Making a Pattern for a New Toy from an Old Toy

My daughter’s third grade teacher is having a baby soon, and Betsy wants to make gifts. This teacher loves elephants, as do I, perhaps because my mom made these cheerful, colorful pachyderms for baby me.

Elephants from my Baby Carriage

They were linked together above my baby carriage, although my mom recently separated them so my daughters could use them as stuffed animals for their dolls.

They’re simple in design, which I really like, and which made them easier to pattern.

Elephant front

I wanted to sew a slightly larger elephant to be used as a stuffed animal for a child, perhaps for the big sister of said coming baby?

Here’s how I made the pattern.

Step One: I put the toy (which is relatively flat) on a copier and enlarged it to 200%, which was about as large as I could go and keep it on an 8 1/2 by 11″ sheet of paper.

Copy the Toy

Step 2: I made edits to the pattern. I changed/clarified a few of the angles and added an eye and mouth. I tried to add a tail, which ultimately didn’t work.

Edit the Copy

Step 3: I cut out the pattern pieces from the copy and placed them on a new piece of paper.

Cut it out and tape to paper

Step 4: I carefully cut the ear piece from the body. I taped each pattern piece to the paper and traced around each with a Sharpie.

Cut off ear and trace both

Step 5: Using a ruler and pencil, I made dots 1/4″ outside of the Sharpie line and played connect the dots to create a seam allowance. I debated using a larger seam allowance, but decided on 1/4″ since some of those turns are pretty tight, and even on the larger toy the trunk isn’t that wide.

Add seam allowance

Step 6: Sewing time! I tried out the pattern.

Big and Little Elephants

I want to tweak it a bit more before we sew the final gift–this pink elephant is a prototype, just for me–but I think it worked pretty well, don’t you?

I’ll post the pattern once we’ve finalized it, for anyone else who’d like to make a little fabric elephant.

Edited to add that this is scrap project 11/101.




About rbpepper

Rebecca is an artist, writer, and photographer with degrees in Theater and Social Work, and is currently a Stay at Home Mom to her three kids. Some part of her house is always a mess, she lets her kids paint on the table and design their own costumes, and she makes excellent allergen-free cookies. She lives with her equally creative husband and children in a part of Virginia known for being "pretty close to Dulles Airport", and dreams of moving to an old farmhouse in New England.
This entry was posted in Illustration and Design, Patterns & Tutorials, Sewing, Things I Made and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Making a Pattern for a New Toy from an Old Toy

  1. Really cute! But I think it might be better with less stuffing in the ears? I had an elephant my mum made, and I loved scrunching up the soft floppy ears while cuddling the more sturdy body. 😊

    • rbpepper says:

      You might be right! I’ll try that on the next version. I love hearing about your memory of cuddling with your elephant, thank you for sharing that. What types of fabric was your elephant made from?

  2. Liz says:

    lovely! thanks so much for sharing your process.
    I, too, would prefer flatter ears if I were sewing one.

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