2 August 2014

Sew Cute To Cuddle - Book Blog Hop + Giveaway!

Hello! It's my stop on the Sew Cute To Cuddle book blog tour today! Mariska Vos-Bolman is the Dutch designer responsible for this fun new soft toy pattern book. She's been making toys for over seven years, initially creating them for family and friends before developing her skills designing her own characters and making sewing patterns and kits. After great sales success she quit her day job as a 3D computer modeller to become a full-time soft toy maker and author! I always love to hear about these creative career success stories, don't you? Well done Mariska!  


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?!

You can find all the details about the blog hop here, and if you can pre-order this book (available for release September) here. Competition is open internationally and the closing date is Saturday 16th August 2014. Best of luck! xo

83 comments:

  1. He is sooooo cute! I think you should call him Deacon?!

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    1. Ok, that's a brilliant idea!!! Deacon it is! ;-) xo

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  2. Great giveaway! I am making a flower corsage at the moment for my daughter

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  3. Such cute little toys! I am currently working on Christmas decor items :)

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  4. Oh wow - I NEED to make that monkey!!!!! What a cute little fella!! I am working on attaching two hanging sleeves to mini quilts destined to hang at the FoQ next weekend. And I totally recommend House of Cards. I loved it but hate politics but still loved the show!!

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  5. oh!! my kids would love this monkey!! and my son wants the owl for his harry Potter's bithday!!:) I would love to win! right now I am working on a quilt for a baby who will arrive in november!

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  6. I'm not working on anything now - too busy with a new baby but I am hoping to start watching Orange is the new Black.

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  7. I am working on two owls for my kids. I am cutting out and ironing different fabric patches on for eyes, wings etc with adhesive, and my children are going to hand sew them on. Love the softies.

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  8. Ohh he is so cute Jessie! My nephew woukd love one of those and the dragon. I'm finally watching the ladt season of Fringe but fave shows this year has to be Grimm and Falling Skies.

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  9. My friend Carrie recently passed from cancer. I am making her sons T-shirt quilts out of ten years of "cancer" t-shirts. It has been an honor to do this.
    kdavis1@centurytel.net

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  10. Love the monkey! What a great book, so many cute toys. I'm working on a dress for my daughter and hanging out for the next season of The Good Wife.

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  11. Working on single girl quilt and orange peel quilt

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  12. Wonderful book review. The stuffies are all so cute. Right now I am working on an appliqued quilt with owls-I am on the last block!

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  13. Great review! I think I'd really love this book; there are several fluffles I'd love to try right away!

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  14. A great review! I'd love to make something for my Godson, even if I don't win the book you've inspired me to make a toy for him! Thank you! x

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  15. I love making softies and he is so very cute. I'm working on something for the BigStitchSwap and slowly sewing my Green Tea And Sweet Beans quilt while watching Game of Thrones!

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  16. Adorable monkey! I must get this book, I love sewing softies! It's the little girl in me! ;) Right now, I'm sewing up a pair of city gym shorts by Purl Bee.

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  17. I have some grand kids that would love me to make then these! Right now I am working on a quilt for my soon to be grandson.
    satterfieldfamily@sbcglobal.net

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  18. Such a cute book, lots of projects in there I would like to try. I'm currently working on getting enough stock together for a craft market at the end of the month, plus a bit of hexie sewing in the evenings :)

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  19. SO CUTE! I'm working on a bright reds+pinks+white baby charity quilt this week! Thanks for sharing a special giveaway!

    msstitcher1214@gmail.com

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  20. I'm working on a HR kitty placemat for a dear friend.

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  21. What a cutie! I am working on a bag that has been cut out for at least 12 months! As for tv shows, we love House of Cards at the moment

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  22. Our first grandchild is due in 3 months and I'm sure she would love to cuddle all of the soft toys in the book. And, yes, Deacon would be a great name for your monkey!

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  23. Gorgeous monkey and so many great projects in the book. I'm currently working on a sundress for my 3 year old and waiting for the next series of the Good Wife.

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  24. I am looking for owls toys, and then your post enter my feed... I think it is a signal ;)

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  25. I am working on Anna, Elsa and Malificent costumes for my granddaughter. As for TV shows, Fargo was the best thing I've seen in a long time.

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  26. Oh my gosh!! glad you didn't make us pick a favorite! LOOOVE em all!! giggle.. They are just Adorable & sooooo cool!!

    I am making baby shower gifts rihgt now..quilt almost finished, few receiving blankets & 2 pr lil' flannel footed jammie sets! Whew! lol Then it will be back to workin' on Christmis projects! this has been nice break tho...

