When I received this book from Lark, I didn’t realize it was by the same author who wrote The Artful Bird Feathered Friends to Make and Sew, a book Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood featured on a podcast, and a book that included a flamingo I adored.
This book has much more accessible looking and simpler looking projects (16 projects and 52 lessons) than her previous book. They also are more kid friendly rather than works of art.
The book starts with an introduction and I was glad to see the author bring up creating your own designs in the first paragraph. She also envisions big things for your future. She wants you to create patterns for soft toys.
The patterns are arranged by difficulty with the easiest coming first, preceded by the ubiquitous section on Tools and Materials (pg.11). there are a few different items required than many of the regular quilt books. An awl, a craft knife and a sliding gauge are listed, none of which are included in my basic sewing kit. The items that should be included in a basic sewing kit are listed separately. They include all the normal things, except for hemostats, which I would consider to be a specialty item. I can see where they would be required for projects that need stuffing. Everything required is pictured and well explained.
Abigail Patner Glassenberg has written an extensive section on Designing Stuffed Animals (pg.18- ). Considerations such as visual research and sketching, using tools, considering grainline, and drawing and editing a pattern.
The section called Making Stuffed Animals (pg.24- ) also includes different sections on skills and techniques for being successful in this endeavor. One caught my attention, Checking and Reinforcing Seams (pg. 25), because it occurred to me that I should do this on some of my quilts or bags. Glassenberg doesn’t leave anything to chance in this book and this section goes over every detail, including leaving an opening, clipping curves, turning and many others.
Finally the projects start on page 35, which tells me how important the techniques and skills are to the author. “The simplest softie pattern you can make is an outline toy (pg.35),” which is what the first and easiest project is – a fish. Though she includes a pattern for the fish, she tells you what an outline pattern is and assumes you will work on your own. The pattern goes on for some pages, covering every detail from start to finish.
There is something for everyone in this book, of course, in difficulty, but also in design. There are lions, camels, hippos, monsters and other animals. Each project includes a lesson, which would help with techniques in the author’s first book. The Crab project has a lesson in tab joints and turning and stuffing a long skinny part while the Kangaroo project has lessons in “putting in a pocket” and “cutting a hole to attach limbs”. Having the lessons will help the reader design their own projects later.
Many of the fabrics were fine, but the one thing I didn’t like about this book were many of the fabrics. I thought they were old and looked like they had been snipped from clothes in the closet of an elderly and solitary couple. The monsters would have been a lot cuter and more appealing in batiks. I didn’t like the 70s looking prints and found some of the fabrics to be musty looking. Still, fabrics are a personal choice and have no impact on all the good of this book.
There is an index, which I like 😉 as well as full sized templates in the back.
This is a book anyone who wants to learn a lot should look at.