I have been reading lots of stuff on designing and making soft toys, recently. It is all quite frustrating, because the people whose words I'm reading are making toys for children, but I'm aware that I can't do that myself, without all the proper safety certification in place. Not that the safety rules are a bad thing - it's just a lot for an individual to take on.
Anyway, the books I have been reading recommend using thin, close-weave cotton. I have tried a mammoth in this type of fabric before, but I abandoned it before it was finished because the whole structure seemed too weak and flimsy. The solution to this, apparently, is to stuff it within an inch of its life.
So, I thought I'd give it a go. I have also been wanting to add tusks to my mammoths. I was imagining some kind of wiring, or at least something inset into the face, for stability. Unfortunately there is absolutely no room in my design to inset tusks. However, one of the books on soft-toy making that I have been reading talks about making a reindeer, and simply sewing the antlers to the top of the head.
I was a little dubious (and still am), but it is the only way I can think of to add the tusks.
Excuse the funny colour of the pictures: this is a yellow elephant.
He is in fact, quite solid (and incredibly heavy!) - lack of stability wasn't really a problem. I am still having trouble with the fabric wrinkling, but I don't think I have stuffed him as full as recommended in the books, so hopefully, I should be able to make those wrinkles disappear by being more enthusiastic with the stuffing.
I guess I was slightly worried about popping seams. I have found that my sewing machine does just 14 stitches to the inch (the UK safety regulations require 17 stitches to the inch), so I'm going to have to start thinking about how I'm going to afford a new one.
And the tusks? I think they look good, but I am rather worried about their durability. They are just ladder stitched onto the body. What I need is a couple of small, enthusiastic kids to throw him around for a while, and test those tusks. I think I know just the pair (of kids, not tusks). Unfortunately, I would be very, very upset if those tusks fell off, so I'm not going to try it.