Sunday, February 12, 2017

Unzipped Cat Lips Card Holder Tutorial

After finishing last week's nasty cat quilt block, inspired by #pussyhats, it occurred to me that I could easily turn it into a useful cardholder. So here's round two. 
Depending on the word you embroider, this project can be a political encouragement to speak out, or a fun present for a child. It can snugly hold a gift card, a credit card, or, more loosely, an Ace of Diamonds. 
Last week's variation was a 1-hour project. This a 1.5 hour project, depending how fast you make embellishment decisions  (30 seconds to 5 years in my case). You will need:
  • Two 2" squares for ears
  • One 4" square for the front as the head. I used blue (I was getting tired of pink)
  • One 4" square for the area behind and above the head. I used gold
  • One 4" square for pocket lining. I used light pink. It won't show on the finished project
  • One 4" square to serve as backing
  • One 4" square of quilt batting (optional)
  • Two buttons
  • A zipper
Fold each ear square in half horizontally, then fold the upper right and left corner inwards. 
Trim a quarter inch off the right and left corners of each ear.
Place the 4" square in your preferred head color - in this case, blue. Make sure the outer corner of each ear triangle is at least 3/8" from the edges of the head square.
Place the inside lining of the head on top of the head square. This square will not show in the finished piece.  Below, I choose pink. Place it over the head and ears, matching raw edges of the two large squares.

Pin that square smack on top of the head and ears.
Stitch all the way across, to hold the ears in position.
Flip open.
Gently pull each ear upward as far as possible, and press.
Seize the 4" square you want to serve as the background, above the cat's head.
The blue cat's head will lie on top of the gold piece, but it has to be shorter. So cut about 1" off the bottom of the cat's head piece (cutting through both layers.)
Place it on top of the background piece, matching the bottom corners and two sides.
Baste the ear pocket onto the background piece. 
Place the 4" backing square on top of a 4" square of quilt batting. 
Place the cat head piece, face down, on top of the backing piece, with the batting still on bottom.
You should be looking at your basting stitches. On the machine, stitch all the way around the square, using a SCANT quarter-inch - maybe a few threads shy. This will allow credit cards to fit snugly in the pocket. Leave a 2" or more turning gap on one side. Don't let the gap include a corner.
Trim the corners to within a few threads of your stitching.
Look in the opening and find the right hole: The one where your backing fabric (green in this case) faces the cat's head (blue).
Carefully turn the piece right side out through that hole, and use a chopstick or its ilk to push out the corners.
Play with embellishments for eyes and lips.
Embroider the word you might want to unzip. Keeping one hand inside the pocket, spell out the words with straight stitches. The word should be flush right for maximum readability after the zipper is added.
I chose a vintage coral-covered metal zipper, with a worn pull, for the lips. Cut the zipper to size, and stitch over the end to prevent the zipper pull from falling off.
Stitch the zipper onto the pocket, again keeping your fingers in the pocket to prevent the needle from penetrating the back.
It's so much fun to zip and unzip this cat's lips! Embellish as desired. I added large stitches to the top of the background and the top of the pocket.

Sew up the turning gap on the side. Now it can snugly hold a credit card, a gift card, or whatever! (Below, my public transit card is halfway in.)
If you like, you can add a cat tail that will make the piece easy to clip to something. 

I started out with fabric cut to 5.5" x 2". Fold in half, RST, the long way, and stitch as shown, leaving a turning gap along one side. 
Turn the right side out, then stitch all the way around.
Thread it through a key ring, D hook, or whatever.
Bring the ends together.
Stitch it too the back of your piece, being careful not to penetrate the front.
What cat themed pieces have you made lately?