Hello to all you Alien fans! I want to tell you about a rematch story. My brother in all his wisdom named his cat Ripley partly after the female character we all know and love and partly because that kitkat has claws!!
Now my purpose for his gifts usually revolve around trying to get him to smile if not actually laugh.... wephew... sometimes it is H-A-R-D. This year the new kitten that was tearing up his house was my inspiration for his comedic Christmas present.
Enter the Xenomorph the terifying alien that crept up on and killed almost all the characters EXCEPT for Ripley in the Aliens franchise. I looked online and found a few DIY with no instructions or patterns and to buy one for a cat to tear up, eh, I'd rather make my own. You can include catnip and make a kitty in your life happy or you can omit the nip and give a plushie to an Alien fan.
So, I decided that my brothers cat needed an alien to battle for the enjoyment of her owner. Gosh darn it I was going to make it happen!
Step 1: Materials
Hey so you wanna make an alien toy yhea? You'll need some stuff:
1. Sewing machine (hand sewing is involved and you could make this entirely by hand but you may want to cut down on you the bloody fingertip quota by using the machine)
2. 1/4 yd Black fleece, or cotton or knit this could be any scrap black you have I think fleece is durable for the clawing and the biting so I choose Fleece. Scrap of grey fabric I found gray velour in the remnant bin and paid $2.50 for way more velour than I will ever need, White felt for claws and teeth again scraps are your friends, you don't need much.
**I spent $8 and I could make at least 20 of these things with as much fabric as I now have. I'll be knee deep in Xenomorphs.**
**tip see if you can pick up a remnant of all these colors/fabric you don't need much to make a kitty sized Xenomorph.
3. Assorted thread I used black across the board cause I'm lazy and I liked sewing some extra details on the contrasting fabrics
4. Stuffing, polyfil enough to stuff the entire thing
5. Cat nip loose for extra ferocious attacks
6. Hand sewing needles to attach the limbs, pins, and a pattern.
7. Phone to record your cat going crazy!!!
Step 2: Getting Started - a Pattern
I looked at pictures on the interweb and thought that the Xenomorph from Aliens was the beast to emulate.
This one has a few things that I thought a cat would like to bite on.
Key features the elongated head in two tones gray top black bottom and a fierce set of chompers. This Alien has these growths that come off it's back and the tail has a skeletal look that lets you recognize the form even if it is simplified.
Over simplification= no one gets it
Overly detailed= you spent how many hours on a cat toy?!?? Are you crazy!!!!??!!
The happy medium is a successful general shape and details that do not complicate construction.
I drew up a quick pattern and then cut it out of a ridiculous polkadot fabric to quickly see if I needed to change things. I did, I needed the head to be bigger and the arms to be bigger and the legs to change shape slightly. I just taped some extra paper onto the original piece and vola ready for the real thing. I wanted to make the tail look like it was sectional and the head to have some extra details and teeth i wanted teeth.
I included a shot of the patterns pieces and I will try to upload one for you to use.
Step 3: Cut. It. Out.
Place all pieces and cut out the following:
one 1.5 inch x 6 inch piece
wide to narrow small rectangles for tail extensions, more on this in construction
2x foot bottom
small triangles for claws
12 in all
Step 4: Sew It Up. Limbs
I sewed all limbs at the same thine leaving a hole for stuffing, then attached them by hand sewing. My logic being if (I mean when) the cat ripped a limb off stuffing would not spew from the whole body, leaving it a hollow empty no longer amusing toy. Even crippled this toy could still offer up its remaining limbs for entertainment. Is there something wrong with me that I thought of that? .......anyway,
ALL LIMBS are sewn the same way you only get pics of the important stuff.
Place claws facing in, see pic, pin together right sides facing, sew limb shut leaving a small 1 inch opening, clip the curves and then turn right side out. stuff **Do Not Over-stuff. I found that my alien is a bit hard and could use a little less stuffing, it should have bite worthy squish. If you are not giving this to a cat then stuff it as much as you want.**
The legs have one extra step, they have a bottom section I cut out of the gray velour. I would change The foot shape on the next one...this one didn't matchup perfectly. Look at the pics, sew the sides together, then pin the gray bottom piece in with claws and carefully sew around the edge
Step 5: Sew It Up. Body
Sew body the same way, leave neck open for stuffing, clip your curves DO NOT clip your stitches or your plushy will vomit stuffing all over.
Sew 1.5x6 length (or scraps as i have) into a tube trim your seam allowance and set aside. You should have two pieces about 3" long
I stuffed this 75% full then I dumped in about 2 tablespoons of catnip.
Step 6: Sew a Head!!!
Your head is a bit different:
Place teeth onto the black fleece, I top stitched onto the felt in a random jagged pattern sewing down on an angle then stopping turning and sewing back up, if you are unsure about free-handing this you can use a disappearing ink sold at most sewing stores.
Sandwich right sides together. This makes for some bulky sewing but go slow and make sure you catch ALL layers so your teeth will match up I ran over that section twice to reinforce the bulky area and to make sure the felt would stay in the seam.
Turn right side out and check you shape see if you need to fix anything cause the next step is going to make "fixing" more difficult.
Make sure you turn the face/neck back inside out (right sides on the inside) place to the side
Gray velour, top stitch segments, look at the way the picture shows a larger "brain area" and then almost like a bugs skeleton, this is easy to replicate and does a lot to finish off the look of this alien, top stitching is easy and not too time consuming. Don't go crazy.
Once top stitching is done find mid-point on your head piece and pin to your seams on the face/neck piece. Push the gray inside your neck/face piece to match up edges and sew shut.
Stuff I used about 2 tablespoons of catnip putting it in first then pushing polyfil in and packing it tight.
You should now have Body, Head, Arms and Legs done. Now let's tackle the tail.
Step 7: Tail, Scary Pointy Tail!
To get this tail to look like skeleton vertebrae without too much effort I did two things.
1. Sew the bottom seam. This is the bottom of the curve so your tail has an upward curve to it. Top stitch lines every 3/4" of an inch. Start at the narrow end. I did this straight across.
Once this is sewn shut the lines match and it looks very nice.
2. Before you sew your final seam take your small scraps and go from small to larger, I placed them in coordinating sections on the tail and made sure I had at least 3/4 of an inch on the finished side and 1/2 inch for my seam. Then pin right sides together and sew shut.
3. Turn right side out and trim scraps to look appropriate.Stuff and add cat nip, I used about a tablespoon in the tail.
Step 8: Assembly Dreaded Hand Sewing
I explained why I did it, the only pieces that are connected are the head and the body the rest are sewn on.
I used black thread doubled over. I used four needles, I thread them all, then sew until all three are done then repeat. I feel like once I get started I like to find and keep a rhythm.
Head to Body:
This is where you will place the Back... growths... tack in place making sure to knot them a few times. To place the head correctly, line up the front seam with the seam on the head. I like to cant the head a little so the kitcat can really get in there and go at it.
Sew the limbs shut. A ladder stitch, you can look this up I have no good pictures, black on black is not demo worthy. Then sew around the back arch. I also tack each on the inside to keep them closer to the body.
Sew on knotting every 5 stitches for a strong and durable hold.
Step 9: The Rematch!
I like to call this one .....
Ripley vs Alien "Now I've got claws too B#*$CH!"
Check out the video :)