Friday, June 16, 2017

Stuffed Flannel Cat

  My niece loves cats right now, so something catty was in order for her 3rd birthday in April. I did loads of searching for a stuffed cat pattern, but everything I found was too one-dimensional or cartoon-ish. I finally came across this super-cute pattern, but at 17" long it was almost double the size I wanted. I might buy and make that one at some point anyway, but it wasn't right for my niece.

  Eventually, I gave up and made my own pattern!

 Trying to make this pattern definitely stretched my drafting and 3-dimensional thinking skills! I referenced the book "Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction" by Abigail Patner Glassenberg (affiliate link), and it had lots of useful information, but my first version still turned out laughably bad... too wide in the neck, too skinny in the legs and tail, with a very splayed-leg stance, and tiny crooked ears. I couldn't even bring myself to finish it!
Photo from my Instagram. ;-)
  At this point I was pretty sure I would have to resort to a gathered skirt with cat-head shaped patch pockets, but I re-drafted it and tried again, and the second version was much better!

  I was originally planning to hand-sew the little footpads (this cat is only 9" long, so the footpads are about the size of a quarter each) but my hand-stitching isn't as sturdy as I'd like it to be, and this was going to be a gift for a 3-year-old, so I decided to machine-stitch them. I didn't even think of hand-basting before stitching though, and I really wish I had because trying to wrangle these little pieces around with 10 or so pins in each was no easy task! And they didn't end up as even as I would have liked either.

  I ended up modifying the underbody gusset shown in the book (it's also on the author's blog, here) because I wanted the gusset to extend up to the cat's chin/ mouth area. I also went with totally separate pieces for the inner legs, instead of darts, because for some reason that's easier for me to sew. I left a pretty big opening to stuff the cat through, and ladder-stitched it closed.

  I used grey and pink flannel for this... I'm really not sure how well it's going to hold up. It doesn't feel as sturdy as quilting cotton or fleece, although it is pretty cuddly.

  I embroidered the eyes and nose with brown, green, black, and pink embroidery floss. I really wish I'd canted the eyes more, and it would have been a lot easier to embroider them before sewing the entire cat, but overall I'm pretty happy with the face. The cheeks and nose were another really fiddly, difficult part to sew!

  The underbody gusset extends to the base of the tail in the back:

  She also has a head gusset, with a dart across the top and extending into the side face for inserting the ears. I think just a bit wider on the head gusset would have been better.

  I'm really happy with the way this turned out!

  I think the pattern could still use some tweaking but for only two drafts I don't think it's bad at all. =)

  My cat-obsessed little girls begged for one of their own, but since they already have 4 or 5 stuffed cats I haven't sewn one up yet... although it would give me a chance to try some more tweaks!

  Thanks for stopping by,


  1. That is seriously amazing! You are SO talented!

    1. Thank you! <3 I think the appearance of talent has a lot to do with a stubborn unwillingness to give up on anything. ;-)

  2. It's so beautiful and perfect! The birthday girl is going to adore it.