Cat Couture or Ca-ture

Not all my clients are human although they have human qualities. Once such sweetie is Clarence and although she has a boy’s name she is all girl.

Clarence joined our family back in 1986 and at the time her fur was abundant and when she joined our family for restaurant meals, the servers would think she was real…sort of like a Maine Coon Cat. My youngest daughter was given the cat by her great grandmother on her 6th birthday which was a date they both shared- Dec 26 – only 80 years apart.

Since then Clarence has traveled the globe with her human mom, Teresa, who made sure to pack her in her backpack or suitcase wherever her studies took her. One year it was to the island of Cypress for her Bachelor’s degree, another year it was to Kenya for her Master’s degree and the rest of the time it was Liverpool and Durham, near Newcastle, for high school and University.

This year, I was so excited to see Clarence and my daughter (of course) when we spent time in the desert. Like with the Velveteen Rabbit, Clarence has been loved so much that she has bald spots on her once luxurious fur and could use a soft vest to keep her from losing any more. Here she is with me and my daughter:me-and-clarence-and--teresa 3

Yes, I have masked out my face as to remain anonymous but also because I had been crying at the thought of my daughter going back to LA after 2 great days of sewing clothes with her. But now let’s get started on making a vest!

First I wrapped a towel tight with masking tape to replicate Clarence’s body. Poor girl has no waist!                towel-body

Then I took a square of gridded fabric from JoAnn’s (I buy this by the bolt) and started to drape it so the collar could be cut all in one along with the vest. Here we go:1-drape-shape2-draped-back  Front and back pinned keeping all grain lines straight and level and adding wearing ease…a cat has to move doesn’t she?

3-draped-side4-pinned-pattern Side view and without the towel body 

6-folded-pattern7-flipped-overCenter back fold showing both fronts and curve of collar and triangular armhole. While the armholes look weird, they will be rounded off later. The shoulder seams are the 2 straight pieces just above the triangles going off at 90 degree angles.8-flat-pattern Here is what it looks like flattened out. And what does a cat like for a vest fabric? Well the closest thing to real plush lush fur…it has to be cashmere and me being the grandmother to a cat I had a small remnant that would work perfectly. This cashmere was washed and dried and somewhat felted so there is no issue with raveling.

9-pinned-on-fabric-fold Let’s lay it on the fold and cut it out! You can see the masking tape with the dimensions of the wool in the original piece. Let’s stitch the shoulder seams first and then the collar section to the front neck edge. See the red head pin where these 2 seams make a junction? Next flip the front facings to the inside and wrap over the collar so when it is flipped to the right side it will all be attached and hidden.basted-seamsfacing-flipped


Once the shoulder seams are basted and the collar attached to the fronts we have the basic shape.


The simple back and fold-over collar.

So that’s how I made an all-in-one pattern for a vest for a much loved cat…but you can do the same thing for a real human…same technique…pin the shape you want with gridded fabric and keep pinning out what you DON’T want until it is what you DO want.OK…maybe you will start small…find a cat or dog and give it a try.

Meanwhile, back on the recovery sofa I just want to share my progress, I am up walking slowly, no pain and that wonderful client that brought me a cake last year for my foot surgery has blessed my house again but this time with a poppy seed cake with caramel drizzle…oh my! Yes, we have already eaten our way through a third of it…time to wrap up the remaining pieces and freeze them for a yummy time in the future.


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16 Responses to Cat Couture or Ca-ture

  1. gwensews says:

    It’s good to see you’re up and about. Of course, you had to find something to sew right away. Even a cat vest will do when you need to be creative. Nice save for Clarence. Your daughter is just beautiful. What a pretty smile!

    • mrsmole says:

      You are correct Gwen, I had to sew something and I ran out of clients’ pants to hem…ha ha. Thank you for your comment on Teresa. She is just learning to sew and has quite a flair for it although her real job involves community outreach and grant writing and organizing programs for inner city folks.

  2. Roz says:

    I’m glad you’re on the mend! Nice to see you with your daughter. I’m sure you are enjoying your time together.

    • mrsmole says:

      I only saw her for 2 days last month but it was super and hopefully next time I will be really fit and up for a hike…hoping for 2014.Thanks for dropping by…I know you love cats real or otherwise.

  3. barb bachmann says:

    You make me smile, CatLick!!!
    big get well ((((HUGGS))))
    from PennyCostal

    • mrsmole says:

      Well Penny, we Cat Licks (Catholics) need something to smile about since the Pope is vacating the Vatican. Thanks for the get well hugs…back to you too!

  4. Marie Robison says:

    So glad you are doing well. Your daughter is beautiful.

  5. Bunny says:

    Your daughter is a stunner. Glad you are on the road to recovery. Do you expect to not be working for long? New career making animal garments? Take care and get all better real soon.

    • mrsmole says:

      Bunny, I can’t imagine not working and in fact I have a new bride coming tomorrow for a consult. She bought a dress 5 inches too big because she had to have a certain designer…same old story…and is it possible to make it fit but not cut anything off so she can sell it afterwards. I told her I cannot stand too long nor get down on the floor…I’m just looking, no pinning. Thanks for the nice comment on my daughter!

  6. theresa says:

    Well, you know, people spend billions on their pets…Custom Couture for Cats and Canines maybe.
    Certainly they are likely to be a bit less fussy than brides. Glad to hear you’re up and on the mend!

    • mrsmole says:

      I’m not quite ready to hang up my spurs and switch to pet couture just yet…ha ha So far walking on the flat carpet is good…stairs will be a real challenge.

  7. Tia Dia says:

    Custom Couture for Cats & Canines! What a great business idea! And you’d be spared the kneeling endlessly on the floor, since they’d probably mostly all be able to stand on a table for you to take measurements, pin alterations, etc! Glad to hear you’re on the mend, and that you could spend good times with your daughter!

  8. Karen Rethman-Foll says:

    Cute story! I just finished another knitting project along the same lines. I made a little black dress for a beagle who had her first birthday last Sunday. Since it was a surprise gift and didn’t have access to measure the dog I guessed at measurements. It came out just fine and she looked adorable with the silver and black double row of ruffles near her tail. The things we do for our friends and family!

    Glad to hear you are on the mend. Take it easy

  9. Gjeometry says:

    Cute cat and nice story. And thanks for the tutorial on how to sew a vest! I will check that out.

  10. Shel says:

    Omigosh! The cat plushie thing is just like my daughter and her little stuffed hedgehog Jeffrey. Jeffrey lives wherever she does and he has traveled abroad with other family members too..inlaws took him to Australia and he’s also been to Ireland. His greatest trip was the one down the aisle..he was my daughters ring bearer at her wedding last year. And yes, he did have a little vest and bow. : )
    I am glad you are recovering well and have enjoyed your blog quite a bit. So many interesting solutions.

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