I think I first came across Deborah Fisher on a podcast. I liked what she said.
I went on to check out her work. She was making these very unusual, very creative, beautifully-executed ceramics. There was one little ceramic pin-cushion pig she made that I loved but every time I went to her shop, it was sold out. Hardly surprising. Her work is wonderful.
She also had authored some sewing books, so I thought she’d be great to invite to join Sew a Softie in July. She accepted my invitation. She also joined in the Global Kids Sewing Party with her youngest daughter and some friends. They donated their softies to a cat shelter. Seems we both love cats. And I’m sure those lucky cats just loved their softies.
Let’s make a Sew a Softie book
One fine day, as they say, and totally out of the blue, Deborah writes to me asking, Have you ever thought of doing a Sew a Softie book? Well, it just so happened I had. I wrote back asking, What sort of book do you have in mind?
Her idea was to make a collection of Sew a Softie tutorials from Sew a Softie events. She thought that could make a really interesting book. I agreed. The Sew a Softie book that I had in mind was a different kind of book, but I loved Deborah’s idea. We tweaked it a little and decided to sidestep existing tutorials and instead, to invite a group of Sew a Softie participants to come up with a new simple softie especially for the book.
That was close on two years ago. Fast forward to 2021 and Sewing Simple Softies With 17 Amazing Designers by Trixi Symonds and Deborah Fisher is being released by Schiffer this March.
Inspiring people to sew
The heart of Sew a Softie’s mission is to inspire people all over the world to inspire others, especially a new generation of children, to take up sewing by creating simple softies and sharing how to make them with others. Sewing Simple Softies With 17 Amazing Designers offers a unique window onto the creative fun that this unleashes. We are all different. We all imagine and make different softies. And this sets in motion all kinds of incredible possibilities when we share our ideas and creations with others.
So many different softies
Sewing Simple Softies With 17 Amazing Designers shows 17 Sew a Softie participants with 17 very different ways of imagining and making their easy-to-sew softies. I was curious to see what they would do, and I hope you are too.
I guess after so many Sew a Softie events I shouldn’t have been surprised by the huge variety, but I was. There’s Deborah’s amazing giant tomato softie, there’s two kind-hearted spider softies called Peppermint and Candyfloss, a smiling sandwich softie, a little tooth tiger softie who guards that precious tooth till the tooth-fairy comes, a graceful mermaid, a bumblebee called Blossom, a beautiful mouse ballerina, and many more.
Although the sheer variety of softie projects stands out, this book also boasts some great ideas.
The giant tomato softie is made from a recycled sweater, the tooth tiger gives an original twist to the folklore of fairies, the love bird carries endearing notes in her pocket building on the idea of carrier pigeons, and the circus pin-cushion shows how we can make ordinary everyday objects extra-ordinary and exciting.
Sewing Simple Softies With 17 Amazing Designers should inspire anyone looking for new softie ideas and new directions. Mums and grand-mums looking for imaginative projects to make with their kids and grandkids or just to give them as presents should enjoy this book. And it would make a great resource for home-schoolers looking to enrich their curricula with easy, creative hand-sewing projects.
Something for everyone
We hope that there is something here for everyone. There’s certainly enough for everyone to have a favourite that especially resonates with them.
My favourite is probably the wonderful Toucan softie that Alicia Schumacher designed from a drawing by her young daughter. It’s a wonderful idea and a wonderful softie. I don’t think you can beat kids’ drawings for freshness and liveliness. This little Toucan is no exception.
But whether you have a favourite or not, Sewing Simple Softies With 17 Amazing Designers is full of creativity, variety, and great ideas. And Deborah and I and Bluey, (my koala softie who opens the book – he’s a little bit grumpy at not having been mentioned, so I remedy that here), hope that you and your children enjoy making the softies that we, and these amazing Sew a Softie participants, have created for you.