Thursday, August 27, 2009

To Clothe A Cat

Warning: this post may look like a bad imitation of a Sanrio shop.

The Hello Kitties have clothes.

Was very surprised at the level of interest in the past
comments, in Hello Kitty's clothes and accessories.
Thought I'd better put some pictures out for all you
secret HK fans. I must warn you first, though, that there
is an overdose of lurid primary colors coming up.
And some pastels.

First, the bows and flowers.

Here's a bunch of felt flowers, very lightly stuffed:

And a bunch of felt bows. They are essentially a single
layer of hourglass-shaped felt, pinched in the middle
and sandwiched between two identical circles.

You all know I am partial to velcro as a toy
embellishment tool, right?
And that I rather like the kids
to have options to decorate and interact with their toys?

So here, too: the bows and flowers attach by velcro
circles to HK's forehead (which has a white velcro circle).

Now here is the original outfit I thought I'd make,
in different color combinations, to go along with
the interchangeable bow/flower:

But it seemed a lot of work to do all those curved
necklines and armholes.
So I fell back on the shirred
spaghetti strap sundress - a better option to mass-produce.

And mass produce I did. The word lunacy flitted
through my mind several times.

Oh well, it was good practice for french seams. I am all
shirred out now. Have I said before that I am not a fan
of quilting cotton/broadcloth/whatever? It is easy to work
with, yes, but it is the stiffest material on earth for
garments. Like paper. Absolutely no give and no
movement. But for doll clothes - quite good.

It might be Hello Kitty but it shall not all be pink, was
my motto. I rather like the blue (because I am biased).
The red-and-yellow is a bit Chinese New Year-ish,
on hindsight.
Here are nine permutations of
the different colors and accessories

and one very excited birthday-girl-to-be:

Incidentally, I am really enjoying how involved Emily is
in the party prep. She made the invitations, decorated the
paper cups, stuffed the Hello Kitties, contributed all sorts
of ideas for the games and food and made a papier-
mache pinata (which we will paint this weekend).
I love watching her own this party!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A Tale

'Twas a midsummer morning and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse
The family rises from bed one by one

To welcome the bright golden rays of the sun
They patter to breakfast, tuck into their food
Give thanks for the sweet night, and pray for the good.

Then, dishes all cleared, they start the new day -

With Dad to the office, the kids out to play.

While Mom to the mirror, retires in despair

To gloomily gaze at her horrible hair

That she thinks is genetic (although it is Kate
and her sharp little teeth who're to blame for this trait).

Then back out to Grandma and Grandpa to visit -

A typical day for the Joneses - or is it?

They sit with the thought not occurring at all:
There might, quite remotely, just outside their walls,

Be something so strange that, with nary a sound
Will descend on their safe little world unannounced;
Is right at this moment, preparing to show
Its terrible face to the family below
There's no time for warning, no minute to spare -
Poor Joneses, the horror is already there!

Aiyee! Oh, that figure! That form! Shriek! That face!

And fie! There are more there all over the place!

The children! The children! Oh save them! Too late!

They've seen them! It's futile! What terrible fate!

A coup! Infiltration! Invasion! 'Tis war!

There's never been anything like it before!

And worse - how insidious - the terror is shared

With other poor innocents - no one is spared!
Can nothing be done? Can no savior be found?

To capture the enemy, turn things around?

Or, hopeless, must we sit, extremities curled
While mouthless white felines take over the world?
But wait - in the distance, a hero arises-
It's small but determined - surprise of surprises!
Kantankerous Katie, her lips in an "O"
And spouting a string of her favorite word "No!"

To capture the kitties! Surveying the scene,
She's come to the rescue! She's come to redeem!
Sweet mercies! All Toydom is safe! Safe, and sound
And from every throat, celelebration resounds!
Then midst all the cheers, Dad returns from his work

Discovers his household completey berserk.

"A typical pre-dinner scene at the Joneses,"
He thinks as he kisses each one of their noses.

"Fun day?" he inquires. "Well then, lucky you.
What a drag at the office - same old, nothing new:

Just ornery clients - huge problems to clear -

It always seems far, far more peaceful back here!"

*From the famous poem by
Clement Clarke Moore
**No small superheroes, toys or animals were harmed during filming.

How To Make a 2D Character Softie

And now, a tutorial on how to take a flat picture and turn
it into a softie. Hello Kitty is widely available in various forms,
including softies, so this might seem like a pointless idea. But
I first started doing this when Jenna (the middle child who
refuses to worship the more popular characters in Toydom)
in her Maisy phase last year. She needed a little Maisy
doll but they couldn't be found in stores anywhere. The

Maisy softies that could be actually be procured online
nothing like the pictures in the books, so I made
a set of 2D softies for her birthday.

