)

Army Fatigue Jacket Made Cozy, Cozy, Cozy.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Army Fatigue Coat Front Zipped and OpenThis month’s challenge for The Monthly Stitch was to sew something from a sewing book.  I have SO many sewing books, where to start?  Actually, I began with Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, and am at work on a project from it as well as a review.  Next, I also have the sewing book, Twinkle Sews and began work on a project from there, in addition to a review of the book.Army Fatigue Jacket Hands in Pockets

Sew Stylish Magazine Front and Back

Sew Stylish Magazine, Fall 2013

But then, the latest issue of Sew Stylish came out (Fall, 2013) and right on the back cover was a photo of an army fatigue jacket with the pattern and instructions included in the magazine.  So, since it is officially snowing here and I happened to be VERY cold at the time of purchase, I immediately went to work making the jacket out of a cozy wool blend, that feels soft, like a sweater blanket.

Army Fatigue Jacket Front and BackI opted not to add the inner drawstring channel and cord, since I thought it looked crisper and more tailored without it.Army Fatigue Jacket Front collar down"Model Pose"....or something....Work with me

“Model Pose”….or something….Work with me

I wanted to bind all the edges in the fuchsia pink, but this type of fabric has thick woolen threads weaved into it in order to create the flecks of colour and it raveled as the long threads separated from the raw edges almost immediately. Jacket Fabric and Separating ZipperSewing on the bias tape then resulted in many failed attempts as the threads pulled from the edges of the fabric, taking the bias tape with them.

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

Mah Bias Binding Matches Mah Mittens

But, I did manage to attach the bias binding to the edges that mattered, ie, the facing and hem, areas that you would see easily if the jacket were unzipped.  The remaining raw edges were over-locked.

Bam!  Fuchsia binding.

Bam! Fuchsia bias binding

The jacket has a long two-way separating zipper, (i.e., it can unzip from the bottom and the top) and deeeeeeeep patch pockets.

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Warm, cozy, deep patch pockets

Some notes on enlarging pattern pieces:  First, number both the sides and top and bottom of the grid on each pattern piece.  Next, photocopy each pattern piece separately, then trim around the outside of the piece.

Fatigue Jacket Pattern PiecesThis way, when you go to enlarge the pieces and need to tape the multiple pages together, you can easily match the corresponding numbers on the top and sides of the grid.  You can also opt to copy the pieces either bigger or smaller than the intended size.  I photocopied mine so that each square was 6/8″ instead of the intended 1″ square, in order to shrink the overall size of the pattern.

Snow.  Wheeee!!!!

Snow. Wheeee!!!!

Snow WheeeeAre free magazine sewing patterns recommended?  It depends on what you are attempting to make.  Simple items, where little can go wrong are likely better than something with more complicated pieces.  Also, I don’t think the same amount of editing, thought and care goes into the instructions and pattern drafting for the free magazine patterns as there would be for independent or larger pattern company patterns, and therefore errors can definitely result.  For this jacket, one of the diagrams was wrong, causing me to insert the zipper backwards.  (I had to re-do the whole thing and it’s a 32″ zip!)  I also made my cape out of a free magazine pattern and found that the instructions to enlarge it were wrong.  I would recommend that you not be a complete beginner and have some sewing experience before you use one of the free magazine patterns.  That way, you can tell beforehand if/when there is an error and correct it.

Army Fatigue Jacket Unzipped

Hello Kitty!  In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Hello Kitty! In his sweater knit by Gramma.

Stay tuned for Blogpost Part 2, which I will post next week, where I will have, hopefully, completed the two projects from Gertie’s and Twinkle’s sewing books.  Edit:  Both completed and blogged here!

Kitty Photobombed

Sweater-Kitty Photo-bombed

That 70s Dress: Diane Von Furstenberg

Designer Diane von Furstenberg at Home

Diane Von Furstenberg looking like art. source: Corbis

The September Monthly Stitch vintage-challenge-badgechallenge was to sew something from Vintage Patterns.  I chose the iconic 70s dress maven Diane Von Furstenberg’s knit dress pattern from Vogue (V1547).  There was also a challenge called Fall For CottonFallForCotton200where you were to sew a vintage inspired pattern using only cotton fabrics.  So, I chose only cotton knits for both of the dresses. Diane Von Furstenberg Knit DressesIn the 1970s, Diane Von Furstenberg launched her signature versatile, easy-breezy wrap dress, that came to symbolize freedom and strength for a newly empowered generation of women.  It symbolized the New Woman, the then-revolutionary concept of competing in a man’s world while looking feminine.

