Saturday, November 30, 2013
Today is an excellent day to Support the Arts!
ManyHands Marketplace will feature the work of four wonderful and talented local artists: Vandy 'Aelfgifu' Hall , Stacy Spangler , Shannon Kochenour Clock, and our plucky heroine herself... Acorn Cottage has a delectable assortment of treasures, trinkets, and toys for gifts (or for yourself) this holiday season (well, actually, just for this Saturday today)
Monday, November 25, 2013
Our plucky heroine was quite pleasantly surprised at all the good suggestions over on Stitcher Guild, as far as possible ways to improve the fit, and will be doing just a bit more reshaping of the pattern pieces on the bodice fitting part of this project...
The next time I take pictures I will try and remember to stand normally and not with my arms held out at an angle, I never stand that way but thought it might show the muslin more clearly, not thinking that it also might throw off how the bodice fit or didn't fit... am also thinking about going ahead and adding the muslin for the coat "skirts" as I suspect that the weight of the lower half of the garment will have an effect on how the bodice hangs; I know that it can make a significant difference in dresses, and I don't want to get the bodice to a good place only to find that once the skirt portion is added that the entire thing needs to be re-fitted!!
As far as the side front panel and the slanted side seam: what I tried last night, just before bedtime, was to pin out a small dart at the top armscye edge just inside the side seam... that seemed to do the trick as far as getting the side seam to become vertical, and also smoothed out the excess fabric that was bunching on the back panel...
Once I actually get to the point of making a wearable muslin, in corduroy as opposed to the muslin muslins that I am currently making, then I intend to add in the "motorcyle armscye gusset" which will add a lot of mobility to the sleeve and preclude hopefully any uncomfortable pulling if I move my arms. I plumb hate clothing that constricts my movement, and while I could simply make the entire coat extra big in proportion, I know from experience that this sort of gusset allows movement while also allowing a closer fit, and that closer fit is half of why I started this whole project in the first place
My intention is to have the center front and center back waistline seams be somewhat above my natural waist, because while in the back, my waistline is somewhat close to normal proportion vertically, in the front my tummy means that the narrow portion is where my bra band lies, which is rather higher than I would want the waistline to be, so I will put the top edge of the curve about an inch lower than that, which is where the raised waist on my pinafores sits, as well... If I brought the top of the curve lower, then the clothing I wear underneath the coat would be all bunched up most uncomfortably.
This project is really giving me an even deeper education on how my own proportions differ from "standard"; it has been over ten years since my last stab at working out a TNT pattern, because it always involves this amount of effort. This is why my wardrobe sewing involves using the same patterns over and over again, ringing changes with different fabrics or design details, but basically the same garments: a knit top, two dresses, and three different pinafores. (with a button front blouse and a pair of pants, neither of which are yet in my group of TNT patterns, pretty much all possible clothing needs would be covered, if I also include this coat...) I suspect that once I get this one to a comfortable fit, that it will prove useful for an assortment of garments - I can visualise a jacket easily, or a vest either long, mid length or even short like a bolero...
Girl struggles far too often with discouragement: dis a negation of - courage a state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution - ment an action or process...
sometimes it seems like the better part of valor would be to simply turn off the media every night before dinner, rather than face another night unable to sleep. Ignorance is not bliss, but might be restful at times. Nowhere near enough of the things that needed to happen this weekend were accomplished. There was some studio work, and progress on the catfaced needlebooks, but very little housecleaning occurred, and restful sleep was far from my door, despite the delightfully warm beanbag bed heaters.
Aside from the needful work done or not done, this weekend our plucky heroine did make a bit more progress on the Everlasting Raincoat Bodice Fitting Project; this is bodice XP4 and there has been visible improvement...
The side of the bodice is rather a hot mess still. Without using the camera the back and side views are entirely invisible to me. This looks as if it perhaps needs to have the side front reshaped to straighten out the slanted side seam, which might also deal with the excess bunchy fabric in the side back near the underarm.
I am confused still about the horizontal balance lines... the back now looks good, but the side front still slants upwards, despite my adding 2 1/2" in length to the center front of the bodice (gradually eased off to nothing by the side seams). The more length I add the more flattened the curved waistline seam will become, which I do not want to happen, so I am not sure that adding yet more length, only to cut it away again, makes sense.
