We're cautious about toys for our cats, and so like to make our own catnip toys. This way, we can choose organic catnip and use up scraps of 100% cotton fabric. We made these little heart-shaped catnip mice out of charm pack squares, but they're a purrfect way to use any scraps of fabric. We're pretty sure any cats will love them since we had oodles of feline assistance and product testing during their construction.
We liked these new charm pack options available from Fat Quarter Shop. They're not all specifically Valentine themed, but they're sweet nonetheless: Kewpie Love 5" Stacker by Kewpie for Riley Blake Designs, #Love Charm Pack by Sandy Gervais for Moda Fabrics, North Woods Charm Pack by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics, Vintage Picnic Charm Pack by Bonnie & Camille for Moda Fabrics.
Sewing Tools You Need
- Sewing Machine and standard presser foot
Fabric and Other Supplies
- Scraps of cotton fabric; we used several 5-inch squares from charm packs in our stash
- Catnip. We used organic catnip (available at most pet stores).
- Cotton cord. Six inches (per mouse) of ⅛" cotton cord for the tail.
- Five inches (per mouse) of thin cotton or hemp cord, or embroidery floss for each set of whiskers.
- Small scrap of black felt (for eyes)
- A handful of polyester fiberfil per mouse
- Knitting needle, chopstick or point turner
- All purpose thread to match fabric
- See-through ruler
- Fabric pen or pencil
- Iron and ironing board
- Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
- Pinking shears; optional
- Tape measure
- Seam gauge
- Seam ripper
- Straight pins
- Hole-punch; optional
- Hand sewing needle
- Large-eyed embroidery needle
- Small funnel
- Download and print the Catnip Mouse Heart Pattern.
IMPORTANT: The 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 heart shape along the solid line.
- Place two charm squares right sides together. Pin the heart pattern onto your charm squares as show below.
- Cut out pattern, through both layers, using pinking shears (as we did) or scissors.
- Cut ONE 6" length of cord for the tail.
- Insert the tail between the layers of fabric, curling the tail so it does not extend outside of the fabric anywhere except between the humps of the heart – let the end of the cord stick out there about a quarter inch so you can better hold it in place as you stitch over it later.
- Use your fabric pencil to mark the two on-seam dots (indicated on the pattern piece). This is the small gap you will leave open to turn the mouse right-side out.
At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board
- Set your sewing machine to sew a short stitch length (we used 1.5mm). A shorter stitch length is better for curves. Sew slowly, stopping, with your needle in the down position, and pivoting in small increments to create a smooth curve all around the mouse. Remember to lock your seam at both marked dots, leaving a small gap for turning.
- Clip your curves (this will help your curved seams create a smooth line). Be careful not to cut through your seam.
- Gently turn your heart right-side out. Use your chopstick, knitting needle or point turner to gently shape and smooth the heart.
- Fill your heart about ⅓ full with polyester fiberfil, pushing it gently toward the seam to give the finished "mouse" a bit of chubbiness.
- Using your funnel, add about a tablespoon or so of catnip. The chopstick will help push the catnip through the funnel. Finish stuffing the mouse with remaining polyester filler until pleasingly plump.
- Hand stitch the opening closed.
- Thread your large-eyed embroidery needle with your whisker cord and pull through the top of the mouse as shown.
- Tie a knot at the end of each whisker.
- To create the mouse eyes, use either a hole punch on your black felt, or cut two small circles with scissors.
- With your sewing needle and a length of black thread, sew the eyes to your mouse.
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 it if it becomes torn.
Project Design and Sample Creation: Alicia Thommas