happy cats : a free sewing pattern

Happy cats to sew, in two sizes! Cause I’m nice like that. They’re quick and easy and there’s tons of room to experiment – add some applique and embroidery to make it resemble somebody you know and love. You can sew by hand or machine. I’ve made a bunch so far and I’m not ready to stop, there is something satisfying about this growing crowd of cat friends.

small stuffed cats in two sizes - sewing diy

They are straight out of my daily paintings, the funny little cats who wander around the cobblestone streets and forests. This is a great beginner project and there are a couple tips mixed in the instructions. Let’s make happy cats!

download the patterns

You will also need:

  • cotton fabric
  • a basic sewing kit
  • chopstick or similar
  • stuffing – i like wool
  • buttons
  • embroidery thread for the features

patterns and supplies for sewing happy cats

1.  Download and cut out the templates. There is a small and large, you could make a whole cat family. I’ll be demonstrating on the large. Cut out your template and pin it on a double layer of fabric – right sides together. Cut out.

2. Separate the two fabric pieces and mark your seam line. I measure the quarter inch and make little dots around the pattern – every couple inches – as a guide and mark in pencil. Pro tip: place a sheet of fine sandpaper under the fabric piece and it won’t slide around so much. I always recommend marking the seam line and it is essential in this pattern for getting the legs just right. Also mark the area to leave open.

3.  Make guide dots for the face.  Decide which direction you want your cat to face while looking at the right side (printed side) of the fabric. Mark the dots. Push the pencil through the paper as shown and mark for guides or alternatively you could trace the whole face onto the fabric.

back to the happy cats in just a moment:

It has been a priority here for years to create high quality and fun free patterns (there are tons) like the happy cats on an ad free site. There are not very many of those left and it is becoming increasingly difficult. In an effort to keep the free awesomeness flowing I’ve created an opportunity for you to support and show some love to my free pattern library.

support the ann wood handmade free pattern library with a happy donation 

Support free patterns like happy cats with a happy donation. 

Click here to add your support.


Back to the happy cats:

sewing the seam

4. Pin the fabric pieces back together – right sides of the fabric together.  Use lots of pins.  Sew around the seam line. You can hand or machine sew. I’m sewing on the machine. Leave open as indicated for turning and stuffing.

5. Before turning the cat right side out clip little notches around the curve of each foot as shown on the front foot above and the tip of the tail. Clip off the points of the ears near the seam and remove a little of the seam allowance. Clip a notch into each of the corners where the legs meet the body, Clip notches into the curve  where the tail and back meet and at the neck.

6. Turn the cat right side out. Use a chopstick to gently push out the legs, ears and tail. Slow firm pressure and twisting a little help. Stretch and massage the curved seams a little with your fingers to smooth them.

7. Stuff -I’m using this wool stuffing.  Add a little at a time and be careful not to block the legs and tail with clumps of stuffing until you’ve filled the toes etc.

8. When the cat is sufficiently filled fold in the edges of the back opening and stitch shut.

9. You can make further adjustments to the stuffing from the outside using a doll needle or large embroidery needle. Pro tip: place the happy cat under a stack of books for a couple hours – it has a smoothing effect I like.

making the face

(you can click the images for a larger view)

I’m using buttons for eyes. You could alternatively make the X shapes shown on the pattern. I’ll shown you the sequence of stitches I use to make the face but you could achieve the super simple features with any embroidery stitch you prefer.

* It helps to read these steps through once before beginning.

10.  Begin by making a knot close to the end of the embroidery thread (I’m using Perl DMC 8). Put the needle in a little away from one eye mark and bring it out at the eye mark. Pull the thread to pop the knot inside the fabric. If any thread tail remains sweep it in with your needle. (There is more about this method of hiding thread ends here)

11. Make a tiny stitch and knot it. Sew on the first eye with a couple stitches. Make a knot under the edge of the button, put your needle back in under the edge of the button and bring it back out at the other eye mark. attach the second eye.

12. With the thread still attached put the needle back in under the edge of the button and bring it out at the nose mark.

