We are so lucky here at Birch Fabrics, to be able to partner with some very talented ladies from the crafting community. Here we have an Elephant Plushie Pattern and Tutorial by Christina McKinney, a creative contributor to our Birch Fabrics blog, momma, photographer, and all around awesome person! Check out her adorable pattern and tute!
I’m so excited to share this fun tutorial with you!! Growing up, my mom collected elephants - so I have always loved them. These make great little snuggle buddies for little ones or decorations for a nursery. And since they come together so quickly, they make great gifts. The pattern is available in two sizes, large and small - so you can make one, or a whole little family of them!
Tips: Use a 1/4in seam allowance throughout. Read your pattern pieces BEFORE cutting, two of them require you to add a seam allowance along one edge. Pinning will really help keep seams matched up, but I DO NOT recommend sewing over pins! Press all your pieces well before and during sewing.
1 fat quarter in main fabric print
1 fat quarter in contrast fabric
scrap piece of iron on interfacing
Printed pattern pieces
Fabric Shown: From Just For Fun Collection and Mod Basics 2 by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics Organic.
You need to add a seam allowance to a couple pieces. I don’t measure them exactly, eyeballing it is just fine! This is how mine are pinned - about 1/2 in between - then I just cut up the middle. (My fabric here is folded wrong sides together, so I’m cutting both the left and right pieces at the same time. I recommend doing this to keep the pieces exact.)
They should end up looking like this:
So, once everything is cut, you’re ready to go!
First, start with sewing each set of ears. Take two and put them right sides together.
You’re going to sew just the curved edge, leaving the straight side open for turning. Repeat with second set of ear pieces.
Turn your ears right side out and press.
Using your pattern piece as a guide, place one ear on one of the main body pieces. The raw edge of the ear will lay against the raw edge of the body piece.
Lay the corresponding face piece on top, sandwiching the ear in between. Pin in place and sew along the straight edge.
Repeat this step with the second ear, face, & body pieces.
Press your seam toward the elephants trunk. (It should naturally face that way when you flip the ear back.)
Using your face pattern piece as a guide, line up where your eye will be, and iron on your interfacing piece.
Just as a side note, there are a couple options for the eye. I use a stitch on my machine that just happens to look a little like an oval:
You could also stitch an eye by hand, or leave it off entirely. I strongly recommend the interfacing if it’s machine or hand stitched - otherwise the fabric could tear. (Since these are meant for little ones, I would avoid button eyes.)
Once I have the interfacing in place, I like to mark a small dot on the front where the top of my stitched eye will start. This helps keep things even!
Once the eye is stitched, I pull the top and bottom threads from the front to the back and tie a small knot. Since reversing/securing the stitch isn’t an option with decorative stitches, I do this to make sure it doesn’t pull out over time.
Then snip your threads
The front should look something like this:
Now, you need to stitch up your little tail piece. ***Quick note in regard to sewing this in the smaller size. I still cut the tail piece the same size and sew it the same way. I just shorten it when I’m finished.***
Fold over and press each long edge 1/4in.
Fold in half and press
Sew along the open side, staying close to the edge, but making sure you catch both sides.
As close as you can to one end, tie a small knot for decoration.
Using your pattern piece for placement, lay your tail piece in place and pin. Keep in mind that the tail will hang whatever direction you stitch it. So, decide if you want it angled up or down and place it accordingly.
Leave about 1/4 inch out, just to make sure it gets caught in the seam correctly.
Lay your second body piece on top, matching up all the edges and seams. Pin in place.
You’ll need to decide what edge to leave open for turning and stitching. A straight edge is ideal for this - much easier to sew up once you’re done. Mark your start and stop points with double needles or different colored pins.
Stitch around the edge taking care to follow all the curves. Take your time! Be sure to secure your start and stop stitches near the opening so it doesn’t unravel when you turn it right side out.
Before turning, snip the inner and outer curves. BE CAREFUL and don’t snip through your stitches!! The inner and outer edges of the trunk and belly are the most important curves to cut. (Though I tend to just snip almost the whole way around. It goes a long way in helping things lay correctly when turned.)
Turn right side out, poking out all the rounded edges and corners. I use a chopstick for this, it’s perfect!! (I don’t know about y’all, but I always have more than a few of those laying around! Take out anyone?)
Once all your seams are pressed, you can start stuffing! I like to take small pieces of filling and push them into the trunk first. I then use the chopstick to poke filling into all the nooks and crannies. Fill to your desired firmness. (I recommend less filling if it’s meant for very little ones. Far easier for them to hold on to!) Once you’re happy with the filling amount, sew up the opening with a blind stitch.
And you’re done! See? EASY!
All Photography and Pattern-work by Christina McKinney, for personal use only. Not to be duplicated or sold.
Please check out Christina McKinney's photography page on Facebook!