stitched toys

Published 2009 by Hamlyn

ISBN 978-0600623847

Sometimes I just know that I have the perfect job: for this book I was paid to spend hours and hours fannying about with fabric, embroidering, appliquéing, beading, beribboning and trimming. It was a kind of stitcher’s heaven and I didn’t want it to stop. But they wanted to publish it eventually...

My personal favourite? The stripy snake, though the sausage dog runs him a very close second. And I’m very fond of the beanbags. And the tortoise.    

Though I’m quite clearly an animal fan, I should point out that the dress-up doll made me proud and the puff clown took me straight back to happy childhood makes created by stringing the silver foil tops from school milk.


Reviews from

I am absolutely delighted by the patterns and designs in this book. The subtitle proclaims "20 stunning but simple designs" and "stunning" is right – these are the "Faberge eggs" of homemade toys. As you can see from the front cover, author Haxell has taken basic toy shapes (mouse, doll, ducky, elephant, teddy) that anyone could whip together in a few hours and has added simply stunning detailing in the form of careful embroidery and detailed hand-stitching.

Now, I'm the last person in the world to extol the values of hand-stitching - I try to use my machine for *everything*, but these designs are too lovely to pass up. The dolls in particular are excruciatingly lovely – the detail work on the eyes, cheeks, lips, and fingers of the dolls evoke a very special blend of old-fashioned crafting (by using simple thread instead of buttons and snaps) and modern artistic style and flair.


Reprinted with a new cover in 2012