I am sooooo excited today! 😀
Well, today I get to do something new … my very first book review. But I’m not reviewing just any old book. I have been waiting to get my hands on this book for about 12 months. No, it’s not hard to get or out of print, it’s brand new – hot off the presses – released for the very first time earlier this month.
So why have I been waiting 12 months for a book that has only just been published & why
am I so excited about it? Let me take you back to the early part of last year …
Early last year I found myself needing to find work. Not an easy thing for someone has been a stay-at-home mum with very little work experience or recognisable skill living in a regional area. Because hubby & I have been self-employed most of our married life to idea of self-employment was not a scary thought, but the question was WHAT!
I looked at what skill I have – mostly crafty type things like knitting & sewing, & so the idea of making toys & selling them online was born. Right from the beginning I knew I wanted to eventually make my own designs, but I had no idea of how to draft a pattern for a toy. I have studied dressmaking & understand to principles behind designing & pattern drafting, but for cloths. With clothing you have something to start with – the human body – there is something tangible to measure, but with something in your imagination??? I just couldn’t get my head around it.
So I started the search for the answers I needed. I looked in libraries, bookstores, the internets … I found a big fat NOTHING! No books, no courses … So I sought the answers from others, everyone from those who make toys as a hobby to industry giants. Everyone of them came back with the same answer … sorry – there is nothing available, you just have to figure it out by yourself!
In amongst all these replies was one little nugget of gold – a link to a blog called ‘While She Naps’ written Abby Glassenberg. Here I found someone who was on the same journey as myself, but a quite a few years ahead of me & a whole goldmine of information – Abby had already done all the hard work for me.
I read every post she has on toy making & designing & suddenly what had been incomprehensible to me before suddenly wasn’t. Now I could see this was possible & it gave me the courage to go ahead with my plans to start my own business.
Shortly after finding Abby’s blog, I came across a post in which Abby announced she was writing a new book on all that she knew & had learn on designing & making stuffed toys.
And here it is …. YAY! 🙂
… 16 projects – 52 lessons & 192 pages filled with loads of information on designing & making your very own softies.
Abby has a masters degree in education from Harvard & her skill as an educator is clearly evident in ‘Stuffed Animals’. It is very clearly set out, taking you step-by-step through the design process, building on your skill & knowledge with each project.
The book is divided into main sections – ‘Getting Started’ & ‘Projects’.
‘Getting Started’ has 3 chapters, each one building a foundation of knowledge on tools & materials, designing & sewing techniques. So far I have read the first two chapters & although a lot of this information was not new to me there were still a number of very interesting & informative tips & advice, all of which I am now eager to try out.
When you first pick up Stuffed Animals & quickly flick through it, like we tend to do in the library or bookstore when we are browsing, you may think this is just another book on toy making with a few projects for you to make & that’s it, but a closer look reveals a wealth of information. Each project starts with instructions on how to make up the pattern supplied for that project – starting with a simple outline toy , each project progressively becoming more complex. But don’t be frightened off by this.
Each project also comes with between 2 & four ‘Lessons’. These lessons are design to builded on you knowledge & skills in designing & construction techniques.
Each project also has one or two additional sections on topics such as alternative types of stuffing you can use & how to determine how much stuffing to us. How about adding a tag to you softie for a professional look or creating a mane for a lion. These topics are many & varied covering a wide range of subjects.
This book is beautifully set out, printed on good quality semi-gloss paper & easy to follow with loads of gorgeous images which I find invaluable. Personally I have a tendency to follow pictures more that written instructions – one look at my overflowing Pinterest page will tell you that 😉
Finally at the end of the book are all the pattern pieces for me to trace off & use, all but one – the dinosaur – are full size, so no resizing is required – bonus 🙂
Great Gift Idea!
Stuffed Animals is the only book that I am aware off currently in print of it’s kind. So if you are like me & love the idea of designing your own stuffed toys, but you’re not sure where to start, than this book is for you. Or perhaps you know someone who loves sewing toys & would love to design their own or even just improve their knowledge & skills – this would be the perfect gift idea, & it’s very affordable too. I bought mine through an online book store called Fish Pond (click here to check them out).
After I have finished reading the last chapter in ‘Getting Started’, I will be ready to start the first project – the fish. I will start off by making up the pattern provide by Abby for each project then I will endeavour to design & create my own unique toy using the information & techniques I have learnt. I will post my progress of my journey to become a toy designer here on my blog under the new category of “My Journey to become a Toy Designer!”
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I will also add little updates in between posts to keep you apprised of my progress through each project on my Nittens & Patches facebook page, so if you would like to follow along with my journey don’t forget to click ‘Like’ on my Nittens & Patches Facebook page for these updates.
Well this is the longest post I have ever done, but I hope you have enjoyed it.