The book is comprised of twelve soft toys and animals to sew. The toy chapters are arranged according to level of difficulty, starting with Joey the bear to Daron the dragon; the more challenging pattern due to it's 3D nature and sharp points. Mariska's inspiration for the character's in the book, otherwise known as 'Fluffels', were drawn from Japanese pattern books, so you can expect a strong kawaii, plushie style through the book. My favourite's are the animals and monsters towards the end of the book as I think kids would love them as well as the grown-ups too, given the right fabrics.
To review the book I figured I needed to make something to give you a better insight, so I chose Patrick the monkey. I posted a progress photo on Instagram the other evening while making him and lots of you thought he was just the sweetest little thing, and I did too which is just why I picked him!
He was really simple to put together, though I always forget with soft toy making how long it takes! Because he is quite fiddly, with skinny legs and arms it's quite a slow process to stuff. I think I got through at least a whole 45 minute TV episode just stuffing those arms and legs, little by little! (What TV show, I hear you ask? Nashville! It's just great.) But the result is always so rewarding, admittedly I may have given him a little cuddle when I finished him after midnight on Thursday evening! >.<
At the back of the book there is a complete guide on stuffing, sewing techniques and materials that would be helpful for the more novice sewer. As well as easy, step by step graphic images and written instructions for each part of the sewing process. Mariska also features a cutting diagram for each project to allow for careful cutting without waste, which I thought was particularly helpful. I thought it would be useful to mention as well, that although the patterns are full-size scale, they don't include seam allowances. The book didn't seem to mention the use of freezer paper for transferring pattern pieces, so if you haven't used it before - just trace your pattern pieces onto the freezer paper cut out, and iron them to the fabric. You can then cut out the fabric pieces with the added seam allowance so much easier!
The pattern called for machine appliqué details for the face, ears and belly but I'm personally not a fan of that appliqué look so I chose to hand sew to hide the stitches. I also didn't add a belly to the monkey to keep it simple. I used one of my favourite fabrics; Darlene Zimmerman's Chocolate Spot for the main section and Essex Linen in Flax for the face and ear sections - I really love how he's turned out! It just goes to show how much you can change things up given different fabrics, and finishing techniques - you can make it completely your own. Also he used up such a small quantity of fabric, I think I only used a fat quarter for the main part! When you compare £3.00 for a fat quarter of fabric with cost of buying soft toys it's such a great deal and you have the proud feeling of making your own.
So the kind folks at F+W Media are offering a free copy of the Sew Cute To Cuddle book to one lucky reader!
How To Enter
All you have to do is comment on this blog post below - maybe you could tell me what you're working on right now or a good TV show recommendation?!