Home » DIY Tutorials » DIY Sewing » Sewing: Clothing » Kids Clothing » Stuffed Cat, Stuffed Dog, and Stenciled Pillow…inspired by “Diva and Flea” (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

Stuffed Cat, Stuffed Dog, and Stenciled Pillow…inspired by “Diva and Flea” (plus a GIVEAWAY!)

I am a sucker for children’s books.  We have our favorites that we read at our house over and OVER again….but we always love finding new favorites.  I absolutely adore books that have fun characters, silly expressions, captivating illustrations……but even more, a good message.  I think sitting down with a quick book is a GREAT way to teach kids about history, social skills, or even introduce a controversial topic. Maybe it’s my degree in Elementary Ed that gets me all nerdy about children’s books…..but I adore them.

So, when I was asked to read and review a brand new book released by Disney Publishing, I jumped all over it — mostly out of curiosity.  I really wanted to see what it was about.  The author Mo Willems and illustrator Tony DiTerlizzi, have an impressive library of past work, including Knuffle Bunny, Spiderwick Chronicles, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, and many more… I knew it had to be good!

Together, Mo and Tony wrote and illustrated the 80 page children’s book “The Story of Diva and Flea”.  The story takes place in Paris and is about Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, and the unexpected friendship that develops for them while learning to discover and try new things.

I was asked to create something inspired by the book and was given the freedom to choose whatever I wanted.  Hmmm, that was easy.  Reading is cozy time here at our house, so I couldn’t resist making a comfy Eiffel Tower stenciled pillow and very simple stuffed replicas of Diva and Flea.



The story line is one about adventure and trying new things.  And having courage to step out of your comfort zone a little bit.  I loved chatting about this theme with my kiddos, especially Elli, who sometimes holds back a bit.  She immediately identified with Diva (the little white terrier) and asked if she could keep her.  I told her we’ll have to take turns, but I know she secretly has claim on her. ;)



The illustrations are absolutely precious and some are colored and shaded…



…..while others are these rougher sketches.  The kids thought these were so cool.  And asked if someone drew them right into my copy of the book.  Not quite… :)



My heart kind of tripled in size when Elli and Chloe “adopted” Diva and Flea the minute I finished making them, and they plopped right down together while Elli started reading the story (again!) about their new friends.



Then they decided to reenact the whole story, including some slight variations! ;)



Such a sweet and inspiring story that will be treasured around here.  Especially while snuggling their new little reading buddies and dreaming of walking the streets of Paris, speaking new french words (that are sprinkled throughout the book), and deciding which adventures to try………just like Diva and Flea!!


And guess what??  “The Story of Diva and Flea” was just released yesterday, October 13th….so go HERE to read a little more about it and to find a copy of your own!  (By the way, my book was an advanced copy, so it was a paperback…but the released copies are hardcover.)


PLUS……Disney Publishing is giving away a free copy to one of YOU!!!  Scroll all the way to the bottom of this post, for more info on entering the giveaway!


. . . . .


Okay, if you’d like to make your own stuffed cat, stuffed dog, or stenciled Eiffel Tower pillow, let’s get started —



  • cotton fabric of any kind or thickness (3/4 yard for the pillow, about 1/3 yard for each animal)
  • lining fabric (if you choose a thin fabric as your main color, you’ll need a lining fabric to help thicken it up and keep it from being see-through…..or you can use fusible interfacing.  Either way.)
  • ribbon for neck bow
  • polyester stuffing
  • gold metallic acrylic paint
  • 18 pillow insert (or recover an existing pillow)
  • freezer paper
  • Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas) 

***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.


First of all, decide on what shape animal you want to create.  It doesn’t have to be a cat or dog… can be anything at all.  You don’t want a ton of detail, just shoot for the main shape.  I also think it helps to curve the corners when you can, to help with the shape when you turn it right side out.  (If you actually want a template for these, let me know. I can trace around my imperfect sketches.Just be sure to add an extra 1/4 inch around all edges of your desired shape, to account for a seam allowance.


Now, cut out two mirror image pieces from your main fabric and if your fabric is thin and slightly transparent like my white fabric, cut another 2 pieces from your lining fabric.  (Or you can iron on some fusible interfacing to the WRONG side of the fabric to thicken it up.  I just didn’t have any….so this is another option.)


