Hot! Gallery The “Thank you for the Meow” tunic

Just like the Yellow challenge the music challenge was one that didn’t appeal to me much at first and I had actually planned to skip it. However, I have been contributing quite regularly lately and didn’t feel like changing this. So I really put on my thinking hat and tried to come up with ideas.

I honestly have to admit that music isn’t one of the most important things in my life. I love going dancing (the freestyle kind – I never took dancing lessons of any kind although I would love to) but that’s pretty much the only time where I really feel the NEED to lisen to music. My husband listens to music all the time while I actually like silence a lot. I know that this is kind of weird but I am extremely sensitive towards sounds and I like to listen to the voices in my head. ;)

I have quite a lot of favorite musicians though, most of them are European like Robbie Williams, Coldplay, the Verve, Blur, the Beatles (of course!)…and then there is still Abba. I was already into Abba when I was just 11 years old and my class mates made a lot of fun of me because I didn’t care about the trendy music. That was a few years before Abba suddenly got popular again and then I was suddenly not the stupid social outcast anymore…the girls from Abba sure wore a lot of interesting costumes and I knew I would want to make something Abba-inspired. But either the costume was too crazy or elaborate or just not suitable for my figure. (I wish I had their legs!) Anyway, I ended up picking their famous cat outfit. It isn’t really a style I’d usually wear because it’s rather baggy. My lower half is quite heavy and if I wear baggy clothes on my upper body I look heavy all over, not just around the hip area. I still like this shirt a lot though because it doesn’t show just any cat but two wonderful cats I used to have.

The grey one is supposed to be “Miezbär” (it’s a rather crazy name that I made up and it means something like “meowing bear”), the very first cat I ever had. She was the kitten of a stray cat, completely wild and not used to people at all. She must have been 6 months old when my mother decided in a very cold January and lots of snow that we would adopt that kitten. Sounds easy but you have to keep in mind that she was completely wild. We had never been able to touch her for even one second because she was so shy. So next time, we fed the stray cats, my mom grabbed the grey kitten by the neck and carried her up the stairs to our apartment. She was hissing and spitting like crazy and bit a hole into one of my mom’s thumbnaila and almost bit one of her sinews in two – my mom couldn’t move her thumb for a whole week. Once were were inside our apartment, my mom let go of the kitten and she ran right behind our stove. We didn’t see her for a whole week but we knew she was still there and alive because she used the litter box and ate cat food. She never came out when we were in the kitchen. It took us about 4 weeks to tame her and she actually turned into the cuddliest, trusting cat around. She wrapped herself around my mom’s neck for hours while my mom was doing household chores and my mom finally stopped having rheumatism in her neck and shoulders thanks to that wonderful cat. In spring, she had babies and we kept one of them, a black tom cat. I called him “Pittiplatsch” because he had such big round eyes in his dark face. Both cats had really cute faces with very big, round, yellow eyes. When there wasn’t much light around and their pupils were all big and round, they almost looked like cute fluffy owls. Miezbär died 17 years ago, Pittiplatsch 7 years ago…but thinking about them so extensively actually made me cry quite a lot while deciding what/how much to tell you about them.

I can’t have cats anymore because I have a severe cat allergy. If I could change one thing in my life, I would want to be able to have cats again because my favorite music is a cat’s meow.   I’d gladly listen to it all the time.

Josh absolutely wanted to be in my arm on this pic. I am including it because it’s one of the only photos where I remembered to take off my jacket. The white patch of sky behind us was actually bright blue and we had a wonderful view of the Berlin Victory Column. It completely disappeared in the photos. Magic or just a bad camera?


The facts

⁃ Pattern: self drafted

-Fabric: about 1.5 yd of pink knit fabric from stash, originally 1 EUR/yd, black velvet from old dress, 0.5 yd of grey knit fabric for 2 EUR – I chose pink because it was in my stash and because I don’t like to wear white. Even my wedding dress wasn’t white but red.

-Year: contemporary, 70s inspired
⁃ Notions: none
⁃ Time to complete: about 5 hours hours (The applique was time consuming, particularly the grey knit which was some weird microfiber. My sewing machine kept skipping stitches no matter what needle I used. Sewing the few seams of the tunic was extremely simple)
⁃ First worn: August 11, 2012
⁃ Wear again? – Yes, but probably not so much in public but at home when I work. I don’t like the shape of this shirt but I do love the pics of my cats. I also don’t like the idea of tying a belt over the cat picture but the Abba girls did it this way and it’s the only way to make this baggy piece a bit more flattering.
⁃ Total price: 3.50 EUR


PS: We  took the pics during a picturesque route to Josh’s favorite playground in Tiergarten. Although it’s just the middle of August, it already feels like fall here and it got so chilly at times that I had to wear a jacket (which I forgot to take off for some of the shoots). :(


“Schloss Bellvue”, the official residence of the German president (not the chancellor!) The red thing in the foreground is an old street alarm box.

The typical “summer in Berlin feeling”. People relaxing on the river banks. It’ll be winter way too soon…

My favorite bridge in Berlin (love the bear statues!) and my favorite cake shop. If you ever visit Berlin you have to go to “Café Buchwald” (est. in 1870). They used to deliver their cakes to the German emperor and even the New York Times wrote an article about them. They are particularly famous for their “Baumkuchen“.




