Too Many Cats



When grandchildren are babies, or at least fairly young, we can make pretty things that please us and, hopefully,  their mothers.  Then, after some time, our target audience becomes opinionated little ones.  That’s what happened with this special request from 3 yo Vivian Rose.

“Please make me a kitty cat dress, Nana,” she implored on her last visit.  Having put The Incident  behind us, making her a new dress seemed just the right gesture for assurance of forgiveness.

This child is fixated on cats.  Their family pet is a 17 year old feline who went to college with Vivi’s father and has been with him ever since.  So Vivi has daily interaction with a cat, elderly though she is.

When I spotted this fabric at my favorite fabric haunt, The Sewing Studio in Maitland, FL,  I knew Vivian would love it.   Not only that, the black background would make her mother happy, who declares this active child’s clothes have a chance of surviving the school year if they are black denim.




Even so, the fabric seemed a little too feline for my taste, but I wasn’t buying for me.  Don’t get me wrong–I love cats, but mostly in smaller numbers.

Challenges arose as soon as I began to cut it out.  Those rows of cats are not printed precisely on grain.  I dealt with a similar problem many years ago, but wisdom learned then was forgotten in my haste to make this for my precious little cat girl.  So a choice had to be made between going with the weave of the fabric or with the print.  I went with the print.

The pattern was Annie’s Sundress by Primrose Lane.



This is a very nice pattern with a lined bodice and just two shoulder buttons or  ties as closures. Easy peasy—if you are dealing with a less fussy print.  The wide size range is a bonus.

The inverted pleat at the skirt’s center front was omitted.  I had almost torn my hair out trying to get complete cat faces at the side seams (no way),  at the hemline (required fabric be cut a little off grain) and at center front of the bodice.  I wasn’t up to fiddling with two pleat folds through those cat heads.

This dress is actually a suggested variation included in the pattern. The lining was reversed on the back so the straps offered contrast against the bodice.

I had hoped that the pink gingham lining and gray gingham piping would cut the roaring purr that emanated from the fabric when my back was turned.



Photobombed by our Hannah who believes there are too many cats in the world.   And certainly, too many on this dress.


Vivi loves pockets so I thought gingham pockets would reduce the annoyance of the huge clowder. FYI, a “clowder” or “glaring” is what you call a group of cats, like a herd of cattle or a flock of geese.  I had to look that up. 



A tiny button sewn through the nose holds the pocket flap in place.


But the pockets made little difference in the overall appearance.  Still too many cats.

To find satisfactory buttons, I ended up stacking three together, a gray 4-hole,  a green 4-hole, and finally a tiny 2-hole flower.  This was a little tricky because the distance between the holes varied.

First, I lined all three up and held the stack to the light.  Sure enough with careful rotating I saw a glimmer of light through the two holes of the flower.  So the pink flower was hand sewn to the green button with a few stitches.  Then the tree were machine stitched to the strap.



I’m always in a hurry.  If I had taken time to think this through, I would have used that cat print as a border at the hem.  Or as the skirt with a gingham bodice.  A dress like A-line  Children’s Corner Lucy  would have avoided the gathers which added more and more cats to the dress.  Any one of these choices would have given Vivi her “kitty cat dress” and I would have been so much happier with the results.

I had planned to make a matching hanger, guided by Joanne Banko’s great project at Brother’s blog, Stitching Sewcial.  The cats would have been perfect for this style of hanger.  But I was no up for another cat projects.

The bottom line is that for Vivi, there is no such thing as too many kitty cats.  I think she will like the dress.

14 responses to “Too Many Cats

  1. from Martha Pullen forum: Yes, Vivian Rose will love it – but, also, YES, too many cats! LOL. I really like your idea of using this fabric as a border but you would still run into the problem with the off-grain print.

  2. I could live with cutting a hemline border off grain. The fabric is 100% cotton so it should press out okay with a skirt front and back only 30″ wide. Oh, how I wish I had done that!

  3. Purrrrrrrfect! I just had to say it! I am not a fan of cats but this print is cute and Vivian Rose will adore it! I have this pattern and have made it in every size and embellished in a million ways. I have made it so many times that I had to put it away a couple of years ago for fear that I wouldn’t make any other style! I think that this vivid busy dress will suit the vivid busy Vivian-Rose to a T! (I usually use 90 inches in the skirt for this pattern for twirling. Just think how many cats THAT would be!)

  4. Karen, this is purrrrrfect (you are so cute!) for curtains at the ASPCA cat house or a local shelter. I’m glad to hear that you, too, love this pattern. Vivi would love the 90″ skirt as she has reached the twirling stage. I’m afraid I will be like you and use no other pattern for a while. But I WILL use other fabric! Maybe I could make this in a solid or gingham and make big cat patch pockets. This fabric was expensive by my standards and I bought 3 yds!! Lots left over. Anyone need a cat or three?

  5. from Martha Pullen forum: Cute print!! Lots of cats for even a cat lover such as me, but it sure is cute. Sorry you are disappointed in the results, but Vivian will love it and that’s what counts ultimately.

  6. from Martha Pullen forum: What a labor of love!!! You could add a pink button-on apron to “tame” the kitties. But, Vivi will love her kitty dress–no matter what!! Good job, Gramma!!!

  7. from Martha Pullen forum: Well that is just darling I think that’s the cutest cat print I have ever seen…and yes…I love cats! I think the pink gingham is a wonderful
    accent and I love the buttons. If you “have” to mess with it…. I would balance the bottom of the dress with a pink gingham ruffle or a
    pink tulle ruffle…but honestly it’s just fine the way it is. When that cute little girl with the big blue eyes puts it on…she will balance the dress
    just fine…and YOU know she’s going to love it! This winter…if we ever have one!!…a pink long sleeve t-shirt will look great with it too~!

  8. I thought the same thing when I saw that print–cutest cat print I have ever seen. It didn’t overwhelm me until I joined the bodice to the skirt. Great ideas for “messing with it,” but I’m just not up to it. Tomorrow it gets mailed out, as is. Your idea for a pink long sleeved t-shirt is great. That might really help.

  9. from Martha Pullen forum: I’m pretty sure that Vivian will think it is the bestest dress you’ve ever made for her….

  10. You are probably right. There’s no accounting for a 3 yo’s taste in fashion.

  11. from Marth Pullen forum: Janice, I sure hope you will post a photo of Vivian Rose wearing her pretty cat dress!!!

  12. We’ll surely try. But it’s like trying to get a good shot of a hummingbird. She is always on the move.

  13. from Martha Pullen forum: I’m sure she will love it! It is darling!

  14. from SewForum: It’s adorable! I can just see the little one comparing, counting, choosing favorites, and just having a great time with this dress.

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