There are three types of cat stuffed animals a person can make a one-dimensional, pillow-type; a one-dimensional with a base so it can sit upright; and a three-dimensional. All are easy, with the pillow type being easiest. Whatever type you choose, these toys are great for babies and young children, as they are soft with no removable parts to choke on. If you are designing them for babies and infants, be sure not to sew on buttons for eyes.
Department and specialty stores have all sorts of fabric you can choose for your cat. Some fur fabrics would work well, but not if it’s your first time. If you’ve never made a stuffed animal before, you should start with a cotton-type fabric, as it’s easy to work with and sew on. Some stores even sell kits, where the animal print is stamped on the fabric and all you need to do is cut, stuff, and sew. These are rather expensive, but if it’s your first time you could buy one of them to get experience and then go on your own. Or, if you’re daring, start from scratch right away.
You will need to decide how you want to proceed; and once you do, fabric selection will be easy. In addition to the fabric, you will need cotton batting or pillow stuffing, and coordinating thread. You can sew it by hand, or use a machine.
If you decide to make your own pattern, get a large piece of paper and draw the cat on it, about two inches larger all the way around than the finished product. The reason you want it larger is, you will be turning the fabric inside out and sewing it closed, and you need the extra material for ease of turning and so it won’t separate when you stuff it.
To make the pillow-type cat, draw your outline on the paper. It should be of a cat sitting, so you just have a relatively tall oval, outlining the head and body, and leaving the tail and legs to the imagination. Once you have your pattern drawn, cut it out and lay it over two thicknesses of the material, making sure the material is inside out. You will be drawing on the inside of the material. Draw the pattern, then take straight pins and pin the fabric together. This holds it in place when cutting. Cut through both pieces at the same time. You may need to take out pins as you go along, but put them right back after you cut to keep the material from sliding.
Once the material is cut, you can sew by machine or by hand, but start at one side next to the bottom opening, leaving the bottom sewing for last. Machine stitch or baste all the way around the inside of the fabric, and when you are done, turn it right-side out, and you will see your cat’s shape.
Poke the ears with your finger or a pencil, to make sure they prick upward through the fabric. Begin stuffing, pushing the batting up into the head and ears first; and then working your way toward the bottom.
When the cat is sufficiently stuffed, you will need to baste the bottom closed. This is a little tricky. You’ll need to turn the outside of the material in toward the other side, and baste the seam closed so it’s as hidden as possible. When you’ve finished, knot the thread and you have a stuffed cat. If you want to give him eyes and a face, mark them in with permanent markers.
To make a cat with a base, measure the bottom length of the cat, and cut one piece of material that length and half that wide. It will be an oval shape, and that will have to be basted onto the bottom seam, rather than having the two edges sewn together for the one-dimensional pillow cat. Sew three-quarters of the way around, and then put more stuffing in before finishing, making sure the cat is plump and will be able to sit without falling.
To make the cat three dimensional, you can give him two legs. Cut two pieces of material the length of the cat’s chin to its base, and half again as wide. Turn each piece inside out and baste on one long and one short side, leaving the other short side open to insert stuffing. When the two sides are sewn, turn them inside out and stuff with batting. Do the same for each leg, then baste each leg onto the front of the cat, just below its chin but letting the legs fall even with the base, so when it sits down the legs will touch where the base touches.
You might want to add a tail. Cut and sew material the same way as you cut the legs, making it two to three times longer than its width. Stuff it with batting and baste it onto the rump of the cat, and it will have a long tail to match its legs.
The possibilities are endless when making fabric cats. Try one or two with remnants or sale material, so if you make a mistake it won’t be too costly. Once you get the hang of making them, the sky’s the limit, and you can make them in various sizes and thicknesses to sell at craft shows and flea markets, or just to give away as gifts.
For holidays, you can buy specialty fabrics with Halloween cats or witches on them, or Christmas and Easter designs. You can also make tiny cats and stuff them with cat nip for great cat toys.
Just remember to keep your stitches close and tight if you are sewing by hand. You don’t want your seams to fall apart shortly after you make your cat.Just remember