Home-made gift for a baby shower – tiny elephant from Sew Hip! magazine

March 22, 2010

When I opened this month’s Sew Hip magazine, I was thrilled to see so many features for baby-related items – both my sister and I are pregnant at the moment and my nesting instincts must have kicked in as I have been itching to start making things!!

When I saw the “Tiny Ellie” felt elephant on the cover and page 94, I felt I had stumbled on the perfect present for my sister’s baby shower. I wanted to give her something really special and personal, that her and her new baby could really treasure. I’ve never hand-stitched anything before, or made any kind of stuffed toy, or used felt, but hey, the instructions said “simple to make” so off I went!

Eleven hours later, this was the result:

Sew Hip Felt Elephant from Issue 15 (April 2010)

Sew Hip Felt Elephant from Issue 15 (April 2010)

I got all of my materials from Lupin Handmade, a lovely online shop selling colourful packs of felt and ric-rac. I bought a pack of felt, a pack of assorted ric rac, embroidery threads, and then I got a big bag of toy stuffing from Amazon. While the elephant in the magazine is adorned with gorgeous little beads, I decided not to use any – because I was making the elephant for a newborn, I thought it would be much safer to replace the beading with embroidery stitching that is much harder to pull or chew off.

When I got to Step 1 in the instructions, maybe it was just me but I couldn’t find any pattern pieces for the tabbard. However, they’re simple rectangles so it was easy enough to guess the right size and cut them out directly from the felt. Rather than glueing the ric-rac to the felt, I stitched it on using contrasting threads, to add extra colour and compensate for the lack of sparkly beads (for baby-friendly reasons). I also used stitching instead of beads for the toenails (Step 2)- but be warned, filling in the toenails with stitches is NOT a quick exercise!! Especially if, like me, you make a really silly mistake – the first time, I stitched the toenails on to one body piece, and then I started on the next body piece. It was only as I was finishing the third toenail on the second piece that I realised I was stitching them on the wrong side of the piece — i.e. the inside of the elephant. I had to choose between unpicking the stitches and starting again on the other side, or cutting out another piece and starting again from scratch. I went with the second option as I couldn’t face all that unpicking!! Luckily I had plenty of felt.

I managed to finish the elephant with 1 hour to spare before the baby shower, and it went down very well – my sister loved it! I was so relieved, I had been a bit worried it looked… rather, “home-made”, but I guess that adds to the charm, right!? After I gave it to her I actually added a yellow ribbon to the top of the elephant so that she can tie it to the arch of a playmat she has:

I added a yellow ribbon to the top so the elephant can be tied to the arch of a playmat or crib

The whole process took about 11 hours overall, including my mistake with the toenails — hopefully I will be much quicker the second time around, as I hope to make a matching one for my baby. Wish me luck!!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

U. Cohen March 22, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Well done!


Sarah W March 23, 2010 at 8:55 am

And it is sooooo beautiful! YAY! :-) Thank you!!! xxx


Fiona April 3, 2010 at 10:58 pm

How cute is that! Well worth the time making it I should imagine. Sure both babies will love them.


Hannah April 6, 2010 at 9:25 pm

Looks cute

Handmade Jewellery


Sandy Liao July 20, 2010 at 12:25 pm

Amazing! that’s so cute! perfect for the elephant parade!!!!!!!


Jax November 12, 2010 at 3:50 pm

That’s so awesome!! I’ve been looking for a template to make the exact same thing for my cousin’s little girl for Christmas. This would be perfect!!


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