In August, one of my Daily Things was cat pants. My mom converted some sweats to shorts, and I hemmed up the other sides of the cutoff legs to make tubes. My mom got a fancy new sewing machine with all kinds of crazy stitches, so that added some fun to the project.
I am going completely bonkers, though, because Mr Bun has been playing with the cat pant for WEEKS now, and I still can’t get a good picture of him in action. One day soon!
Yesterday in the office, Roscoe really got into a bowl of grits. There wasn’t much to see while his face was in there, but when he took it out…
I visited the Getty Center while I was in Los Angeles a couple weeks ago and very much enjoyed the grounds in particular.
Or should I say, “the ground.”
I took some time off going out of town a couple of weekends in a row, but I still got a few things done, which I’m finally documenting. Here is a proof of concept, about 5 inches on a side, of a new cat bed I’m making.
The final piece will have fleece on the inside and wool on the outside, be circular, and will have quilting on the bottom side, but I wanted to piece it together and figure out how I would finish all the seams before I actually cut into the fabric (which is pretty nice). Before I sewed this, I sketched it on paper and then pieced one together with tape and napkins, and those exercises were very helpful. This little fabric piece came together in about 5 minutes and disproved a concern I had about how I should pattern it, so it was both very satisfying and genuinely helpful.
Mr Bun stuck his head into it but declined to be photographed.
I found this pattern for a simple paper box at Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories, a favorite destination for me. I printed out the pattern in February but never made one for Thing-a-Day – I was too concerned about how bad my cuts would turn out to be. I finally sat down and decided to brave the clumsy cutting.
Behold its sloppy seams and uneven edges! Also, because the material is thin and unlined with tissue paper, the top falls off. Nevertheless, a successful first outing. It’s always good to remind yourself how much easier doing a good job looks once you just plain finish a not-so-great one.
The last couple of textile toys I’ve made, I’ve made more or less freehand, with no real planning beyond maybe a light sketch to guide me in cutting pieces out. One of the things that happens is that what I cut out is the “wrong” size. It’s not seam allowance – I am reasonably familiar with my sewing machine and my stitching options, and my seam allowances are fine. But I find that when I get the pieces partly assembled, I don’t have quite enough room to close the piece entirely, or am worried I’ll have to do a lot of hand-sewing that won’t stand up to cat play.
Tonight I decided to go a little further, starting with a detailed sketch of a proposed toy, including all the pattern pieces, where the stitching goes, where the detailing goes, and notes about all the materials. For this example I chose a sushi. It’s a simple shape but not obvious if you want to use a sewing machine for close to all the major seams.
I initially worked out piecing this together in my head on a bike ride, during which I realized that the way I wanted to assemble it (with a pretty good chunk of embroidery for detailing the top of the sushi roll) would involve LOTS of hand-sewn thread, which is not a great thing for a cat toy – too easy to loosen and possibly swallow. That made this object a particularly good choice for that standby of the user-interface designer: the paper prototype!
I think I’ll be doing more with paper—just for itself, too.