I really do not entirely understand the concept of what I am trying to do with these balance lines, not even sure that I put the side front balance line in the correct orientation on the pattern piece, since I am no longer using the pieces from V1212 for the bodice fronts but have had to create my own... Overall I am pleased with the progress so far, despite my confusion. I am hopeful that another one or two muslins might get this project to the point where I can start trying to deal with the sleeves
Saturday, November 23, 2013
after a week of enjoying the delightful scent, our plucky heroine wanted to make certain that the few precious quinces would be preserved for future edible enjoyment... but even if they were not edible, their fragrance alone would be enough to bring them in the house...
quince jelly and quincemeat preserves, but the actual canning will be a task for another day.
Friday, November 22, 2013
As it has been almost 20 years since our plucky heroine did any tablet weaving, an evening workshop last night was an excellent thorough review, and now am all excited about getting back to turning string into Useful Things... this simple pattern would be excellent for either a belt or a bag strap, as both sides look pretty...
The weather here remains unrelentingly clear, and the combination of sunglasses and many layers of wool provide some small comfort. Crawled out of bed this morning to find window frost - fortunately on the outside. While it is cold inside Acorn Cottage, it isn't cold enough for the ice to form inside the house... Last night girl turned the rest of the display beans into hot packs, and heated them in the microwave; placed all round the bed underneath two down puffs made a cozy relaxing nest to ease into dreamland and uncurl from the cold.
Fingers crossed that we will get back to some of my beloved grey misty wintertime soon - I was 'splaining to a lady at the bus stop yesterday who was baffled by how it could be sunshiney and so gorram cold at the same time, that when it is overcast or cloudy that the clouds were like a blanket that holds the warmth closer to the ground. (I first noticed this when I lived in Idahell, that the days when it was snowing were a LOT warmer than the days when the sun was shining)
Thursday, November 21, 2013
It might already be Thursday, but a late night chat online with my pal Gwen had our plucky heroine wondering if maybe a different sort of sewing would be more useful that a whole passel of new clothes - what about adding wintertime lingerie into the mixture? Oh to be certain, the raincoat project will be continuing no matter what; there is too much learning new things involved in that one, which is always a fun challenge, and the eventual coat will fill a long vacant spot in the wardrobe! But maybe it is just that with temps set to barely get up to 40F today, this morning somehow the idea of warm underthings seems more appealing than lightweight dresses...
I am thinking that some leggings/loose pants (maybe made in lightweight polartec), and slightly cropped (rather than full length = wet bedraggled legs when it rains) and a few slips, which could combine a thin warm camisole top with a heavier attached petticoat skirt, maybe a layer of flannel and a layer of silk? Last night whilst drifting off to sleep underneath all the blankets in the house, I cogitated on a sort of modern partlet, a shoulder capelet that would keep my core warm and my neck cozy, while still allowing great freedom of arms and hands. Making that would be a great way to work out some of the bugs from my idea of a (Goretex) shoulder cape for my raincoat...
Algebra SWAP 2014 = 3X + 2☆
X = 2t + b = t + T + B = t + d + b
t=top, b= bottom, T=overlayer, d=dress, ☆=wildcard
Hmmm how would that look recast as warm underlayers? I mean, other than that the sewing would be a lot faster than a bunch of new pinafores and dresses... could do two sets of underlayers, one set of new daywear, and it would all still look like a collection that belonged together...
The sudden cold snap brought frost to the yard, and had me rethinking my hope to get to December before turning on the heat. Managed to resist the temptation, and instead took the "decorative" black beans from the display cupboard (they are used as a background for enamel photography) and filled another small flannel bag. Combined with the flax bag and heated in the microwave, they take the chill off the bedclothes really well, and another zap right before bedtime means cozy feet and shoulders. Shall think about getting some more flax seeds, as beans are just a tad lumpy, but warmth trumps all... At least it is warmer than Idaho, where the wind would literally howl through the cracks in the wall.
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
all those eyes yesterday would become...stay tuned, there will be more catfaces yet to come in the days ahead. This partially finished Siamese catface needlebook, still needs to be stitched together all round the edges. Am really happy with the way the two colors of felt define the face, less happy with how the lighting washes out the eyes. (Next year I want to build a little photo booth for my trinkets and treasures)...