Place the 2 main fabric pieces together with right sides together, then sandwich each of the lining pieces on the outside of each of those.  Pin in place.


Then sew around the entire shape using a 1/4 inch seam allowance…..but be sure to leave about a 3-4 inch opening along one of the straight edges (if you have one).


Now, trim down all of the “mountains” and cut slits into all of the “valleys”.  This will help everything lay a whole lot smoother when you turn it right side out. (Read my Clipping Corners and Curves tutorial for more info.)


Turn right side out through the opening you left, poke out all of the corners, tails, body parts, etc…..and then press flat with an iron.  Be sure to tuck the opening in towards the inside a 1/4 inch and iron that flat too.


Stuff with batting….


Then hand sew the opening closed, using the ladder stitch (more hand-stitching info HERE).


The same steps are repeated for whatever shape stuffed animal you make!


Now, as for the pillow…..I have made so many pillow covers here on this blog, so there’s no use in repeating.  So, use this Envelope Closure Pillow Cover tutorial here as a guide.

Once you have your front fabric piece cut out, draw your Eiffel Towel silhouette out, trace it onto some freezer paper then cut it out, preserving the negative space….and then place the “negative” paper down onto the fabric.  Iron in place. (More on Freezer Paper here.)


Use a sponge brush to dab your paint onto your fabric.  Add more layers of paint as needed.


Once your paint is dry (I use a hairdryer to speed it up), peel off your freezer paper.


Now you should have your 3 pillow pieces….ready to go.  Then hem the two edges of the smaller pieces that will be overlapping.  Reference this pillow cover tutorial if you need more help.


And just like the tutorial linked above, layer your pieces together, with right sides together, pin in place…..


…..then sew around all of the edges, turn right side out, and iron flat.


Then, hooray, it’s done!!  A sweet little stenciled pillow cover, with an envelop closure in the back!


And there you have it…….a cute little combo you can now make to gift to every little one you know! :)



But don’t forget about “The Story of Diva and Flea” book giveaway!! 


TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY (for the book only), leave a comment below, telling me who you’d like to win this book for (and it’s okay if it’s for you…..I love children’s books too!)  Just be sure to leave your email in the comment form before submitting your comment, so that I can contact you if you win (I’ll be the only one who can see it)!

*****Giveaway is open to US addresses only.  Giveaway closes October 18th, 11:59 p.m.


Good luck!!



This post is sponsored by Disney Publishing……however, all opinions are mine and mine alone.


Ashley Johnston
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Ashley Johnston

Owner at Make It & Love It
Ashley Johnston is a professional DIY costume maker, sewist, crafter, and owner of Make It & Love It. She is a mom of 5 and a wife to a very patient (with my craft clutter) husband. In case you’re wondering, she always chooses crafting/sewing/designing over mopping/dusting/wiping base boards……but bathrooms/laundry/full bellies are always attended to. Whew!
Stuffed cat, stuffed dog, and stenciled pillow…inspired by “diva and flea” (plus a giveaway!)
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  1. Emily says:

    Thanks so much for supporting such a sweet cause. I’ve been looking for to use up some leftover fabrics I have.

  2. Michelle says:

    These are adorable, i would love the patterns if you have them please – thank you. x

  3. riette says:

    I would love to have the templates to Diva and Flea – could make that for my granddaughter without finishing it off and send it to the UK for a gift. hugs – The books looks so cute but she is only 2. but def get it for her later.

  4. Marya says:

    I love children’s book and teach. This would be perfect!

  5. Aaiza Iftikhar says:

    For my nephew! He is three :)

  6. Teri P. says:

    I love these!!! Oh yes I would love a template of the dog & cat!!!! Thank you! I would love to win the book as well, but definitely would like the patterns <3

  7. Natalie says:

    My daughter loves to read and would really enjoy this book!

  8. Kim says:

    I’d love to win it for my husband and daughters. They love reading books together! Thanks!

  9. Kristina Calkins says:

    I love new books and what better author than Mo Willems. My children and I love his books! I would definitely give this to my girls and I would probably make them a Diva and Flea.

  10. Laura says:

    My son loves everything by Mo Willems. This would be great for him!

