Saturday, June 8, 2013

Something fishy...

I received the most wonderful craft book in the mail a few weeks ago - 'Stuffed Animals - from Concept to Construction' by Abigail Glassenberg.  I had this on pre-order at Amazon Books waiting patiently for it's release.  This is a wonderful book that includes 16 fabulous projects and 52 lessons on toy design and construction techniques.  It is a very well thought out book starting with all the tools and materials you need and then goes through designing techniques - like editing and drawing the patterns through to making the stuffed animals - like turning and stuffing and then finishing them off.  It then has 16 wonderful projects to work your way through along with lessons along the way - such as Lesson 1: Creating a Simple Outline Toy.  I love all the photos in the book showing how to do something step by step, so you can see exactly what you need to do. 
I thought I would start at the beginning and so ordered a few of the materials that I didn't already have.  The main item I didn't have that Abby referred to frequently in the book was freezer paper.  Freezer paper was not something I was familiar with and certainly not something we have in the Supermarkets here in Australia.  So I did a bit of research and found it online at 'Punch with Judy' an online shop based here in Australia.  The other tool that I had already but hadn't used very much was Hemostats.  (Abby sells these from her Etsy shop HERE).  I love learning new techniques and working out better and easier ways of making things and so I then used these new tools and made the first project from the book - the Fish. 

I made two fish - the first one I made I used my traditional techniques in softie making - tracing and cutting out the pattern pieces on normal paper and then tracing these onto the wrong side of the fabrics using fabric marking pen.  The second fish I used Abby's freezer paper method to transfer the pattern pieces onto and then iron them onto the fabric.   The freezer paper worked really well and the best part was you didn't have to wash away any lines made by your fabric marking pen when the toy is finished.   I then  used the Hemostats to turn and stuff both the fish and this worked really well.  It's like having a tiny pair of fingers to grab on and hold the fabric and pull it through.  It is also great to hold the stuffing with so you can get it right into those tiny places. 

I intend to make several more of the projects from this wonderful book and work my way through the lessons and tips and techniques.  I think it will definitely be a valuable resource for me and it has already given my some new skills just by making the first project.  I love coming up with my own softie designs and creating something new just from an idea so I believe this will help me improve on my design process and toy making techniques and help make more of my ideas into reality - and then into more patterns too!  
Happy sewing!


  1. Jody, these fish came out so beautifully! I love the vibrant color choices and the combination of felt and cotton fabrics. I'm so glad you enjoyed experimenting with both freezer paper and hemostats. Thank you so much for the nice words about my book. Enjoy!

  2. Hey Jody - the fish are very cute and the book sounds awesome. I've worked with the freezer paper technique once before with handbag I made and I thought it was fantastic. Speaking of freezer paper - I couldn't find it at the supermarket - but on the off chance went into Spotlight - and surprisingly enough they had it in there!! We must organise a catch up one day too with Jenelle.

  3. Hi jody your fish look fantastic,have fun with your new book.xx

  4. Love these fish, totally gorgeous!

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