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March 2009

You can read the story about my encounter with the Cat Lady in the Slightly Straightforward Stories pages.

Here's how she came to be.

This is the original Crazy Cat Lady action figure.

I decided I wanted to make her look a bit more realistic. She has a rather ghostly look which I will paint over, but first I began with her hair which was fairly soft rubbery stuff. I used my largest craft knife to begin hacking and cutting it off, bit by bit. It took a while and I was careful not to slice toward my thumb or hand!

This is the sliced away hair. I want to save the little cat head and tail; maybe they will wind up on the finished doll somewhere.

In the process of maneuvering this figure in all directions while I cut, I accidentally broke off her lower left arm at the joint, which I don't need on there at this point anyway, so put it aside for now.

I think this will probably do; just let me check the back.

Okay, this needs a bit more cut away at the back of the head and neck.

I thought I could cut this little cat head off the same way I did the one that was on her shoulder, but no way. The plastic of her body is very hard and I felt lucky to get it hacked off at all. I wound up using my heat gun to soften it and STILL it resisted. When it finally came off it was beyond any other use, so I trashed it.

Since I now knew how hard the body was, I decided to keep her dressed the same way and just layer fabric over it. Here I have chosen the pale blue fabric for her pajamas and the stripe for her robe. These fabrics are all cotton, which makes them easy to glue and drape.

I also got out a bottle of powder blue paint to cover those dark colors, since I didn't want anything to show under that light blue.

Looks pretty bad, but it neutralizes the painted clothing. If I had been smart, I would have worked on her houseshoes before I did anything else, but it didn't occur to me at that point and I later decided what the heck, leave them as is.

Here I have covered her lower arm with a pajama sleeve, and now am eyeballing the size of strip I need to cut to make the pajama legs. I turned up one side, pressed, then glued the hem. For each arm and leg, I turned under one raw edge on the seam and glued it over the other raw edge for a smooth finish.

However, I wanted her pajamas to look a little less crisp, so pushed the tubes down somewhat to suggest wrinkles in the pants legs. Here she has her pajama legs on, and the sleeves of her robe are glued in place over the pajama sleeves. When I have her completely finished I will work on making the sleeves hang normally.

Notice anything else here? Being stared at by those eyes with their deep black eyebrows was beginning to get to me, so I painted over the brows with flesh-colored paint. I also have sliced away that black headband, too.

As you can see at the upper left of the picture, I created a paper robe pattern, adjusting it to fit the figure. Here I have glued the shoulder seams, finger pressing them to the back, then pressing them with my iron. I am now applying a line of glue around the armhole so that I can turn the seam to the inside for a finished edge.

Here I am pressing the glued armhole seams on my sleeve board.

Before I go any further, I want to have the robe meeting and overlapping properly in front, so have applied a bit of masking tape to hold it temporarily while I decide on the seams.

Notice there is too much fabric on the back.

Here I have made a box pleat to take out the excess, and turned under the seam allowance on the neckline. After gluing, I also pressed it.

Here I have painted on some glue before I start fitting the robe back in place.

After gluing the back in place, I turned under the front side seam allowance and glued it over the back side seam.

I got the idea for the cats on her shoulders because of the original small black and white cat that wound up in her pocket. It was hard to manipulate them, though. I used my heat gun to soften the rubber somewhat so they looked natural, but it was very resistant. I heated them, pressed them in place with Tacky glue and a drop of super glue, and used masking tape to hold them as firmly as possibly while the glue dried.

So here she is with one cat in place before the draping is done. For that, I used glue inside the sleeves, pulling them down and shaping them in place. I also decided to remove the belt and add a pocket. Since I had planned for her to be holding the birdcage with her right hand, I put the pocket on her left robe front.

I also decided she needed a bit of bosom, so poked some wisps of quilt batting up under the robe with my pick and shaped them slightly.

Here she is with her repainted face and some new hair. I used a flesh colored acylic; after it dried, I used some of my chalks for shading. It probably would have been better if I had cut away those black eyebrows before repainting but I decided it was already enough work to do what I had done! If anybody comments, I may suggest she went to bed without removing her makeup. lol

I have also added a bit of a lace collar at the neckline of her pajamas.

Here is her just-got-out-of-bed hair from the back, although it won't show in the finished setting. I don't know what that dark speck is, as I didn't notice it until I uploaded these pics. Well, too late to find out now!

Here she is with a bosom, a pocket with a kittten in it, and her belt is back.

And something else that doesn't show up here is the two pearl buttons I added, made from no-hole beads.

Although it doesn't really show here, I used a bit of black chenille inside the pocket to suggest the kitten's body, then glued the cut away head in place. The tail slightly pokes out under her arm, but it doesn't show here.

From this ...

... to this:

What fun!

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