Free Pattern & Tutorial: Henry & Helga Plushies

Free Pattern & Tutorial: Henry & Helga Plushies

We are so lucky here at Birch Fabrics, to be able to partner with some very talented ladies from the crafting community.  Here we have an Elephant Plushie Pattern and Tutorial by Christina McKinney, a creative contributor to our Birch Fabrics blog, momma, photographer, and all around awesome person!  Check out her adorable pattern and tute!

I’m so excited to share this fun tutorial with you!! Growing
up, my mom collected elephants – so I have always loved them. These make great
little snuggle buddies for little ones or decorations for a nursery. And since
they come together so quickly, they make great gifts. The pattern is available
in two sizes, large and small – so you can make one, or a whole little family
of them!
Tips: Use a 1/4in
seam allowance throughout. Read your pattern pieces BEFORE cutting, two of them
require you to add a seam allowance along one edge. Pinning will really help
keep seams matched up, but I DO NOT recommend sewing over pins! Press all your
pieces well before and during sewing.

Supplies needed:
1 fat quarter in main fabric print
1 fat quarter in contrast fabric
scrap piece of iron on interfacing
polyfil stuffing
Printed pattern pieces

Fabric Shown: From Just For Fun Collection and Mod Basics 2 by Jay-Cyn Designs for Birch Fabrics Organic.

You need to add a seam allowance to a couple pieces. I don’t measure them
exactly, eyeballing it is just fine! This is how mine are pinned – about 1/2 in
between – then I just cut up the middle. (My fabric here is folded wrong sides
together, so I’m cutting both the left and right pieces at the same time. I
recommend doing this to keep the pieces exact.)

They should end up looking like this:

So, once everything is cut, you’re ready to go!
First, start with sewing each set of ears. Take two and put
them right sides together.

You’re going to sew just the curved edge, leaving the straight side open for
turning. Repeat with second set of ear pieces.

Turn your ears right side out and press.
Using your pattern piece as a guide, place one ear on one of
the main body pieces. The raw edge of the ear will lay against the raw edge of
the body piece.

Lay the corresponding face piece on top, sandwiching the ear in
between. Pin in place and sew along the straight edge.

Repeat this step with the second ear, face, & body pieces.
Press your seam toward the elephants trunk. (It should
naturally face that way when you flip the ear back.)

Using your face pattern piece as a guide, line up where your
eye will be, and iron on your interfacing piece.

Just as a side note, there are a couple options for the eye. I
use a stitch on my machine that just happens to look a little like an oval:

You could also stitch an eye by hand, or leave it off entirely.
I strongly recommend the interfacing if it’s machine or hand stitched –
otherwise the fabric could tear. (Since these are meant for little ones, I
would avoid button eyes.)
Once I have the interfacing in place, I like to mark a small
dot on the front where the top of my stitched eye will start. This helps keep
things even!

Once the eye is stitched, I pull the top and bottom threads
from the front to the back and tie a small knot. Since reversing/securing the
stitch isn’t an option with decorative stitches, I do this to make sure it
doesn’t pull out over time.

Then snip your threads

The front should look something like this:

Now, you need to stitch up your little tail piece. ***Quick
note in regard to sewing this in the smaller size. I still cut the tail piece
the same size and sew it the same way. I just shorten it when I’m finished.***

Fold over and press each long edge 1/4in.

Fold in half and press

Sew along the open side, staying close to the edge, but making
sure you catch both sides.

As close as you can to one end, tie a small knot for

Using your pattern piece for placement, lay your tail piece in
place and pin. Keep in mind that the tail will hang whatever direction you
stitch it. So, decide if you want it angled up or down and place it

Leave about 1/4 inch out, just to make sure it gets caught in the seam

Lay your second body piece on top, matching up all the edges
and seams. Pin in place.

You’ll need to decide what edge to leave open for turning and
stitching. A straight edge is ideal for this – much easier to sew up once
you’re done. Mark your start and stop points with double needles or different
colored pins.