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  27. He is gorgeous. Love the fabric combo.
    I am working on a new mug rug design whilst watching The Honorable Woman (not sure I've figured out what's going on in the series though!)

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  28. that monkey is the cutest! as a former doll maker, I'd love to win this fab book. Thank you!

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  29. I have been loving your monkey so I would be thrilled to win this :) I just started watching Once Upon A Time last night and two episodes in, I am hooked :)

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  30. The monkey is soooo cute. I have just discovered Game of Thrones - it is not something I would usually be interested in but my husband wanted to see what all the hype was about so we watched an episode, and well, we were hooked.

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  31. Too cute! That little monkey has personality! I'm working on a pieced drawstring pouch, I hope to finish it tomorrow...

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  32. What a cutie patootie!!! I have grandkids that would love one of each in this book, lol. :) Just finished a dress for one of the graddaughters.
    craftyccain@gmail.com

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  33. I love these cute toys and so would my little granddaughter. I am working on a quilt for a baby due in 3 weeks.

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  34. Great giveaway! I am finishing a floral quilting for my daughter!

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  35. I just finished a doll quilt for my niece. Would love to win this and add a doll to her birthday present.

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  36. Currently working on a baby quilt that has been long overdue! (baby was born in April! EGADS!)..I have been sewing in my studio and watching the Grey's Anatomy series back to back! Love the little monkey! I have done one "stuffy" so far and it was a chicken! LOVED it! Looking forward to making more! Thanks for the chance!

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  37. I am working on cushion covers for our living room. Thanks! sarah@forrussia.org

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  38. This is such a cute book. I have a new generation of nieces and nephews that would love these little guys. Currently working on mini quilts to brighten up my sewing room, some new cushion covers for the living room and making a slip cover for an old chair in the bedroom. Lots to juggle, lots of fun to be had.

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  39. Ive just opened a new window to find out about Nashville, I love watching tv series (really listen to) while I sew. I loved Hart Of Dixie and am currently watching West Wing which Im really enjoying. As for my sewing Im using up scraps (still) doing the Mosaic paper pieced block.

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  40. This is just lovely. I like the way it starts with the easier ones first, to break you in gently if it is all new to you. I made my first cuddly toy last month for a little girl, she loved it but I found it tricky as the instructions weren't great. Thanks for a sweet giveaway.

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  41. My current WIP is mine and my partner's first unfurnished flat. It's quite a daunting task getting furniture and other bits and pieces but it's very fun.

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  42. Your monkey looks so cool relaxing on his chair. I'm currently working on some jam jar covers and an embroidery.

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  43. I don't watch TV. Doing some hand quilting on blocks.

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  44. How absolutely adorable! I love the fabric choice for the monkey.
    I'm currently working on some cross-stitch projects, but am itching to do some toys for my baby grand-daughter!

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  45. Gosh these are so cute, I'm currently working on a Christmas table runner, hopefully it will actually be quilted and bound by then! Thanks for the chance!

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  46. What an adorable monkey, love him, and looks like a great book!

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  47. I'd love to win this book. I used to make lots of toys for my children and now I have little grandchildren. This book looks fun and maybe I could revive some of my old skills! Thanks for the chance to win.

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  48. I am working on a quilt for my daughter. Thanks for the chance of winning this book.

    Laura

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  49. I have developed a passion for all things handmade and have just finished three knitted teddies. Would love to try my hand at a sewing project for soft toys. Patricia (pat@ipwizard.co.za)

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  50. What a lovely giveaway!! The hippo and the owl and the monkey are soooo cute.
    I am working on some crochet bunting at the moment and on a paper pieced blanket that is taking ages to complete but that I am loving!! In terms of TV, I recently started watching Halle Berry's "Extant" on Lovefilm Instant and it is brilliant! Check it out! Thanks for such a great giveaway! Pati

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  51. Too many projects to count. Right now enjoying "Paradise" on Netflix.

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  53. This books looks real fun! I too have a couple diff projects in the works & look forward to geting to them once school begins again.

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  54. Soo cute!!! Right now I'm in between projects. I just ordered fabric to make some curtains, of course there's all the *mending* that I'm putting off, and I want to make some leggings for my toddler.

