Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sewing for gifts - cutest cat houses ever!

Jingle bells!

Deciding what to make for the family this year was hard. They have everything (sound familiar?) so I try to think of the unexpected. Skull-print aprons. Kitty treat mats. Walking Dead PJ bottoms. Camo board pants.

It's challenging. But projects are well underway.

For Ashley and Darrin, proud parents of 4 kitties, I settled on a cat house pattern from SeeKateSew. I found it just cruising DIY cat things on Pinterest.




It's unique, and it's free. But Kate could easily sell this pattern. It's beautifully drafted, and the instructions are great. Here's a pic of her version with personalized fabric:


It doesn't require a lot of materials - but it can be a little pricey to make. Well, compared to a wood crate with a folded towel inside :-)

Materials for 1 cat house:
(I found all my supplies at my local JoAnns on a sale day. They're available online as well. No, JoAnns didn't pay me to say this - I only mention it because it can be hard to source things like foam, online or anywhere else).
  • 1 yard shell fabric.
    I used a home-dec fabric, 100% cotton.
  • 1 yard lining fabric.
    Mine is cotton/poly broadcloth - it's very smooth.
Note: I laundered both my fabrics before I cut out the pattern. After a little shrinkage, the 1 yard cuts were a little spare - I had to cut 1 back across the grain. It only matters if you're working with a directional print.
  • Not on Kate's supplies list: I decided to cover the inside cushion in sherpa fleece, rather than with the shell or lining fabric. 1/2 yard was perfect for 2 cushions.

  • 1 yard 1/2″ thick foam.
    Show me the money... Since I was shopping for two houses, I got a 24" x 90" x 1/2" roll of foam, on sale, and with a coupon, about $14. That little bit of leftover foam will be absorbed by a craft project at some point - it's not wasted!

  • 1 seat cushion.
    I got a couple of these, on sale for about $3 each.  
My first house, ready for the cushion:


A few notes on construction:
The foam was easy to manage - I drew the pattern on it with a Sharpie and cut it out with my household scissors. 

Kate suggests using a whipstitch to sew the foam pieces together. Worked great. I used No. 12 perle cotton, quilters pins, and a 4" long doll needle:


It looks just like the outline on an embroidered pillow. Cute!


There's no way the foam ears will go all the way up into the points of the fabric ears. Once I had the foam liner inside the shell, I used a little poly-fill to stuff the tips of the ears.



Kate also suggests using a ladder stitch to sew the lining and shell edges together in the oval entryway. I tried it, but switched to a simple small stitch, sewn close to the edge. It adds a little more weight and definition to the edge.


These houses are not little! and are perfect for a little-bit or a full-grown kitty. The entrance is about 8.5" wide and 7.5" tall. The house is 18" tall at the tip of the ear and almost 22" across at the middle. 


Such a fun project. Ciao! Coco

21 comments:

  1. Gah! So cute! Makes me wish I had a cat on my Christmas list

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    1. thank you, Nancy! I was so happy when I found the pattern - super cute.

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  2. Oh, they are gorgeous! No kitties in our household but we do have a Jack Russel Terror that loves to burrow so I think one of these may well work for him too!

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    1. thanks! I agree - a little cuddler pup would love one.

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  3. Adorable kitty beds! I would love to curl up in one that was people-sized!

    Even more than complimenting your kitty beds, though, I'm commenting to say thank you for a comment you posted on PR several months ago regarding interfacing and flannel. You noted that flannel has an open weave that will flex, leading to bubbling even when using a high-quality interfacing. Boy, are you right! I had been having that problem with the flannel shirts for my guys, and switching to sew-in interfacing made all the difference. Thanks for sharing this great bit of expertise.

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    1. Oh, what a nice compliment - and I'm so pleased that my comment helped you. I use sewn-in interfacing and interlining a lot. And remember when fusible was not even available!

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  4. Coco, thank you so much for this post! I've been thinking about this project and you've helped me decide to go ahead with it. Your cat houses are great!

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    1. Thanks! and I hope your houses are fun for you.

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  5. Almost makes me wish I had a cat to sew for! Gorgeous!

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  6. These are fabulous - what a clever pattern.

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    1. Thanks, Valerie. I agree - such a neat pattern, couldn't believe it was free. So many people would have charged for it! Even for the wood crate and towel approach!!

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  7. I could see a small dog takeover.....;-)

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  8. Is this big enough for your kitties? I printed out the pattern and my cats are too fat for circle that makes the bottom!
    Lisa

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    1. Oh my! yes, the kitties will fit just fine.

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  9. How darling! I've never thought about making cat houses and it is such a great gift!

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    1. Thanks, Sue! gifting gets harder every year, and these are super cute.

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  10. These are just darling! I'm not sure my cats would appreciate them (they have one heck of a cat tree fort, and one of them is partial to cardboard boxes...) but I want to make one regardless!! They'd be great to donate to rescue organizations, too!
    -Abbey

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    1. Thanks! rescue orgs would go nuts for them...the cat who like cardboard boxes would probably go for this. Some cats just love being inside something.

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  11. awww, delightful cat houses. But I'm not making three of them for my cats. Let them have boxes, I say.

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I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco