Posted on Wednesday the 18th October 2017 by Sewchet
With Christmas creeping all too quickly up on us, I planned ahead for this present and have finished it in plenty of time, which is just as well really, as this definitely isn't a last minute project.
The way it worked was that I saw this Sewing Pattern and knew that I had to make it purely for the fun factor, and THEN worked out who I could give it to. Well, sewing is primarily about the enjoyment, after all.
So this is a toy elephant with her own wardrobe full of clothes, all of which conveniently live in her suitcase 'home'.
Perfect for on-the-move entertainment.
I liked the fabric combinations shown on the pattern envelope so was happy to be able to find very similar ones at Minerva Crafts (they are all listed in my materials list to the right of this blog post).
Safety Polyester Stuffing was essential as this is a toy.
I chose this grey Suedette Fabric for the body of the elephant which makes it nice and tactile for tiny hands to stroke.
A small amount of pink Felt was ideal for the ears, and the elephant came together very quickly and easily.
Safety Eyes added and she's finished already!
Of course, any self-respecting elephant needs her own wardrobe of clothes, so I grabbed a selection from my stash and set to.
Minerva also stock Fat Quarter Bundles which would be perfect for the clothes as they come in coordinating fabrics.
Just a quick look at each of the outfits, all of which have lovely little detailing.
This shorts and top set is trimmed with ric rac and the gingham strip down the centre is finished with a button from my filled-to-the-brim button tin. However, if yours isn't quite as well stocked, Minerva stock Jars of Assorted Buttons which are a great option.
The top closes with Velcro so is simple for little hands to take on and off.
A little dress is decorated with more ric rac trim and binding in the same colour.
Again, no fiddly buttons, just a simple tie to do up.
These two little skirt and bow sets are a sweet choice, the different detailing making each one unique.
Yellow with blue ric rac and a blue button.......
....and blue with pink ric rac and a pink gingham bow at the waist.
I veered off piste here, as the elephant is supposed to have a piece of velcro sewn to her head to accept the bows, but I omitted this.
By sewing the hook side of the velcro to the reverse of the bows, it clings to the slightly fuzzy suedette fabric on its own, removing the need for an unsightly piece of velcro stuck permanently to the elephant's head.
Next up is this delightful little romper, again with a simple tie at the neck to close.
Cute little details like this tab make each outfit quite special.
Finally, a dress and cape set with scalloped edging to both - it's all in the detail again.
Right, on to making the suitcase and I must admit to wondering how difficult this was going to be and how it would turn out.
My worries were unfounded though, as the instructions are faultless, not to mention very clear and well illustrated. Kudos to the pattern testers, I say!
The interior was fitted out first; this is the bed with the pocket acting as the bedcover.
Funnily enough, I've never inserted suitcase zips before (!), but, again, the instructions were spot on and both zips went in perfectly first time, meeting absolutely in the centre.
On goes the handle.....
....and then the panels are pinned and stitched into place.
Until I opened it up and realised I'd sewn the bed panel on upside down.
Grrrr! I had to unpick it all and re-do it, giving myself an extra half an hour of work.
All rectified at last.
I added curtains to the window as it didn't really look right without them.
The dresser has pleated sides and is plenty big enough to hold all the clothes I've just made.
After triple-checking that everything was actually sewn on the right way round etc., it was time to cover the raw edges with bias binding.
There is a pattern piece included so you can make your own bias binding but be careful not to make the same basic mistake that I did.
The clue is in the name - BIAS binding.
I cut it on the straight grain accidentally and had no more blue gingham fabric to re-cut it on the bias.
Luckily, I've sewn with bias binding countless times previously, so I managed to make it work.
Have a closer look at the design details - it really is so well thought out.
The zips go all the way around to the base, just like a real suitcase.
The zips join perfectly in the centre.
The handle is strengthened to withstand rough use by little ones.
The suitcase stands up pretty well on its own, despite having no card inner, just interfacing as stiffening.
The case opens to reveal its contents - a gorgeous toy elephant in her own carry case.
I think it's utterly fabulous and will make a wonderful Christmas present for a little girl in the family.
The only decision now is which one to give it to?
Maybe I should just make three more to save any fighting.....!