Our plucky heroine has been feeling rather under the weather today, so mostly stuck close to home and my beloved electric teakettle... made one really quick field trip over to Bolt for more wool felt, and a stop at New Seasons for lemons... hot lemon and honey can have all sorts of different things added for healing goodness, and I suspect that there will be a wee drop of whiskey for a hot toddy tonight, since coughing all last night made today run rather slowly. Girl is not at all fond of alcohol, so bottles last a long time here at Acorn Cottage; it really is for medicinal use only. Sometimes it seems like I never grew up, since the things that grownups like to drink are completely unappealing to me.
The forecast is for COLD weather coming... will be below freezing tomorrow night. Wish I'd finished up my fingerless gloves, but will make do with my Voodoo Wristwarmers for now. I knitted them back in 2010, from a thrifted and unraveled merino sweater, and they have held up really well and are a boon companion all winter. Wool is my friend. It would have been clever to pick up a pound of flaxseeds whilst at the grocery today, and make up another flax bag for warmth... a few minutes in the microwave makes them hot enough to keep the bed warm for hours, and it is eversomuch nicer to curl up under the covers when there is a warm places for feet and back to relax into, and the flax bags seem to hold heat longer than the hot water bottle does.
Yesterday my pal Countess E reminded me of yet another Maddy Prior delight, perhaps more specific to this time of year, when the leaves all blow through the windy streets, and we curl inwards towards what warmth can be found...
Monday, November 18, 2013
ManyHands Marketplace - Saturday November 30th - here at Acorn CottageOur plucky heroine promises that there will be cat face needle-books at the holiday gift sale... The planned cats will be siamese, calico, tuxedo, marmelade and grey... and remember, I also can do custom cat face portrait needle books too, if you want a needle book to match a four legged friend!
music from the workroom here: I first heard of Steeleye Span long years ago, when I was a young thing in the early seventies, and saw them in concert a few years later, upstairs in the Galleria in Harvard Square, (that was the show with dancing girls and Morris dancers)... those were some good times back then... they still sound pretty gorram good to me in this video from a performance in 2008 almost forty years later, and I love seeing Maddy Prior dancing around on stage like she did years ago!
Sunday, November 17, 2013
Okay, another week and another muslin... For this one, I didn't bother with the side panels, but cut the fronts as a single piece, and the lower back as well, since the side panels did not add any shaping and were on the same grainline. (I will add them back in once I have the fit adjusted, as they will provide seams to use for shape) The changes I made were: to place the shoulder seam on my centered shoulder line, to take out some of the excess at the back neckline, and convert it to back shoulder darts and then into dart control in the back yoke seam, to reshape the armscye seamline closer to my actual armscye, and to raise the side seam one inch closer to my underarm.
This set of photos I took wearing the muslin over my thickest sweater, which gives a more realistic sizing, but also was rather bunchy in places, as the muslin is not as slippery as my hopeful garment lining will be. The pictures I managed to take with tripod and self timer... really not great, and I tried to adjust them so that the horizontal balance lines were more visible, with limited success:
This is being quite reminiscent, though more complicated, than how I ended up with my TNT tee shirt pattern, which also started out entirely flat in the front, looking more like a sweatshirt, and now fits my shape quite well. I suspect that there will be several more bodice muslins necessary, then it will be on to adapting the sleeves to fit the revised bodice... 'tis a good thing that most of my SWAP is patterns that are already TNT. This sort of faffing about to get things to fit me is why I mostly only sew with the few designs that I have worked out all the fitting issues, as I've had to do this amount of adjustments with every single pattern that I sew. I'd rather have fewer styles, and choose to change up the details and fabrics, than go through this muslin mania more than once every year or two...
Saturday, November 16, 2013
Friday, November 15, 2013
Our plucky heroine is considering the possibility of custom catfaced needlebooks, wondering if the intersection of those who like to sew, and those who love their cats might be a good place to offer commission possibilities - a special treat for the recipient, and profitable for me?
On an entirely different topic, this fabric is astonishingly hard to photograph well... it was handwoven for me by Britta Hall, and is a wool birdseye twill with a navy warp and a russet brown weft... the fabric is dense but flexible, and is delightfully soft. Once I steam ironed it and smoothed it out, the final dimensions are 3 yards at 23 inches wide... some of it is intended for a warm wintertime hood (it is not scratchy at all, so will not need to be lined!), shall need to think about what the remainder will become.
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
in which our plucky heroine girds her loins and begins the process of creating a new TNT pattern from an attractive but flawed big-4 offering... Vogue 1212 is pretty, IMHO, but on first effort and examination the bodice of the pattern has some pretty seriously questionable issues, entirely aside from my own figure quirks...
