Sew Geeky: Jiji the Cat

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

So so so much sewing going on over here!  I wish there were more hours in the day so I could sew more!  But who doesn’t right?  I’m here with a post for Sew Geeky, a fantastically nerdy series hosted by Sew Chibi and Max California.  Each month, they pick a theme and invite some people to sew along with them!  In fact, everyone can sew along!  Everyone is encouraged to celebrate their inner geekiness!

This month’s theme is Studio Ghibli.  I jumped on this opportunity, because I’m a HUGE Ghibli fan.  If you’re not familiar with Studio Ghibli movies, I urge you to go and look some up and watch them immediately.  The director/writer/producer that is most strongly associated with Studio Ghibli is Hayao Miyazaki and he has created some of my favorite movies.  He is the genius behind My Neighbor Totoro, Princess Mononoke, Spirited Away, Ponyo, Howl’s Moving Castle and many others.  And Studio Ghibli has produced other amazing movies as well, like Grave of the Fireflies, Arrietty and Whisper of the Heart.  Seriously, go watch them all now.

Excuse me while I go off on movie stuff here a bit!  One of the things I love most about many of these Ghibli movies are the many strong and independent female protagonists.  The movies often feature a young girl as the lead, usually with other female supporting characters, which helps create a diverse cast representing a wide range of people and personalities.  The young girls and women are shown as complex people who struggle, support each other, learn, grow and overcome.  It’s so refreshing to see the huge range of characters that females play in these movies, as opposed to the movies with maybe one female whose role is solely to help move the men forward in their story line.  I bet most Studio Ghibli movies would pass the Bechdel Test with flying colors!  And don’t even get me started on the straight up badasses like San from Princess Mononoke, Chihiro from Spirited Away and Nausicaa from Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind.  So much awesome girl power!

Many of these movies provide great role models for young people and explore really important lessons.  They are an amazing blend of original and meaningful story lines, complex characters and breathtaking artwork.  The movies are entertaining and uplifting and most of all, magical.  I’m not saying Studio Ghibli movies are perfect, of course, but many of them are wonderful and these are the movies I want my kids to grow up watching!

But on to the SEW part of Sew Geeky . . . This isn’t my first time sewing from a Studio Ghibli movie.  I made a Totoro costume for Yuki a few years ago, and a Mei-chan outfit too.  I had HUGE plans for sewing this time – 3 outfits to be exact.  But then reality set in and I just had too much going on, so I only got ONE thing done.  😦  I might eventually get around to the other projects, but for today, I want to introduce you to Jiji the cat!

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

Jiji is a character from the movie, Kiki’s Delivery Service.  The movie is about a 13 year old witch, Kiki, who leaves home to find a new town to complete her witch training in.  She needs to find a way to make it on her own in a new place, with new friends and a new job.  She struggles to find herself, especially when she loses one of her strongest abilities.

kikis delivery service

Jiji is Kiki’s cat and best friend.  While Kiki is bright, optimistic and cheerful, Jiji is cynical, pessimistic and sarcastic.  But he’s there for her always and he is quite hilarious and an important character in the movie (If you do watch this movie, try to watch it in Japanese with English subtitles though, because I CANNOT STAND the voice in the American version.  It’s awful).

Jiji gif


My original plan was to make a Kiki outfit for Yuki and then have Kaya as Jiji, the trusted sidekick.  But Kiki’s outfit never happened, so Kaya gets the spotlight today!

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

I just thought this Jiji sweatshirt would be a fun thing to make and wear.  It features Jiji’s unique ears and huge eyes, though you may not recognize him if you’re unfamiliar with the movie.  The shirt is based off of my Panda Raglan Tee Tutorial and I used the Oliver + S Field Trip Raglan T-shirt Pattern.

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

I freezer paper stenciled the face onto the body of the shirt.  For the ears, I cut out two purple triangles and two black.  I sewed them together and flipped them right side out then folded one side in to get that ear shape (the red arrow shows the side I folded in).

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

Then I attached it to the shirt just like in the tutorial.  These shirts are honestly so fun and easy to make!  And so many possibilities!

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

I added cuffs at the wrist and a waistband, mostly because I was too lazy to hem.  But also because it’s made with a thicker french terry fabric, which made this shirt into more of a sweatshirt.  The bands just made sense.

