Cat bed

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The weather here has been very weird for January. It had gone from cold and wintery, to warm and springlike, back to arctic and snow. It all just makes me want to stay in bed until spring really and truly arrives.

Since I am unable to hibernate until March, I decided to at least let our kitties have a chance at staying comfortable as they can be while the pendulum of nature swings back and forth between winter and summer. I sewed up a cat bed for another project I hope to get back to at some point during the summer. It was so easy to sew up and put together that I didn’t realize that I forgot to take pictures until I was done. So I did the only thing a cat owner can do – I made another one. Two cats means a minimum of two cat beds.

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Cat post 2

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See, I told you all that I would try to write more often. Slowly but surely I will get back into the habit of making time to write about the things that I am attempting to create.

This time, I am here to talk about cat toys. The kittens that we are fostering really like to try to hunt and “kill” whatever is around them. I decided it might be best to give them a lot of options that would be safe for them to destroy.

I had a pair of jeans in my fabric stash that Mr. Uncommongeek decided to get rid of due to a rip that could not be repaired. Denim is a super rugged fabric that can be very durable. As noted previously, I also have a seemingly endless supply of stuffing. As a side note, should I decide to make more in the future, I also happen to have a supply of catnip that I am not using here, simply because the kittens are too young to really be affected by it.

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I cut out a bunch of small pieces of the denim. Then I sewed them in various ways. The kittens are very small, so I wanted to be able to have something that is small enough for the kittens as they are now, but also some bigger pieces for when they are older.

Most of the shapes that I sewed were pretty square. First, I sewed up 3 sides.

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Then stuffed the pouch and sewed up the final side.

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I did the toys in two rounds to see which kind would be more popular of a toy. I like the look of the toys with the seams on the inside, but the kittens both seem toprefer having a flap of exposed seam to bite into. The exposed seam is also the side that they hold when they carry it around in their mouth. I also attached tails on the second round, just to make the toys more interesting. I decided not to add anything else because I definitely want to avoid any sort of choking hazard, or potential accidental ingestion.

Happy sewing!

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Cat post 1

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Hey blog sphere, sorry that I haven’t been taking the time to write to you guys. I will try to remedy that with a couple of posts coming up.

Mr. Uncommongeek and I have been fostering a couple of kittens. We were successful in finding them new forever homes, and I was able to use some fabric out of my stash to make things to go with cute little balls of fluff as they journey to their new life.

One of the first things that I made is beds. I know that most cats love laying on soft things that they can curl up in, and if it resembles a box lid, then all the better. I also know that pet beds are super expensive and I don’t have that kind of money to spend on a cat who would probably turn their nose up at it anyway.

A while ago, I had purchased a couple of sweaters either from Goodwill, or a local thrift shop, so I could make various craft things and stuff. Needless to say, the things that I was attempting to create didn’t work out so well, and I never tried to figure out what to do to improve upon my mistakes. Which left me with a bunch of sweater pieces.

I also have all sorts of stuffing and blanket batting. I have purchased stuffing, but my friends and family are aware of my craft supply hoarding problem, and supply me with their surplus every time that they are clearing out their stash. I have been trying to utilize this surplus at every opportunity that I am able, but I feel like this is a substance that will multiply when you are not paying attention.

To make the kitty beds, I used a piece of sweater that had been cut off straight across below the arm holes. I then made sure that three sides were sewn up, leaving the bottom hem of the original sweater unsewn.  I then cut a piece of batting to be about the size of the sewn sweater piece and placed it inside the sweater. Then I sewed the middle part down to create a bed area and a side rail area. Next, I stuffed the side rail area with stuffing that I had on hand. Once that was stuffed to my liking, I hand sewed up the last side of the bed and let the kittens choose which one they wanted.

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Overall, the project was pretty easy and I completed both beds in one afternoon. I know that they are not perfect, but it was my first attempt and I wasn’t really looking to make them perfect, just usable. The kitties seem to like them, and that is what really matters.

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Happy sewing!

Week 12 – TV Inspired: Based on a character from TV, past or present

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vyv_cat

The Facts

Fabric: Old pair of jeans

Pattern: Self-drafted

Year: 2014

Notions: Thread, fabric paint, fabric markers

Time to complete: 3+ hours

First worn: N/A

Wear again? I hope so.

Total Cost: Most of the materials I had on hand because I had originally purchased them for other projects. To make this new, it will cost from $5-$20 for materials, depending on if you are purchasing new fabric and if you are buying studs instead of using fabric paint.

