Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.
Autumn is here and very soon winter will follow. As temperature in Japan dropped below 20°C, I begin to worry for my two cats – Pooh the Tabby and Gracie the Calico. Both my domestic shorthairs were born in Sunny Singapore and had spent eight years of their lives knowing only warm and humid days. Since Pooh has enough fats to keep him snug, Gracie with only skin and bones became my prime concern.
I started shopping for cat clothing and found an attractive selection of doggie winter coats but very few for our feline friends. Anyway, they were all way out of my budget. So in the end, the gullible “can do” attitude in me took over and I decided to make one myself. Plainly ignoring the fact that the only fashion background I had was the sewing basics from my secondary school’s home economic class, many moons ago!
Just when I was pondering over what material to use, the zipper on my husband’s jacket broke. Instead of tossing it away, I decided to recycle it and use the sleeve as Gracie’s jacket. First, I began by taking her measurement. It took a while as she could not keep still and kept attacking the measuring tape.
Since the padding in the sleeve had dwindled, I added a new layer of quilt batting and blanket-stitched all three layers together. I placed chalk markings on the sleeve to visualize where to cut. My first cutting attempt was a mistake due to my own perception error! Fortunately, I had sufficient fabric to rectify the mistake. Whew!
After correcting the cut, I applied the bias tape to neaten the edges. Machine stitch on fabric right side; Hand sewn (Herringbone stitch) on the innermost layer.
Then the scary & difficult part… cutting the holes for the legs, blanket stitching the bias tape and raw edges together. Lots of finger pricking accidents here. SOB!
Once again, herringbone stitch was used on the inside of the sleeve. Well, pretty much done up. Time to let Gracie try it out!
(A famous catchphrase from Tim Gunn in “Project Runway”)
And so, I entered the next stage of the project, where the responsibility to keep my pet warm has evolved into plain joy in the creative process of craft-making.
With much contemplation and improvisation, I slowly cut away the velcro finishing; widen the neck opening with a vertical cut; wrapped the raw edges with a Japanese geometric designed fabric, and bias tape; added a cover button…
Enlarged the holes for better leg movements…
And finally, finishing with pretty bells. Okay, once again… time to try it out!
Yup, much better! Warm at last (I hope!) Making a jacket for Gracie was truly a fun adventure, challenging and filled with ambushing needle pricks. And maybe next time when the need arises, I’ll make one for Pooh as well. For the time being, he is the least of my worry. Why?!! Hee hee, check out the size difference between Pooh and Gracie (and you will understand). ^_^Y