Stuffies (In the Hoop)
Stuffies (In the Hoop)

I don’t have a cat, because I’m allergic, but I do love them. I know plenty of people with kitties, and have heard all sorts of hilarious stories about the things they get into, or things they steal to make their own. You might as well give your kitty their own toy, or they’re just going to decide your fabric stash will be their new entertainment.

Stuffies are perfect toys for little kitties, and add a little (or a lot) of catnip to the mix, and you’ve got the perfect cat toy! I’ll show you how to make one for your little feline friend.

So, I’m going to show you how to make the little skeleton fish stuffie, but these directions will work for all of the in-the-hoop stuffies. You will need:

  • Stuffie file

  • Printed or stitched templates

  • Felt or non-fraying fabric for the stuffie

  • Tearaway stabilizer

  • Scissors

  • Temporary spray adhesive

  • Poly-fil stuffing (and/or catnip)

  • Needle and thread (optional)

First, let's start by cutting out our stuffie shapes. If you have software, you can print the template files. If you’re unable to print them, hoop up your stuffie fabric and “stitch” the dielines out.

Once you’ve got the dieline on your fabric, carefully cut out both the back and front pieces. If you’ve printed your dielines, it’s best to add a little bit of spray adhesive to the back of the paper to keep it in place while you’re cutting it out.

When you’re done, you should have two little fabric shapes, one for the front of your design, and one for the back.

Now grab your hoop and hoop up a piece of tearaway stabilizer.

Start your machine sewing. The first thing it will stitch is a dieline.

Grab your front fabric piece, and lightly spray the back with some adhesive. Place it just inside the stitched dieline. Once it’s in place, set your machine sewing again. It will stitch a tack down seam all the way around your fishie.

Next, your machine will stitch all the inside details on your stuffie, like our little fishie’s skeleton. Once all the inside details are stitched, it’s time to add the back.

Carefully remove the hoop from your machine, but DON'T unhoop your design.

Flip your hoop over. Take the back piece of fishy fabric, lightly spray the back of it with adhesive, and gently lay it inside the dieline on the back, like shown. Don’t press too hard on it from this side.

To secure your fishie in place, flip your hoop back over again, and push on it from the front. If you push on it from the back, you might tear the stabilizer out of the hoop.

Once your fabric is secure, carefully place your hoop under your machine again. A note before you start stitching again, since the stitches will be visible on both the back and front of your stuffie, it’s best to have bobbin thread that matches your fabric for this last seam.

Let your machine stitch the final seam. You’ll notice your machine will sew around your fishie, but not meet all the way back up. Stuffies will leave a small gap in the seam for this final tack down so you have a small gap to stuff it with.

Unhoop your stuffie and carefully tear away the stabilizer, leaving just your fishie behind.

He's ready to be stuffed! You can see here the small gap you have to work with. It’s not much, but it’s enough to fill him nice and plump.

If you’re just making a regular ol’ stuffie, you’ll want just Poly-fil, but if you figure this is going to become a cat toy anyway (as they often do) you might as well grab some catnip too.

You can fill your fishie with stuffing...

... or a mix of stuffing and catnip, or if you want a crazy happy kitty, just catnip.

Just a warning... stuffing with catnip is messy. About as messy as what will happen when the kitty gets a hold of it. Stuff you fishie in a place where you can tidy up easily.

Once your fishie is nice and plump, you can either close the gap by sticking him back under the sewing machine, or if he’s too big to fit, stitch him up by hand.

Your finished stuffie! Cute and cuddly, and just waiting to be pounced on. Especially since this one is filled with nothing but catnip.

That’s one happy kitty. Hey, this one might not last long, but that’s the beauty of these little stuffies. You can always make kitty another one!


The thing about making cat toys (or dog toys, for that matter) is that you’re sending your lovingly crafted masterpiece to be torn apart by the claws and teeth of a wild beast. But they’re so cute, how can you resist! Sew a dapper mouse out of menswear castoffs, follow tiny patterns to make a whole zoo of cute cat toys, and entertain your felines with yarn scrap toys. Even people toys can amuse the kitties!


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Suggested designs for this tutorial: 
Dapper Doodle Bug (Stuffed)_image
Dapper Doodle Bug (Stuffed) $1.99 - $2.99
3 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.59"w x 6.06"h | 4.65"w x 5.04"h | 3.31"w x 3.58"h | Hand Embroidery
Goddess (Stuffed)_image
Goddess (Stuffed) $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 3.46"w x 6.73"h | 1.97"w x 3.78"h | Hand Embroidery
Happy Hedgehog (Stuffed)_image
Happy Hedgehog (Stuffed) $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.83"w x 4.84"h | 3.86"w x 3.19"h | Hand Embroidery
Fish Bones (Stuffed)_image
Fish Bones (Stuffed) $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.54"w x 3.70"h | 3.86"w x 2.20"h | Hand Embroidery
Conversation Heart (Stuffed)_image
Conversation Heart (Stuffed) $2.99 - $3.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 5.00"w x 4.29"h | 3.86"w x 3.31"h | Hand Embroidery
Dapper Bird (Stuffed)_image
Dapper Bird (Stuffed) $1.99
1 Available Size:
Machine Embroidery: 3.74"w x 3.43"h | Hand Embroidery
Mustachio (Stuffed)_image
Mustachio (Stuffed) $1.99
2 Available Sizes:
Machine Embroidery: 6.42"w x 2.40"h | 3.82"w x 1.42"h | Hand Embroidery