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Sewing Children's Classic Toys
Handmade toys can become treasured playthings for little ones often requiring only basic hand or machine sewing, little fabric, and at times simple embroidery stitches for a distinctive flair.
Traditional Sock Monkeys are a classic childhood toy that can be made from one pair of the Original Rockford Red Heel® Socks. The monkey’s head, body, and legs are fashioned from one sock, and the monkey’s winning famous smile, arms and tail from the remaining sock. The happy monkey is charming in its simplicity, quick and easy to make with little cutting, stitching, and sewing needed. Since the early 1900’s all Original Rockford Red Heel® socks come packaged with instructions on how to make the sock monkey.
The storybook characters Raggedy Ann and later Raggedy Andy, created by political cartoonist and illustrator Johnny Gruelle, first appeared in 1915. The pinafore and overall dressed red yarn-haired dolls have become an enduring classic children’s toy that can be made in 15”, 26”, and 36” size. Simplicity, McCall’s and Butterick patterns are available to create the endearing children’s classic.
Long-eared bunnies in calico or embroidered pillowcase dresses, huggable bears in vests and hats, and other squish-able, hug-able animals can be created. There are adorable kittens, playful puppies and all manner of barnyard and zoo animals to make and accessorize, or not, in printed cottons, eyelet lace, muslin and velvet alike, and even lovingly saved vintage fabrics. Look for retail patterns for easy-to-sew creatures in the craft section of pattern books at your local fabric store or the many online sewing pattern websites.
These enduring whimsical children’s soft toys seemingly come to life using just fabric leftovers, simple work socks, small pieces of muslin, red yarn, bits of cloth, trims and polyester fiberfill all assembled and fashioned with a sewer’s imagination, love of sewing, and desire to give a gift of happiness to a child or add to a sewing collector’s doll coterie.
Some doll and toy patterns can be quite challenging, particularly when the pattern pieces are many and small in size. When purchasing patterns, if possible, read the enclosed pattern instructions to determine if the directions seem straightforward and easy to follow.
Plush and fleece fabrics, often used to fashion teddy bear styles, while somewhat forgiving when sewing seam allowances and benefiting from non-ravel cut edges, nevertheless require adjusted sewing techniques for best results. Loosen machine tensions for threads, reduce presser foot pressure, increase stitch lengths, ball-point machine needles a must, also decidedly sharp sheers for cutting out the fabric - all considerations when using this crosswise stretchy fabric.
Be sure to stuff soft toys firmly with new lightweight synthetic stuffing so the shape will keep and stand up to the rigors of boisterous hugging!
Sew happy, sew inspired.
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