Sunday, 27 February 2011

How to... Make an ELEPHANT!

This week I discovered Seam Star UK and was so excited I had to buy some fabric right away. And here it is:

Isn't it pretty? I absolutely LOVE it. And because it's so pretty I just couldn't wait to start making something with it...  This week I sold Lellie the Ellie in my store on Etsy. My other half had kind of got used to having Lellie sitting in the living room and brightening things up, so my first project had to be a new pachyderm to make him smile again. (but will probably also be listed...mwah-ha-ha!)

So here he is: a patchwork fabric ELEPHANT!

Isn't he cute? I think he is definitely a good (albeit temporary) substitute for the original Lellie, who, incidentally, got renamed Winston upon his sale. Is this new one a he or a she? And what should it's name be? I am turning it over to you to give him a name - and if I like your choice then that is what it will become known as... 

In addition to making an elephant, I thought it was about time I did a 'how - to' post. So here it is:

Step 1:
Draw a pattern. It's really easy- you just draw an elephant and then a 'base' - this just needs to be a basic rectangle with 4 squares added at the corners - a bit like a stumpy H shape. The squares are the elephant's legs so they need to be the same size as your elephants' and the length of the rectangle needs to be the length of your elephant from the front of his front leg to the back of his back leg. 
You will also need a template for ears - look at the size of your elephant before you make them!

Step 2: 
Cut your material into strips of equal length - it really doesn't matter how wide you make them, that is your choice. Sew two pieces of fabric together end to end and right side of fabric facing each other. Then fold over diagonally to make a square. Cut the fabric there.
Put a new strip of fabric to one end of the fabric, again right sides facing, and sew along the edge again. Do this 5 or 6 times.
Make about 5 strips or as many as you think you will need.

Step 3:
Sew the long edges of your strips together - make sure you like the arrangement of colours  first - I played around a few times before I got something I liked.
Cut off the excess leaving just enough seam not to fray - a few mm is sufficient. It makes it MUCH easier when you come to turning things inside out.

Step 4: 
Fold your material in half, right sides facing each other. Now place your elephant template over it, pin and cut out. This way you'll have 2 elephant pieces when you open it out. You only need one base piece so material doesn't need to be folded over for this bit. I opened my material out so that I would have enough space for the base template.
You will also need 4 ear pieces - either do this by using folder material or cut out individually - but remember there are fronts and backs to the ears

Step 5: 
Put 2 of the ear pieces face to face and sew around the shape - leave the edge that will connect to the elephant's head open. 
Turn the ear inside out and stuff it.
Cut a slit in your elephant pieces the same length as the side of it's ear at the point where you want it to be.
Then push the ear through the slit, fold the material over itself and sew together. Leave as little seam as possible as you don't want Ellie to be bunched up, but you will need to go a little further than the ear as otherwise there may be holes leftover.
If you want button or embroidered eyes, do them now.

Step 6
Pin one side of the base material to one piece of the elephant's legs - make sure that the right sides of the material are facing each other.  (I made the wrong shaped template initially - don't be put off by the large triangle I have on the end of mine - it was meant to be an extra part of the trunk)
Sew from the top of the elephant's legs, around and all the way to the top of the elephant's other leg. Make sure not to go over halfway on the base as otherwise you will get a crooked Ellie!!

Step 7:
Do the same with the other side - pin the other side of the base material to the other piece of elephant material. You will have to keep one side of the material at an angle to sew this but it isn't hard. 

Step 8: 
Now sew the two big pieces of elephant together leaving a large gap by it's rump (so you can turn it inside out and stuff it)

Step 9:
Turn Ellie right way round - you may need a blunt object to get the legs and trunk fully out.
Stuff him paying special attention to the legs as he will need enough stuffing to stand with.

Step 10:
Use 'invisible stitch' to sew the last bits together. Start from inside, sew to the inside of the other side, move your needle across inside the material and then sew from that side to the other. Pull tight so you can't see the stitch and continue until you have sewn the whole gap. 

Step 11: 
Crochet a basic chain about 10 chains long. At the end of the chain cast off and cut a short length. Use 4 bits of yarn about 6cm long, fold them then push the half-way mark slightly through the last chain. Pull the ends through the loop you have created and pull tight (like making a tassle on a scarf) and cut to the length you want.
Sew the tail on the elephants behind.
Attach some googly eyes. 

And voila! One homemade elephant... ENJOY!


shan314 said...

I think is a she, and maybe her name should be Agnes. She's so cute! Maybe I shall try to make an elephant of my own now.

Abbi said...

Oh wow - the fabric! Must check that store out! Your elephant is great, and congrats on your sale! I think Matilda would be a good name for the new one.

little brick house said...

What lovely creative ideas!


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