Bad Kitty, and the Black-Tie Silk Peony

12 Jan

Sorry for radio silence, guess who ended up in the hospital and had to have emergency surgery with an infected cat bite on her dominant, nay, let’s say sewing hand. Yep. WTF. Apparently there’s this wealth of popular lore out there about cat bites that has up til now escaped me, but somehow in a lifetime of being an animal adorer (cat owner my entire adult life, not to even start on dogs), I didn’t realize that one can end up so sick so fast, or that there is such a hazard there.

Peabody participating in Me-Made-May 2010

Peabody’s a unique one, though. She wandered into my back yard in 2009 a starving, matted, plaintively begging little 5-month old stray at a time when I was least able to resist her, after having recently lost a beloved elderly, soul-matey cat.  I most definitely believe in adopting rescued animals whenever possible; all but one of the pets I’ve had have had lives elsewhere before they came to me, and you expect that there might be baggage that might turn up, but Peabody does kind of take that to the next level sometimes.  She has some little quirks, including some territorial tics I never experienced with cats I had previously; one of which (office chairs with arms!) I ran afoul of in the excitement of installing my lovely new computer monitor.

In any case,  I don’t need to have a complete rehash of the situation here, but that is where I’ve been and what I have been doing, and I have at least gotten to a point where I can do some typing, but hand sewing is not in my immediate future, boo!  I really wanted to get cracking on winter coat and there was a whole lot of pad stitching on the immediate agenda.  Perhaps it’s a sign I should go RTW route???

On to happier things, I owe some pictures of my “black tie Peony”:

Colette Patterns Peony in black silk dupioni, with the accompanying cummerbund belt (backwards) in silk charmeuse with vintage glass buttons and bias self-loop closures. I chose dupioni for the dress because I knew from previous experience that I really like to take advantage of the flattering A-line of the Peony skirt by using a fabric with maximum body- the dupioni was an absolute delight to work with, and wear. Mmmm, rustly!

The only change I made to accomodate the dupioni was I had to do tucks instead of the gathering in the front upper skirt; the gathering was almost too subtle for the dupioni in a way, and after several tries I wasn’t getting a good result, so I opted for tucks instead.

As for the slippy charmeuse of the belt, who knows what I was thinking. I even went off script and added extra fabric to the front-front panel, thinking even MORE gathered pearly-white charmeuse would be even greater, but it’s really not. What actually IS greater are these pearly vintage glass buttons, and I adore how that part of the belt looks with the button-loops, so I just spun the belt around, let the cummerbund part drape at the small of my back and had the buttons at the front, and loved it.

Actually one of these days I’m plotting to make a second back half, and replace the cummerbund-part with another button part so it buttons at both center front and center back.  Too much?  I don’t think so, I love the button effect that much!

Not liking the cummerbund bit this go-round: it’s not the pattern’s fault.  I have a version I did in sateen that I love (big self-covered button on the back, so cute!), but it just didn’t work out the way I did it in the charmeuse.


I keep trying to get away from these hallway pictures with the bad lighting but after the dress’s maiden voyage to a holiday gala concert, I managed only the most hilarious pictures:

I kind of love the spooky-Wednesday-Adams vibe, I just wasn’t looking for glum pictures in a dress that makes me happy!

Or perhaps you prefer apparently trying to form an S-curve with body in admiration of my own belt:

Did I mention I managed to fit a subtle vintage crinoline under there? Helped to accentuate the fullness in the skirt. Actually one of my mom’s that came to light in her big move earlier this year. Our family are sartorial packrats indeed but you’ll hear no complaints about that part of it from me!

Admittedly a black silk dress isn’t the most light-spirited or frolicsome- there’s something almost inherently nineteenth-century-mourning in the way the fabric rustles or something, it’s an odd association,  but it’s really a feel-good garment for me regardless.

As is my previous Peony which I might as well post a recap picture of here for funsies:

Self-Stitched-Sept 2011: Yarn-dyed cotton Peony

This is just a “homespun” cotton from JoAnn’s, yarn-dyed black & tan cotton, but cut on the cross-grain to give it more body and really take advantage of the pattern shape- I think it really brings out the hourglass in the pattern and the woodgrain effect in the fabric.  Love it, if I do say so myself.

Pretty sure this exceeds my typing ration for the evening; more sooner!


