How to make a stuffed toy elephant
Updated: Aug 12
Project by Helen Bowes
When I saw this fabric the first thing that sprang to mind was a stuffed elephant sat in the corner of a baby’s cot or toddler’s bed.
Step 1: Find your materials.
For this project you will need the following supplies:
· Material – I used a selection of 3 different patterned materials.
· Soft toy stuffing
· Sewing machine
· Pins and clips
· Card, pen and fabric marker
· Template - download here
Step 2: Prepare fabric.
Decide which fabric you are going to use for which part of the elephant. Print out the template – you will need to match the two body parts and two underside parts together and tape. Place your templates on your fabric and mark around them. For the body, head and underside, you will need to cut out two pieces which match when placed together. The easiest way to do this is to fold your fabric with right sides facing and then mark around your template staying away from the fold line. This way, once cut out, you will have two pieces that are the opposite way round from each other. The same needs to be done for the body and ears. You will need 4 ear pieces cut out as well as two pieces of wadding cut out in the ear shape. 4 circles for the feet will be needed too.
Step 3: Make ears.
Cut out 2 ears from the wadding; this will be sandwiched in the centre of your elephants’ ears to allow them to stand on their own once sewn in place. Put your two fabric pieces with right sides facing and then place your wadding on top. Pin or clip in place so they don’t move. Sew the curved edges together, leaving the straight edge open, with a seam allowance of 3/8th inch. Once sewn, turn the ears the right way round through the opening you have left. Sew a line of stitching about 1cm in from the edge following the line you have already sewn. You can either leave the ear like this or to give a more 3D effect, you can use toy stuffing and put this in the tunnel you have just created. This takes patience and the use of something like the blunt end of a pencil or paintbrush.
Step 4: Make the head:
Lay the two head sections with right sides facing. Sew around the head using a 3/8-inch seam allowance bar that straight edge. Set aside once sewn.
Step 5: Make the underside.
Lay your two pieces with right sides facing. Sew along the long straight edge with a 3/8th inch seam allowance. Leave the central 10cm of this side raw so there is a gap. Once sewn your two lines, press with seams flat. This opening is important in later stages for turning the elephant the right way round.
Step 6: Place the back strip.
For your elephant to have a 3D effect, you need to insert a strip of fabric at the back to expand this space. Lay down one piece of your body right side up. Pin the insert right side down to this panel, lining up points A and B. Lay the second body panel right side down on top of the first panel. Now pin the insert to this piece with right sides facing together. Once in place, stitch together with a 3/8th seam allowance leaving the top and bottom 1 cm unstitched. With both sides sewn, the top of the body can be sewn together.
Step 7: Join underside piece.
Place your elephant so the legs are apart and the material has the right side facing upwards. Place your stitched underside between the legs right side face down. Pin all the way around and stitch in place. You will have excess material at the back end of your elephant. Do NOT stitch the feet closed as you will close these later. Clip around the edge to allow it all to sit neatly.
Step 8: Attach the head.
Lay your elephant out flat with the head next to it. The body of your elephant will have the wrong side facing up whereas the head is right side facing up. Insert the head into the neck opening keeping the right side facing up. Line up your top and bottom seams and pin in place. Sew together – you may need a slightly smaller seam allowance. Once sewn, clip the edge.
Step 9: Turn the right way round and stuff.
Through the opening in the underside, pull the fabric through and turn your elephant the right way round. Now you can stuff your elephant through this hole starting with the trunk, then head, legs and finally body. Once stuffed to your satisfaction, sew the central hole closed.
Step 10: Finish feet and ears.
The 4 circles insert one in each foot. Fold the edge of the leg over and pin in place. Tuck each circle into the opening and pin. Complete by hand stitching them in place. Sew the ears onto the elephants head.
Step 11: Make a tassel tail.
Find some wool that matches the colours on your elephant. I selected two colours and wrapped these around my hand about 25 times. Once this is done, you need to place a small length of wool in one end and tie this to hold all the threads together. Take the wool off your hand and cut it at the opposite end to your holding thread. With more wool, create a head to your tassel. Wrap the wool multiple times around the whole of your wool around 1/3 down from your holding thread. Secure by tying at multiple stages including your first few wraps around. Or look at a gathering knot such as is used in macrame. Once complete, trim so the lengths are all the same and stitch onto your elephant.
Step 12: Name your elephant.
Your elephant is now complete and just needs one more thing…… a name!
To see more from Helen, visit her on Instagram @phoenix_crafting