Longcat Scarf is Long

Last year for his birthday, I made D. a couple cat-related items from some really nice scrap white fur left over from some window-dressing projects. One of them was a counterfeit tuxedo cat based on an inside joke (it was a stuffed white cat wearing a tuxedo and top hat, rather than an actual tuxedo-colored cat; there’s more to it than that, but it’s a joke based on financial humor, so more on that later).

This scarf has a pocket hidden by an invisible zipper. Inside it’s a charmeuse fabric with a black and white cat print on a baby-pink background because I figured the inside of a cat would be mostly pink.

I didn’t have any pink safety-noses handy, and the ones readily available look really cheap, so I painted some black ones and coated them with polyurethane so it wouldn’t scrape off.

The photo of pointing is actually pretty heavily photoshopped; I liked aspects of two different shots, so I merged them together and had to retouch pretty much the entire bookshelf, which is an emotionally unrewarding use of my killer Photoshop skillz:

Here is D. attempting to look hipster. Contrary to what the uninformed may think from various visual cues, he is not a hipster; he is a software engineer:

And here is a blank meme colorwheel for anyone who can actually come up with anything else to say about a scarf:

Cat Fashion

When I look at fashion sites or cut up old magazines, I often get ideas for some sort of pocket detail or a clever use of buttons, or just inspiration like “hey, that chiffon skirt looks great blowing in the wind . . . oh yeah, I like chiffon!” But there is also a lot of crap out there.

It just occurred to me that I have posted two complaints about fashion in fairly rapid succession. So that I don’t wind up looking like a grouch or a bully or Joan Rivers, I thought I’d go in search of some inspiring fashion.

Here is a lovely grey, double-breasted pea coat, similar to what I was envisioning for D.’s winter coat when I finally get a chance to make it–though I’m debating a Nehru or Nehru-like collar and/or a hood.


Topiary Animals Continued

The next step in the topiary process had to be digging up more fabric. After calling around, I located one store that had enough different colors so I could make it in one stop. An old blog entry I found while searching stated that Cutting Corners had many colors of burlap, but this is no longer the case. One location of Hancock Fabrics was worth the long trip out to the edges of the burbs. I think it’s not a current item, but their low burlap turnover has allowed them to retain some selection through the discontinuations.

Hancock Fabrics always has terrible signage; you can be looking almost right at it and not spot it while driving. Instead, it’s generally a good idea to look for the Big Lots sign. On the off chance there’s not one of those next to the Hancock’s, you can locate it with a Hobby Lobby or a Tuesday Morning sign.

I had really wanted Chris Robin to have blue pants, but it was not to be. There is no blue burlap to be had in the Dallas Metroplex. I considered khaki while looking at the burlap shelf, but while the shade was different, I figured it would be too close to what I was using for his skin tone that he would probably wind up looking like a horrible, pantsless little boy. The strategically-placed water spigot that keeps the plant alive wouldn’t have helped the situation. So brown pants it is.

This location of Hancock’s still carried these awesome scissors, though I had thought they didn’t anymore, so I stocked up. These are great lightweight fabric scissors that when I worked at a Hancock’s, we’d use to help our good scissors survive the fleece-cutting season–and they’d still be going strong at the end of it. Plus, they’re so cheap (at most places, between $1.50 to $2, and sometimes as low as $.75 on sale) that I use them like disposable scissors and don’t worry about people (i.e. me) using them to cut wire or some such thing as that.

Contrast that with those awful $9.99 sets-of-3 they’ve been pushing like they’re new for the past 2 (or 3?) years. To be fair, I haven’t used them, so I don’t know if the scissors themselves are awful, but Hancock’s tendency to force their employees to push stupid promo crap just keeps screwing over any good workers who are trying to develop real relationships with their customers–and while I rarely make it out to a Hancock’s anymore, it’s like getting in a time machine to see the piles of scissor sets clogging the cutting tables.


Because of the success of my method for pinning Rabbit on location and my desire not to have to undo and then redo as with Tigger, I prepped all the remaining 7 animals before heading out for the next fitting.

Eyore has a gimp leg (back left), and one extra-strong one (front left). I guess he does all his kicking with his right foot; I’ll just leave the story at that. Maybe he needs his tires rotated.

