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37
4.7 out of 5 stars
Sewn Toy Tales: 12 Fun Characters to Make and Love (Melly & Me)
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
This book contains the instructions for making 12 totally adorable soft toy creatures including Preston the Lion, Pearl the Zebra, Alvin the Alien and Finnegan the Frog. These are characters that children and adults alike will love.

Each toy gets a several page spread, full of bright colourful pictures, detailed instructions and useful tips. All the templates you need are at the back of the book, along with useful advice on the stitches used, how to stuff the toys, attach the limbs etc.

What really makes this book is the way each toy is given its own personality. Each project starts with a little introduction to the animal and the pictures have amusing little quotes on them which all bring a great sense of fun to the book.

This review originally appeared on The Sewing Directory.
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 23 July 2011
This is the first pattern book I have bought, as i've only recently started sewing from patterns to make things. The book is well presented, beautifully coloured, and features close-up images of detailing on each of the toys, which serve well to show how each detail should look when finished. (sometimes helpful, if like me, you are fairly new to this)

however, there are a few things you might want to know before buying this book.

1. in order to make the toys, you have to enlarge all the patterns (included at the back of the book on printed pages, not on template paper) by 200%, which means purchasing pattern paper (or template plastic as the book suggests...), I decided the plastic template method was too expensive and time consuming for someone who is only going to make one or two of each toy, and as i already have a scanner, printer, and some pattern paper to hand. i decided to scan the templates in to my pc, enlarge them, and print them out as many times as i felt the need. this worked fine for me and the toys that resulted from it... but did mean that as my printer is A4, some larger parts of the patterns ended up split over two pages.

2. its not spiral bound. this put me off at first, as when you have hands full of fabric and pins, you end up wedging the book open with whatever is at hand - for me it happened to be my machine and material scissors)only to find that i then had to use said items, and hence had to shut the book, sew a bit, and try to find the page i was last at.... i made a mental note to buy a bookstand, however, the need for the use of the book obviously depends on how often you make the toy, and how quickly the steps become etched in your mind. if like me, you're new to this, you might find it a bit frustrating.

3. only some melly and me patterns are included. eg. i was hoping for the Ninja, but you won't find him in this book... which leads me to...

4. i was a bit disappointed by Lily the Panda. for one, she doesn't look anything like a panda, which was disappointing, as all the other patterns at least look like what they are designed to be, but perhaps this is just my personal perception. personally if i had chosen the patterns, the ninja would have gone here...

this book is definately not intended for complete beginners. i found some techniques were a bit beyond my skills, however, the steps are straightforward if you know your way around basic sewing. there are sections at the end of the book that show the hand stitching and additional techniques required, as well as tips on choosing appropriate fabrics and trimmings and tools needed, and a list of recomended suppliers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
I was so disappointed by this book. The toys are beautiful, full of life and personality.

But unless you have a top of the range scanner/printer, forget it. I tried so many times to get the templates upscaled by 200%, wasted sheets and sheets of paper and got totally frustrated. This book will be inspiration but not a lot of use to me for the actual making of the toys.

Again, I'm a very disappointed woman!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 22 December 2013
This book is crammed with lots of very cute projects to make for kids and adults alike. The instructions are nice and clear and as a beginner to this sort of sewing, I found them easy to follow. There are some elements that I knew were above my skills, but I made sure I read through the instructions fully and understood them before starting on the project. I have managed to create some lovely pieces which have received some great feedback. I have orders for Polly Pig!

I would be careful when enlarging the patterns; it says to enlarge by 200%, but they came out huge on the photocopier. I'm assuming it meant to double the size, i.e. from A5 to A4 etc. Of course there is nothing wrong with making the toys larger - you just need more fabric!

I'm looking forward to making the next toy; the hardest part is choosing one as they are all so lovely :)
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 12 April 2012
I was given this as a Christmas present by my mum, who said the front cover alone was enough to make her buy it. And she's right; the cute caterpillar toy on the cover is the perfect indication of what lovely things to expect inside this book.
There are twelve projects in total, and so far, I've made four of them (the pig, the dinosaur, the frog and the alien). When I first looked through the book, I was a bit daunted by the very lengthy instructions given for each project (around 18 stages each), yet once I got going, I realised the authors have just been very explicit with their instructions, rather than that they are overly complicated. All the toys are, in fact, very easy to make; none of them took any more than a couple of afternoon's worth of work. The comprehensive instructions given mean that even slightly fiddly bits are well explained. The hardest part was enlarging the patterns on a photocopier (they all need doubling in size).
The book is very well illustrated throughout, and the choice of fabrics used in the examples add to the toy's appeal and make you want to make them all. Sometimes, the instructions suggest using a machine, but I sewed all of mine by hand, and I am very pleased with the results. I would say this book is maybe not one for complete beginners to soft toy making, but no great level of expertise is needed.
Overall, if you love cute characters, sumptuous materials and sewing, this book is definitely for you. Now, I wonder which toy I'll attempt next....?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 13 September 2011
Clear photos and instructions. Very impressed with service, book was well wrapped and delivered within timeframe advised. Would certainly recommend this book to toy makers
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on 28 August 2014
It is a lovely book and the sewing techniques are well described but some of the things I have tried just don't work in real life. I cut a lions head with a turning slit, rather than a gap in the seam, and by the time I turned it, the gap just couldn't be closed neatly and did not disappear totally behind the body when sewn together. Some of the little parts are nearly impossible to turn neatly if you use a fabric of any substance. I have made 3 items and have had to alter two of them.

Also, it was nearly impossible for me to persuade my printer to print at 200%. If there is going to be a link to download files, make them full size. I contacted the printer manufacturer, I tried the local library printer, I photocopied and used the increase facility (which worked but I was holding up the queue in the library and it did take some time) and finally had my son print the patterns on an industrial plotter. When they did print, there was a massive waste of paper. As I say, if you are going to have separate download files, why not make them printer friendly - I already had the undersized versions in the pdf book.
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on 5 November 2013
One look at this book and you can't wait to get started. The instructions are detailed and clear and I thought making the toys would be a doddle. I have not made soft toys before but I am a fairly competent needle woman. The main issue for me was in turning and stuffing some of the small pieces, such as the cute caterpillars curly antennae. An absolute nightmare. The finished product (I've done Finnegan the Frog and Alvin the Alien) look gorgeous but the frog took far longer than I expected, mostly due to the stuffing rather than the sewing. I'm still struggling to finish the caterpillar and not sure whether I can bear to try any more. If you have plenty of patience and enjoy diddly work, go for it. If not, choose your project with care!
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on 3 August 2014
AS with other reviews I have found it almost impossible to accurately enlarge the patterns even at the local library, at extra expense. I have tried various methods of enlarging all very costly in terms of paper and printer ink. The exercise was not helped by the lack of information regarding the finished size the characters should be. I don't expect many people will have access to the right printing equipment. It is a shame and disappointing that more consideration was not given to this point .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 28 February 2014
Love it would buy more if they weren't so expensive brilliant ideas lovey to make and look as good as they feel
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