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Make a Totoro Stuffed Animal

Cute stuffed Totoro - adapted from the Franklin the Fat Cat sewing pattern from Shiny Happy World

Jo wanted to make a Totoro stuffed animal for a friend from school – and she had a pretty brilliant idea of how to do it without drafting a whole new pattern.

Start with Franklin the Fat Cat! It’s one of her favorites and she’s made it a few times, so she knew it was an easy pattern to work with.

She used Cuddle Fleece in charcoal and camel for the body, plus some felt scraps in black, white, and smoky marble.

She drafted new patterns for the ears, eyes, nose and those things on his chest. (There’s a link to download those pieces at the end of this post.)

She used the tail pattern from Eddie the Teddy Bear to give him a stubby little tail.

Turn Franklin the Fat Cat into Totoro

And she gave him no feet/legs.

Want to make your own? It’s pretty easy. The only part that’s really different from Franklin (as far as construction goes) is the ears.

Jo wanted them to stand up really well, so she used Soft & Stable foam inside.

Stack a piece of foam, then one ear piece right side up, followed by one ear piece facing down. Sew up and around the top of the ear, leaving the flat bottom open for turning.

Making a Totoro stuffed animal - photo showing partially sewn new ear piece

Sewing through the foam is super easy. Here’s what that piece looks like from the bottom.

Inside-out Totoro ear shown from the foam side.

Reach in between the two fleece layers to turn it right side out – the foam will end up between the two layers. Neat!

Fold the sides of the bottom of the ear in to the center and stitch it across the bottom to secure the folds.

Totoro ear - folded and ready to attach to the stuffed animal

Now it has some shape.

Repeat for the second ear and then treat them just like the cat ears in the pattern instructions.

Applique the eyes, nose and chest thingies onto the body front. Jo stuck them down with a glue stick to hold them while she sewed. Clever!

After you stitch around the edges of all the pieces, insert 9 mm safety eyes into the middle of the whites. (If you do that sooner, the shanks of the safety eyes will make it impossible to sew around the whites.)

After that, the assembly is just like Franklin. Easy peasy!

Young girl holding a finished Totoro softie she made - adapted from the Franklin the Fat Cat pattern

One cute Totoro stuffed animal and his maker, ready for delivery to a friend. ๐Ÿ™‚

If you want to make your own, here’s what you’ll need. . .

Happy stitching!



  1. Shelley Bertram SAYS...

    Squee!!! So adorable, but where is his umbrella? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Jo is just as talented as you are!

    • She wants to make another for herself, sometime when she has enough time to add an umbrella and a leaf hat. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I was just going to ask the same thing! Where’s his leaf hat? Best movie EVER!

  2. GrandmasBeans SAYS...

    How very cute! Jo is a very talented young lady. No doubt learning from one of the best doesn’t hurt! And she is so beautiful! I know she’s sort of hiding back there, but those eyes and that beautiful smile say it all! Please tell her thanks for sharing her wonderful creation. I love that she took an existing pattern and changed it up a little to show what you can do! Definitely putting this one in my file of (many) projects to try! I can think of a new great-nephew who would love to have this!

    Happy Monday!! Hope you both have a great week.

    • Thanks so much! You have a great week, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Brilliant! Great job, Jo. I still need to make the Totoro I ordered fleece for ages ago… you just inspired me to get started on that ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Please add a permalink to this post on Franklin’s page ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Melanee SAYS...

    We have been Totoro fans since my now 30 yr old was nine! All seven of my kids would love one of these. Such a cute job!

  6. Heck yeah this is extlacy what I needed.