Jungle January, hosted, once again, by the vivacious and print loving lady, Anne, comes to a close today, on Chinese New Year! Gong Xi Fa Cai (pronounced King Hey Fa Choy in cantonese or Gong See Fa Tsey in Mandarin) means “happiness and prosperity”. And, Xtnnian hao (pronounced shin-nyen ha-ow in Mandarin or sen-nih ha-ow in Cantonese) means “Have a good New Year”.
It is auspicious on the New Year to wear red, hang red lanterns, give monetary gifts in red envelopes or write in red ink. Red is representative of fire and is believed to symbolize luck and ward off evil. Also, this is the time to set aside grudges against enemies and call off unpaid debt. Let bygones be bygones – if personal differences or financial obligations cannot be settled before the Chinese New Year, they shall be forgotten.
I sewed Lolita Patterns Gunmetal dress in an abstract art leopard print for Jungle January. I was lucky enough to win this pattern over on Melanie’s Blog when she was a tester for the Gunmetal dress. The pattern is for knits and is a lined princess seamed dress with option to add a sheer overlay. There were many pattern pieces and lettered notches, so when cutting the pieces, I used small stickers to label the various notches.
The pattern uses a tiny cap sleeve with the option of adding an elastic hem. I wanted long sleeves, so extended the sleeve to the desired length, using the same angle as the sleeve pattern piece.
Originally, I wanted to add cuffs and a hem band in a beautiful teal fabric. This fabric is a sueded microfibre knit and is also the devil. Do NOT look directly at it!!!!
Uh oh…MY RETINAS! THEY BURN!! I tried everything with this fabric, using a large sized microtex needle, using tissue paper strips, using various stitch types (lightening bolt, triple stretch, zig-zag) and a walking foot but nothing worked. It ultimately ended up damaging my new sewing machine. Ya. Luckily, I was able to take the case off the machine and pick out bits of thread and fabric and fixed it.
And, I could not use my overlocker to sew it as it was already damaged by the tissue knit fabric that I used for the lining. The overlocker pulled it into the feed dogs and seems to have misaligned everything. I don’t know how people sew with tissue thin knits, either on an overlocker or sewing machine, they seem very temperamental to me. And, is tissue-knit just another word for ‘only lasts through one wash?’ The fabric feels lovely but stretches out of shape almost immediately, especially the 4-way stretch knit, and just cannot withstand any kind of stitch ripping whatsoever and often gets pulled into the feed dogs. I would only use it again for a very simple, non-fitted pattern.
Anyhoo, despite this, I did add cuffs to the sleeves using a zebra print stretch knit that’s been in my stash for a while that I obtained from a sewing meet-up.
How to Sew a Sleeve Cuff: 1. Measure how long you want the cuff and double this. Next measure the desired width and cut out the rectangle. Sew the rectangle together along the length. 2. Fold the rectangle in half, right side out. Line up the cuff seam with the sleeve seam. 3. Match raw edges of cuff and sleeve and sew with right sides together. I opted to make the cuff tighter than the sleeve, so first gathered in the sleeve to fit the cuff. 4. Pull out cuff from sleeve and press.
I lined the dress in a 4-way stretch tissue knit, added black lace seam binding to the hem and sewed the seams with a lightening bolt stitch.
For the bodice, I did not make ruffles, but rather used 3 strips of black sheer organza ruffled ribbon for the middle and then added 2 rows of a teal lace to either side.
I found the neckline very low on this dress, too low for my comfort level to wear. I’m not sure if the 4-way stretch leopard print and grey lining fabric stretched during sewing or if it is because I am short-waisted. So, I added black fold-over elastic binding around the neckline and stretched it while sewing. This helped to tighten up and lift the neckline somewhat. I love the ruched side panels on the bodice!
And, Kitty, for his part in Jungle January, opted to sew himself a zebra print collar and tie. This project, along with the dress cuffs are my contributions to Stashbusting 2014, January’s Challenge, where we had to use stash fabric that was less than a yard in size.
Kitty Prepping His Collar and Tie Pattern
Colourful button added to the back of the collar.
Kitty Sends Up the Cat Signal
Do you want to sew a collar and tie for your cat? Ya, you do!! Here is the link for the free pattern and instructions. Make sure you measure your cat’s neck before you cut the pattern as you may have to add length.
Measure Kitty’s neck and adjust pattern, if necessary.
Look At Mah Collah and Tie!
LOOK AT IT!!!
Zebras are ungulate mammals that are members of the horse family, Equidae, and are closely related to the domestic horse.
And, being the ever relevant cat that he is, Kitty opted to fashion his collar and tie out of zebra print since 2014 is Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac.
Were you born in the years: 2002, 1990, 1978, 1966, 1954, 1942 or 1930? Then, you, my good friend are a Horse in the Chinese zodiac. Those born in horse years are merry, skillful with money, witty, talented and good with their hands. Rembrandt, Harrison Ford, Aretha Franklin, Chopin, Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and Jerry Seinfeld were born in the year of the horse.
Strengths: Cheerful and perceptive. Very social, with high energy.
Weaknesses: Can be impatient and quick-tempered and independent to the point of excluding others.
Zodiac sign compatibility—Best matches: tiger, sheep, dog; Avoid: rat, ox, rabbit
According to Paul Ng, an astrologist and feng shui expert, horse people are entering a year of conflict in 2014. They are to pay extra attention to their health this year. Do not make any rash decision when it comes to personal finance and avoid gambling. Spend modestly and increase savings.
What animal are you?Kitty is the sign of the Dog. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
- Jungle January? ROAWWRR!!