I draped the animals and pinned the heck out of them:

I’ll cheat and skip ahead to fitting #2. Rest assured there was much sewing and gnashing of pins between the previous picture and this one:

I marked him for some more velcro, where his eyes will go, and where to start his mane. The little pin-stars on his feet in the first photo became this:

I apparently left without a full shot of Rabbit, so here is a picture of his feet to tide you over:

I had originally pictured the overall-strap style of attaching chest to back only for Rabbit, but it’s winding up being the thing for pretty much every animal except Eyore and Tigger (pictured in the background). Also pictured, the everlastingly patient D., the real-life version of the Ryan Gosling Hey Girl Seamstress meme, and who probably does have a full body pic of Rabbit on his phone.

I put together a Roo ear from scraps, figuring that sewing in advance was just going to be a waste of time, like his mom’s hands were.

Second fitting:

She totally needs to shave her pits; there’s stuff growing in there, woman!


Piglet 1st fitting. Several people stopped to take pictures with him.

Second fitting:

I started Pooh, but it got too dark to continue. Got to mark his legs and diaper, though, which got filled with mud. Oh, Pooh!

I did get to see this, though:

The cool thing about fitting plant-folks instead of people, who would be mad about this sort of treatment:

On the other hand, I usually wouldn’t need to stand on a ladder to reach peoples’ heads; even a basketball player would stoop so I could get to his head if I were draping him for a balaclava or something for some reason.

Fitting 1.5:

I did his ears in the same manner as Roo’s. Also went home with a lot more mud in his diaper again; he poured water off his hands and down his legs the whole time I was fitting him.

Christopher Robin so far:

This is what his shirt looks like–nothing like normal-people shirts:

(Also, every time I look at that “cute and nerdy” bag, I start doing a double-parody on Weird Al’s “White and Nerdy” song, which is my alarm clock, so it gets stuck in my head easily.)

Here is the angel (unrelated to the whole Winnie the Pooh story, but still a plant that doesn’t need to freeze to death in the winter):

Her arms proved to be waaaay easier than I first thought.

Now for the tragedy (yes, I am aware of what “tragedy” means in the classical sense, and I don’t really believe that Owl’s story rivals that of Oedipus or Antigone . . . well, maybe . . . )

Pretty much all of Owl is awkward and the formulas necessary to determine the pattern pieces by math would probably come from levels of calculus beyond what I managed to take in school, so there was a lot of pinning. And a lot of fabric. Look at that beautiful owl.

I discovered last night that the bag of Owl parts is missing. I can think of two parking lots that he might have been left in, and I asked around, checked dumpsters. I worked on the rest of the gang today in hopes that someone would go, “Oh look, a trashbag full of cut up burlap with pins in it–this must be important! Let me find the owner!” but it was apparently not to be. So back to the fabric store for yet more (locally-priced and no current coupons, alas!) burlap–fortunately brown is a readily available color–then back out to Fort Worth for a FIRST FITTING, gaaaahhahahahaahh.



The Project: masks for a masquerade


I *transformed* a pair of Optimus Primes with some bling. Hot glue melts this plastic, so there’s a trick to it.

I found a broken mask at a thrift store with a lousy eye mask and the feathers falling off and gutted it for its iridescent feathers to add to a silver one for me:

The giant bag of mixed plastic gems I got for this project had about 10 large purple beads, 10 small purple beads, 10 large blue beads, and 40 each of nearly every other freaking color. We emptied the entire bag and flipped them all right side up to discover this. I had intended to make my mask with only purple gems, but it was not to be, and it wasn’t worth forcing it by going on a midnight search of craft stores. I still remember when these types of beads could be bought in separate packages of each color and size without having to send away.

I also blinged this butterfly mask for someone who wound up not able to make it to the event:


D. Didn’t want to set his mask on fire:

Masks on (the boys decided to rent tuxes to match their masks:

All the way on:

::Pointing:: I have a chin! Wait, at that angle, I have two! Yay!

I made that cape in college. It was the project I learned about nap on, the hard way. Bought the necklace broken and repaired it. The earrings are some pendants I put on some pierced-look clips.

Hair art:

If Clothes Make the Man, Who Makes the Clothes?

