Hello! Let me get straight to the point with this blog post; Storybook Toys by Jill Hamor is absolutely amazing! Possibly my favourite inspirational sewing related book I've had the pleasure to read. I honestly don't think I've paged through a book so much and read, and re-read the same pages. I'm not a doll maker by any means, I'm pretty much an exclusive quilter - but this book has inspired me so much!
I got this book for Christmas, and been itching to make something from it but not really had the opportunity to make anything? I'm a little grown up for toys now ;-) and I don't have children. So when I knew I was going to my friends baby's Christening, I had just the excuse to start something. My first project from the book is the 'Little Cub' baby doll. I'm saying, first project as I know I will definitely be making more ;-) This little sleep toy is perfect for a little baby to snuggle with, the furry fleece fabric is incredibly soft and cosy. I used synthetic stuffing and apparently the doll can be machine washed, but I would worry about this going in the washing machine personally? hmmm...
The book comes with full-scale pattern pages at the back of the book as well as a pull-out section of patterns, which I really, really appreciate. There's nothing worse than finding out you have to enlarge pattern scaling on sewing books, such a nightmare. Considering this is the first doll I've ever made it actually went together pretty smoothly. The only hiccup I had was making the hood, I could have done with an extra diagram perhaps, as I find it easier to follow instructions with pictures rather than lots of text.
The pattern called for the embroidering of the face to be done once the doll is finished and stuffed, but I did it before I sewed anything together to make it simpler. (The more difficult dolls in the book have ears, so you embroider the features and enter at the back of the head, which is then covered up by the ears, plus they have a seams running through the front of the face - this doll didn't have ears or any seam lines on the front, so hence I did the embroidery first).
It was SO much fun to make, and one of my most satisfying finishes. It's definitely in my top five proudest projects! I loved embroidering the face, bringing out the character and stuffing the body, watching it come to life! You can tell I love it from the amount of pictures I've taken of it!
The body is made with Kona Solid, Sand, which is a perfect pale skin colour. The author recommends Kona colour's Sand, Wheat and Earth for doll bodies, all of which we stock at Sew and Quilt! I was very lucky to pick up the fleece fabric from my local fabric shop.
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, it's a brilliant book if you fancy trying your hand at doll-making or soft toys. I really love the classic character toys featured in the book, everything from Marionette puppets (which totally remind me of the fabulous puppets in The Sound Of Music!), Humpty Dumpty, Roly-Poly Duck and Little Red Riding Hood puppets. Lots of the inspiration for the book was from vintage patterns of the 1940's and I love the nostalgic feel, so think this book is pretty perfect if you ask me :-) There's also tons of information at the front of the book on the doll-making process with in depth hair how-to's, tips on embroidering the face and what stuffing to use etc.
I'm so sad to see this Little Cub go ... wahh! I hope baby Elsie like's her as much as I do!! xo
PS. Thank you Jill Hamor for inspiring me so much to give this a go, and congratulations on such a fantastic book.
Please find the link to the book on my Amazon widget - to the right of this page.