The front and back bodice have some interesting seamlines, that contrary to my expectations and experience, do not contain any dart control. I know that standard big-4 patterns are drafted for a B cup, but this is bizarre - the princess lines on the front do not add any curvature to the bodice, once the side and center front pieces are sewn together they remain as entirely flat as the paper pattern pieces. This might actually be a good thing, since the princess seamlines are also far far away from the bust point both vertically (which at my age and cup size is to be expected) and horizontally (which I've never seen before).
Since there are some definite in and out curves in my figure, an entirely flat bodice will need to have shaping added... seriously Vogue, and seriously Ms. Betzina, this is a pattern for women, not for prepubescent girls! I'm thinking that the next major step, once I correct the shoulder line and add a little bit of shape to the upper back, is to basically redo the entire bodice front: save the neckline curve so that the collar will fit, and the raised curved waistline so that the pretty flared coat skirts will fit, but give the poor bodice some womanly bosom curves. I don't expect a coat to be form-fitting like a knitwear top, but some gentle shaping will improve the fit, bringing it closer to what I envision.
The first muslin of V1212 bodice, and it is obvious that it needs a lot of modification - the size that "fits" my measurements is indeed far beyond large enough, it is at least 2 to 3 inches larger than necessary even worn over a sweater, and there is quite a lot of other areas that need help too... arrow pointing left shows where I attempted to mark where my actual arm curve is located as well as my actual shoulder; arrow pointing down shows more or less where the side of me is vs where the muslin is way out near my hip curve instead of my waist... even allowing for ease that is really wide, considering how much the skirt of the coat flares outward. I do like the upward curve of the center front and back. I remember this stage when I made my jean jacket years ago, and so am reminding myself over and over not to be too discouraged, but to steadily make one change at a time until it fits comfortably. If I get this pattern to the wearable muslin stage (intended for black denim and corduroy) by the time stitching begins for SWAP I will be a happy camper...
Monday, November 11, 2013
in which our plucky heroine reflects on a weekend at Orycon - that was most entertaining... somehow in my curious life it was my first ever con experience; and truly, I didn't realise what an overlap there is between my SCA friends and con culture...(silly girl)
In the interest of following my decision to try new things, since as my Dad says "if you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" and who wants to grow up to be stodgy?... when the option came up to attend the con in exchange for being a minion for Sharon Rose, I eagerly waved my hand to volunteer...
:::← my event pass from Orycon, with both the dealers room ribbon, and the "hall costume award" ribbon, which I was awarded, much to my confusion, on Friday afternoon, while I was wearing my everyday street clothing... I guess that to some people my black pinafore, worn over my japanese cotton dress, look like a costume?
On Saturday I actually wore a costume: my Bee outfit from the beginning of Bee and Puppycat.
I had entirely unknown women squeal and ask if they could hug me, and a number of folks asked to take my picture, all of which was quite amusing to me. My impulse to make a new Halloween costume turned out to have an additional venue where is appropriate clothing, as despite prior comments I will not be adding it to my everyday wardrobe!
:::When the workshop I wanted to go to early Sunday morning didn't happen, (the instructors never showed up) I wandered down the hall to the "make your first medieval tunic" class, as my friend, the author A. M. Brosius, was one of the instructors, and our plucky heroine was curious as to how hands on classes were structured in this new subculture... well, in no time at all I was
:::Lest it seem that the entire weekend consisted of running round listening to panel discussions, chatting with friends and goggling at the diverse costumes and artwork, it should be noted that there was also a lot of being a good minion and making certain that Sharon Rose, and her booth partner Sally did not lack for proper hydration and nutrition... there was much enjoyment of the offerings from the BroDogs food cart, set up in the driveway outside the side door of the hotel, and someone waiting on line whilst I was there suggested that the blessing of the day was "may your life be full of an abundance of bacon" since the various sausage offerings could be had with a garnish of bacon for only an additional dollar!
:::... quite frankly, I suck at flirting, basically it is not a communication style that I either recognise or have had any fluency in throughout my life as a young adult on through to my late middle age. On Friday evening I bravely attended a workshop entitled "Flirting 101" and found it to be surprisingly educational. The instructor make it both lighthearted and possible to understand that flirting is actually part of the conversation spectrum rather than some odd esoteric language, which I'd not realised. She went over a number of basic communicating skills, demonstrating with different class participants. I also noticed how careful she was to get consent from each person and how well she integrated consent into the interchanges. After the short workshop we were sent out to do our homework: to flirt (aka have a conversational interchange) with new people until we had successfully accumulated at least three "rejections". Those who came back on Saturday for the Flirting 102 class would be given wallet certificates certifying our competence...