Stitch around the edge taking care to follow all the curves.
Take your time! Be sure to secure your start and stop stitches near the opening
so it doesn’t unravel when you turn it right side out.

Before turning, snip the inner and outer curves. BE CAREFUL and
don’t snip through your stitches!! The inner and outer edges of the trunk and
belly are the most important curves to cut. (Though I tend to just snip almost
the whole way around. It goes a long way in helping things lay correctly when

Turn right side out, poking out all the rounded edges and
corners. I use a chopstick for this, it’s perfect!! (I don’t know about y’all,
but I always have more than a few of those laying around! Take out anyone?)

Once all your seams are pressed, you can start stuffing! I like
to take small pieces of filling and push them into the trunk first. I then use
the chopstick to poke filling into all the nooks and crannies. Fill to your
desired firmness. (I recommend less filling if it’s meant for very little ones.
Far easier for them to hold on to!) Once you’re happy with the filling amount,
sew up the opening with a blind stitch.
And you’re done! See? EASY!
All Photography and Pattern-work by Christina McKinney, for personal use only.  Not to be duplicated or sold. 

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Comments (57)

  • Bairs09

    The pattern pdf download isn't working

    July 10, 2013 at 10:34 pm
  • Birch Fabrics

    Sorry about that! Trying to fix the bugs now.

    July 10, 2013 at 10:38 pm
  • Birch Fabrics

    Okay, Sorry about that everyone! The bug is fixed and you should now be able to download the pattern from the link! Thank you!

    July 10, 2013 at 10:42 pm
  • Connie

    Hello, You are so talented, what an amazing blog. I love your projects and your tutorials are awesome; I'm excited that I found you. Come visit my humble little blog while I'm having my Give-A-Way. I just purchased a new sewing machine and I was out looking for fresh ideas when I found your lovely blog.
    I can't find a box to click to follow, maybe you can help me. Until then I'm placing your blog in my blog-list, so I won't miss a single post 🙂
    Your newest fan, Connie 🙂

    July 12, 2013 at 4:58 pm
  • Natalie

    Oh these are just adorable, thank you for sharing the pattern 🙂

    July 16, 2013 at 12:47 am
  • Cori C

    Great pattern- thanks!

    July 16, 2013 at 5:25 am
  • Elisabetta

    Thank you so much this tutorial is really well done
    This is a nice gift for a new baby, I love it! ^_^

    July 16, 2013 at 5:54 am
  • kukafera

    lovely elephants!! thanks for the pattern!!

    July 16, 2013 at 8:51 am
  • Blooms And Bugs

    ohh! so cute! and they woudl be just perfect for baby boys. Its so hard to find cute gifts for them. Sharing on facebook and pinning it.

    July 16, 2013 at 5:22 pm
  • Lalitha

    thank you so much for the pattern. my daughter loves elephants and I was looking for a pattern to make her one. Do I print the pieces at 100%. I have never done this before and want to get the right size.

    July 17, 2013 at 2:41 am
  • Debra C

    This is adorable. But…The PDF link still isn't working for me. Is there something I'm missing?

    July 19, 2013 at 8:15 pm
  • Beth

    So cute!!!!

    July 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm
  • Chris S

    Great instructions, thank you!

    July 21, 2013 at 5:35 am
  • Linda

    I cannot get file to load either. This is soo cute would love to have the pattern plse.

    July 26, 2013 at 3:27 am
  • Molly Dee

    Hi, thank you for taking the time to create this adorable tutorial and pattern! I've been on the lookout for something very similar. I've printed the pattern and checked my settings but it is printing out very small. Can someone please tell me what the finished size is supposed to be? The small one seems like it would finish out at a small pincushion size and my settings say it is printing at 100%. I am using Firefox as a browser. Thank you!

    August 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm
  • Molly Dee

    I figured it out by printing it through Google Chrome.

    August 4, 2013 at 3:31 pm
  • Glesslib

    Thank you so much for this charming pattern. I am going to make some of these for an orphanage in Haiti, because they can be packed together tightly for the journey. The kids don't have a lot a toys, and I know that a lot of them will enjoy carrying such a darling friend around with them.