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

And that’s all for my Studio Ghibli sewing for now.  The other thing I was planning on making was another Totoro costume with a tutorial, since I get requests for help with that all the time!  I’m not making any promises, but really hoping I get that done before Halloween!

Jiji Sweatshirt by you & mie

As for now, bye bye from Jiji!  Are you a Studio Ghibli fan?  What’s your favorite movie?  I could never choose . . .

And be sure to head over to Max California and Sew Chibi for their awesome Sew Geeky posts and check out all of the others who sewed up some Studio Ghibli goodness as well!  Click each picture below to check out the stars of this episode of Sew Geeky!

Totoro by Rae Gun Ramblings Nausicaa by Sew Chibi Princess Mononoke by Sew Chibi Calcifer, Howl's Moving Castle by Sew Chibi Howl's Moving Castle by Robutton Jiji, Kiki's Delivery Service by You and Mie Totoro & Princess Mononoke by Amelie & Atticus Jiji, Kiki's Delivery Service by Sew in Love Chihiro/Sen, Spirited Away by Max California Totoro by Casa Crafty Kiki's Delivery Service by American Kat Totoro by The Life of a Compulsive Crafter Sew Geeky Episode 6: Studio Ghibli Image Map
Sew Geeky Series

30 thoughts on “Sew Geeky: Jiji the Cat

  1. As a parent of two girls (4 and 2) I love Studio Ghibli films and lend them out to friends and neighbors to spread the word. I think I actually found your blog after the Totoro costume.
    Another reason I like them is that they don’t always have villains or very scary parts. We can watch Kiki or Ponyo or Arietty and not worry about nightmares the next few nights.

  2. Reblogged this on JS Selbstgemachtes and commented:
    Ein supersüßes Oberteil von jemandem, der anscheinend noch verrückter nach Studio Ghibli ist als ich und mit ihrer Vorstellung von Hayao Miyazakis Werken den Nagel auf den Kopf trifft. Manchmal wäre ich wirklich gerne wieder klein – denn leider sähe so ein Oberteil etwas seltsam an mir aus.

  3. My girls would love this! We are HUGE SG fans at our house – parents and kids alike. I really appreciate that my daughters and son will all happily watch them together, as well as the positive messages, subtle humor, and beautiful animation.

  4. Thanks so much for spreading the word about Studio Ghibli movies. We’re always on the lookout for awesome movies that pass the Bechdel test for our girls, which are proving to be alarmingly difficult to find.
    Oh, and the sweatshirt is pretty darn adorable!

  5. Kaya is just too much! I want to keep her on a shelf to admire! Seriously the cutest! And I couldn’t have put it better myself about the messages and empowerment that Studio Ghibli portrays! That sweatshirt looks so comfty. I think, my favorite might be Spirited Away because it’s just sooo imaginative. But I really love them all! Thank you so much for sewing along with us, Cherie! I look forward to seeinmg your Halloween plans 😉

  6. SO CUTE!!! I so wanted to make Em a Kiki dress but I just couldn’t get to it this month. Drat. Agree with all you said, I love Miyazaki and think his movies are IMPORTANT for girls/kids to watch. They’re the best. This sweatshirt is so adorable, too; huge fan of your “face on a sweatshirt” trick!

    PS – it’s a bummer that Em can’t read well enough for us to watch the subtitled versions. you’re right about the voice. ;P

    • Oh how funny, Em and Yuki coulda been Kiki twins! You know, when Yuki was younger we’d just show her movies in Japanese even though she couldn’t understand and she was mesmerized by them anyways. She probably didn’t totally get the whole story line, but she got the gist. Now that she’s older, it’s harder – she probably wouldn’t put up with a movie she couldn’t understand, but who knows! Maybe they’d still be into it. 😛

  7. This is adorable- I am seriously sad that I haven’t seen the movie yet and need to get on it asap. I have no clue why – mb the lack of movie stores and netflix hasn’t had it?! No excuses! lol Great job on the sweatshirt though, it’s a keeper for sure!

  8. My DVD of Spirited Away arrived today and im sitting here with my 11week old watching it as i read this blog lol what are the odds!? Love the Gigi outfit, i think i will have to try a Totoro costume when i have some time 🙂

  9. Pingback: Favorites from 2014 | you and mie

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