Documentation of the first snowman is unclear. According to Bob Eckstein, author of The History of the Snowman (yes… someone actually wrote a history of the snowman!), there are artistic depictions of snowmen dating back to medieval times. The earliest documentation he found was a marginal illustration from a 1380 work titled, Book of Hours found in the National Library of the Netherlands. Our little catnip snowmen are much more modern and designed as the perfect little pet toys to keep your kitties busy while you’re outside building a real “jolly, happy soul.”
We offer a downloadable pattern for our catnip Frosty, so you can make lots in no time. During our in-depth snowman research, we were surprised to find that you refer to a gathering of the frozen fellows are simply “snowmen.” This seemed rather dull, so we’re suggesting, “a snowlypollyclub” — we’ll let you know if that catches on at Wikipedia.
Our snowlypollyclub is made from soft white fleece for the look of snow, but you could use most any fabric scrap you’d like as long as it isn’t too stiff feeling. A stiff fabric will be difficult to turn and to achieve a smooth rounded look on the tight curves.
We’ve photographed our snowmen with pretty little bows as they might appear as a gift for your cat-loving friends. But once they’re on the floor for the kitties to play with, you may want to remove the ribbons, which might otherwise soon be a tangled mess.
Some cats can be really rough with catnip toys, so please supervise your pet’s use of this or any toy. Check often for rips or tears and discard the snowman if it becomes torn.
Each snowman finishes at approximately 7½” tall.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
NOTE: Supplies listed are for one snowman, but you’ll want to increase that in order to make a full “snowlypollyclub.”
- Scraps or ¼ yard cuts of fabric: we used scraps of white mid-weight polyester fleece for the look of snow
- Small scrap of black felt for eyes & buttons OR black embroidery floss if you prefer to embroider eyes/buttons; we used felt
- ½” pom pom; we used red and ivory single poms
- Catnip; we recommend organic catnip, available at most larger pet stores – it’s healthier and much more fragrant
- Scraps or one small bag of polyester fiberfill; Fairfield makes a handy 2 oz. Quick Craft mini bag
- Optional: 10″ of ⅜“ satin or grosgrain ribbon; if giving as a gift, this ribbon can be used to tie a bow around the snowman’s neck; as mentioned above, it should be removed prior to letting the kitty play with the toy
- All purpose thread to match fabric, felt, and pom
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Straight pins
- Seam ripper
- Hand sewing needle
- Large-eye embroidery floss needle (if embroidering charcoal eyes and buttons)
- Single hole punch (for felt eyes/buttons – unnecessary if you prefer to embroider)
- Optional: hot glue gun (we used a glue gun, but it is also unnecessary with a few quick embroidery stitches)
- Small funnel
- Download and print out the one pattern sheet: Catnip Snowman Pattern.
IMPORTANT: This pattern is ONE 8½” x 11″ sheet. You must print the PDF file at 100%. DO NOT SCALE to fit the page. There is a guide rule on the page so you can confirm your final printout is to scale.
- Cut out the pattern piece along the solid line.
- Fold your fabric in half wrong sides together. Using the pattern, cut TWO pieces.
- Transfer the eye, button, and nose markings from the pattern to the top snowman fabric piece.
- From the felt, use a hole punch to cut 5 black pieces; two for the eyes and three for the buttons. If you prefer to embroider the eyes/buttons, do that now. We embroidered the eyes on our Baby Catnip Snakes. If you want to see how we did that, go to Step 7 under Getting Started in the Catnip Snakes article.
- Using your hot glue gun, apply a small amount of glue to the back of the eyes/buttons and the pom pom nose. Press all in place.
- Thread your needle with thread matching the nose pom pom, and take a couple stitches through the back of the fabric to fully secure the nose. If you’re not using a glue gun, you’ll still want to take a few extra stitches through the nose.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Find the bottom fabric piece and place it right sides together with the top, aligning all the raw edges. Pin in place all around. Don’t be afraid to use lots of pins to make sure all those curves stay in place. Leave an approximate 1½” opening at the very bottom of the snowman for turning.
- Using a ¼” seam allowance, stitch around the entire perimeter of the snowman. Remember to lock your seam at either side of the 1½” opening for turning.
- Go slowly in order to maintain a consistent seam width as you maneuver all the curves. You may want to shorten your stitch to help control the curves. For more about getting a smooth look every time, check out our full tutorial on curves.
- Clip the curves, being careful to cut through the seam. If using a woven fabric, press the seam open.
- Carefully turn right side out through the opening.
- Using a long, blunt tool, such as a knitting needle, chopstick or point turner, gently smooth out all the curves to create an even curve all around.
- If using a woven fabric, press the snowman flat, pressing in the raw edges of the opening so they are flush with the sewn seam.
- Fully fill the snowman head with the polyester fiberfill, then fill the body about ⅓ full, pushing the filler gently towards the seam to poof the snowman into shape.
- Using a small funnel, add about a 3-4 tablespoons of catnip. A chopstick will help push the catnip through the funnel.
- Finish stuffing the snowman with additional polyester fiberfill until it is pleasingly plump.
- Slip stitch the opening closed. Use tiny stitches so the fiberfill doesn’t poke out.
- If giving as a gift, tie a bow around the snowman’s neck. This ribbon is best removed prior to letting the kitty play with the toy unless you are supervising the play.
Project Design and Sample Creation: Alicia Thommas