    August 7, 2013 at 6:17 pm
  • Christina McKinney

    What an awesome idea!! Glad it can be put to good use 🙂

    August 26, 2013 at 10:13 pm
  • Unknown

    Wow ! How I love these plushies. They are soooo adorable.Just wondering if the ellies can be done with 4 legs and if so will it be too complicated? I have never done any dolls before !
    They are such darlings ! and I will try the fish after this.

    August 30, 2013 at 8:35 pm
  • Misty S this. Our oldest daughter was one very close to this when she was a baby (22 years ago)…it was pink and white and had 4 legs 🙂 She still has it. Must try to make some for our younger girls. Very nice.

    September 14, 2013 at 1:18 am
  • Donna in NW FL

    Don't see the link to the pdf pattern. Help!

    September 19, 2013 at 1:50 pm
  • Trinity

    Right under the supplies list there is a clickable link that says PRINT PATTERN PIECES HERE!. I use Firefox and once I clicked it, it started downloading. Good luck!

    September 19, 2013 at 2:23 pm
  • Amanda Harvey

    Hi please can you look at the link for printing the pattern pieces as it doesn't seem to be working again! Lovely work and thank you for sharing it.

    October 1, 2013 at 6:18 am
  • BettySewsAlot

    So what are the finished sizes for the Great Project? That would be a Must Know!

    October 1, 2013 at 12:44 pm
  • Jenny_stitcher

    Gorgeous pattern and a perfect gift for a new baby girl or boy.
    Quick question – how do I make the smaller sizes?

    October 1, 2013 at 1:49 pm
  • Amanda Harvey

    Thanks I managed to download the pattern today, can't wait to start!

    October 2, 2013 at 6:25 am
  • géraldine Jolivet

    The pattern pdf download isn't working. Please can you give me the pdf by email? Thank you so much.

    October 3, 2013 at 4:17 am
  • Kerri Hunter

    I made the little Ellie last night for my grandbaby that will be here soon they are sooo cute thanks for such a detailed tutorial I will be making more of these!!

    October 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm
  • Amaya

    Thank you so much for this tutorial! It's a great information! I have done my own elephats based on your tutorial. I've mentioned in my blog:

    Thanks! They are so cute!

    October 9, 2013 at 8:11 am
  • sharonsharon

    Thank you so much for the great pattern and instructions!!
    So very generous.
    I'm going to make a few for my baby nephew's elephant-themed nursery~

    October 17, 2013 at 2:35 am
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    October 17, 2013 at 8:31 pm
  • Jodi

    Finally whipped one of these up this afternoon as a baby gift for a neighbour. It was quick, easy and the result was fantastic. Thank you for such an awesome pattern. You've made my day. Will be making more of these. 🙂

    October 23, 2013 at 7:49 am
  • Julie GM

    Just found this via Fabric Worm! Love this, pinned it & shared on Twitter too! Thx so much! I want to make two for my best friend's twin girls!

    November 18, 2013 at 8:22 pm
  • Laura Baker

    Thanks so much for this, my daughter keeps saying the only thing she wants from Santa is a red elephant, so hopefully this is exactly what she wanted!

    December 16, 2013 at 2:25 pm
  • M.Hansen

    Loved this pattern!!

    December 31, 2013 at 6:11 am
  • Nancey John

    The information in this blog is extremely useful for the people.
    free tutor online

    January 4, 2014 at 5:38 am
  • Sweet Dreams Quilts

    I LOVE this pattern! It is so cute and yet so simple! Do you mind if I make some of these and sell them at a few craft fairs I will be attending this summer?

    January 4, 2014 at 3:05 pm
  • Bronwyn Theresa

    Thanks for a great tutorial. These are sooo cute and quick to sew up. I made some over night and love them. Are you ok with people selling the finished products made from your pattern?