Djamila is a German translator living in Berlin, Germany. She is married to an American and has a 4-year-old son who never sleeps. She used to sew A LOT before her son was born. After 4 years of wearing practical sandbox-clothes she finally wants to get her original fashion style back and sew a lot more again.


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  1. Oh, I love kitties too, I have 7 that love us back and we support a feral cat colony on our property. Your story is so sweet, I *almost* started to cry here at work : ) Kudos for channeling something you love. And, oh my goodness, I had a red wedding dress too! One day we should swap pics of our dresses. Love the Berlin pics as well, keep those coming!!

    • Loran, I am really happy I deleted most of the original story I had written (because it definitely would have made you cry). Miezbär died such a tragic death and I was in tears all Saturday night when I recalled that day. I decided to delete that part. No need to pull other people down. These cats were loved like crazy and had a happy life with us – that’s all that matters in the end. My mom and I took care of a lot of other stray kittens and managed to find homes for them. These first cats turned us into cat lovers. (My family is traditionally into dogs.)
      Yes, we should definitely swap pics of our wedding dresses! I am on the Sew Weekly contributor forum but I hardly ever get online there. I think there’s a photo of my wedding dress up there. If you want to you can also contact me via my info (at) german-english-experts (dot) com and we swap pics this way. (My business website is very cat-heavy by the way…)

  2. That is super creative Djamila in how you pulled your inspiration from Abba. I loved ALba music and still listen to their tunes. Your pictures of Berlin and so beautiful to see, I have never been to Germany, so thank you for sharing.

    • Thanks, Krista. :) Glad to hear there are other Abba fans around. My husband hates them – they are too sweet for his taste. Too much pop. ;)

  3. What a lovely garment and your story so nice.. You did a great job.

  4. What a lovely story! I’m a cat lover myself (and a closet Abba fan), and I just loved hearing about your sweeties. I’m so sorry you can’t have them anymore, but I love that they are on your shirt.

    I actually really like the tunic on you – I think it looks great. But I can understand how you are uncomfortable with it. I don’t like how I look in tunics, but people always tell me I look great in them. Sometimes it’s just about how garments make us feel isn’t it?

    • Never heard the term “closet fan”, hehehe…Thanks for commenting, Leimomi. I have to admit I like the tunic better after I saw myself in the pics so I kind of see your point there…still, I feel a bit wearing it. It’s just not my style and I usually don’t wear clothes with giant prints/appliqués either – it’s a tad too “loud” for me. However, I will enjoy wearing this at home and since I work from home I will have lots of opportunities to wear it.

  5. I love the kitty appliqué on this shirt. What a great way to remember your cats. Touching story too.

  6. I loved Abba when I was little, I had a poster of them on my wall, I was always attracted to their shoes.

    Maybe Mena liked the idea that we are from opposite ends of the spectrum when It comes to music! I can’t handle silence because of my rambling thoughts. Loved reading your story too and am a big cat lover, shame about the allergy at least these gorgeous appliques wont cause a sneeze attack.

  7. Abba is so fun to listen to, I can’t help but dance. I also love kitties. Nice story and nice shirt!

  8. I was listening to a lot of old ABBA albums last week (because my boys are away and I get to listen to MY music!), and I toyed with the idea of making a pair of those satin culottes that they wear in the video for Waterloo. Then my brain kicked in and told me that under no circumstances is it acceptable for me to wear stretch satin culottes!! I looked at that image of them in the cat tunics, but what I was mostly thinking was, “they forgot their trousers”. ;). I think your version is much more wearable. ;)

    And yes to more photos of Berlin. I’ve never been either, although if I find myself back in Germany, I’ll be sure to visit.

    • You know, those satin culottes were the other thing I seriously considered for this challenge. ;) Only that I wasn’t planning to make satin ones but something a bit more wearable. I am really not sure though whether culottes look good on me and I didn’t feel like testing it now because I am not extremely interested in wearing such types of trousers. I am not extremely interested in wearing baggy tunics either but cats make a lot of thing a lot more acceptable and wearable. ;)
      If you ever come to Berlin make sure to get in touch with me. (My business website lists all my contact details.) Visitors from abroad are always a lot of fun.

  9. I think your tunic looks great on you. I don’t think it makes you look top-heavy at all. Thanks for sharing the story of your cats and the beautiful pictures of Berlin. When I lived in the UK I rarely went over to Europe, and now I live in Australia I regret that. We plat ABBA at work and the children love it. It is funny watching 2-year-olds shaking their hips to ‘dancing queen’!

  10. I remember the cat outfit – I loved that too.

  11. I loved Abba from being a little kid (I remember lying up in bed with a transistor radio listening to them winning Eurovision in 1974 with Waterloo) and for one of my birthdays, my party was a trip with my friends to see Abba the Movie. Then much much later Meryl Streep and co. ruined Abba for me with Mama Mia. I mistakenly went to see it at the cinema to see what all the fuss was about, now I can can’t hear an Abba song without seeing Streep or one of her cohorts gurning ridiculously to it in my head. Ruined :(

    But anyway…..I do still love Abba’s outfits (well Agnetha and Anni-Frid) and I love cats. I think the shape of that tunic is really pretty on you, especially balanced out by those fab wide-legged trousers. And I love, love, love the pics of Berlin that I might not otherwise see. Thank you….for the meow-sic xx