Like Cats & Dogs

cat-dress

These days I rarely buy fabric unless I have at least some inkling of what I’ll be making with it. And I’m particularly cautious with prints. Without a clear vision they end up lonely souls in my stash for years and eventually start feeling really dated. Stripes are totally excepted. And apparently so is a cat and dog print that looks straight out of a 1960s French children’s book.

It might look better as a wall hanging than an actual garment, but that happens to the best of us, right? This is definitely one of those things that could border on twee pretty quickly, and I’m not sure I can pull of twee even ironically. I tried. Kittens and puppies are my weakness. We have a lot of animal companions–three very energetic border collies and a herd of rescue cats. Perhaps some day I will introduce the dogs if they actually sit still, but I warn you that this will move me far out of the category of “sewing blogger with cute cat” into something much more like a zookeeper. Somehow we manage it, city folk on a small farm.

cat & dog dress

snow & peanut

And when my clothes aren’t covered in animal hair, they should be covered in animals! Snow and Peanut are the cuddlers in the family.

So the fabric. It was billed as a Japanese cotton knit with a price to match. And I bought a yard with no clue what it would be. My first instinct was a flirty mini skirt. Then I remembered I’m not 16. Definitely not a t-shirt, because that seemed a little meh, but I finally decided on something like a glorified t-shirt dress, but a little boxy and with actual dress details like darts and such. This was my inspiration and pattern:

<img src="http://clothhabit.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/pipit-dress-inspiration.png" alt="pipit-dress-inspiration" width="699" height="505" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6025" /

[Dress by Pipit/Anthropologie, Style Arc Kristin pattern]

Shift dress patterns are pretty simple designs and easy to come by. Vintage 60s patterns are full of them! Once you have one that fits it can really become a base for so many other design details. (Which Colette really banked on with their Laurel pattern.) I’m a sucker for Style Arc patterns so I went with their Kristin dress, which I have made a few times and have a feeling I will use it for a bunch more ideas. I posted one of my earlier versions in a grey doubleknit, mostly hidden under my red cape. Each time I’ve made it I’ve changed something simple to come closer to the fit I like. Style changes like lengthening sleeves and hem length, changing the bust darts, adjusting for a small bust adjustment. Style Arc is just a little bit busty on me, but not too bad. The shoulder and sleeve fit is fantastic. I’m already working on another version, a hip length top from the pattern with a long back opening. On this one, I did a semi-exposed zip using this crazy multi-colored teeth zipper I’ve had in my stash forever.

back-view-zipper

IMG_4993

The pattern is really designed for a woven or a ponte/doubleknit, and as I expected, the fit in a thin cotton knit turned out a bit bigger than my previous makes, and after a few wears the lack of spandex or rebound made it grow even more. It’s also not the best thing to wear with tights. It sticks!

Still despite the dubious print and fit, this was one of my most worn summer dresses, and what you’re seeing here is my first without bare legs and sandals. My friend Steph came over and helped me do a bit of winterizing with a 60s restyle (including some good ole hair teasing, which I really have to try more often!). I think the dress will go back to the closet till the warm weather returns!

And I’ll leave you with this cuteness. Love it when they ham it up…

snow-peanut

Details:
Pattern: Style Arc Kristin
Fabric: cotton jersey, Tessuti
Zipper: stash
Hair & (non-cat) photos: Stephanie at Hold Vintage

22 comments

  1. Sewsirius says:

    What a gorgeous print! I love the dress you made with it too…it’s purrfect! I completely understand your love for cats…I have four, the two girls “help” me sew whenever I’m in the sewing room they “have” to come in with me!

  2. F. K. says:

    This is the cutest! And I totally get you on animal fur! I have four cats of my own and one I keep for a friend who cannot keep him himself. That print is amazing!

  3. lisa g says:

    i’m not really a cat & dog person, but somehow this dress is totally cute! and i love the exposed zip *and* how you sewed it in, as opposed to just sticking it on the dress. too bad it sticks to the tights, because it’s really cute with them!

  4. Ginger says:

    This is adorable! I absolutely love it! I would wear this print in a heartbeat. I hope one day I can round up a menagerie like yours, but since my husband doesn’t like cats, I’m limited to two dogs and two turtles. 😉

  5. Sallie says:

    Aww!! This is just too darn cute!! I think your shift dress is the perfect pairing for this adorable fabric. Keeps it from straying to far into twee-land! And I’m loving your hammy cats! We’re quite fond of the furry ones in our house too – but my husband put a limit on me of one cat, and I put a limit on him of one dog, so things aren’t too out of hand. For now. But one day….

  6. Amy says:

    Yay for cats and dogs! One of these days I’d like to add two dogs to our family that already includes two cats, but I think we need a wee bit more space first. It’s such a joy having pets though, at least in my opinion! And, a dress to celebrate such fine animals?! Why not?!! I love the pattern you picked and the styling here. Always such great pieces and posts from you!

  7. emily marie says:

    So awesome. Quirky, but not twee (now if it had a Peter Pan collar that would be a different story… 😉 )

    I love that sewers are notoriously animal lovers, and I am definitely contributing to the stereotype with my sweet Westie.
    There’s a sewing supply company that sends out cat treat samples along with orders. Now I bet THAT is some effective targeted advertising!

  8. Maddie says:

    I have learned so many things from this post. One, you have a lot of pets (I never knew that!). Two, someone else on this planet has a weird/cool/childish liking for infantile print (I love them!). Three, style Arc is my newest pattern company. Four, multi-colored zippers exist! 🙂

  9. Alison says:

    I’ve been hunting for styles that look good on short women. That outfit you’re rocking seems like a great look for the vertically challenged.

  10. dixie says:

    that dress is so awesome i can’t even take it!!! must have that fabric now! i don’t know what i’d do with it. i might just straight up copy what you did but cats! it’s so awesome!

    also I have a cat named Peanut. 😉

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