Blackcabbit's World

Blackcabbit (aka. Dionnie Takahashi) is an illustrator living in Japan. She loves drawing whimsical animal characters, as well as doing handmade crafts to beautify the world she lives in.

Winter jacket for my skinny cat

Autumn is here and very soon winter will follow. As temperature in Japan dropped below 20°C, I begin to worry for my two cats – Pooh the Tabby and Gracie the Calico. Both my domestic shorthairs were born in Sunny Singapore and had spent eight years of their lives knowing only warm and humid days. Since Pooh has enough fats to keep him snug, Gracie with only skin and bones became my prime concern.

I started shopping for cat clothing and found an attractive selection of doggie winter coats but very few for our feline friends. Anyway, they were all way out of my budget. So in the end, the gullible “can do” attitude in me took over and I decided to make one myself. Plainly ignoring the fact that the only fashion background I had was the sewing basics from my secondary school’s home economic class, many moons ago!

Here is a detailed journal of how my pet apparel sewing adventure went….

Just when I was pondering over what material to use, the zipper on my husband’s jacket broke. Instead of tossing it away, I decided to recycle it and use the sleeve as Gracie’s jacket. First, I began by taking her measurement. It took a while as she could not keep still and kept attacking the measuring tape.

Since the padding in the sleeve had dwindled, I added a new layer of quilt batting and blanket-stitched all three layers together. I placed chalk markings on the sleeve to visualize where to cut. My first cutting attempt was a mistake due to my own perception error! Fortunately, I had sufficient fabric to rectify the mistake. Whew!

After correcting the cut, I applied the bias tape to neaten the edges. Machine stitch on fabric right side; Hand sewn (Herringbone stitch) on the innermost layer.

Then the scary & difficult part… cutting the holes for the legs, blanket stitching the bias tape and raw edges together. Lots of finger pricking accidents here. SOB!

Once again, herringbone stitch was used on the inside of the sleeve. Well, pretty much done up. Time to let Gracie try it out!


  • Leg holes were too small. Plus, the length between leg and neck openings was longer than her actual measurement. (Oops, my mistake again!) Hence, poor Gracie’s movement was very much restricted.
  • Neck opening needed to be bigger. Though the velcro finishing was applicable and the hole size was just nice for Gracie’s neck circumference, it was very difficult and pretty traumatizing to put the jacket on Gracie.

Check out Pooh’s hilarious response too! He was so shocked to see Gracie in clothes that his tail was all fluffed up and he approached her with so much caution!

Okay time to “MAKE IT WORK”…

(A famous catchphrase from Tim Gunn in “Project Runway”)

And so, I entered the next stage of the project, where the responsibility to keep my pet warm has evolved into plain joy in the creative process of craft-making.

Make it work!

With much contemplation and improvisation, I slowly cut away the velcro finishing; widen the neck opening with a vertical cut; wrapped the raw edges with a Japanese geometric designed fabric, and bias tape; added a cover button…

Japanese touch

Cut cut cut

Enlarged the holes for better leg movements…

And finally, finishing with pretty bells. Okay, once again… time to try it out!

Kitty Warmer

Yup, much better! Warm at last (I hope!) Making a jacket for Gracie was truly a fun adventure, challenging and filled with ambushing needle pricks. And maybe next time when the need arises, I’ll make one for Pooh as well. For the time being, he is the least of my worry. Why?!! Hee hee, check out the size difference between Pooh and Gracie (and you will understand). ^_^Y


Blackcabbit’s Handmade Adventures


10 comments on “Winter jacket for my skinny cat

  1. お茶
    January 11, 2010

    the fat 猫 tat stay in my 猫の家 去年 可愛いね

  2. sau kuen
    November 6, 2009

    oops.. the O my God anonymous is me.. not familiar with twitter

  3. Anonymous
    November 6, 2009

    Aiyoh, you so free… I’m so envy! Haha, when are you going to make one for your little one?? – Julie

    O my God!! you are sure capable of doing lots!!! so detailed too!!! Gracie looks really great. but don’t you have to cover the legs too?

  4. Hannah
    November 1, 2009

    the anonymous’ comment on November 1, 2009 at 3:10 AM is me.

  5. Anonymous
    November 1, 2009

    that’s kool! i never know pet’s jacket can look smart!

  6. DoreeNG
    October 30, 2009

    So cool… Can I order from you to tailor made for Oskars?? But I think you need more cloth for him just like Pooh hahaha… ;b

    • blackcabbit
      October 30, 2009

      Haha, I think Pooh is fatter than Oskars! He’ll probably needs three sleeves LOL!

  7. Belle
    October 30, 2009

    Great Job!! looks good!!

  8. Purin
    October 30, 2009

    Wow..really looks good and warm. Bet Gracie is feeling all snug and cozy.
    Simply lovely, dear!

    PS. Pls tell Gracie and Pooh-chan I miss them.

  9. jasmin
    October 30, 2009

    Finally picture of gracie and pooh!!

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This entry was posted on October 30, 2009 by in Craft / DIY Projects, Kitty Log, Life in Japan and tagged , .
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