Tuesday, May 3, 2011


my gradual interest in sewing was partially brought on by the discovery of softies, also known as plush toys and a few other names to boot. i have some issues of stuffed magazine on my crafting book shelf and at least half a dozen books featuring softies or sock creatures. something about their handmade, individualized, loved-to-pieces velveteen rabbit look really appeals to me. they're supposed to be quirky and off beat. or they can be much more polished looking if you like. softies can really be any which way you choose because they're made by you, for you. i love the idea of picking up some fabric, a needle & thread, then just making up a special little friend. there are also plenty of patterns for copying other people's wonderful ideas.

the above gal is my one and only creation so far. at one point i named her either "claire" or "clarabell" but i can't remember which and neither seems to fit anymore. that's an interesting phenomenon about softies: they begin to take on personalities. when i first read stuffed i was amused and even somewhat annoyed by the profiles and back stories many creations had. now i kinda understand.

i started her over a year ago. can't even remember how long it's been and i'm not sure why she's still unfinished. at the minimum, she needs her head stuffed and sewn on. i might put some arms on her. i might not. i've got plenty of plans for others i'd like to try out, but my 'to do' list is already quite long. softies aren't even useful. they're just cute. at least a quilt will keep you warm or an apron can be worn. that's probably why i've not spent much time sewing softies.

my oldest daughter has made the most softies. they are all completely cute even if lacking in durability but the quality of her work is improving. she pulls them out to work on periodically. so far there is a swan/ostrich, the animal print girl (species unspecified), frogalina, and the cutest little goat made out of some light blue polka dot satin leftover from one of my old pajama pants. couldn't find the goat, who is probably my favorite.

my oldest son loves the mixed-up kind and made a truly off-beat little monster but has since not done more. he said it took a long time. maybe when the fancy strikes he'll do it again.

the eight year old has made the body of a doll and partially completed a classic sock monkey, which is a long-standing form of the now exploding crafting genre.

here are a few of my favorite softie books:

wee wonderfuls by hillary lang - tons of sweet fairytale-ish dolls. i'm dying to make the red-headed flip doll and the fairy tale doll with yellow grosgrain ribbon hair.

socks appeal by brenna maloney - all sock creations to keep your monkey company. there are some totally basic forms that i'm sure the kids can make. the seven year old son is itching to try out the snakes and starfish.

softies only a mother could love - this is one i bought early on before many others were available. a huge variety of styles, each with a pattern.

sew me, love me by hsui-lan kuei -  this one is chock full of the cutest, vintage-y, well loved looking softies. each one seems to be some child's best friend lovingly made by a grandmother. most have really long, lean limbs, which i've discovered appeals to me. and that pig with the button nose puts piglet to shame. the four year old really, really wants the "sleeping doggy." she pours over the book on a regular basis, making up long lists of "to do's" for me. there's a darling monkey at the back of the book that i'm sighing over, but unfortunately no instructions for him. i think this is my favorite.

oh, this has got me itching to make some new friends!  we certainly don't need any more toys around here, but the fun of dreaming up and then producing our own is irresistible. if i get put on bedrest again, you can bet i'm going to be stitching away some of these by hand.

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