Image copyright One Red Robin
Growing up, I was never much into dolls. Granted, at that time there were slim pickings between Cabbage Patch Kids and the pour-water-down-her-mouth-and-watch-her-pee! variety. These days, if your poppit does not have at least one 'softie' amongst her collection, you are well behind the eight-ball!
'Softies', the term used to describe handmade stuffed toys, have become a worldwide phenomenon in recent years. Books, blogs, websites, Flikr groups, markets, craft shows... softies are taking the world by storm!
It is no wonder. There is something delectably oldy-worldy about the Softy, yet the quirky designs make them oh-so-modern also. Even if you have never sewed in your life, I dare you not to feel inspired by the aptly titled book, Softies, with its array of brightly coloured creatures begging to be taken home. Best of all, the easy-to-follow instructions appear achievable even to those who require a youtube tutorial to thread the sewing machine (um, that would be me.)
One of my favorite sites dedicated to crafting and softies is One Red Robin, by the amazingly talented Jhoanna Monte Arandez. This girl is in a whole other league, designing incredible soft toys that appeal to children and adults alike. She sells the patterns to some of these softies as well. This one below, for sale on Etsy, is particularly inspirational and would make a very special gift for someone, non?
Other sites that will have you reaching for the sewing needles include:
Let it be said that my own sewing skills are fairly amateur... but inspired by so much talent out there, I enlisted the help of my much more sewing-inclined mother in law to make the softie below. The pattern was borrowed from the Softies book itemised above. Made with the scraps from Fern's quilt (more on that later) and my ripped up maternity jeans (so cathartic), we lovingly crafted her one rainy day and, flushed with her success, subsequently made 3 more to offer as gifts to friends with newborn babies. She is delightfully flawed; which to me is what makes her so special. I would like to make a little fleet of softies for Fern's nursery, and maybe one day, way into the future, we will make one together.....