Butterick 3161: Kitty Fail


the pattern: 
Butterick 3161, Young Junior/Teen Swimsuit & Cover-Up,
Butterick Pattern Service, no publish date. I’m guessing 1970’s based on the low waistline and low leg-line of the bathing suit bottoms.
Suggested fabrics are listed as “Gingham, Terry, Pique, Knits and Seersucker also Eyelet for Cover-Up.”
Which I only quote to point out the interesting: no Lycra, no Oxford comma. Also no comma after Seersucker, it’s like the narrative rushes through that last part, like “Knits and Seersucker-also-Eyelet-for-Cover-Up-but-let’s-not-even-talk-about-that-let’s-move-on.” Butterick, are you feeling insecure about that suggestion? Are you ashamed of eyelet? Also: terry cloth?? I hope that suggestion is meant for the cover-up too, I mean terry seems like a bad, overly absorbent idea for swimming.
But none of that is the point, I didn’t make the suit.

the fabric: 
I found this plaid pencil-skirt on the clearance rack at The Gap, too big for me but it was like $1 so I bought it for fabric. Later I did that thing I sometimes do where I refuse to believe that I can’t fit an entire garment out of a way way way too small piece of fabric while also matching the plaids.
I mean, I figured I was in for a shrug, but I wasnt really anticipating this level of shruginess:  

Oh right, also it has kitty ears. It’s really nicely made, matched, it’s lined with a really yummy washed silk charmeuse, it’s just…pointless and impossible.


pretty on the inside

pretty on the outside too. But who cares! It’s never gonna happen!

I’ve thought over many different ways to save this insane little kitty-cat shrug: 

  1. Attach it to a cardigan. 
  2. Attach it to a zippered jacket. 
  3. Attach it to a severely tailored suit jacket for a fun contrast in genres.
  4. Attach elastic “holder” type things at the armsceye seams to secure it under the arms. 
  5. Just wear it like it is.

No no no no no! It’s not worth the heartache of opening up any part of it. 

The only thing I see worth doing with it is at this point is putting on a strapless dress and photographing it like I’m some kind of kitty of mystery. 


it’s working right?
ears up
no, it’s not working

Sew It Or Throw It:
This is one of those rare ones where I’m going to Throw the garment, but keep the pattern. Maybe someday it’ll be a Sew. Meanwhile, this kitty fail might become a Kitty Success in some kid’s dress up box somewhere. Hopefully. Appreciate that charmeuse, kid! 

*Exciting Update!!!!*
Check this out: Kitty Hood has found a super-cute new owner yay look how cute yay!!!!!!!!



10 thoughts on “Butterick 3161: Kitty Fail

    1. It is a great pattern, the cover illustration delights me. I’m intrigued by the non-stretch bathing suit too, don’t actually want to make one, at least not right this minute, but it might be interesting some future day to unfold the pieces and just check them out and see what their deal is.
      Oh! And happy to report: since writing this post, a new home for kitty shrug has been arranged! Second life for kitty hoodie!


  1. You write, and sew, so beautifully. And your design ideas are brilliant (kitty ears on a hood!!). It is such a fun garment. I think every wardrobe needs a few shocking/amusing/out there items. I hope the donatee loves it as much as I do.


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