Elephant Bib Pattern + Tutorial

on May 4 | in Sewing Tutorials + Patterns | by | with 2 Comments

Dana Egbert from The Freckled Pear is back with a new tutorial. You can sew up a stack and gift these sweet elephant bibs to new moms and babies at every baby shower!

Learn all about Dana in her introduction, and check out her How to Sew Ruffles into a Neckline tutorial too. Dana has a variety of darling girl dress patterns at The Freckled Pear for a great price, so check out the shop!


You’ll want to sew a bunch of these little elephant bibs for all of the little ones! This bib fits ages 6 months – 3 years.

Fabric + Notions:

  • Bib front and back: 3/8 yard (The bib back can be made from the same fabric as the front, or an inexpensive fabric such as bleached or unbleached muslin can be used for the back.)
  • Inner lining layer (white flannel): 3/8 yard (This adds absorbency and serves as a backing to stabilize the appliqué stitches.)
  • Coordinating fabric scraps for the elephant, ear and optional balloon appliqué pieces: the elephant is approximately 6.5” wide and 4.5” tall, the ear is 2” x 2.5” and the balloon is 2.5” x 2.5”
  • 1 snap (I use Dritz nickel-plated brass, size 1, sew-on snaps)
  • 1/4” – 3/8” button for the eye
  • Small amount of embroidery floss in a coordinating color
  • Fusible bonding (such as Wonder Under): The amount will vary depending on how many bibs you make. It is sold by the yard at most fabric and craft stores. You’ll just need enough to cover the size of the appliqué designs. This is a lightweight, translucent fusible adhesive webbing used for bonding two layers of fabric together. Used to secure appliqué designs to the bib prior to zigzag stitching them in place.

Printing Instructions:
Be sure your printer settings are set to 100%. The square should print at 2” x 2”. Download and print the PDF Pattern here.

Cut Out the Bib:
The bib should be cut out with the length of the bib parallel to the selvages of the fabrics, as indicated with the grain line arrow on the PDF pattern piece.

Cut out all three layers: the front, the inner lining and the backing. (As mentioned in the fabric requirements section, the backing can be cut from the same fabric as the bib front or from a coordinating, less expensive fabric. I like to use bleached muslin if the bib front has a white background or unbleached muslin if the bib front has a beige background.)

Cut Out Appliqué Templates:
You can download the PDF Appliqué Templete here. The appliqué pieces are cut out differently; I use Wonder Under to bond the appliqué designs to the bib.

The first step is to place the Wonder Under– paper side up, bumpy side down– on top of the appliqué drawing. Trace the outline onto the Wonder Under using a sharp pencil or fine tip permanent marker. If the bib includes multiple appliqué pieces leave 1/2” space between the designs.

Note: The appliqué templates included with the pattern are drawn in mirror image so they will be facing in the correct direction after being ironed to the back of the fabric.

Cut out each image 1/4” outside the traced lines, so each traced design will be cut out of the Wonder Under with a 1/4” border around it.

Note: Fusible webbing can cause the fabric bonded with to feel stiffer. For this reason, at this point, I like to “hollow out” each traced design before it is fused to the fabric. Cut out the center of each Wonder Under piece to within 1/4” inside of the traced outline. This way the adhesive will keep the appliqué in place along the edges where it is needed, yet will not add unnecessary bulk and stiffness to the fabric. Do not hollow out small or narrow areas.

Bib Instructions:
Position each Wonder Under design– bumpy side down, papery side up– onto the wrong (not pretty) side of it’s corresponding fabric and iron it in place following the manufacturer’s instructions.

Cut out each fused fabric piece exactly on the tracing line. Once it is securely fused, pull the Wonder Under paper off of the fabric and discard.

Lay the bib inner layer on a flat surface to baste the inner layer to the bib. Lay the bib front on top of the inner layer (white flannel), matching them up perfectly. With a regular length stitch, machine baste all around the bib’s outer edge, 1/8” from the edge.

Now you will sew the appliqué pieces onto the bib. For the front, position the elephant body appliqué on
the the bib front.

Note: The finished bib will be smaller when completed than it is at this point due to the seam allowance of the outer edge seam.

Once you are satisfied with the placement of the appliqué, press with an iron, to fuse the designs onto the bib. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for ironing the appliqué pieces.

The appliqué pieces are now fused to the bib front and ready to be zigzag stitched into place.

Use a matching color top thread for the zigzag stitches. I like to use white bobbin thread so that the stitching is not colorful and easily seen through the bib backing fabric. I recommend first experimenting with your zigzag stitches on scrap fabric so that you will know just the right stitch length and width to use. The stitches should be fairly “tight” (short length) so that the appliqué edges will not fray when the bib is laundered. Some sewing machines have a satin stitch which can be used, but a tight zigzag stitch works well. I use a stitch width of just a touch wider than 1/8” (#3 on my machine).

Zigzag around each appliqué piece. The outer edge of the stitching should be exactly at the outer edge of the appliqué fabric, so the width of the zigzag stitch is all inside of the appliqué.

The raw edge is completely encased in thread. This helps the appliqué hold up really well to washing.

Helpful tip for the button eye: Hold the button where you’d like it to be sewn and use a large needle to poke through one hole of the button and into the fabric. The hole made by the needle can be seen on the back side and you’ll be able to see where to insert the threaded needle and begin your stitches for sewing the eye on.

Embroidery:
Spray Version: Use the dull end of a large needle or similar tool to make five indent marking lines in the fabric where you want your elephant trunk spray to be. You can also use disappearing ink marking pens.

Use three strands of embroidery floss and a “running stitch” for the spray lines. Make a French knot
at the outer end of each line.

If you are not familiar with the running stitch and French knots there are lots of online tutorials that can be found with an internet search.

Balloon Version: Make an indent marking (as described above) for the balloon string and embroider with an outline stitch, using all six strands. Instructions for the outline stitch can also be found with an internet search. You basically keep the thread on the same side of the needle for each stitch. On a curve line such as this the thread should stay on the outside of the curve.

Sew the Back onto the Front:
With right sides together, pin the bib back to the bib front.

Sew a 3/8” seam all around the bib leaving a 2.5” opening along one side, for turning the bib right side out. (See markings on illustration below.) Back stitch at the beginning and end of the seam.

Trim seam allowance to 1/4”. Turn right side out. A chop stick, spoon or the eraser end of a pencil can be useful for pushing the fabric through the opening.

Iron the bib, using care at the edges so that the bib backing does not show from the front.

Hand stitch the opening closed with small inconspicuous stitches.

Top Stitching:
Working from the front of the bib and starting at the arrow shown in the photo, top stitch around the entire bib. Begin and end with a few back stitches. The top stitching should be approximately 1/4” in from the side edge.

Snaps:
Hand sew one half of the snap to the front of the bib at the location shown near the arrow.

Hand sew the other half of the snap to the back of the bib.

You’re done! Enjoy!

No part of this pattern may be distributed in any form unless otherwise stated. Please respect my ownership of this design and the hard work that went into creating this pattern by not distributing copies. Copyright 2016 © The Freckled Pear.

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2 Responses to Elephant Bib Pattern + Tutorial

  1. rosa says:

    So gorgeous.

  2. Deborah says:

    This is so cute! I loved. And loved that you showed us all the variations that we can make!

    xo, Deborah
    http://www.loveandeverythingblog.com

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