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  55. After working on customer quilts for the past 6 months, I'm taking time off for my own projects. Currently, it is a t-shirt quilt representing my journey from running 5K's to 25K's. I enjoy making plushies. I have even made a plushy sewing machine.
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=125970904136946&set=a.147380878662615.31872.100001721111679&type=3&theater

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  56. This book looks SO CUTE...especially the little girl doll! I'm working on my first swimsuit, right now (hoping it doesn't fall apart when I hit the water :-P ),

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  57. I'm not working on anything now but I want to make a skirt

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  58. In de zomer wordt het naaiwerk meestal niets, aangezien ik dan veel buiten bezig ben. Maar zodra het weer wat kouder wordt, ben ik graag bezig met knuffels maken. Ik denk dat ik zal beginnen met de aap, in roze tinten. Voor kleine meisjes is het toch vaak roze, wat hun favoriete kleur is. Door de lange armen en benen, kan m'n kleinste kleindochter (7 maanden) hem heerlijk gemakkelijk vasthouden en als ik 'n drukknoopje op de armen/benen zet, kan ze hem overall aan vastmaken, zodat ze hem niet zal verliezen.

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  59. I would love to win this book! I have bought the pattern for the dragon and the owl and they were lovely to make. Currently I am working on a crochet blanket.

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  60. I'm currently working on a plush shrimp. My name sounds like in Japanese (ebi), so I'd like to make a shrimp softie and use it as my avatar. I couldn't find any cute sewing patterns for making a shrimp plushie, so I'm making it without a pattern, but it's not as cute as I've planned. (This is my 2nd project ever, so no wonder.)
    If anyone has seen a cute pattern for making a shrimp, please let me know!
    Oh, and this book is lovely! If I make these plushies first, I might be able to make a cuter shrimp later on! :)

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  61. I am working on some dolls. I have some of Mariska patterns and book would be great. Thanks.

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  62. Oh I love to watch series when sewing, I just discovered "Royal Pains" loving it! I am currently working on a whole bunch of ballerina dolls

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  63. Too cute! And Deacon is an awesome name. I love listening to Charlotte sing too! Just love the whole show. We only live about an hour from Nashville and have been to the Bluebird

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  64. Trying to work on embroidering a quilt. I've kind of slacked off but the baby is coming in September, so I need to do it.

    I'm also trying to start on my crochet snowflakes. I've somehow managed to forget how to do the one that I'm making into a chain, so I just keep ripping it out.

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  65. At the moment I'm making a bag for daughter. I think she would love the pretty girl soft toy from this book too!

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  66. I love your monkey. I'm working on the sew kitchy block of the month from quiet play at the moment.
    jen dot barnard at btinternet dot com

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  67. This monkey is sooo cute! I have only made one stuffed animal so far and he was very lumpy so I guess patients is what I was missing

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  68. I'm working on knitting a dinosaur hat for my son's friend's birthday. I love knitting, but prefer sewing stuffies for gifts as it's so much faster!

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  69. One of the projects I'm working on now is a black and white quilt for my 20 year old son. I've never used a lot of black in my quilts so this quilt will be very different than any other quilt I've made before.

    I wouldn't mind to sew a few fun animals for the grand kids too!

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  70. Please pop me in your comp, I would love this book to create some soft toys for my children (who would adore a monkey each). I am working on a crochet blanket at the moment , I seem to be addicted to crocheting blankets :-)

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  71. Very cute! Would love the book. My youngest starts preschool in 2.5 weeks so I'm looking forward to using the time to finish my million and one half started projects!!

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  72. The book looks awesome. Softies are something I would love to make.
    Right now I am working on hanging hand towels for Christmas.

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  73. I'm busy purging my scrap stash making quilts for my boys. These softies are heart melting! Thank you for the chance:)

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  74. What a cute monkey!
    I am making a quilt for my little girl, all sewn by hand! So that is something that takes a long time!
    I would love to win the book, so that I can sew these cute animals for my kid.

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  75. Not sure if this one went through so I'm posting again

    I'm working on a RUSH hour blog hop project

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  76. This book looks great! The monkey toy you made is so cute ♥.
    And lately I've been working on some zippered pouches which finally I was able to complete some days ago :D
    Greetings.
    PS. It's my first time visiting your blog and I loved it! I'll go and read some more posts ;)

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  77. I'm making some birthday bunting right now. This book looks amazing.

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  78. I am working on an applique quilt right now. My grand daughter is asking me to make that monkey.

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  79. What a super book. I hope I win. I'm working on a construction truck for my grand nephew. He's a truck fanatic.

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  80. Looks like a fabulous book! Love your adorable monkey! :) Thanks for the chance to win as well. Currently, I'm working on a big stack of Christmas stockings....hoping to get ahead of the game for a first! ;)

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  81. I am working on some tooth fairy pouches that I sell in my Storybook Felts Etsy shop. Gilmore Girls is a great tv show but you can only watch it during the day on ABC Family.

    Storybookfelts at gmail dot com

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Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments.
I love reading each and every one. I try and respond to questions in the comments so other readers can see as well. Best wishes, Jessie