16 Responses to “Bad Kitty, and the Black-Tie Silk Peony”

  1. Amanda January 13, 2012 at 12:04 am #

    Yikes, sorry to hear about the cat bite! I hadn’t heard of that either and then a couple of months ago my aunt’s neighbor went through the very same thing. Hope you’re healing well!

    Love both your Peonys and your write-up about them! Exciting to see you have a blog after seeing your Flickr creations. I’m particularly loving the wood-grain looking one, red belt and necklace. I’d get this pattern based on your version except I really shouldn’t buy more patterns for a long while…

    • atelierfargo January 15, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

      Hi Amanda! Yeah, it’s like you learn a word and suddenly it pops out all around you, all the cat bite stories that I was oblivious to before!
      Thank you very much for the well-wishes and compliments. I hear you on the *sufficient* pattern collection too. Wish I could say I had your restraint though, I’m afraid!!

  2. Andrea January 13, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Ouch. Sounds like you’ve been having a tough time – bad kitty, indeed! Both dresses are gorgeous and I like the idea of the tucks instead of gathers on the silk dress. As for going RTW: don’t do it. Your sewn creations are beautiful and you should keep them going once your hand is fully healed. Welcome back!

    • atelierfargo January 15, 2012 at 9:55 pm #

      Thank you very much- and I think you’re probably right on the RTW point- I think I’d probably regret it in the long run, if for no other reason than wondering if it could have been better, blaming perceived flaws on impatience! Thanks for the pep talk; it worked! 🙂

  3. gingermakes January 13, 2012 at 9:30 am #

    Yikes, hope you’re feeling better! The Peony is lovely! I really like it!

  4. aviewintomyworld January 13, 2012 at 2:46 pm #

    eek that does not sound pleasant at all, hope you’re feeling better.
    On a more positive note your black peony is gorgeous, i know people are always talking about breaking out of black but done right its fantastic, as this is!

    • atelierfargo January 15, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

      Thank you! Yeah, I wore too much black for too many years in my youth so I’ve kind of lost interest in it but I had fun with this one!

  5. flyingchange January 15, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    Yeah those kitty teeth are sharp! Glad you are recovering. I love the crinoline under the Peony, fun! Although I really like your earlier Peony. I have this pattern and have seen such neat versions of it, really need to get cracking!

    • atelierfargo January 15, 2012 at 10:09 pm #

      Thanks- yeah the crinoline makes it extra fun to wear. Truthfully the woodgrain version is my favorite too. It think it’s a really good pattern, I think you’ll be pleased!

  6. KC January 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    The peony is lovely–both of them are! As to the cat bite, I’ve been there and it’s no fun at all. I’m afraid to ask, but is Peabody still with you?

  7. atelierfargo January 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm #

    Hi KC! Yeah, I still have Peabody. Do you think that’s wildly unwise? But I know that if I trespass her boundaries, the ones that might not always be glaringly obvious to me in the moment, she’ll lash out at me again and I’m finding that a lot more unsettling now than I’d like to admit. How did yours turn out if you don’t mind me asking?

  8. me January 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Oh man! Heal up soon!!! One tiny cat scratch, and I’m all puffed up. Your peonies are so pretty, and I love the brogues 🙂

  9. KC January 22, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Alas, my cat bit me on his way out of this world, in a panic because he couldn’t breathe. I like to think he tried to take me with him out of affection for me. He chomped down on my left hand and disconnected a tendon to my thumb. By the time the infection cleared up I had to have surgery to redirect a tendon from my index finger to get the thumb working again. I sure hope things work out with Peabody!

    • atelierfargo January 22, 2012 at 9:43 pm #

      Oh KC I’m so sorry to hear that, what a nightmare time that must have been! I’m so glad you had as good a surgical result as you obviously have done, considering your sewing and knitting prowess! I suppose it depends if you’re more a work-helps-me-cope, or I-need-time person, but I wonder whether he managed to buy you a little breathing space to grieve, if that makes any sense? I only think of it because things have been somewhat insane in my own life lately and it occurred to me after all this that a little interlude of enforced inaction that never would have happened otherwise, probably wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me at this particular time.

      But I do like your interpretation very much- if I go, this one comes too!

  10. Cecili January 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    Hey Sewing Idol so how’s that nasty bite? I hope it won’t prevent you from making amazing garments for too long! I had no idea cats could be that dangerous, to think that I have like 10 in my garden and 2 indoors…(throwing nervous glances behind me^^) As for your black Peony + belt it is yet another utterly beautiful and elegant creation:)

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