Update on Winnie

Sad to say, Winnie’s blood tests point to either mutiple myeloma (a form of cancer) or FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). Dr. Kelly and I decided there is no point in further testing at this time because there isn’t a cure for either one. There has never been, nor will there ever be, a character like little Whiskers. She is truly a one in a million cat who is very dog-like and endears herself to everyone she meets. How many cats run to the door when the bell rings? Or look up at you and engage you in animated conversation during your evening walk through the garden? Or take bubble baths? Thirteen years just doesn’t seem like enough time, you know?

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Just checking in…

I apologize for being such a bad blogger this past month. I had company and then I was enlisted to make curtains for my son’s restaurant (not done yet, sigh). Additionally, I have been filling in more at my friend’s shop and am preparing for a workshop with Susan Khalje at the end of the month – life has been very, very busy!

And, just to prove that when it rains it really does pour, Mrs. Winnie Whiskers became quite ill over the weekend. She spent the day at the animal hospital yesterday where many tests were performed. The usual suspects (kidneys, thyroid, FIV, FLV) have been ruled out leaving, unfortunately, the possibility of more serious illnesses. She is home, on antibiotics and IV fluids. I am praying that she bounces back as I don’t know what I’d do without her. She is such a funny, sweet little kitty and is certainly the Court Jester of Casa Louis, keeping us in stitches with her antics.

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Kwik-Sew 3000

Tomorrow is Bryan’s birthday and he has been hinting that he’d like a spa robe so last night I pulled out this pattern and whipped one up (really, this is a 2-3 hour project). Of course I’ve been meaning to get to it for weeks now but last-minute is how it always ends up. The fabric is a heavy cotton pique from my stash (another bulky piece gone!). I made two modifications to the pattern: adding bands to the sleeves and to the top of the pockets. The bands look so much nicer than plain hems, don’t you think? I know it looks ridiculous on my dressform but you get the idea.

ks3000

ks3000robe

robedetail

Last night as I was snuggling in my faux mink jacket, I pulled the collar in around my face and really liked the way it looked so I decided to make the collar convertible. All I did was sew some medium-sized snaps to the collar points and the jacket fronts so that I can wear it either way. The snaps are easily hidden in the heavy pile of the fur. I like it!

convertiblecollar

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Faux Mink Jacket – Final!

I stayed up last night and finished the hems and lining, bring on the cold front!

minkfinal

My next project is going to be a white pique spa robe for my honey (it’s his birthday on Thursday) but first I must defur my sewing room.

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part VI

It’s been in the mid-80s for a number of days so I haven’t felt like working on the jacket as much. But, now that I’m in the home stretch I am anxious to get it finished. We have a cold front coming through mid-week so maybe I’ll even get to wear it! I swear, my garden doesn’t know if it’s winter or spring these days. My trees are dropping their leaves and blooming at the same, sigh.

The last bit of inner construction to be finished before putting in the lining are the fur hooks. I used an awl to make a hole large enough for the hook to pass through (If you are using fur with a knit backing you could make a small snip) and then stitched it on securely from the inside.

hook

hooks2

From the outside, all you see is the hook portion.

hookoutside

The lining has been assembled and attached except for the hems. This rayon brocade practically screamed my name when I stopped into JoAnn’s for a thimble (yes, I broke down and bought one). I rarely bother to look at their fabric but there it was, right on the aisle in one of my very favorite color combinations.

lining

Rather than sewing the bust dart in the lining, I opted to simply fold it. I saw it done this way in a ready-made fur coat and thought it not only looked nice but provided a bit of wearing ease as well.

dart

Another detail that I copied from a ready-made jacket (in this case my Persian lamb) is a pleated piping along the back neck edge. I am assuming that this piping served to protect the fur from soil and wear. I think it’s a pretty and luxurious detail, don’t you?

pleating

Once I finish up the hems, I think I’d like to work on a couple of quick and easy projects before moving on to my next jacket. A palate cleanser of sorts!

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Pattern Matching Tutorial

We interrupt the faux mink jacket to bring you – by popular request – a pattern matching tutorial! Many of you are participating in the 2011 Men’s Shirt Sew-Along over at Male Pattern Boldness and a couple of my readers asked me to write about matching patterns across the front opening. It’s easy, easy, easy!

I am using a small-scale pattern to better illustrate the process. Note that I have marked the center front (and the foldline but we don’t care about that at this point) on the front of the pattern,

patternfront

and the back (very important!).

patternback

Step I: With fabric single-layer, cut your right shirt front. Make small clips at the top and bottom of the center front line (the most important step!). I have marked the center fronts with chalk for visibility.

rightfront

Step II: Remove pattern and lay the newly cut front section (right side up) onto your yardage, matching the pattern exactly (can you even see it?). Put a pin at the CF clips you made earlier.

patternmatch

Step III: Turning your pattern piece over, align the center front line with the pins (be precise!) and cut out your 2nd piece.

leftfront

Voila, that’s all there is to it! And, as you can see here, the pattern will match whether the garment will be buttoned right over left (for women),

rightoverleft

or left over right (for men or unisex garments).

leftoverright

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Faux Mink Jacket – Part V

I was finally able to get back to the jacket today, yay! I stitched the darts, shoulder and side seams and attached the collar. Because the fur is so plush I had to trim it out of the seam allowances (best done over a wastebasket!). To keep the seam allowances flat, I catchstitched them to the backing. I did the same with the darts after slashing them open.

front

seam

One of my favorite parts, the back of the collar.

collarback

All I have left now are the sleeves, hems and lining. Not too much but everything does take a little longer in fur. I hope we have a few more cold days so I can wear this at least once. Speaking of cold days, I am shocked at how much I am wearing my fur vest! It turns out to be the perfect thing to throw on when it’s just a little chilly. I think I need another one (just an excuse to sew with fur again).

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