Well, with that as bait, and as it had been pointed out that the con was a reasonably safe place to practice this, I took up the challenge. Perhaps it was running around all Saturday dressed as Bee (in her adorable catface apron) but I was unable to collect the requisite three rejections... when I tried talking to unknown men and women, which was indeed truly difficult for this shy girl, they were not mean, or dismissive, but were pleased to be noticed, at least briefly, by a stranger... The thing I shall try to remember from this is that just like with any other skill, the more you practice it the more comfortable it becomes.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
For years our plucky heroine has shied away from sewing outerwear... even when I was younger and thinner, fitting my upper body well is a challenge, and the one time (in 2005) I decided I wanted a denim jean jacket, it took more than five "muslins" before it fit me... In 2010, I wrote that what I was looking for in a raincoat was a "mid-calf coat with a flared skirt, a zip front with a snap wind-flap, a tall cowl-ish collar lined with polartec, pockets (maybe with single welts), and a Goretex shouldercape for additional rainproofing"; Vogue 1212 meets most (but not all) of that description, and while at some point I added that pattern to my collection, I never took the next step of actually moving on this desire.
Well, it is now three years later, and I am still in need of a good looking raincoat. I am now gathering Useful Information to help me gradually move forward on this project. I have already bookmarked Ann Rowleys "Narrow Shoulders Alteration" information, which should help.
I am a bit concerned, on reading the pattern back and instructions... The suggested fabrics are all ones that have a bit of flexibility/shapeability "mens suiting, wool crepe, and lightweight denim" The pattern sleeve cap is eased and shaped into the armscye, which will not work well if at all in raincoat fabric. I am wondering if I might end up needing to frankenpattern the armscye and use a different sleeve? (The sleeve and armscye/shoulder area from my longago denim jean jacket do not require any easing of fabric)The pattern, though, actually does have a narrow front zipper outer wind flap, including instructions for what order to sew it, and the zipper, all to the front of the coat, so that will not be a problem, and I can make it enough wider to allow for snaps, if I decide to add them
One of my online sewing inspirations, Elizabeth of Karlstad, suggested that I first make up V1212 in a different fabric to work out the fitting and stitchery challenges. While the first run through muslins will probably be made from old bedsheets, once there is a halfway chance it will actually fit, my hope is to make a casual coat/jacket, to wear as an alternative (or in addition to) my woolen sweaters. Looking through my stash, I found two remnants of the same black denim that I used for my overall-style pinafore, that might be enough, if combined, to make a cardigan length sample of this pattern; I had pulled them aside for the "bag making virtual event" and then not used them, along with an assortment of potential trim materials like black corduroy and some scrap black garment leather... such a jacket would look great with my black pinafore.
My current thought is about maybe using the black denim for the body of the sample coat, and the heavy black corduroy for the sleeves, as the contrast in texture might look good and also give the sleeves a bit more flexibility - that denim is stout! Might experiment with adding a motorcycle jacket style "accordian gusset" to the back armscye. I've decided that the final raincoat will not have an additional detachable warm lining, but rather a thin slippery lining like my current coat, as that is one of the things I do like about it, and there are plenty of wool cardigans to wear for warmth under the raincoat. The next step will be to cut out/trace the pattern pieces for an appropriate size and begin the fitting process. I have measured my current coat, which has sleeves that are much larger in bicep circumference than the size that matches the bodice size suggested for my measurements... this is going to be an interesting ride boys and girls - as our plucky heroine continues to explore the land outside the comfort zone....
Here are some interesting essays that I have read in the last week:
- Happiness is not determined entirely by our choices...
- thinking clearly about consent...
- the eleven nations of america...
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
I'll miss you till I meet you,
I miss you all the time.
I love the world just as it is.
And I won't lose my faith in it.
But there are days I think of you
Saying, 'hey, that's beautiful
Yeah, I see it too'
I miss you all the time.
I love the world just as it is.
And I won't lose my faith in it.
