I’m trying to teach my kids to enjoy the holiday gift-giving as much as the gift-receiving. So when my daughter, Mouse, announced that she wanted to make a stuffed animal for her oldest brother, C, I felt I couldn’t say no, even though we were running out of time to make things before Christmas arrived.
C was born in the Year of the Rat, and has embraced all things rat. So naturally, Mouse wanted to sew him a rat, and she made a sketch of what she thought it should look like. Her rendition looks a bit overfed, but I sketched a variation just below that I thought would work if we made it from felt, and she approved the design, “as long as there could be stripes on the tail”.
I started by searching the Internet for an already-available pattern, but we found nothing that Mouse considered suitable. So, at last, I was forced to make a paper mock-up, and then deconstruct it to create a pattern that would be as similar to Mouse’s concept drawing as possible.
She chose the fabrics and buttons, did most of the cutting out, and some of the hand-sewing, though pushing the needle through the felt proved to be harder on her fingers than she’d anticipated. I helped her out, trying to keep my stitches similar to hers, to preserve that made-by-a-seven-year-old look.
Although C is too old to play with stuffed animals, he was pleased and surprised to receive his Christmas rat, and it has a place of honour on the window sill beside his bed.
As you can see, he does, indeed, sport a great many hand-drawn stripes on his nose and long pink tail.