Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Les Trois Mousequetaires

Indeed, these little leather mice are rugged and intrepid, boldly facing our ferocious felines.  I made them using an old Martha Stewart template. The original directions called for them to be made out of Ultrasuede and filled with catnip, but I took inspiration from an old leather mouse bought years ago and mauled by a succession of cats to the point where it's now merely a scrap.  So I wanted these to be able to stand up to  lots of claws and teeth. It looks like the template is not available on Martha, although I did find a couple of other cute rodent toy patterns.  Catnip Rat Toy and Menswear Mouse Toy.  However, if you'd like the template and directions for this particular mouse, just email me and I'll be glad to send it to you. 

Here are a few tips on making it out of leather; by the time I finished the final mouse (the one on the left), I was getting good at turning them out. The first thing I discovered was that sewing them by machine just didn't work:  too difficult to stitch evenly through the thick leather so close to the edge.  However, after cutting the mouse out, I simply stitched around the edge of the entire piece with a leather needle in my machine, but no thread, just punching holes that I could use in stitching it up by hand. Also, using a pair of jewelry pliers to pull the needle through when hand sewing was helpful.  Next, I "embroidered" the eyes (but no nose) and made whiskers out of some upholstery thread/string.  On the third mouse, I also discovered that attaching the ears before I sewed up the body was much easier, as I could match up the needle-punched holes visually.  Then I sewed up the the top seam and finally the bottom seam, inserting the tail and stuffing firmly with polyester fiberfill.  I figure the ears and the tails are the most vulnerable parts so I took extra care in stitching them on securely.  The cats do seem to love picking them up and slinging them around by the tail.  Here, a couple of our porch kitties who are morphing into house kitties are giving them a try-out.