    January 6, 2014 at 8:06 am
  • JennyMiecz

    Super cute, quick and easy. My 3yr old and I made one for her new baby sister. We added a rattle to the inside and made the ears crinkly by adding a layer of wipey wrapper inside the ears 🙂

    January 12, 2014 at 10:29 pm
  • Gramma Di

    What a delightful pattern! Thank you for sharing your talents with everyone. My grandson loves elephants, so after I finish his quilt, I will use the left-over fabrics to make an elephant or two!

    January 22, 2014 at 3:12 pm
  • Tivaly

    Love my elephant. Thank you.

    February 2, 2014 at 11:48 pm
  • ibernier

    Thanks for sharing ! They are soooo adorable ! Merci !

    February 19, 2014 at 2:09 pm
  • Christine Frahm

    Hello there! I'm from germany and first I want to say, that I love your fabrics and designs – and also thank you for the wonderful free (!!) patterns!
    Yesterday I found this on the german "burda"-site:
    It is exactly YOUR elephant above, and the seller of the "ebook" is "retromama" on etsy! She wants about 6,00 EUR for "her" ebook! I think, this is absolutely NOT okay and you should know, that somebody sells YOUR pattern on etsy.

    February 22, 2014 at 12:40 pm
  • joann cassidy

    Thank you….this turned out so cute! I used fleece and the 1/4 inch seams are questionable… I am going to make it again using flannel.

    March 16, 2014 at 10:52 pm
  • ema

    Thank you for the wonderful pattern, there are already severals Henrys and Helgas!

    May 11, 2014 at 7:39 am
  • Joanne Angus

    I'm definitely going to make some of these for a few little people I know!

    Suggestion: To make it more interesting for little fingers I was thinking it would be nice to use different fabrics on the ears and maybe put some crinkly plastic (think crisp/chip packet) inside the ears too.

    May 14, 2014 at 8:01 pm
  • Carola Lugti

    Oh what a lovely elephant. Thanks for sharing. I am gonna make this for my sister in law who is pregnant.

    August 5, 2014 at 6:33 pm

    Thanks for sharing

    September 18, 2014 at 7:06 pm
  • Bernahrd

    Here we have an Elephant Plushie Pattern and Tutorial by Christina McKinney, …

    September 19, 2014 at 3:53 am
  • Jenna

    I just made this pattern and it turned out great! I used a white/navy polka dot flannelette for the body and light blue minky for the ears/tail. I also cut out small circles from black felt for the eyes. Thank you so much for sharing the pattern!

    January 24, 2015 at 3:12 am
  • viviane J

    Today I made the two elephants for my grandson. Thank you for the pattern, (I linked you in my blog.
    Greetings from Belgium.

    March 22, 2015 at 3:00 pm
  • ~Sally~

    The eye placement on he smaller one is 1/4" from the edge of the pattern and therefore you see right through the eye. Oops! Otherwise, came out really cute. I used minky for the ears!

    April 9, 2015 at 2:07 am
  • ~Sally~

    Ugh, autocorrect. You SEW through the eye on the smaller one if you don't move it farther in than the pattern indicates.

    April 9, 2015 at 2:08 am
  • Sara Grubb

    Thanks for the tutorial, I love it! Made one for my friend who is a political campaign manager. Although the trunk was a pain to hem, I think it turned out great. I left eyes off since the fabric is so busy. Here's a link

    June 11, 2015 at 1:06 am
  • Michael Syaukas

    Thanks for your very useful Information. I will bookmark for next reference. I really liked this part of the article. with a nice and interesting topics have helped a lot of people who do not challenge things people should know. you need more publicize this so many people who know about it are rare for people to know this. Success for you.

    June 19, 2015 at 11:33 pm
  • Shantel Jones

    What a fun idea! My boys love stuffed animals :0)
    I featured on my Sew Boy features today!

    July 14, 2015 at 3:26 pm
  • GullibleJan

    Thank you so much for sharing. Excellent easy to follow tutorial. X

    July 25, 2015 at 1:08 pm

Comments are closed.