Saturday, January 2, 2010

A Calico Shirt. Literally.

So, the Big One was given an adoption certificate for Christmas.  This sturdy piece of paper assures her that Santa did in fact speak with her parents about adopting a cat and yes, she will get to go to the Humane Society and pick one out.  Santa clearly didn’t reckon on the psychotic nature of our local Humane Society employees or how hard they would make it to adopt a cat.  I could regale you with stories, however let’s just say that we still have not been allowed to submit our application to adopt the cat we want.  I’m not saying we have to wait to have our application approved.  I’m saying we can’t even get them to take the stupid thing in the first place.  And here I thought they were actually trying to prevent animals from being put down by providing them with safe loving homes.  Silly me.

In any case, before I contracted the Hideous Plague of One Thousand Deaths, I had planned to make The Big One a special new shirt for Christmas.  I had a few motives for this: one that she’s gotten the short end of the new clothes stick lately and another that with her not actually receiving her gift on Christmas Day I thought she might at least like a related consolation prize (in fact she received all the accoutrement of owning a cat- to the tune of $75- so she really has nothing to complain about.  Really.  Nothing.).    I wasn’t able to finish this until today.  

In keeping with my firm belief that only people under the age of 8 should be allowed to wear clothes made from quilting fabric, I purchased her an otherwise unusable scatter print of cats.   For once I didn’t have to worry whether it was a print that my kids would agree to wear.  The Big One is obsessed with cats.  This fabric is covered with cats.  She would wear it.  End of story.

I decided to go with a tunic, because I like tunics.  I used Ottobre 6-2009#9 “Phoenix”.  Their version was made from velveteen but it’s a basic shape so I knew it would work with the light-weight calico.  (And yes Historical Fabric Terminology Fanatics, I know that “calico” describes a type of print, not a type of fabric.  In the real world, “calico” is “quilting fabric”.  Don’t dwell.  Move on.)

go to OttboreDesign.comgo to

Anyway, here’s the tunic.  I was having some serious diva issues with my model today, so I didn’t end up with a modeled shot before I sent her to her room to think about her behavior.


Despite the fabric making it sort of homemade-y, I’m happy with this.  In retrospect I wish that I added some sort of element of the black gingham to the sleeves to balance out the design, but eh, she’s 6, what does she care?

I have to take this opportunity to say yet again how much I love Ottobre patterns.  They almost always use construction methods that are simply superior to any of the Big4 methods.  Attaching the facing to the invisible zipper/neckline is a point in case.  The method Ottobre uses is easier and looks better in the end.   Amazing. 

The only change I made to this pattern was in the pockets, which were truly beyond me without photo instructions.  I think I understood what I was supposed to do, but it was just too difficult to manage well.  Pockets are a perennial problem for me anyway and a complicated pocket is just asking too much.  So instead of the funky gathered-with-elastic pocket from the original design, I used the finishing template from the pattern and made a plain patch pocket. 

To dress it up a little (because I felt guilty that I couldn’t accomplish the really cute gathered pockets) I attached decorative buttons to the top of the pocket opening.  It’s a little hard to see here, but the buttons are in tortoiseshell-type colors that echo the colors of the cats in the print.  Since they were formerly known as The Ugly Buttons Left Over From The Bulk Button Box, I was pretty pleased to suddenly find such a good use for them and one that actually makes them not ugly.  Transformative button use!  Cool, man.


So The Big One has one “calico”, even if we seem to be having some trouble getting our other one.  With our luck the sweet little calico cat we decided would be perfect for our home will be gone by the time we actually manage to get the Humane Society people to take our application papers, adopted by some other family who clearly won’t be as deserving of her.  Clearly.  I mean, come on.  We have cat clothes for crying out loud. 

Maybe I’ll have the Big One wear this when we slog out to the countryside to try yet again to adopt that cat.  Couldn’t hurt, right?


  1. Way cute!!! I can't believe that you are having this much trouble adopting a cat! Do they think you are going to have it for dinner or something??? The world gets too weird for me sometimes. I, too am a complete Ottobre convert. I don't know why I even still have Big 4 patterns for my kids. Sometimes they suck me in and I pretty much always regret it.

  2. Uniforms always impress people, have your mascot wearing it as a good luck symbol. Ridiculous red tape. Sheesh, tell me about it! Meanwhile I think the sleeves are fine as is, the buttons are cute, and the cats--so adorable. I like your phrasing about diva behaviour and being sent to her room. Hee hee hee. Anyway, here's hoping kitty will cure the baby longing. Can't wait for the next Ottobre to come out! They have 3 back issues on the way for me too.

  3. Cute tunic. My DD2 would be overjoyed to get a top like this. At the moment when you walk into her room you can feel the eyes of 1000 cats staring at you. And if it isn't cats then it's horses.

    Hope you get your kitten soon. When we went to choose ours from the SPCA a few years ago the hardest part was choosing which one to save.

  4. TOO cute.

    But, I wear quilting cottons all the time and you love me. Soo...reform.


    hahahaha!!! word ver: barpre (If you add an accent to that e, it could be the new word for skank, ya think?)

  5. I have a 6 yr, too. She will never own a cat (I'm allergic) but does own many "calico" garments. I've never touched an Ottebre, but you're giving me the idea that maybe I should try just once...


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