Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Domestic Issues

Things have been a bit difficult on the making things front for the past two weeks, with domestic issues getting in the way. When I say domestic issues, I mean the unexpected and therefore unplanned addition to our household, pictured here in a playful mood and trying to hide inside a slipper.

This is Charlie, formerly a stray who has been hanging around in our area since the end of last summer. He was a lot smaller then and I only got a good look at him at the beginning of January which was when I realised from his condition that all was not well. I started to feed him and generally win him over while I went through the gruelling process of trying to either find his owner or find him a new home.

To cut a very long story short, Charlie has now been adopted by us. He's been neutered, blood tested, had a broken tooth removed, has his very own microchip and in a week or two, his vaccinations will be complete. He is no longer painfully thin and with our help, his many war wounds are healing and he's nowhere near so scabby, bedraggled or tatty as he was. His coat actually has a shine to it and as the vet put it - he is beginning to look like he belongs to someone.

The downside of all of this (apart from the time, worry and cost) is that my resident cat, Missy is not at all happy with this development. While she was very happy to play with Charlie outside as a stray, having him inside her house, sitting in her favourite places, eating her food and getting affection from her mum is just not on.

However, things have now progressed to the point that Missy (pictured defending her box) - a stroppy tortie at the best of times - has discovered that she can bully Charlie. She is asserting her authority over him at every opportunity, while he does his best to usurp her wishes whenever he thinks she isn't watching. As a disputed territorial trophy, my lap and hands are not my own. I cannot sit or walk or stand anywhere in the house without coming under feline assault of the affectionate and vocal kind and this in turn is having a severe impact on my ability to finish projects I have ongoing.

Nonetheless, using special stealth tactics to escape feline observation I have been plodding on with a couple of things. Not as much as I'd like, but it's better than nothing.

Costume wise, I'm concentrating on Shards as always and having finished the riding jacket I'm pushing on with preparing for a faux-pregnancy. The baby bump which I'll need for Easter is very nearly complete, I just have to finish attaching the outer shell and then add some straps to hold it securely in place.

It is shown here, pinned and ready for sewing, modelled on a pillow which is substituting for me. Making one of these is actually quite easy and I recommend it as a method for making any body padding which you want to look fairly realistic. The cushion is made of several layers of cotton batting, cut in successively smaller ovals and sewn on top of one another. To smooth out the bumps, I just sewed another four layers of batting on top giving a dome as shown. Once it is strapped in place and dressed with costume over the top it will be a fairly convincing pregnant belly. From experience, I can say that wearing one of these is awkward and having the extra inches is strangely ungainly but it isn't heavy and will stay where it is put.

I've started on the costume to go over the top and here we have another work in progress, a sort of waistcoat made up in black moleskin. This is a replacement for a bodice, it's soft and unboned and quite loose fitting - for a bodice anyway. I've added godets to the front along with princess seams (I saw a similar bodice in a historical costume book and thought, gosh it makes her look pregnant). I've added in modesty panels to the sides which will be vented and tied together with points.

It's all looking good at the moment and I'll add a skirt this weekend... Providing of course the cats let me!


Richard said...

Need to go and look up godets on Google before I make a comment.

Richard said...

Ok didn't get as far as google godets since you told me what they are.

The bump is looking good, I saw it when it was several layers thick and the effort involved is unbelievable, but that pillow's been mating with a cushion somewhere and definitely has a bun in the oven.

Cats and sewing don't go together as my blog points out, still they are nice to have around :)

from a happy cat owner

Julie said...

Godets are wonderful inventions and have been used for a very long time to add fullness at the hem without corresponging bulk at the waist. Esther introduced me to them in my very first sewing project (the green full length coat)and I've made use of them an awful lot since. :)

The bump is a tad larger than it needs to be for 4 1/2 months but since I intend to use it for at least the event after without alteration, I think it will do. I'm certainly not making another one!

Cats do not mix well with sewing or any other needlecraft. Apart from their fascination with the raw materials, they leave fluff everywhere and risk potential injury if you're blessed with a particularly inquisitive or clingy cat.

They are indeed nice to be around and can get away with almost anything just by being incredibly cute. Evolution and many thousands of years of training us humans to respond accordingly has equipped them well... ;)