Project Run & Play : Put Me in the Zoo

I think this one is my favorite of the themes this season.  The others are great too but this one.  This one was a challenge.  I love a creative challenge.

So.  Design an outfit inspired by your (or your child’s) favorite animal. But not a costume.  I chose to use souricette 2 for this one.  Souricette 1 likes animals just fine but souricette 2 looooooves them.  She exclaims whenever she sees a dog, a squirrel, even a seagull!  She’s crazy about all animals so how do I pick one?  I chose the first animal she discovered as a baby.  One that would practically sleep on her.  A cat.

It also happens to be my favorite animal.  I know, I know.  It isn’t the most original of choices but it isn’t that easy either.  It’s not like zebras, tigers, and giraffes who have a definite color scheme and print.  Or a lion with that big mane.  It’s a cat.

I brainstormed for a few minutes.  What are cats like?  Flexible, soft and warm, usually elegant.  They sleep a lot in the most impossible positions.  They’re proud and like to be well groomed.  And kittens are playful and a little silly.  Any outfit I made had to be easy to move in, comfortable enough to sleep in, and elegant with a touch of playfulness.

I settled on three pieces : leggings, a tunic, and a coat.

The coat is Amy Butler Little Splashes.  I used navy blue velvet from my stash for the outside and quilting cotton for the lining, both from I wanted the coat to be simple so I skipped the pockets and belt.  I opted for three buttons near the top for more ease of movement.  And a playful touch : I modified the hood to include ears.  The hood is two pieces, with a seam down the center.  I shortened the opening side of those pieces to make a room for a third piece running around the face.  I used the template from Imaginegnats’  tutorial and inserted the ears between the front band and the back of the hood.  I kept the lining pieces as in the pattern.

I love the richness of the velvet, the softness of it.  The sleeves are a little long for now but we can roll them up.  I would have liked a more cat-like color but navy blue is what I had.  I had some grey corduroy that might have worked and was a better cat color but the velvet felt like more of a cat texture.

The leggings are Go To Leggings in a size 3, full length.  I used stretch cotton jersey from Girl Charlee in cement blue.  Perfect blue cat color!  The leggings are on the long side but I wanted something souricette 2 could wear for a while.  The cotton/lycra blend makes for a better fit (no bagginess!) and is super comfortable.

And finally the piece I love the best.  Souricette 2 agrees with me and is crazy about her tunic.  I used some cream bamboo jersey I got at a while ago.  It’s very drapey and tens to be a bit sheer.  The accents are the same cotton/lycra jersey as the leggings.  I used my trusted Jalie basic T-shirt pattern in a size 3 as the base.  Seriously, it’s an awesome pattern!  It goes from a toddler size 2 all the way to women’s plus sizes.  It’s fitted with sleeve and neckline options and it’s printed on sturdy paper.

Obviously, I modified the pattern quite a bit…  I started out with the crew neck and kept that neckline but omitted the neckband for a more open neck.  The original pattern for the front comes in two pieces.  There’s one bottom piece and three different top pieces for the different necklines.  Instead of merging those two pieces I kept them separated and added 1/4″ seam allowance.  I split the back in the same spot and added the seam allowance there too.  Both the back and front bottom portions were also lengthened by 2″.  Then, I added 1.5″ of width to the bottom of front and back pattern pieces (so 3″ total because they’re cut on the fold).  For the sleeves, I added 3″ of width total. You can see from the pictures that I simply All that extra width just gathered before sewing, nothing complicated…

I drafted my own collar.  It was my first time and I’m so happy with the result!  I used the front and back pattern pieces to draw the neckline.  Then, I drew the collar and added the seam allowance.  I created the collar and then basted it onto the top body piece.  Since the bamboo rayon is slightly sheer, I decided to line the top part.  And bam!  Neatly finished neck edge with my collar inserted.  I didn’t line the bottom and the sleeves because I figured the gathers would help keep it all opaque.

Finally, some playfulness!  I found a cat silhouette I liked to make an appliqué.  I traced it onto a piece of double sided fusible, stuck it onto my jersey, and cut the silhouette out.  I put that onto the tunic, fused it, and added some subtle running stitch all the way around.  It isn’t very visible but that was the point.  I just wanted it there to keep the appliqué on.  I know souricette 2. She could start scratching at the cat during a bored moment and she end up pulling it off.

I’m not sure I mentioned it but I love the whole outfit.  It’s exactly what I had envisioned.  And the souricette loves it!

Creative mommy at home to two wonderful little girls, trying to juggle family, sewing, exercise, family, knitting, photography, and did I mention family?

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Posted in Sewing
28 comments on “Project Run & Play : Put Me in the Zoo
  1. That is a very cute outfit! My girl loves cats, as well. 🙂


  2. Chelsea says:

    Love the “ears” on the jacket. Very cute outfit!


  3. Lindsay says:

    This is super cute! I was thinking along similar lines but didn’t have time to sew along. Great job!!


  4. Magda E. says:

    This would be a favourite around here… Cutest outfit in the link so far… =D


  5. Souricette 2 is adorable in her kitty outfit.


  6. rachael {imagine gnats} says:

    super cute!!!


  7. Oh wow! Blue velvet jacket, self designed collar, cutest tunic ever…amazing! We did some animal appliqué this week too, but opted for reverse appliqué!


  8. Olga Becker says:

    The outfit is wonderful. I love every single piece. Impressed that you worked with velvet, not the easiest fabric out there.


    • Thank you! I was a little apprehensive with the velvet but this one was actually quite cooperative. I had read that basting was important, that needles would leave marks, etc. It turned out that needles did leave marks but they went away when I pressed (from the wrong side). I even managed to do a little bit of top stitching (my books said not to!) and it didn’t crush the pile.


  9. Ajaire says:

    I think it’s hilarious that one of your thoughts for your cat inspiration is that you could sleep in the outfit. It’s so smart cause cats sleep all. Day. Long. Haha.
    The tunic is so lovely. I really like the simplicity of the appliqué. How well does the bamboo jersey wash/wear? I’ve been eyeing some, but I’ve never used it so I’m curious.
    Great job on the whole outfit!


    • I’m guessing cats must work so very very hard during the 5 minutes a day they’re awake….

      I’ll let you know about how the jersey wears after a couple washes. I do try to wash my handmades inside out and line dry them (but they end up in the dryer fairly often). The first time I used the bamboo jersey, it was for me and I was just starting out with knits. It turns out this cream one is quite sheer so I never wore it.


  10. Annika says:

    That coat is perfect! So beautiful!


  11. Rachel says:

    adorable ~ we have a cat lover in our home as well 🙂


  12. Está preciosa la chaqueta. Nunca he cosido con terciopelo, pero me parece una tela no muy facil de trabajar . Felicitaciones !!!


  13. Love every part of this. And bamboo jersey????Oh it must be so soft!


  14. […]  Now she loves it…  The fabric is the same cotton/spandex jersey as the one I used for her cat outfit.  I got it from Girl Charlee and I really like it.  Not all of my purchases from there have been […]


  15. […] the test, I used some medium weight velvet, leftover from a coat I made.  The dress can actually stand up on its own!  It’s still very comfortable though. […]


  16. […] the community are the best. That’s a total of 12 outfits this year!  Click through each and every link to see them all (or […]


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