August 07, 2015

A Beginner Sews: Soft Toy Elephant


My best friend recently welcomed the first little one into our circle of friends. The arrival was anticipated with great enthusiasm and welcome presents were contemplated for months. I wanted to make something special, and therefore flicked through tons of books in the library and roamed Pinterest for weeks, but there is only so many crocheted blankets and quilts and knitted hats one can have and all these things seemed to be long covered by other friends and family. It wasn’t until he finally arrived that I settled on an idea. You see, they named him Benjamin, which is a great name anyway as it works well both in German and English, but even greater because it also happens to be the name of one of my childhood heroes. A speaking elephant. Yep, he spoke German and was an African elephant, who lived in a zoo in Neustadt. I used to listen to the stories about Benjamin for hours on end (On cassette, everyone! Totally old school!).

I simply had to make him a fabric toy elephant.

I figured if I keep things simple it wouldn’t be too difficult to sew. I imagined a cushion-like toy with the outline of an elephant. So I brought out the sewing machine once more and got to work with Benjamin’s handmade fabric toy elephant friend. I pinned a few elephant cushions to get an idea what kind of shape I could aim for and then simply drew one up that I used as a template. The trunk I drew a bit wider than I thought I wanted it in the end, as I figured it would become quite narrow once sewed together. I wasn’t exactly sure how wide it would have to be to ensure that I could still turn it inside out. In the end I just got lucky, because I managed to create a little trunk, which looked even cuter being so small. I somehow forgot about the ears, so it is really a no-ear-elephant, but I love it nevertheless and I hope he will, too.

PS: Because I heart IKEA a lot and simply love their simple instructions, I thought it would be fun to create my own sketched instructions sheet. Get the soft toy elephant instruction sheet here.

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Fabric Toy Elephant

Get the pattern here and the skteched instructions here.

Ingredients:
2 pieces of fabric around 30cmx30cm
Sewing machine (with bobbins and thread)
Pins
Fabric scissors
Elephant template
Stuffing (I used some from an old cushion)

Instructions:
1. Cut out the template for the elephant. Any piece of paper is fine; but make sure that the trunk is not to narrow as it will lose quite a bit of width once it gets sewn together.
2. Pin the template on both pieces on fabric, outside up, and cut around it as close as possible.
3. Sew around each piece with a zigzag stitch to seal the edges.
4. Assemble the elephant by placing the cut out fabric pieces on top of each other. The outsides facing inwards.
5. Sew along the sides of the elephant, around ½ cm from the edge. Leave a 5cm gap on the back of the elephant.
6. Turn the elephant right side out.
7. Push the trunk threw with the end tip of a pen or pencil.
8. Then fill the elephant with the stuffing. I started with the trunk and used a pen to really push the stuffing in place.
9. Once the elephant is fully stuffed and has a nice full shape, pin the gap close and sew together the top by hand.
10. Eh voila, a new friend is born!

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Happy sewing!
Nx



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