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol.  source:  Harper's Bazaar

Diane Von Fustenberg and Andy Warhol. source: Harper’s Bazaar

By 1976 she had sold over a million of her signature knit wrap dresses and landed on the cover of The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek, the latter dubbing her “the most marketable woman since Coco Chanel” (http://www.dvf.com/timeline-70s.html).

Von Furstenberg has been the president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America since 2006 and the year before was honored with their lifetime achievement award.  A 1970s DVF knit wrap dress is represented in New York’s Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

My mother, in the 1970s, used a DVF wrap dress Vogue pattern 1549, with collar and cuffs, to sew a dress for herself in a geometric black and white printed knit.

DVF 70s collared and cuffed knit wrap dress

My mum’s DVF knit wrap dress she sewed in the 1970s

Her version is almost identical to one DVF wore on the cover of Vogue Patterns magazine from 1976.

DFV on Vogue Patterns Magazine

DVF on the cover of Vogue Patterns, 1976

V1547 – Version B

For my short-sleeved belted version of the dress, I used ‘Germania’ by Jay McCarrol for FreeSpirit, Westminster Fibers brown geometric polka dot fabric.  It is a cotton knit that I purchased in the quilting section of a home decor fabric store.  And, after sewing the dress, I do wonder if this fabric is more suitable to quilts, blankets, etc. because I had a horrific time while sewing it.

DFV brown polka dot knit dress front and backTrying to unpick a stitch resulted in an almost immediate hole or would leave an obvious white spot from the needle holes since the back of the fabric is white and it also kept stretching completely out of shape.DVF brown polka dot knit dress Go Kitty (2)I could not get the overlocker to sew it properly, it kept jamming the machine, so I used a sewing machine.  But, using the triple stretch stitch or the knit stitch, the sleeve bands stretched 2 inches while I was sewing them on.  So, they do not lie flat and are not tight enough. When I tried a regular straight stitch, it would not hold together and slid back and forth on the thread as if gathering and then would break almost immediately.

Hello Kitty!

Hello Kitty!

I decided to wash the dress and put it in a hot dryer (even though I had already pre-shrunk) to see if it would help tighten up the fabric.  No, it did not.  But, what it did do was wrinkle like the dickens.  So, I had to iron every inch of my easy, breezy, simple knit dress.  Does this sound almost like blasphemy?  So, all in all, it did not turn out the way I had hoped, but it still works for a very casual, almost sweatshirt-like dress.  If anybody has any ideas about using this kind of fabric for fitted garments, or if indeed, it is not meant to be used for this purpose, please do share.

Reasons to Love the 70s.  Can You Think Of Any More?

Reasons to Love the 70s. Can You Think Of Any More?

V1547 – Version A

DVF blue knit dress front and backFor the long-sleeved version with the scarf tie, I used a four-way stretch cotton knit jersey.  I was nervous that it would be too stretchy and have even worse problems than the brown fabric, but it actually sewed up just fine and drapes really well.  It feels fabulous on, the fabric is very thin and silky with a heavy drape and ‘swishes’ nicely when I walk.

Oooooh, Swishy!

Oooooh, Swishy!

I am going to make a buckled belt for it out of the same fabric to offer up an alternative silhouette.  DVF blue knit dress front with scarf tie vintageThe scarf tie is perfect in this fabric, with such a heavy drape, it stays around the neck and being a thin fabric, folds easily and neatly into place.  DVF blue knit dress scarf tie (2)DVF knit wrap dress side with scarf tieAlthough you won’t be able to tell, I’m wearing Oscar de la Renta perfume, a classic fragrance that debuted in 1977.

DVF blue knit dress cat bombed polaroidWho Loves Kitty? DVF brown polka dot knit dress Who Loves Kitty (2)