So unfortunately I am currently sat nursing rather a nasty cold, this is a very common condition for me as I seem to have an immune system that is happy to let in any bugs that cross its path. Due to my love of past eras and all things vintage I am often asked if I wish I had been born at a different time and my answer is always no as I am pretty sure I wouldn’t have survived, or if I did I would have been one of those ailing characters of weak constitution that you meet in many a classic novel. Anyway as I was sipping my honey and lemon I was thinking about what I did during my last horrible cold just a few weeks back and reminded myself that I never got around to sharing the photos of the elephant I finished during that time and gave to my niece for her birthday.
I am a huge fan of the Tilda books and have had a few on my workroom shelf for years. Those of you who have been following this blog for a while may remember the bunnies I made to raise funds and awareness for PETA’s angora campaign, the pattern for which came from Tilda Crafting Springtime Gifts. I loved making the bunnies and seeing how differently they all came out in their different fabrics and had been wanting to try one of the other soft toy patterns from the books ever since. I chose the elephant from the book Tilda’s Studio and decided to make it up in a pale silver grey needlecord as the needlecord bunnies had been particularly cute.
I ordered the cord from Ditto Fabrics online and it’s lovely. The toy stuffing was a John Lewis purchase that I already had in my workroom and the other fabrics and cotton batting that I used for her ears and her dress were scraps. These toys aren’t quick to make. The limbs and the body are stitched up by machine but then to join them all together once they are stuffed I work teeny stitches and some large embroidery floss stitches both by hand and I’m not sure there is really much of an option for that part of the process. I enjoy hand sewing and so don’t mind at all but you need a thimble, especially when working with the needlecord as its quite tough work! I embroidered the eyes on with little french knots in some black cotton crochet thread although I think in the books she uses fabric paint.
I love her ears!
I’m not sure whether you can really embark upon projects like this purely for the child receiving them as they have no concept of the love that goes into them and it is always difficult to compete with dancing, back flipping dogs and the such like. I just think it feels really nice to give handmade presents plus it gave me the chance to make a teeny little Liberty print dress and dress up a toy, hehe! Making little gifts remind me of a simpler time and Little House on the prairie style Christmases where one handmade present would have been given and treasured. That being said I did also give her a little china tea set in a tin-just in case the elephant wanted to throw any tea parties Little crafting sewing projects like this are also a lovely change of pace from garment sewing for me.
The great thing about each of the Tilda books is that they include so many different types of project. Tilda’s Studio has laptop cases, applique cushion covers, soft toys and so many other things. I think my favourite one has to be the little polka dot stuffed cherries for dangling around jam jars- I mean whose life wouldn’t be better with some of these in!
Do you like to give handmade gifts?
Thanks for reading as always