Tuesday, November 1, 2011

On Cats and Sewing

Cats were into sewing even way back in the day. Source

If the internet, i.e. sewing blogs, is any indication, cats and sewing just go together. Plenty of my favorite sewing bloggers seem to have cats lurking in the background. After all, there's fabric to burrow in, spools to chase, and tape measure to tangle. And at least for Walnut, crinkly paper to sit on. Is this a recent development? I think not, as my venerable source (a home ec textbook) dating all the way back to errrr...1970...features cats quite a bit! I'm one of those crazier cat ladies who gets all excited at any hint of feline goodness, so when I flipped through this vintage middle school sewing reference and saw cats, I definitely flipped out. It turns out that cats are the vehicle of choice when it comes to explaining fabric nap/grain and what direction to sew.

They should've made the with the grain cat happier.
They explain again, this time referring to velvet and corduroy specifically.

Very helpful explanation of how long and short nap relates to pattern layout. Also, that girl carrying the cat looks to be about three, at best, based on the cat-to-girl size ratio. Should her mom really just be standing by, idly stroking coats with her friend, while her toddler struggles under the burden of a beast a third of her weight?

Having never sewn with velvet or corduroy or anything vaguely plush (I think the closest I got was fake suede), but having worn my share of piano recital dresses, I find this quite helpful. I had no idea that there was an accepted way of positioning the nap on actual garments. I think all my experience with cheap, mass-produced, RTW garments, for children, no less, had me thinking that one just arranged velvet any which way. After all, this leads to all sorts of interesting conundrums when you are sitting in a folding chair waiting for your turn to play The Happy Farmer: which piece gets the nap stroked correctly, thereby forcing all the surrounding pieces to be pushed the wrong way? Or can you stroke all the pieces the right way in time, and how many will be mussed when you get back from playing your piece?

Anyway, I had Walnut demonstrate nap (and napping) too.

This is what he normally looks like when napping. He is definitely a long-napped...err, long-haired cat.

With the grain. Still grumpy looking, but possibly that's because I woke him up.

Against the grain. With a grumpier expression, for contrast.

I'm not doing this week's Sew Weekly challenge since I have no affinity for the color orange. One time in middle school, I heard someone say that orange was the color of insecurity (totally unfounded statement), but it stuck with me. Years later, when I finally mustered up the courage to wear it, a student told me it made me look orange. Funny how those random comments stay with you, isn't it? Anyway, I'm going to be working on my pin-up style dress instead, using one of the vintage patterns I got in Tucson. Cecily is already coming in handy as I pin up (pun intended) pattern pieces to check for fit.

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