Someone had shared an article on Facebook quite some time ago that showed cats wearing classic punk denim jackets. (http://www.buzzfeed.com/sbkasulke/look-at-these-19-adorable-cats-in-punk-vests) I shared the article and asked the general question of what punk jacket would be best to make for a cat and my friend Kevin said Vyv from the Young Ones. Thankfully, this show is much loved and there are many research options available for reference pictures as I did not see the Young Ones as I was growing up. Scandalous, I know. I watched Are You Being Served?, Mulberry Days, Monty Python’s Flying Circus, The Black Adder, Red Dwarf, All Creatures Great and Small, and Fawlty Towers. Oh, and Doctor Who. It was alway fun watching an episode of All Creatures Great and Small and then watching Doctor Who and going, ‘wait, didn’t I just see him?’ But I did not know about the Young Ones existence until much later.

Anyway, this project presented many challenges. As I do not have easy access to a cat for pattern fittings, I had to guess on the sizing and shape for the best fit and cat comfort. My research shows most pet harnesses and jacket type items are kind of hourglass shaped and close in the back. The article shows jackets fitting the cats like they would on a person – closing in the front and pretty much a straight, somewhat boxy shape. Most of the measurements that I could find for cat jackets were somewhere around 16 inches long with a 9 inch neck/collar. So, I measured and I cut 17 inches off of the bottom of a leg of a pair of jeans, the extra inch to allow for seam allowance. I realized that the fabric was very long. I laid the cut fabric on my lap and realized that if a cat were to wear a jacket that was that long, it would probably not make a very good lap cat. Or it would be mad at its humans for putting it in a thing that interferes with the glory of its beautiful tail and would start destroying anything it could, provided it could get over the disdain of moving in such a monstrosity.

So, I cut the giant piece of fabric into two, more manageable pieces so I could make two jackets instead of one. Then I decided which side I wanted to be the front and I cut it straight down the middle. Then I guessed on where might be the best place for the front legs and cut out the sleeves. Then I cut out four collar pieces, using the tops of the jackets as a guide. I tried to make sure that I included the seam allowance, but I made the one too short. Then I sewed everything up. I did a straight stitch on the sleeves to help maintain the shape and to make sure that they will only unravel to a certain point, and I sewed the front of the jacket to create a clean edge and to prevent unraveling.  I sewed the two collar pieces together and attached them to the jacket, for each jacket. For the jacket that I made the collar too short on, I folded the front of the jacket in and hand sewed it down to make everything fit. Then I started the decoration process.

I elected to not use actual studs on these jackets for two reasons. One, I do not know if the cat who may one day wear this will decide to try to chew on the studs. Two, the studs that I was able to find that were not iron on, were $10 for a small box. I think there may be 90 or so studs in the box, but they are of a mixed variety and there is no guarantee that there would be enough of the same kind to complete one jacket. Plus, I am poor and did not want to spend that much money on a thing for a test prototype. Once I perfect the pattern, then I can justify the expense.

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The first patch shows the paint pen after repeated coats were added. It shows up better in this picture than it does in person. The middle one is what the fabric marker looks like. The final one is me practicing with the fabric paint. I painted a star because I was tired of doing anarchy symbols. Bonus: I now have three denim patches for future projects.

Thankfully, I already owned silver fabric paint, as well as fabric markers in various colors. Unfortunately, I could not get the white paint pen to work well, so I used glue. Once it finishes drying, I can attempt the same technique shown in this Instructable: http://www.instructables.com/id/Vyvyan-Basterd-The-Young-Ones-Costume/#step0

There was some conflict in what Vyvyan’s jacket said. The reference picture that I was using said “Love Your Dead,” while the instructable shows his jacket saying “Love You Dead.” I feel that if I had watched the show I would know which one was correct. I’m mostly ok with my choice and too lazy to look up screenshots again. Of course, if I really wanted to make a screen accurate jacket, I would have included front pockets and chains on the back.

Anyway, here are the finished products, as they lay drying. Notice, the one that I made the collar too short on does not have enough room for the words on the front. Should the day come where I figure out the measurements to make a kitty coat, I will make sure that the jacket is more square and less skewed. However, for these I will say that it is entirely intentional. It was surely not laziness on my part. It was definitely an attempt at making the jacket as punk as possible. Right angles are for the man. Don’t follow the rules that society laid down for you. Blaze your own path! And such.  

 

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This is the shorter one.

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This is the longer one. I’m still worried that it is too long and that it has too much fabric in the front. I’m not sure that an animal that wears this will be able to move easily.

 

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This is what the little one looks like on a space buffalo. I’m hoping that it will fit an actual cat better, but it gives an idea of how it will look.

Happy sewing!