But there are days I think of you
Saying, 'hey, that's beautiful
Yeah, I see it too'
sometimes our plucky heroine wonders if it really is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all... not that I want him back, or want anything for him but his own growth and happiness, and not that I do not have a life I cherish, a life I walked through fire to keep... but there are so many many many times that I just want to turn to someone that understands, that is somehow alongside, to share the wonder and the struggle... and I remember that there was a time that was possible, a time in the past... and my eyes fill with tears...
sometimes I think that part of why I write so much here, is that somehow inside me there is a need to share what I see and do, and without any other way to do so, without anything other than the excited electrons that dance in the monitor to witness my joys and sorrow, (and with the only occasional actual far too infrequent contact with other humans nowhere near enough to hold me, how my skin is shadowed with the memory of being held), that without these missives to the virtual world I would fade entire and shatter to dust...
Monday, November 4, 2013
On Sunday some friends came over here and we had an "Unportentious Solar Eclipse" Roman Potluck"... as there was actually a solar eclipse that day, just not visible from here... The idea was to make and share various sorts of ancient Roman food (which was surprisingly delicious) and there was a sub-theme of dressing in ancient Roman, or vaguely Roman-ish clothing
← Only some of the tasty food - Once all the different things started arriving, it was more fun to taste things than to photograph them. Truly, there was everything from faux dormouse* in spiced honey and poppyseeds, to cucumber salad with balsamic vinegar, a whole assortment of interesting vegetable dishes, homemade cheese, nut custard, cheese pie, spicy herbal "dip", and I made a leek-barley-lentil stew. The overall impression was about complex flavors, lots of herbs/leeks/honey, and a great but not overly "rich" combination of dishes.
* SR made "faux dormouse" from chicken wings, I suggested making them from chicken thighs, as the combination of honey/pepper/poppyseed is sooo delicious. Apparently edible dormouse is still quite common in Europe, and in Britain is becoming quite an invasive pest! If we lived there, I would be quite willing to try eating the actual creature, properly prepared...
I really enjoyed the smaller party here at Acorn Cottage a lot more than the big party the previous night - even with just eight or ten folks, it is hard to have enough time to talk with each person. In a big crowd where I know only a few people, I get overwhelmed easily, more so when I am feeling fragile. Having a party here meant that I needed to clear away the various boxes and piles of stuff that have been accumulating in the public areas of Acorn Cottage, and am currently enjoying the feeling of spacious calm in the living room and kitchen. Of course, that just means more clutter elsewhere, but in time( a little bit at a time,. a little bit every day, so that gradually all the house will look clear and useful) that will improve. I want my whole house to look like my kitchen and living room, peaceful and functional with touches of beauty and whimsey...
Saturday, November 2, 2013
A week ago, our plucky heroine decided that a new costume would be more fun to wear than simply putting on some of my SCA clothing as fancy dress... Being rather enamored currently with Bee and Puppycat, my choice was obvious, though I was quite surprised that no one recognised me at the party tonight!
The dress and the apron were made from a red duvet cover for the dress and a white sheet for the apron (I love Ikea). I learned several new skills as part of this project, at least some of which will be of future use to me:
- using serger to gather fabric
- machine applique with fusible web and zigzag stitching
- drafting a peter pan collar, and applying it with binding
- drafting puffy sleeves
Neither of my machines has a ruffler... somehow I am just not usually a ruffles and flounces sort of gal, despite my peculiar insistence on wearing dresses and pinafores. The outer edges of the white twill sheet (which are already hemmed) were in very good shape, which was helpful in making the apron and sleeve frills. As suggested by Elizabeth of Karlstad aka The Fabulous Dr E, my serger can do more than finish seams, it can be set to gather fabric! The online tutorial she suggested had more useful information than the manual that came with my serger. (Robust Ruffles vs Feeble Frills) Fortunately I am fearless about turning the dials and switches... Rather than handpaint or stencil the cat face I chose to just fuse on suitable fabric and machine stitch around the edges, and the nose/mouth is just hand drawn on with Sharpie marker.
These will remain as costume pieces, as neither is practical or coordinates with my everyday wardrobe! Work aprons need to be made of sturdier stuff, and have functional multi-pockets... (the wee cat paw pockets are actually stitched closed at the top, since otherwise the ruffley bits kept trying to flop down, gravity doesn't work quite the same way in cartoon-world) I just can't see myself running round town in ruffles and huge puffy sleeves, though here in Portland it would definitely not be the oddest outfit on the bus.