Tuesday, August 4, 2015

"Vivir con miedo, es como vivir a medias!"


Strictly Ballroom was my favorite movie when I was a senior in high school. My best friends and I were crazy about ballroom dancing and boys, so what's not to love about a cheesy movie featuring an ugly duckling who turns into a swan and gets to ballroom dance with the boy of her dreams? It's like Baz Luhrmann was trying to craft a movie specifically to appeal to us! Anyway, the key line from the film is when Fran goads Scott into dancing with her by telling him "A life lived in fear is a life half-lived!" What does that have to do with sewing? No, I'm not making ballroom dresses.

Two years ago, Mr. Cation gave me a serger for his birthday because he is a wonderful hobbit man. At first I was excited about serging All The Things, but then I got scared because of all the stories about how tricky it is to thread sergers and figure out tension and hey THERE'S A KNIFE THAT MOVES and what if I accidentally cut off my finger? So I kept making excuses for not figuring it out, like how we were moving into a new apartment so I didn't want to unpack it yet...and then the school year started and then I got pregnant and was tired all the time and then I had SHB and was really tired all the time, and before you know it, two years passed and the serger was still sitting in its nice box, and I was still scared. Finally I decided that enough was enough; it was silly to have a perfectly good serging sitting in a box just because I was afraid of messing it up. After all, a life lived in fear is a life half-lived and all. If studying the manual and reading the numerous blog posts sounded too overwhelming, I would just sign up for a class to teach me everything I need to know. Thankfully, my sewing school of choice, Cañada College, has a Basic Serging class!


Three long nights later, I had a notebook full of samples and I was no longer scared of my serger. I proceeded to do a whole bunch of sewing with both knits and fray-prone fabrics in order to make up for the previous two years. Looking at all my nicely enclosed seam allowances, I felt so silly for putting off figuring out my serger for so long. All the knit garments that could've been better finished! Oh well, at least I finally learned how to use it. And then all the power went to my head and I created a monster.



One of the garments I made during the last month was a raglan sleeve sweatshirt, which has been in regular rotation so often that I toyed with the idea of making another, identical one. I decided that was too silly, though, so I thought about what my wardrobe needed and figured a sweatshirt dress/tunic to go with leggings in the wintertime would fit the bill. I didn't want to make a plain one, though, so I started poking through my Pinterest boards for some embellishment inspiration. And as is typical for me, I got inspired by kids' clothes, namely this little girl's cat dress. Um, what was I saying earlier about identical sweatshirts being silly? I'm pretty sure this is sillier! But then I found this cat dress and this suggestion of a cat dress, for adults! I don't know, is there a point when one is too old to wear cat clothing? I'm over thirty and have a small human being who depends on me for sustenance, and I'm somewhat responsible for shaping young minds and all that jazz, should I really be wearing something so juvenile? Yes, I've worn lots of other cat clothing, but it was generally slightly more adult-looking.

This is not adult at all. Unless maybe I were a Japanese adult? They seem to revel in kawaii at all ages. 

Then I thought about the serger and how I spent two years living in fear (okay, more like two years living with intermittent guilt every time I either 1) made a knit garment, or 2) looked at the box in my closet), and decided screw it, if I want to dance my own steps...er, wear ridiculous cat clothing, I'm just going to do it, no matter what the Australian Dance Federation and president Barry Fife have to say about it!



Summary:
Pattern: McCall's 6992, modified to make it tunic-length
Fabric: Mystery sweatshirt knit (feels mostly cottony) from Elaine's husband's stash, passed on to me when they moved to Baltimore
Notions: Steam-A-Seam Lite for the appliqué pieces
Hours: Two so far, but I'm thinking I should probably go back and hand-sew around the facial features just to make sure they last through washing. I've had remarkably good luck in the past with Steam-A-Seam-ed appliqué pieces holding up, but I don't want to risk it with possibly my favorite use of it ever!
Total cost: Free, thanks to the use of someone else's stash.
Final thoughts: I feel like my cat garments just get crazier and crazier, and the more silly they are the happier I am about them. This is good, I'll get it all out of my system now, before SHB is old enough to be embarrassed by his mom's goofy outfits!


39 comments:

  1. Your dress is amazing! Wear it with pride. I am a Strictly Ballroom lover too. Did you know they've made a musical of it and it is showing in Melbourne RIGHT NOW?? How exciting.

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    1. What??? There's a musical?! I love musicals! I'm going to have to try to find a way to see it.

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  2. You KNOW I love this! I'm so glad you conquered your fear for the serger - it's the best! And it goes so fast that you can sew more in a short period of time. Zoom zoom!

    My "kids" board on pinterest has slowly devolved into "cute animal cothing", most of which, I admit, I'd make for myself! We need another cat-themed sewalong this year!

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    1. You know I was actually thinking about the sewing dares when I signed up for this class! Except that nobody would've known to dare me to figure out my serger because I was so embarrassed to tell anyone...

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  3. I love this! Everyone can wear cat garments, and you wear them especially well :) Also, I woke up this morning thinking about Strictly Ballroom. "It's the inconceivable sight of Scott dancing with Fran!"

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    1. I do not think that word means what you think it does...oh wait, wrong movie. And yes, everyone can (and should) wear cat garments!

