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


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

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

  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!

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

  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.

    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!

  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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  9. 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!

    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.

  10. 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!!

  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