Once again, I’ve gone back to Simplicity 2613 to whip up a baby gift, this time for one of Carl’s coworkers. Rather than sew the elephant for a third time, I chose to make view B, the giraffe. To be entirely truthful, I constructed this a while back, but never finished stitching the felt eyes on or stuffing it (which is how I “sewed” it despite my sewing machine being in the shop).
For the mot part, the giraffe was as easy to build as the elephant, however I did find a few issues to keep in mind.
The shoulder curve
The arm openings are very tight, so a tool to help push in stuffing is very helpful. More importantly, I found that the quilter’s flannel I used wanted to separate at the shoulder seam. For best results, reinforce the curves with a second line of tighter stitching just inside the seam allowances. Since I didn’t realize this until after I’d begun stuffing, I darned over the corner with matching thread. The hidden reinforcement would have been better.
The importance of a proper stuffing hole
When I constructed the body, I was on auto pilot sewing all the pieces together and forgot about leaving an opening for stuffing in the suggested center back seam. By the time I realized my mistake, the only remaining logical place to leave open was the side neck seam, since I didn’t want to rip any stitches out.
It wasn’t until I actually began stuffing that I realized how unwieldy it was to stuff through the neck. In hindsight, it would have been worth it to rip out the back seam to leave a proper stuffing opening.
I still can’t figure out how to get the limbs to fall as cutely as they do on the pattern envelope. I think it has to do with the stuffing, but it is quite mysterious (unless of course they used hidden pins for photogenic toys).
A note on the neck ruff
The suggested construction calls for fringe with adornment on only one side, so that you can sew the unadorned side straight into the seam. Mine was double-sided, so I first sewed the center-back seam together, then topstitched my fringe down on top of it, folding the bottom edge under for a nice finish. The top edge was sewn into the side seam as one piece with the back.
Just keep in mind that you can use any fringe/ribbon—with adornment on one or both sides—even though the pattern instructions aren’t provided for the latter.
Like the two elephants I made from the pattern, I added a small rattle-like creation to this stuffed animal. It’s really quite simple to make.
Start with the metal bases of two tealight candles (mine are from a pack of Ikea ones, but I imagine any will do, so long as they have metal-ish base). It is best to use the bases of un-used candles, so you don’t have to deal with melted wax. The candles I have just slip out of the base with a slight tug on the wick. I put the container-less candles into other, larger candles that have burned to the bottom (leaving a wax cylinder) so as not to waste a perfectly good tealight.
Partially fill one with grains from your pantry (in the past I’ve used basmati rice, but this time was couscous. I liked the result a bit better). Play with the amount for desired sound.
Place the second candle base over the first, trapping the grains inside. You might have to add a small crease in the side of the inner one to get them to fit.
Wrap in duct tape to waterproof/seal the halves together.
In the future, I want to try using hot glue (or perhaps melted wax) to seal the rattle, because the duct tape muffled the sound a bit, but alas, I have no hot glue gun at present. My last roll of clear duct tape was less muffling than this new roll of yellow. The whole thing is very unscientific, so play around to find what suits you best.
The result was another quick creation that I hope the new baby will enjoy.