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  4. I'm afraid I have to disagree with you on one thing - it's your job as the mother of SHB to embarrass him so you really /must/ continue to wear such things when he's old enough to be embarrassed!!! ;)

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    1. Chiming in on that one. My teens are thrilled/embarassed by my novelty print makes. Certainly they have both profited from my sew-how, both know how to stitch, and know that I would never EVER show their costumed photos (Hawk Man and Bee Boy) to their current friends.
      It is your privilege, nay, your DUTY to be creative. Make it so!

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    2. I agree that it's your duty to embarrass your kids. Chances are they'll only be publicly embarrassed and secretly thrilled to have such a cool mom. And your kids friends will think you are cool too.
      Speaking of cool, I'm not even that keen on cats and I think that is a great tunic!

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    3. Hah! I guess it's settled then -- I'm wearing this sweatshirt to drop him off at college! Hopefully he thinks it's cool that I can make him costumes when he's older!

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  5. I want a sweatshirt like yours and I'm over 50! I second Gillian on the need for a cat-themed sewalong :D!

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    1. Okay, that makes me feel better! Hmm, I'll see what I can get together for a sewalong...

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  6. Great job on getting to know your serger, and the dress is super cute! But then, I'm all about wearing whatever I like vs. what everyone else likes--which is why I've been known to wear cowboy boots with shorts even when it's not "popular". Gotta protect your feet from klutzy cattle, even when it's 100* out! ;-)

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    1. I'm pretty sure not breaking your foot trumps everything! As far as I know, though, this sweatshirt will not protect me from Walnut's claws...

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  7. Cute dress! Glad to hear the serger made it out of the box.

    Also, Strictly Ballroom is the best -- it is seriously my favorite movie of all time. I got really excited when I saw the post title because I thought maybe you'd made a costume from the movie. But cat dresses are cool, too! XD

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    1. It is my dream to make Fran's paso doble dress someday! Who knows when I will need such a thing, though...

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  8. My glob, I may blatantly copycat your adorable cat sweater. The only cat clothing I've sewn is a Plantain with kitty elbow patches

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    1. Oooh, kitty elbow patches sound great! Let's make a deal: we'll blatantly copy each other. :)

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  9. Oh man, I *love* that movie! I swear I watched it once a week when I was younger.

    What a great inspiration to finally use your serger, they're awesome!

    Boo, I didn't realize Canada College did summer classes, that would have been the perfect opportunity to try them out! Next year for sure.

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    1. They have pretty limited summer classes, but there's always one or two good ones!

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  10. I'm so glad that part of Mu's stash went to such a worthy cause!

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    1. It really did! Actually a lot of his stash will go to worthy causes, just as soon as I get around to it...

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  11. YES! This is amazing! I love it! And I echo everyone about a cat themed sew along!!

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    1. It looks like a cat sewalong needs to happen!

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  12. Hee adorbs!

    I learned about the Canada College classes from your blog and will be taking my first one in 2 weeks! Still deciding between Pants Drafting and Intro to Tailoring. I hadn't really planned to make a lot of pants, but tailoring is the hardest intro class they have, so it might be wise to get a few other classes under my belt first...

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    1. Oh, I should get a commission for introducing people to the Canada College classes! Hahaha I hope you enjoy your classes...Pants Drafting was my first class with them and I LOVED Lynda so much I took all her other classes too. You can look back into my blog archives to find the pants I made, which I still love.

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  13. I had no idea you were living in fear of the serger! goodness you will be zipping up little things for the SHB even faster now! I have had the same thought about making identical favourite items. I mean, it's our priviledge as sewing people right? We don't have to worry about buying mulitples of potentially favourite clothing, we can wait and see if it becomes a favourite and then make another!

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    1. You have no idea! I feel so silly for hiding from it all this time. And yes, being a sewing person is fabulous -- no need to worry about an item selling out!

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  14. I love you story and your dress! That movie was also one of my favourite when I was a teen! ... Time after time...

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    1. Haha yes, Time After Time was my idea of the most romantic song ever in high school!

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  15. You are so awesome! And so is this cat sweater. I just made a fancy dress with fabric with little kawaii girls in kimono (and cats) and it is WAY sillier than this! And I'm pretty sure I'm older than you. ;) #catsforall

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    1. We can be silly together, then! Cats for all indeed!

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  16. Strictly Ballroom is one of my all-time favourite films. We can totally still be friends (LOL!)! Love, love, love the cat sweatshirt. I'm over 40 and also have a small being and would totally wear this. Even to work on a casual Friday. :)

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  17. I love Strictly Ballroom! Even searched high and lo to buy the Doris Day single "Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps" ( love that scene!). I just bought this pattern but never thought to make it into a longer/tunic- great idea :)

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  18. Thank you for posting this! I have been sewing for over 30 years and have yet to become comfortable with a serger. I have one from my mother that has been sitting collecting dust! I have thought for a long time that I need to get it out. I used the serger to hem some pants for my husband over the weekend and then serged the bottom of a skirt that has been in my pile for months. I need to take a class and get more comfortable but I totally relate to what you are saying! My mom gave me a tip to cut the old thread off and tie it to the new thread and then serge til the new thread gets to the needles. Then, cut the knot off and thread the needles. I have changed out the thread color three times since Saturday! It makes it amazingly easy!

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