When you can’t find what you’re looking for in store, make it yourself! At least that’s my theory.
Although a large part of my online endeavours involves designing sewing patterns, I’m really pretty bad at machine sewing. That’s the primary reason why my patterns are all designed to be made completely by hand.
When absolutely necessary though, I can operate a sewing machine for the basics. If you can too, why not make one (or two, or three…) of these sleepy cat head pillows? Let’s fill the world with them!
I decided to share this template as an after-thought, really, so I apologize that it’s not presented all that well. But the steps are pretty self-explanatory and should be intuitive if you have even a little sewing experience.
It’s a quick project to do and, once completed, will bring a little punch of playfulness into your living space.
Here’s what you’ll need to make one:
- Fabric of your choice—enough for a front and back piece in whatever size you choose to make it. Choose a print that is a solid colour or at least not too busy, so that it doesn’t distract from the cat’s facial features.
- A skein of embroidery floss in a colour of your choice (I used a dark gray). It will need to present a strong contrast against your fabric.
- An embroidery needle with an eye wide enough to accommodate 6 strands of floss.
- Some fiberfill (stuffing). Take apart a pillow you are no longer using if you don’t have any or don’t want to go out and buy some.
- A good pair of scissors
- A sewing machine
- Thread to match your fabric
- Straight pins
Step 1 is to print and cut out this cat head template. I’m sharing it in two formats:
OPTION 1: Click on the image below to bring it up in full size. You can then right-click (in Windows) to save it to your computer. From there choose to tile print it at whatever size you wish.
OPTION 2: The PDF version, below, includes the cat head already tiled on four letter-size (8.5×11″) pages at the size I made it. The finished product in this case will be approximately one foot wide (0.3 metres).
When tiling your pages you’ll need to line up and tape them together, overlapping as needed. I suggest that once everything is secured in place, and you’ve cut around the cat head, you also cut away as much of the excess overlapping paper as possible so that marking your pattern is easier.
Step 2 is to attach the pattern piece to your material and cut out a front and a back piece. I chose to use an upholstery fabric, primarily because it was available in a subtle, yet cheery yellow print that really caught my eye. You can attach the pattern piece to your fabric with straight pins.
For Step 3, keep your pattern piece attached to your front fabric piece in order to mark your lines for the hand stitching of the cat’s face elements. If you are an experienced sewer, you’ll probably have transfer paper (dressmaker’s carbon) available to do this, but here is my quick-and-dirty method.
With your needle, poke several holes through your paper pattern piece along the lines you need to mark. Then, with an ultra-fine tip felt pen, mark through these holes to make small dots directly on your fabric. I don’t even bother using a water-soluble pen. I use a permanent marker — OH THE HORROR! — some of you are probably saying. But my stitching will cover these little marks, so I’m not losing any sleep over it.
After marking, I removed the pattern piece and lightly connected the dots with my marker.
Step 4 involves back stitching all the lines. If you aren’t familiar with how to do this, it’s really simple. Click here to see instructions. Use all six strands of your embroidery floss because this will ensure your cat’s face is really visible on the pillow.
Step 5 is your final step before breaking out the sewing machine. With the same embroidery floss, fill in your cat’s nose with a satin stitch. Click here to see how that’s done. I think the shape of this cat’s nose lends itself best to vertical stitches, so that’s what I did.
Step 6 is to machine sew your front and back pieces together, right sides facing each other, using a quarter-inch seam allowance. Leave an opening wide enough to turn your pillow right-side out, and then stuff it with fiberfill. I used an invisible stitch (ladder stitch) to close up the opening by hand. Here is a video tutorial of this stitch, made by someone much qualified than I.
And you’re done! Enjoy your sleepy cat throw pillow! Make one for a friend and share the love.