Introduction: Hand-Sewn Mini Elephant Plush
Runner Up in the
Sewn By Hand Challenge
Hi everyone! A close friend of mine really loves elephants (at least, if the tattoo on her forearm is anything to go by), and when I saw her "umm"ing and "ahh"ing over a little elephant plush in an over-priced tourist location, I decided it was time to make her her own little one to go on her adventures with her. Since then, he has traveled quite extensively with her, and even gone to see some of his extended family with her in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
This pattern is pretty simple to make, and is ideal for any beginner or a stitcher who just needs something to make while binge-watching series (that's what I do, at least). I made this little elephant plush for the first time quite a while ago, and since then I've experimented with a few different variations, including adding hand-painted butterfly wings as ears for a whimsical touch (I just painted the wings onto some plain white cotton fabric and then stitched it onto a piece of felt, and then carried on with the pattern as in this tutorial. It's up to you what you want to turn this little elly into!
The full pattern is available in the next step, and I'd advise watching the video tutorial as all instructions are in there, but if you'd prefer photos and text, just keep reading! This is the first real pattern I've ever made, so please excuse the slightly wobbly lines and such! I hope you enjoy making your little elephant as much as I did!
Step 1: What You'll Need
To make this mini elephant plush, you will need:
- Grey felt (or whatever other colour you'd prefer your elephant to be)
- Matching thread
- Plastic safety eyes
- Basic sewing supplies, such as pins, needles and scissors
- The pattern for this lil' guy (as seen above - print it out at A4 size, or bigger if you wanna try out a bigger elly, but I'd advise against life-size attempts unless you're exceptionally ambitious)
Step 2: Cutting Out the Pattern
Start by printing out the pattern, and cutting out the pattern pieces. Lay them on your felt, and cut them out according to the instructions on each piece.
You should have 5 pattern pieces in total, and once cut, you should have these pieces of fabric:
- 2 head pieces
- 4 ear pieces
- 2 outer body pieces
- 1 inner body piece
- 1 head gusset
Step 3: Stitching the Outer Body
Lie the two outer body pieces together, and then place the inner body piece in between them, lining up the legs, and fold it down the centre in order to see how far into the outer body the inner body lies. Stitch from this point, up towards the elephants back. I used a simple blanket stitch to attach the pieces, as it looks more neat than it is difficult.
Once you reach the top of the outer body, place the inner body piece in between just as you did before, and see how far back it extends. When you reach this spot, stitch twice in the same place, then knot your thread securely and cut it off.
Step 4: Sewing the Inner Body
Match up the inner body legs with the outer body legs, and stitch around them using a blanket stitch. I started sewing from the bottom legs. Once you've gone around the whole body, knot and cut off your thread BEFORE reaching your starting point, as you still need to leave a hole to stuff the body.
Stuff the body until it is as firm as you want it to be, and then stitch the stuffing hole closed, and the body is done!
Step 5: Sewing the Head
Take the head gusset, and place the thinner end at the base of the elephants trunk, and then stitch around it using a back stitch until you run out of gusset to stitch. At this point, knot your thread and cut it off.
Place the other side of the head against these two, with the trunks lined up, and start stitching from the base of the trunk. Stitch up along the trunk and then around the head gusset on the other side to secure the other side of the head.
Before you start sewing together the gusset and the head (so, after you've finished stitching the trunk), make a hole on each side of the head to add the eyes. If you don't have any safety eyes, just use some black felt or beads instead.
Continue sewing the head, remembering to leave a small hole at the base of the head for stuffing. Stuff the head until it is as firm as you'd like it to be, and then close the opening.
Step 6: Stitching the Head Onto the Body
This part is a bit tricky, but you just need to carefully stitch the head on. I did a few big stitches to get it into the right position, and then I kept doing smaller stitches around the neck area to secure it. Once the head is securely attached, knot your thread and trim it off.
Step 7: Sewing the Ears
These bits are simple. Just place the two ear pieces together and do a blanket stitch around the head. No stuffing gap, nothing. Simple, right?
Once the ears are sewn, attach one to each side of the head by stitching around the curve at the back of the ear and ensuring that it is tightly secured. After both ears are attached, your elephant plush is complete!
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