Special Embroidered Elephant Plush
As a mom and a teacher, I always find myself looking for ways to save things. Students grow through the year and I love preserving their progress for their families to see how far they’ve come. Sometimes it’s drawings. At other times, it’s stories they have written. Of course, there are always tons of photos showing growth and progress.
In my home, we save lots of firsts and lots of favorites. The challenge can come with finding practical uses for sentimental items, especially when we feel our children may have outgrown them. We’re always looking at simplifying, reducing waste, and reusing or repurposing things.
One of my favorite children’s books is Owen written by Kevin Henkes. Owen is a mouse who will soon start school. He has a favorite blanket that he has named “Fuzzy”. Owen takes Fuzzy everywhere. The next-door neighbor tries to give his parents advice on taking away Owen’s blanket before he starts school. In the end, Owen’s mom comes up with a great idea. She transforms Fuzzy into something that Owen can take with him anywhere he goes.
Can you relate? That story hits so close to home. My daughter has 2 of the exact same blanket. She’s had them since she was only a few months old. She is now 9 years old. She still loves her blankets. They are (or they used to be) pink with elephants on them. Elephants also happen to be her favorite animal. Can you see where we’re headed with this?
I came across the cutest in-the-hoop elephant plush pattern on Creative Fabrica. I immediately thought of Owen and Fuzzy. I asked my daughter what she thought about using her blanket to make something that she could take with her anywhere she goes. She excitedly agreed. So we gathered our supplies and got started. Let me take you through the process of how I made a cute elephant plush using her special blanket.
Materials and Supplies
- Elephant ITH file
- Embroidery machine
- 2-4 colors of thread
- Fabric for elephant
- I used a scrap of snuggle flannel
- Fabric for contrasting ear
- I used my daughter’s blanket
- Poly-fil or other stuffing
- I used strips of my daughter’s blanket
- Hand-sewing needle
- Scissors and snips
- String or ribbon for tail
- Keyring and clip (optional)
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (optional)
- Cutting machine (optional)
- Iron or heat press
Sewing Your Elephant
- Purchase and download the Elephant ITH design file from Creative Fabrica
- Follow the instructions for your embroidery machine to add the design file to your machine
- The file comes in several formats
- Be sure to choose the format that is compatible with your embroidery machine
- The file also comes in several sizes
- Be sure you select a size that is compatible with your machine and hoop size
- Download the “More Sewing Info” pdf file
- I recommend reading through the pdf completely prior to starting.
- Apply the stabilizer to the fabric you will be using for the elephant’s body
- Hoop the stabilizer and material and get started.
- From here, you can follow the instructions in the pdf file.
- As a side note, I only used 2 colors of thread. So it may not be necessary to change the thread all 9 changes as shown in the pattern
- For the final steps, you’ll be adding the tail and the backing of the elephant.
- Make sure the tail is placed out of the way of the outer stitching line
- Cover the stitching completely with the backing fabric to ensure the stitching placement is correct
- The tail will be stitched several times to reinforce the stitch. (This caught me off guard at first and I thought my machine was messing up).
Constructing the Elephant
- Once you’re done stitching, remove the hoop from the machine and the fabric from the hoop
- Remove the excess stabilizer
- Trim the excess fabric. Be careful not to cut too close to your stitch lines
- You may need to use a small dowel or an unsharpened pencil (does anyone even have pencils lying around anymore?) to turn your elephant right side out
- Stuff the elephant
- I used strips of my daughter’s blanket as the stuffing. This made it extra super special
- Add your stuffing a little at a time, pushing into the corners to make sure they are all filled
- Hand sew the opening using a whip stitch
TA-DAH! You have an elephant plush.
To finish our’s, I added a keyring and clasp to the tail. And, because I’m that mom who loves to personalize things and be a little “extra” sometimes, I even used iron-on to add her initials to the back of the elephant. Too cute!!! Now my daughter can add it to her backpack as a zipper charm. She could also clip it on her belt loop if she wanted or add it to her jacket zipper.
I’m so happy and so is my daughter. This really was a great way to repurpose and preserve something that means so much to her. I’m definitely adding this to her memory book.
Now, this won’t work with every child. In fact, my 11-year-old gave me a great big “No thanks” when I asked her if she’d like me to do something similar with her yellow blanket. So we’re going to leave that alone for now and maybe revisit it at a later date. Maybe.
How will you preserve something special? If you do something similar to what I showed you here, please tag me on Instagram, Facebook, or TikTok. I am EJsFunCrafting on all platforms. Make something fun!