The Etsy Blog

How-Tuesday: Black Cat handmade and vintage goods

Halloween is stealthily tip-toeing around the corner of the calendar, and will soon be spooking us all at the most unexpected moments. For this week’s How-Tuesday post, Katy Kristin has compiled a black cat plushie project in honor of the holiday with her own spin on one of the classic icons of Halloween. Black cats are known to have supernatural powers in cultures across the world, and we invite you to fashion a fierce (or cute, as the case may be) feline friend from fabric to customize as you wish.

If you’re in the Bay Area, don’t forget to stop by the Museum of Craft and Folk Art for the one year anniversary edition of Craft Bar on Thursday, October 7, 2010 to stitch up plush critters with Katy Kristin in real life! More details here.



Who is this Kary Kristin character anyway? Well, Katy is a Bay Area native, with a background steeped in making. She earned an art degree from UCLA and has since gone on to use her creative skills for television and film, including making miniature buildings for special effects shops, clay characters for TV shows, making things for destinations like Sea World, and beyond. These days you can find her back in her native region making all sorts of treasures, including jewelry and stuffed animals, like these black cats.


Let’s get started, shall we?




Materials Needed:    
Paper pattern
Old Clothes or Fabric Scraps
Stuffing (Fiberfill, Cotton, etc.)
Thread (Polyester is strongest for plushie-making)
Embroidery Thread (contrasting color for facial features)
Embroidery Needle
Buttons and/or felt for eyes
Chopstick or pencil, for help in stuffing
Felt for tail (optional)





Step 1: Cut out your paper pattern along the “Cut Line.”

Step 2: Pick the fabric from your old clothes (or fabric scraps) that you will use for your cat, and make sure they are big enough for your pattern. Lay your chosen fabric with the 2 right sides facing each other, and pin the paper pattern to both.


Step 3: Cut out the cat pieces from the fabric, following your pattern.

Step 4: This is totally optional, and if you choose not to sew on a tail, please skip to Step 7. Cut out a strip of fabric for your tail appliqué. Felt is a great choice as it will not unravel if you are hand stitching. If you are machine stitching with a zigzag or satin stitch, any contrasting fabric would be suitable.


Step 5: Pin the appliqué to the body piece.

Step 6: Sew on the appliqué.


Step 7: If you would like to embroider all the facial features, skip to Step 10. Trace two circles
for eyes onto a piece of colored felt. You can use a circle template or find a button or bottle cap
in a size you like and trace around that. Cut out the felt circles.

Step 8: Pin the eye circles to the face, and sew them on.

Step 9: Sew buttons for the pupils of the eyes. If you donʼt want to use buttons, you could repeat Step 7 with smaller circles in a dark color, and sew those on as you did in Step 8.

Step 10: Embroider on the facial features. It helps to draw the features first so you will have a guide to follow as you embroider.


Step 11: Pin the body pieces together with right sides facing in. Use lots of pins to be sure the fabric does not slip around as you sew.

Step 12: Starting at one side of the ear at the very top of the head, sew all the way around the cat until you reach the top of the head again next to the other ear. You will leave the space between the ears open.


Step 13: Using your original paper pattern as a guide, cut slits at the corners in the excess fabric. This will keep the fabric from bunching up when you turn the cat right side out. Be careful not to cut all the way through the seams you stitched!

Step 14: Turn the cat right side out. If you find it hard to do this with just your fingers, you can use a chopstick or the eraser end of a pencil to help you push the fabric out.


Step 15: Stuff the cat. Start at the legs and work up the body, next stuffing the arms, the chest, the ears and then the head. You can use the chopstick / pencil for help with stuffing, too.

Step 16: Sew the top of the head shut using an invisible stitch. Use embroidery thread that matches your fabric, doubling it up if your fabric is somewhat thick. For help with the invisible stitch, please refer to the diagram.


Meeeow, now youʼre done!

Thank you to Katy Kristin and our pals at the Museum of Craft & Folk Art for sharing this project with us. For hands-on events, craft exhibits, and more, check out MOCFA SF. If you make this project, please share a photo with us in the new How-Tuesday Flickr group!

Halloween How-To’s | How to Make Plushies | More How-Tuesday Posts