  11. Carmen N says:

    I’d love to win this for my daughter – we love to read books together.

  12. DeAnne says:

    Cute! Your daughters are wonderful models. I’d appreciate if you could share your templates for the dog and cat! Thank you

  13. Katie says:

    I would love it for my son and daughter, they love Mo Willems books.

  14. Alexis says:

    I would love to win this for all three of my kids. We go the library every week but we’re trying to start our own at home!

  15. KimE says:

    Would love to win it for my girls! They love to read and one of them is obsessed with all things Paris and dogs! Sounds perfect!

  16. Ashley says:

    I would like to win it myself because I would like to read it!

  17. Emily says:

    My sister(6) hates reading but wen she saw thes she asked me to get it

  18. Christy says:

    I would love to win a copy of this book for my daughter.

  19. Mary C says:

    I would love to win this for my son. we have a black cat and a white dog! He is hung up on the Mo Willems books about pigeon and duckling right now and we just finished reading don’t let the pigeon drive the bus.

  20. Janet says:

    I’d like to read this to my first grade class!

  21. Margie Acosta says:

    For my six grandchildren who are in love with books. Plan on making each of them the pillows you created. What an amazing idea and gift, thank you for sharing your creativity!

  22. Judy Trim says:

    This would be great for my grandson Charlie! It would be his first Mo Willem`s book!

  23. Chelle Chapman says:

    I would love to win this for my Granddaughter who will be 3 in Jan!! Thank you SEW much for the patterns!!

  24. Lynette says:

    We would love this one at our house. My 3.5 year old will sit and read, and read, and read with me! We love finding fun new stories. This one sounds like one we need to try!

  25. Cheryl Stewart says:

    I love children’s books and have a huge collection of them.

  26. Kristin says:

    I would love this book for my son. We are just getting into longer books and this looks like a good one!

  27. Mamma Gioca says:

    Ciao! Ti seguo sempre dall’Italia e sei bravissima! Vorrei rifare questi due simpatici animaletti, come fare per avere il cartamodello?
    Grazie 1000 e un caro saluto.

  28. Susan Artes says:

    This would be so much fun to read with my granddaughter. She is six and we spend lots of time together reading. The subject is perfect for us since I have cats and she has a dog. She needs to learn to step up and step out,to be confident. I’d love to win it for her. Thanks, Susie

  29. Sher says:

    I would love to win this book for one of my nieces. I love reading and I want to pass on my love for reading to my nieces.

  30. Gayle says:

    Please could you send me the cat and dog templates. So cute and easy

  31. Tania Stanwood says:

    Willem’s is fantastic, a mainstay in our house. A couple years ago my youngest wanted to be the Pigeon that drove the bus, we made it happen…kind of. This year she wants to be Inspector Dewey, her current favorite book. He’s a cat, a clever one, I am still trying to make that happen. I am not the most crafty, so she may end up looking like a mess, but as long as she likes it, then I win. Inspector Dewey is a great read, I recommend it, Kristen Heimerl is the author, is her site. This may end up being a tradition, dressing like our favorite characters at Halloween, it’s a kick!

    1. Kristen Heimerl says:

      I too am making an Inspector Dewey costume (okay, with a little help!) The trick is the face and the giant, floofy tail! I’ve got a post on Facebook/ThreeNorwegians coming up this Sun with a picture of early progress. Or I’m happy to email you some more pix for inspiration–we can’t have your youngest looking like a mess! :) . What is it about characters and crafts?!? We also just made some puppets to go with my book too, but I LOVE LOVE LOVE these Parisian-themed pets and pillows! So happy your daughter loves the Dewster, and to have found this site!

  32. Amber says:

    I would love to win a copy for my daughter

  33. Glenda B. says:

    Ashley I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me the pattern templates for the dog & cat via email. I’m not that great at drawing. Thank you so much. God bless.

  34. Glenda B. says:

    These would make a perfect gift from Santa for my two great-grandkids, two year old boy & a four year old girl. My girl likes dogs & my boy likes cats. Thank you so much for the giveaway & the chance to win. God bless

  35. Fran Walker says:

    Great job on the current project! Will have to make the set, (hopefully with the book included!) for Christmas for my grandkids!
    Thank you for your great website! Hope you are enjoying Oklahoma!

