Thursday, 12 September 2013

Elephant No. 10: Little Stuffed Elephant

My friend Sylvie Morel sent me a link a couple of days ago to the cute little elephant below. Sylvie's great for pointing me to fun little elephant projects, and this one looked easy, so I thought I'd try it today.

Original elephant pattern and instructions (no written instructions).

It's a simple design, so instead of using the original pattern, I drew something similar.

I cut out two elephant shapes from a piece of faded vintage linen, along with two pieces of off-white felt for the ears.

I started by placing the right sides of the two elephant pieces together and stitched them with a quarter-inch (0.6 cm) seam, leaving an opening at the back. I clipped the curves, but you could also use pinking shears as they did in the original.

I turned it inside out.

I stuffed it lightly, then stitched up the opening at the back.

The ears were made of felt, so they didn't need anything more than a blanket stitch around the outside to help them hold their shape and to make them look pretty. I chose a colour of embroidery floss that went with the linen fabric, and used three strands. I also used the blanket stitch to attach the ears to the head.

For the tail, I took six strands of the same colour of embroidery floss, sewing through the back of the elephant, knotting the strands where it was attached, and braiding the tail in three groups of four strands. At the bottom, I tied a simple knot.

For the eyes, I was going to use seed beads, but decided instead to embroider them with three strands of embroidery floss.

This little guy was really easy to make, and took only about two hours, including drawing the pattern, cutting out everything and dragging out my sewing machine. You don't even need a sewing machine for something this small, although it helps to give you a seam strong enough to hold the stuffing. The other option would be to top-stitch the elephant with embroidery floss or contrasting thread, and let the edges fray a little.

I'm not the kind of person who normally makes little things like this, but I quite like it, and it would probably make a great bazaar or charity item.

Elephant Lore of the Day
Local photographer Neil Robertson often sends me interesting elephant images he comes across. Yesterday, he sent me this one, featuring child actor Dickie Moore (of the Our Gang comedies) with a baby elephant.

Dickie Moore with baby elephant.

At first, I thought, "A baby elephant? In an Our Gang movie?" Then I thought, "Maybe it's from a circus movie or something." It never occurred to me to assess the size of the elephant in this photo.

A quick online search revealed the image below—obviously the original, featuring the Our Gang/Little Rascals dog, Pete the Pup.

Dickie Moore with Pete the Pup, in an unnamed Our Gang comedy, ca. 1933.

Since baby elephants weigh around 200 pounds (91 kilograms) at birth, the elephant in the picture above would have to be either the smallest baby elephant ever born, or Dickie Moore would have to have been a very large child. Although I couldn't trace the original source of the elephant image, it's a nice piece of "fauxtography"—and I, of course, kind of prefer it to the original.

To Support Elephant Welfare
Boon Lott's Elephant Sanctuary (Thailand)
Wildlife SOS (India) 
The Elephant Sanctuary (Tennessee)

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