If you’re looking for a fun book on making stuffed toys that do double-duty, you may have found your match with “Flip Dolls and Other Toys that Zip, Stack, Hide, Grab, and Go”. This book packs a lot of bang for the buck!
Here is what the publisher says about the book:
Why make an ordinary stuffed toy when you can sew irresistible creations that flip, zip, snap, stack, and move? Filled with wit, humor, and inventiveness, these delightful interactive playthings sometimes literally turn your expectations inside out. Page after page of clever projects include a caterpillar that changes into a butterfly, a vampire who becomes a bat, and ordinary dolls that transform into superheroes! Or stitch a pretty bird that perches on your shoulder, bunnies that bounce, a car with spinning wheels, and other amazing toys.
The book includes tutorials on 27 different stuffed toys. Each project lists the skill level required to complete the project, as well as full instructions. Patterns are in the back, most need to be enlarged with the help of a copy machine.
The beginning of the book talks about materials, which is especially helpful for new sewists, as well as provides a little of the history of flip dolls:
There certainly are a lot of projects in this book. While there are many dolls that “flip” (transforming from one creature into another), there are many more traditional projects as well.
The projects that flip have well thought out concepts. Like this caterpillar that transforms into a butterfly.
And this “everyday man” who transforms into a Super Hero. There is also a template for making an “everyday woman” that transforms into a superhero. Which I love. Gender equality among dolls and heroes is a must.
The mechanism for the “flip” is similar to that of a puppet. But instead of putting your hand into the doll to make it move or talk, you insert your hand to pull out the transformation, flipping it over like you might turn out an inside-out sock. Some of the transformations are more significant than others. Like this knight-and-dragon duo.
To test out how user-friendly this book is, I decided to try my hand at the whale.
A simple project, I thought my boys would enjoy hiding toy cars in the whale’s mouth. My first challenge came after cutting out all my pieces – I needed to know what seam allowance to work with. If the book was written by someone who was trained as a garment sewer, the seam allowance would be 5/8″. If the book was written by a quilter, the seam allowance would be 1/4″. And if the book was written by a European, I’d have to start all over and add the seam allowance to my pattern myself. I checked the patten page. I checked the tutorial. I checked the informational section. I finally found the required seam allowance at the top of the very first page of the pattern section (it is 1/4″, by the way). For a book filled with projects, where readers will likely pick a single project from somewhere in the book and not start with the first one to work their way through, having the seam allowance listed just once at the beginning of the patterns is insufficient. It should be listed on every set of instructions.
Once I knew my seam allowance, the project came together quickly.
Though my finished whale is cute, I was disappointed that he didn’t look like the whale in the book. His tail goes front-to-back, and not side-to-side as the photo from the book shows, and he isn’t nearly as wide as the book’s whale (when comparing the two, my whale looks like an anorexic version of the plump, round whale shown in the book). My whale is fully stuffed – the difference is most likely due to the different fabric used on the two whales.
In the first section of the book, care is taken to describe different supplies and materials that can be used. However, a detailed materials list isn’t provided on the individual projects. Taking a closer look at the whale from the book, it looks like it was made using fleece. Fleece will stretch (unlike the quilting cotton I used), which will make a wider whale. It will also make it easier to twist the whale’s tail if you want it to face side-to-side. Especially for beginning stitchers, I think a materials list that lists specific types of fabrics used would be more helpful, so that the results will be closer to what is pictured.
If you’re looking for cute projects to make for kids, this is a great book. With fun toys, most of which do double-duty, you’re sure to be a hit at any baby shower, and a favorite auntie (or uncle) for years to come.
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