This is a different take on the rat pouch, used to carry your rats with you. It takes its name from sling + pouch. My husband wanted me to call it the rash (rat sash), but I vetoed that one!
1. Fleece lining fabric at least 65cm x 80cm
2. Outer fabric at least 80cm x 100cm
3. A sheet of tissue, paper or card at least 65cm x 40cm
7. Sewing machine
1. Draw a 2.5cm grid on your sheet of paper/card, and copy the pattern across.
2. Fold your outer fabric in half, with the two shorter sides along the top, away from you.
3. If you have used card for your pattern, cut out the pieces. Place your pattern on the fabric with the smaller shape running along the fold of the material. Keep the shapes to the side of the cloth as you need the side area to cut a strip for the handle.
4. Either draw around the card, or pin the paper to the fabric. Cut out the cloth, but don't cut the hole at this stage. The lines on the pattern are the cutting line, not the sewing line.
5. Cut a strip for the handle about 15cm wide from the long side of the remaining cloth, the full length of the cloth (this includes 2cm of seam).
6. Re-use the pattern pieces to cut the fleece lining. Again, don't cut out the hole yet. You don't need a handle strip from this fabric, just the three pieces.
7. Decide which shoulder you would like your slouch to hang from. Your fabric will probably have a 'right' side - the side which you want to be on the outside of your slouch. Hold one of the outer pieces up against yourself in the desired position with the right side of the fabric away from you. You can then see which end of the piece the hole will need to be - stick a pin or something in it to mark it. Place the pattern back on the cloth and cut the hole.
8. Pin the piece with the hole on top of the matching piece of fleece, with the right sides of the fabric together and the wrong side of the outer fabric facing you. Do not cut a hole in the fleece yet.
9. Sew around the hole about 7 or 8mm from the edge, and then cut the matching hole into the fleece fabric.
10. Cut notches around the edge, close to but not through the stitching.
11. Turn the material right side out, through the hole. Top stitch around the hole.
12. Stitch around the edge of the two pieces of material, fixing the outer layer to the lining with right sides out. Sew around the edge of the second side and the base, again with right sides outward.
13. It makes the slouch much more chew resistant if you now add some quilting to attach the outer and lining pieces together across the whole area. With my stripey material I sewed back and forth along the stripes about every 4cm. (Believe me, it's easier to do it now than remember after you've sewn the thing together!)
14. Take the base piece and sew it to one of the sides along one side of its length about 1cm from the edge, starting and ending about 1cm short of the pointed ends of the base.
15. Now sew the second side to the base, again stopping short of the points of the base.
16. Take the long strip of material you cut for the handle, fold it lengthways with the wrong side out, and sew up the open edge about 1cm from the edge.
17. Pull this through itself until it is right side out. Top stitch about 5mm from each long edge.
18. Pin the end of the handle to the bottom end of the slouch. It doesn't matter which side, we're just working out the length at present.
19. Hold the ratty slouch up against yourself, bring the handle behind your back and over the shoulder, and pin it at the right length to the top of the slouch.
20. Trim the edges, leaving a good length to sew in.
21. Now the tricky bit. Unpin your handle, and position it inside the slouch, with the amount sticking out that you left earlier to sew in. Do the same at the other end, making sure the handle isn't twisted (like the first one I made). Machine them in place between the two side pieces.
22. Sew all around the open edges, making sure it's sewn together all around the top from the base point right round to the other base point, without catching the handle in to the seam.
23. Turn right side out, through the hole.
24. Now you top stitch the seams to hide the raw edges from the ratties inside the slouch, and to add some rigidity. Sew one edge of the base, then reposition and sew along the second edge. Then reposition again and do the rest of the edges. I found I had a small gap near the base points where my machine couldn't cope with the thickness of the layers.
25. Strenthen the handle fixings by sewing around in a square where the handle ends are inside the slouch.
26. Fill with ratties! These babies were quite happy to go straight in. Some of my older rats took a few days to become accustomed to it before they were happy to go inside.
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