Late last fall, when we realized that Dallas winters are indeed cold enough for a full-on coat, I convinced D. to go shopping for winterwear. We found a fantastic, versatile, and handsome black pea coat that in warmer months he left in his unlocked car. Which was later broken into at the same time that a neighbor discovered guns, laptops, and electronic equipment gone. But since he hadn’t been wearing it, he only noticed that some minor items were missing, and didn’t realize the coat had been in there until after making a statement to the police.

Eventually the meth addict next door was found with the stolen guns and computers. Apparently, the coat was mentioned on the police report and viewed by the owner of the serious property, but since it wasn’t on record as belonging to anyone, the coat was transferred to evidence and is now gone for good.

It is discontinued and not to be found anywhere online. So I have been commissioned to make a replacement.

D. is a T-shirt and jeans guy, so I hadn’t expected there to be much of anything I could make him that wouldn’t just soak in its own sentimental value in the back of his closet. Between that and my interest in getting more into menswear, I decided to go all out.

I started with sitting down at Joann’s and trying to find a pattern in the unisex, I mean menswear, sections in the pattern books. The seventeen different scrubs patterns seem like a step in the wrong direction from T-shirt and jeans.

Burda has a limited selection of pretty good stuff.

However, this was the only coat pattern that jumped out at me, and it wasn’t in stock. It’s shapeless and has that internal drawstring belt that only a mother could love or want to use. (I mean that literally, and the phrase “It’s colder than it feels” springs to mind.) Actually, this is a man who is being forced to wear his mom’s jacket because he thought he was too cool to bring his own on the family vacation. Now if he doesn’t wear his mom’s extra coat she always keeps in the trunk next to the emergency blanket, flares, and two spare tires, he’s going to hear about it for every minute of their walk through the Potholders-of-the-World Outdoor Exhibit. Does that smile look real to you? Noo-ooo. He is embarrassed. And possibly constipated.

So this one’s okay, and I figured maybe I could find some pictures of real men’s jackets online then modify it to look less unappealing. But both of the nearby Joann’s were out of stock, so I started searching the interwebs for other menswear patterns.

After several hours, I came across this article an and thought I had found it at last:


I was so excited to see images of men wearing clothes that looked natural instead of like a gay man’s first fashion foray out of the closet before he remembers he’s supposed to try to look good instead of just different

I started to suspect something was up when I couldn’t find any references for sources even as I continued reading. My first fear was that he had found these things and then planned to keep the info to himself. Still, I thought it was hope that there was something out there somewhere, even if this guy turned out to be a jerk.

Alas, no, he’s not a jerk, he’s just yet another victim of the dearth of menswear patterns. I even considered sending away for revolutionary war period coat costumes and modifying out the epaulets and so forth.

Anyway, I did find an awesome sewing blog written by a man, which is always exciting to come across.

I kept thinking about getting ahold of some of the clothes that have been coming out of Korea over the past few years. They have really mastered a style that is deceptively simple at first glance, but has a lot of subtle complexity. And at last I found my menswear patterns.

YesAsia! carries quite a few sewing books. No pictures of the inside, though; I did separate searches on each promising-looking book and found images of the insides on etsy and amazon, then ordered the lot of them together through YesAsia!

I got the pants, jackets, and shirts of one series, and a coat collection from another designer. A lot of these actually look like clothes a man would actually wear. A few of the pants are a little reminiscent of Hammer Time, but it looks like that’s just the fabric choice.

They’re not in English, but they have a lot of illustrations. Not for beginners, but then again, menswear in general isn’t.

Galleries coming soon

I’ve got a bit of stuff up at www.flickr.com/photos/nordahlia, but the problem with the galleries that are readily available is that it’s hard to sort by categories (custom designs made for specific individuals, home dec, my own personal designs, dance clothes, menswear, weddings, etc.). And it’s impossible to sort within those categories to have easy sub-categories for alternate views–like the back of the garment, a shot of it in motion, or a close-up of a detail. In currently available galleries, these shots would be given equal weight to pictures of other garments. Which I think is confusing and awkward.

Anything that can be forced into sort of having sub-galleries would require viewers using the back button a lot, and I’m set on intuitive galleries that can be lazily wandered through.

So my galleries, or at least a beta version, will be up soon at gallery.nordahlia.com, thanks to this everlastingly good sport, pictured here wearing his very own Nordahlia longcat scarf: