Thursday, January 28, 2010

She brings you NILES the giraffe!

Hi! I'm thrilled to introduce you to my new friend, Niles.

Niles is a giraffe that doesn't have any eyes. Or a mouth, or really a nose for that matter. But he does have plush, minky skin, and a velvet ribbon bow tie, mane, and tail. Do giraffes have manes? Either way, it's velvet ribbon.

Niles was inspired by the pillows that my dear mother-in-law made for Eric and me as a stocking stuffer. Eric's mom, Debbie, was sweet enough to let me pick out my own fabric for the pillowcases because she doesn't, and I quote, "Think that spending a whole lot of money on fabric, and a bunch of time on something that I'm not going to use, is her idea of a good time."

Debbie, I couldn't agree with you more.

Debbie wanted to make the pillows out of Minky. Which, if you're not familiar with it, is basically the softest, dreamiest, cuddliest fabric you can imagine.

LUCKILY they carried it in animal print. More specifically, giraffe print!

So after Debbie gave us our they are in action...

...she gave me her extra fabric. And I decided then and there that the one thing I was missing in my life was a small, stuffed, expressionless, giraffe.

So after some testing and trying, I was able to make a simple pattern for a little giraffe. I think he's pretty stinking cute! So I thought I'd share it with the world.

You can download a PDF for Niles the Giraffe, by clicking on this link:
Niles the Giraffe.

It's a super easy project and I think it would make a great gift. It doesn't require a lot of fabric, time, skill, or money to get this lil' buddy.


- A Niles the Giraffe pattern

- 18 inches of velvet ribbon (I used 3/8")

- 1/4 yard of fabric
I used Minky, but it's not really super easy (or cheap) to sew with. It does however, look SO CUTE!

- Stuffing
I used a mixture of synthetic beads and poly-fil so that Niles has the ability to sit.

I did not add eyes or a mouth because I wanted this to be baby-friendly. But you could add those if you really wanted to, I can't do a thing to stop you.


1. Cut out all of the pattern pieces.

2. Right sides facing, sew three sides of the legs and arms together. (Leaving one small end open.) Turn them right side out.

3. Cut 5 1-1 1/2" pieces of velvet ribbon. Fold the ribbon pieces in half. Now you're going to want to place the cut sides of the ribbon halves along the outer edge of one of your head pieces (this will make the mane, the folds should be pointing towards the Nile's nose). Space them about 3/4" apart. Then use the second head piece to sandwich your ribbon. You're probably going to want to pin your ribbon pieces in place, and make sure your right sides of fabric are facing.

4. Sew a 3/8" seam around the head, this sew this ribbon mane in place, and when you turn your head inside out the little velvet pieces will pop up! Peek-a-boo!

5. Place your arm and leg pieces (that you have turned right side out) on one of your belly pieces. The right side will be facing up. I've included markings, but you can just approximate where you want your legs and arms to go. Make sure you place the side you didn't sew along the edge of the fabric. The sewn end of the leg or arm will face the INSIDE of his body. Just like the mane, it will pop out when we turn it inside out.

You should pin these in place. They will start to overlap or hang out on the other side, so you should take care to fold the pieces so they stay nicely nestled on the belly piece. WHY?

6. Because now you're going to sandwich all four limbs between the two belly pieces (right sides facing)! This can get a bit messy, but it's much faster this way.

7. Sew the two belly pieces together with a 3/8" seam, making sure you catch the ends of all the limbs, but again taking care not to catch any other part of the limbs. We want our giraffe to have full mobility. Leave the neck hole open.

8. Turn the body inside out, yes it takes a bit of finesse, and BOOM BABY! All your limbs will pop out. TA-DA!

9. Stuff your head (I prefer to use a chop stick) with poly-fil. Leave 1/2" of space at the bottom.

10. Stuff your body. I poured around 1/2 cup of pellets at the bottom so Niles could sit up. Then I finished it off with poly-fil.

11. Stuff the bottom of your neck into the top of your body. Or the other way around, depending on what looks best.

12. Whipstich the neck and body together. You can see what this looks like here on my ghetto first version.

If you're more advanced than I am (which is not hard) and can think of a way to do this that doesn't look so wonky, feel free. But it doesn't REALLY matter because you're going to cover it up with a bow tie!

Niles meets his maker.

13. Stitch a little bow onto a piece of ribbon to wrap around Nile's neck. Then stitch in place any way you can figure! (Hey, it's a free pattern, I'm not getting too technical!)

14. Then I folded a 3" piece of the ribbon in half and sewed it closed. Tie a little know at one end, then stitch the other onto Nile's little giraffe bum.

You're done baby! If you're a better person than me you will be able to give him away. Like I intended to. However, I just haven't been able to give him up quite yet. Plus, doesn't he seem happy on my bed?

I think Eric likes him too.

Ok! Well good luck! Let me know if you have questions!


Alison & Niles


  1. Is that a giraffe or are you just happy to see me?

  2. our little boy needs that giraffe. why are you so off your rocker amazing?

  3. 1. i think we have your couch in brown
    2. i really really wish this was a video tutorial hosted by you.
    3. cuuuuute!

  4. For some reason my favorite line is "We want our giraffe to have full mobility." That and "BOOM BABY!" If I'm ever feeling ambitious, I'll try making this. Madeline is desperately in love with stuffed animals and she would love me even more.