We found we had need of 10 Hello Kitty softies for Emily's
upcoming birthday party, so I made them the same way. I
used fleece, which is very forgiving, looks plush even
as a 2D toy, and has almost invisible seams.

Step 1
  • Find a picture of the character - we like books, but the internet is also an option.

Step 2
  • Raise your right hand and swear on anything you consider sacred that you will not sell commercially what you are about to make.
  • Hope fervently that your workmanship will not make it too easy to keep your vow.

Step 3
  • Find tracing paper or parchment paper and trace the outline of the character or just print it out if you don't mind wasting ink.

Step 4
  • Enlarge the image using your printer/photocopier/scanner-and-photoshop combo to the size you want.

Step 5
  • Print out the final image on paper and cut it out.
  • Also cut out the relevant facial features - this helps position these accurately later.

Step 6
  • Fold fabric to double thickness, right sides facing.
  • Trace the image, giving a 1/4" or 1/2" seam allowance or (if lazy like me), pin the pattern to the fabric and just cut around it.
Step 7
  • Mark on the wrong side of one piece of fabric, the critical points/nodes/corners in the pattern where you would have to stop sewing, lift the presser foot and shift the fabric to change the stitching direction.
  • Then mark on the right side of the fabric piece(s) the position of the facial features through the holes you cut out in Step 5.

Step 8

  • Embellish.

Step 9
  • Sew (pin first if you must) the two pieces together, right sides facing. Use whatever seam allowance you gave in Step 6. Remember to sew to all the nodes/corners that you marked in Step 7. These will help keep the corners sharp and preserve the shape/proportions of the softie when it is stuffed.
  • Leave an opening for turning out and stuffing. Choose the straightest possible edge for the position of the opening. You don't want to, for instance, be hand-stitching the ear or foot shut.

Step 10
  • Snip all the corners.
  • Turn right side out.

Step 11 (optional)
  • If intending to also sew clothes for the softie, lay it flat on paper and trace the outline with about 2-3 mm allowance all around.
This will be your pattern for clothes. Since this is a flat/2D softie, the clothes will also be flat/2D.
  • Sketch the shape of the garment around this outline.

Step 12
  • Stuff and sew up the opening.


Don't know which is scarier - that Ms Kitty has no mouth
or that she has no clothes. And we have 10 of them
at home now. Erk. Will start on some clothes next week.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hello Kitty Link

Hello all - a very funny Hello Kitty post is coming up next. First I must pray for sunshine so I can take photos. But in the meantime, here is a Hello Kitty Thing you must all see. Then come back and tell me your reaction. But be nice - remember, we have readers from all over the world here, some of whom like Hello Kitty. (And actually, I personally don't have anything against her. I am confused about how she has no mouth, yes, but I don't dislike her - I just am not keen on pink).

Thursday, August 20, 2009

ikatbag on the Dress-up Drawer's Super Giveaway

Find me on The Dress-up Drawer's Super Giveaway today!

Jaime has organized a week-long giveaway that is full of wonderful things! More than 40 people are giving stuff away, and most of these talented folks (and fun blogs and shops) are new to me (but only because I don't surf much). Each giveaway stays open for 5 days so you'll be able to enter ALL the giveaways still. So go now!

Bag for Mum

Mum's birthday today. Goodness, I miss her.
Why don't we have teleporters?

Made her a satchel/messenger bag thing.

The texture of embroidered fabric! Rich, yet subtle. It just
occurred to me that I've recently been making a lot of bags
(all, actually) from home-decor fabric. Why is that?
I should just rename this blog Upholstery Bag.

Lots of zippered pockets and open internal pockets for
sunglasses, cellphone etc. And one of those hidden
magnetic snaps so you
never see it. Brilliant invention, that.

But the strap - I am in love with the strap.
It is not often that I make something and fall in love with it.
Most of the time, I look at it and say, "what possessed you to
try that?" This strap, though, I love. It has balance.

My ratty old bag/purse/dumping ground for dessicated
Cheerios is so pathetic that I really should make another
just like this for myself. I actually saved the pattern I drew
up for this bag! Unnaturally foresighted! True, it's on
some scrap paper that looks dangerously like an
packing order but at least I didn't draw lines directly onto the
fabric like I usually do with my bags. Yes, very weird technique.
If I did this again, I'd make some changes, like attaching
the side buckles lower. Couldn't do that this time because
of the placement of the internal pockets and the ridiculously
thick interfacing. Why I didn't use 600 denier nylon
instead I don't know. I have jumped on the interfacing
bandwagon and obviously forgotten how to get off. Dangerous.