My first Tilda Elephant: Beatrice

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I've been searching for a pretty doll pattern for a certain little girl's birthday which is coming up very soon. 

In my searching, I happened upon Tilda, the Norwegian designer who seems to have taken the doll-world and home-decorating-world by storm. Everything in Tone's world is about pastel shades next to bright colours, bird cages and pearls, wide-hipped dolls and angels. Angels.

Anyway, I spied a certain circus doll collection featuring elephants and giraffes, and I knew that I had happened upon the perfect doll pattern. And so, I bought Tilda's Studio.

And here's Beatrice, my finished elephant, sitting on the shelf above my desk while she waits to be shipped off to South Africa.

I changed all the fabrics in the book to ones that I had more readily available here. They're all 100% cotton which is a little more expensive than I'd have first thought, but really worth it. I tried making the elephant body out of calico and it was a disaster: there were pulls and frays all over the place and it really didn't feel like you might be able to cuddle it. The answer? Dress-weight cotton. 

I also embroidered the eyes instead of marking them with permanent marker - thought this looked a bit nicer.

The arms and legs are hand-sewn with embroidery thread which gives it a bit of durability. You sew them through the body which means you can move the arms and legs quite easily - clever for posing purposes if you want your elephant doll to sit down!

I made some minor changes to the dress, too: I added on a dark purple binding along the top and the bottom, I closed the back off with a purple button flower, and I added the recipient's name on the front of the dress in chain stitch embroidery.

Also, I joined the skirt to the dress top with a row of added pompoms. You can't have a circus without pompoms.

I finished Beatrice with the addition of a small folded rose and two leaves. I just folded large satin ribbon in half (like bias) and tacked it to itself as I twisted and turned it around the folded middle bit to make a rose shape. It really helps if you sew as you go so you don't end up with a massive chunk of fabric to sew through at the end.

And who could forget pink toenails? It made me think of that joke - why did the elephant paint his toenails red? So he could hide in the cherry tree!

Ever seen an elephant in a cherry tree? 
Works pretty well, eh?

I love this pattern. It's simple, easy to sew, and although it takes some time to put together, I think the results are worth it. I'm definitely going to make another one (some time) to sit on my shelf. The instructions in the book are a bit vague ("sew the head"), but it's really not an issue piecing things together and figuring out what goes where. Not bad for a 'first' sewing project.

The book contains two patterns: one for a large elephant (I chose this one) and one for a small elephant. I think the large one is a good size - it definitely adds a cheery addition to my work space!

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  1. Thanks, it IS cute isn't it? there are also giraffes on my 'to do' list ... (oh dear, I fear that my work files are going to have to move over) x

  2. She is a sweetie. But when do you get time to work?

  3. Ha, well, I've found that late nights are very pleasantly spent sewing instead of watching TV. Plus, Graeme has discovered that he is an excellent chef! Hurrah.

  4. Oh she is just adorable! I have loads of Tone Finnanger's books, but i'm too scared to tackle any of the characters!


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