  36. Sarah M says:

    So cute! I’d love this for my daughter Hannah. She loves books!

  37. Jill B says:

    i will give it to my neighbors children…their Mom reads to them all the time!

  38. Jill B says:

    Expecting our first grandchild…looking forward to reading to her!

  39. Heather says:

    I would love to win a copy for my 6 children! We have always been Mo Willems fans, and I still see my teens sometimes sneaking and reading picture books ;)

  40. Sandra says:

    My daughter would love this book. It would be a great addition to our book collection.

  41. Autumn Thompson says:

    I would love to win this for my daughter, Bella. We are a fan of Mo Willems and she’s getting older so having a more challenging book would be great.

  42. Shawna says:

    The picture of one child reading to the other while holding on of the characters was pretty cute! My daughter and I have such a love of reading books together!

  43. CreativeKhadija says:

    This is too cute idea & very easy! The Eiffel tower pillow is in my to do crafts list now! well done Ashley!

  44. Melanie C says:

    I would love to win this book for my daughter…I’m sure my boys would like it too :)

  45. Cindy Clawson says:

    For my 5 kiddos!!

  46. Pamela says:

    I would love to win this book for myself so that when the grandkids come to see me we can snuggle up together and read it. I absolutely love to read and it is my goal to pass this love of reading to them. Thanks for the opportunity.

  47. Laurinda says:

    My 6th grandson just arrived in August, & I want to have a supply of GOOD children’s books for them (aren’t mediocre books a bummer? ) So it would be for me (kind of)

  48. Kelly says:

    I’d love this for my daughter! Thanks for a great giveaway and tutorial!

  49. Pamela Thibodeau says:

    I have 3 yr old twin Granddaughters who were officially adopted into our family after 3 long years of being
    foster babies. I love to read to them and sew for them. They would love the book, and I will make the pillows so they can play along with the story. <3

  50. Amy says:

    I would love to win this for my 5 year old!

  51. Deanna says:

    This would be for my granddaughter Vivian, I loved Don’t let the Pigeon drive the Bus. Of course I will also have to make the animals too and maybe the pillow. So cute. Thanks for the opportunity.

  52. Amanda says:

    I’d love to win it for my little girl! :)

  53. L. Probus says:

    Such a dear little set! Eiffel Tower pillows for everyone!

  54. Tae says:

    Such sweet girls. And what a darling book!! I’d love this for my two boys. Mo Willems is the bomb.

    We LOVE to read at our house, so much so that our library has overgrown the bookcase!! Does anyone else have that problem? No? Just me? Okay ;)

    And speaking of books, you have GOT to check out Usborne! They have beautifully made, fun and educational materials for kids of all ages. Everything from sturdy board books, to pop-up and sticker books, to chapter books and STEM books! I love their products so much, I recently became a consultant so I could get free books! Haha! Come take a peek when you get the chance. ;)

    Thanks, as always, for the years of fun and inspiring blog posts. They never fail to brighten my day!

  55. Shelly says:

    I would love to win! I love well written kids books, and I have little ones who love cats and dogs!

  56. Bonnie says:

    I want to win this for my preschool students because everything Mo Willems touches is magical and hilarious and perfect!

  57. Lizzy says:

    My kids and I LOVE Mo Willems! We definitely come back to his books again and again. The Elephant and Piggie books are great conversation starters for talking about friendship and what it looks like to be a good friend. :) We’d probably keep this book for our family, but I absolutely love the idea of gifting this book, along with some stuffed friends and a pillow, to other little people in our lives!

  58. Tandy Williams says:

    I would love this new book for my daughter “Pinky”. She loves Mo Willem’s! She has the Don’t let the pigeon drive the bus app and has played it over and over, seriously like 200 times re-recording it.

  59. Jeanne says:

    Would love to win !!!

  60. Sara Greenwell says:

    I would love to win this for my two daughters! We love Mo Willems books!

  61. Maria Paz says:

    I need these!! For me and my 5 kids!!
    We love read at bed time. A new story, And amazing ilustration is always welcome in my house!

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Hi, I’m Ashley—the DIY-enthusiast behind this crazy blog!

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