13. Make a diagonal stitch for one side of the nose bringing the needle back out at the top of the other side of the nose

14. Put the needle back in at the nose pencil mark creating the nose triangle shape.

15. And bring it out a little to one side below the nose.to begin the mouth.

16. Make a diagonal stitch for one side of the mouth and bring the needle back out at the nose mark.

17. Put the needle back in at the end of the first mouth stitch. Bring it out where the other side of the mouth will start.

18. Make the diagonal stitch for that side of the mouth and bring the needle out at the nose mark again.

19. Before making the last stitch make a knot in the thread but do not tighten it.

20. Insert the needle into the knot loop and as you tighten it use the needle to draw the knot down the thread close to the fabric. Move the knot until it is is just a little further away from the fabric than the length the last stitch will be.

21. To make the last stitch insert the needle at the end of the previous stitch.

22. Bring the the needle back out a little away from the face, pull the thread tight to pop the knot through and clip close to the fabric. If a thread tail remains use your needle to sweep it in from underneath.

hello happy cat!

I hope you make lots of happy cats! You can use #annwoodpattern on instagram to share.


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  1. These cats are adorable! Thank you so much for this, and all, free patterns you give us. I will happily donate to the fund!

  2. Carol McElroy

    Love these. Planning to try some with linen and embroidery. I’m so inspired by your work!

  3. Teri Lynn Williams

    A donation for free patterns? Free advice? General camaraderie in the sewing world?
    In a heartbeat – thank you! -teri

  4. Trish Cheek

    Thanks Anne! I LOVE this family of cats and am looking forward to seeing up my own family of Kitties.

  5. Trish Cheek

    Sorry, That should’ve said “ I’m looking forward to SEWING up my own family of Kitties.

  6. Donna Hedgepeth

    I really enjoy your blog. I was happy to donate.

  7. Letitia Lane

    I tried to donate to the free pattern fund, but there was no button for Pay Pal. I’m in Australia. I love you freebies and have made a few of them.

  8. amaranda de jong

    Another fab freebie thanks so much (hope you enjoy your coffee , great idea for a little support in these grasping times all the best )

  9. Rosemary B

    Ann, I just looked at your new painting space. I love the floors and window curtains. I hope you have enough space and contentment in the upstairs, rooms, does this mean you moved from the downstairs apartment? or you have both spaces? I might have missed a blog post about that. I am glad you are in Connecticut. Is it less expensive to live there?
    Too many questions, sorry. I am always interested in where people reside, and what prompted them to be there. You are riiiight there on the ocean!
    This kitty is very sweet. I hope everyone makes a dozen, each!
    I make quilts and cover composition books, I have 5 grand babies and sometimes throw together dress up clothes: even hats and funny pants.
    I am of course always inspired by your painting. I do NOT paint pictures. I never learned. Keep being happy and healthy!!

  10. These are so cute Ann!
    Also would be really fun to hand-stitch with felted wool fabric

  11. Thanks for the brilliant patterns Ann.

    I was wondering what kind of scissors you use for cutting out fabric?

    I’ve made two cats, both the larger version. I might have a go at upscaling the pattern. Do you have any tips for this?

  12. Thank you for this pattern! I have several cut out and ready to sew for my granddaughter and friends.
    I glued the printed pattern to light cardboard and cut it out along the sewing lines so I can trace around it to mark the sewing lines. Works great!

  13. These are precious and they look so darling all together. How fun. Thanks for the pattern!

  14. vickie Edgeworth-Pitcher

    Last summer I had my granddaughter for a few weeks and I started to teach her to see. This summer I’m going to use this lovely pattern to teach her how to follow a pattern. Wondering if I could see on the button eyes and nose before I see the two halves together? Thanks so much for sharing!

  15. These are absolutely amazing and thanks so much for sharing.
    Sadly we lost my mum earlier this year and I have been looking for a project suitable for some of the clothes I kept of hers. These cats are just perfect and I can’t wait to get started

  16. Love these! I used them as a project for the little girls I was teaching to sew and they loved them too:)

  17. I made one of these today using the large pattern, but mine seems much smaller than yours. I used the patterns exactly like you did, so I’m wondering why it’s so small :(. Your big ones are perfect!

  18. Such a lovely pattern, thank you!

    I’m happy to contribute ❣️

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