How Not to Sew a Stuffed Animal

So my five-yeard old has been sweetly wondering when I am going to make her the stuffed animal that I rashly promised to make for each kid last year.  You can wince at my first attempt (for my son) here.

Does she want a cute owl?  No.  Does she want an easy doll?  No.  Does she want an internet-is-littered-with-patterns-and-directions teddy bear?  No.  She wants a stuffed cat.  Not cute, not easy, and no internet help to speak of.  Trust me, I scoured.  Goodbye free Thursday night.

So I decided to deduce what I could from pictures and free-hand it.  That’s why this post is called, “How Not to Sew a Stuffed Animal.”  One of the reasons why.

It took me several days to figure out that I needed an underpart and a head gasset or gusset or something like that.  I nearly just sewed the two sides of the head together and realized at the last second that this would result in a unicorn.  In which case I would have presented it to her anyways and told her that it was a type of cat she just hasn’t seen.  I don’t undo my work.

Well, the problem with free-handing (and, in general, with people who aren’t good visualizers), is proportions.  I’ll tell you (from experience with this…cat) that the only difference between a cat’s head and a donkey’s head is how large the ears are.  And the only difference between a donkey’s head and a lamb’s head is whether those massive ears are standing up or laying down.

So when I turned the material right-side out and saw that instead of a cat, I had a donkey/lamb, I considered reneging on my “I don’t undo my work” rule.  Then I figured out how to stuff half the massive ear inside itself and sew it in to make a smaller triangle.  Whew.

But the other proportion problem came at the end.  Have you seen those frogs that have been run over by a car?




It’s from an oversized underbelly.  Now you know how to achieve that effect.

Those are the things that I realized my mistakes on after the fact.  The other problems (why is it laying down instead of standing up?  Why doesn’t the tail go up?  Why is the neck so thin?) I have no idea how I would fix it for next time.  But it doesn’t matter.  There won’t be a next time.  No. More. Cats.

home-made stuffed catIMG_0619


I mentioned it to my friend as “my labor of love.”  Then I took another look at this article of fabric and decided not to link the word love with That Thing.  Talk about bad word associations…