Friday, December 16, 2011

Cat Toy Tutorial

My old cat Snowie never liked toys. She was happiest with a cardboard box, a shelled almond to bat around, and a basket to curl up in. This cat? She loves toys. She likes to snuggle them, carry them around in her mouth, and chase them around. Her previous mice toys have gone missing, and since they were rather worn and a little gross anyway, I wanted to get her some new ones. Cats need holiday gifts too! Instead of buying, I decided to make some for her using the stack of fleece scraps I had on hand from making bedding, hammocks, and tubes for the chinchillas.

I like using fleece for my animals, mostly because it doesn't release threads when it gets worn. I also stuff with fleece so that if the toy rips open, my animals aren't swallowing pieces of fluffy batting. This pattern would work with any type of fabric though, you'd just have to keep a closer eye on the toys to make sure they aren't falling apart.

You can find the pattern pieces here. Click on 'actions', then 'view all sizes'. the large setting is about the size I used.

You will need:
-enough fleece for the pattern pieces and to stuff the toy
-cat nip (I got a small tube with a cardboard scratcher, but you can find this in any pet store)
-sewing machine and/or needle and thread
-a cat friend to enjoy your creation

1. Trace the pattern pieces onto your fleece. Make sure you flip the body when making the second piece. You`re going to be sewing them right sides together.

2. Tie a knot in your tail towards one end. The tail piece should naturally fold itself in half here, which is what you want. Sandwich the tail, knot facing inwards, between your two body pieces. You are going to lay your body pieces right sides together (the tail will be sandwiched between the right sides.
Pin and sew around the arch, leaving a 1/4" seam allowance.

You should have something that looks like this.

3. Fit your base piece into the bottom of your body, right side facing inward. You may find it easier to baste instead of pin, but whatever works for you. You're going to sew all the way around, leaving a 1.5 to 2 inch gap along one of the sides. This is how you'll turn your mouse right side out and stuff it.

4. Turn your mouse right side out and stuff it with your scrap fleece.

5. Add your catnip. I like to put about half the stuffing in, add the catnip, and then stuff the rest of the way. 

6. Close the opening with an invisible stitch, and you're done. Repeat for all the kitty friends in your life!

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