In Reviews & Recommendations

If you have even the smallest desire to design and create your own stuffed animals, plush or softies, then you’ll want to check out Abby Glassenberg’s book Stuffed Animals, from Concept to Construction.

Abby, author of the popular blog While She Naps, has written this comprehensive reference guide that will teach you everything you need to know about 3D soft toy construction. Stuffed Animals, which is her second book, has been very well received since it’s release in May 2013 and was even chosen by Amazon as a Best Book of 2013. Congrats, Abby!

Abby wrote the book that she wanted to read. As a self taught sewer, Abby was on a quest to learn everything there is to know about stuffed animal construction. Like an investigative reporter, she scoured every available source from the internet to vintage books to educate herself on the tricks of the trade. Then, she took all of her findings, practiced them, applied them to her work and incorporated them into her book.

A top-to-bottom resource book like this is not easy to write and organize! This is how Abby did it. The book is divided into 2 parts. The first is Getting Started, which provides general information about tools, materials, pattern making and sewing tips and tricks specific to stuffed animal construction. There is a small section on “design”, which talks about visual research and sketching, but most of this first section focuses on sewing techniques vs. design techniques.

The second part, Projects, features 16 different stuffed animal designs, each incorporating 3-4 technique lessons (52 in total!) that can be applied to the construction of any stuffed animal. For example, the Elephant project teaches you about under-body gussets, setting the legs on darts, cutting a slit to insert a detail and how to create eyelids. Any of those components, once mastered can be applied to most any other stuffed animal concept.

Each project has clear step-by-step photographs and the templates are included in the back of the book at actual size for easy tracing onto freezer paper, a must-have item in your softie making toolbox! In addition, all templates are provided online for free on Lark’s website. Can you say, print directly onto freezer paper?

Ideally when I review a book, I like to make one of the projects so that I can vouch for the clarity and accuracy of the instructions. I have not yet had a chance to make any of the projects but I have used this book as a resource. Pattern making and protoyping is a rewarding yet challenging part of sewing. Abby’s book covers so much ground that I know I’ll be grabbing it again and again to analyze how something is made, how to tweak something I’m making and to generally add to my knowledge of sewing. She knows this topic inside and out and has created a solid practical guide.

When considering what this book has to offer, I would suggest re-reading the aptly given title: Stuffed Animals, from Concept to Construction. This book provides tools for the engineering of and successful construction of what you have in mind, with a lesser focus on the visual design process that comes before that. If you have a clear idea of what you want to make but don’t know how to achieve it, this book is for you. You can start with the 16 projects Abby shares and work through them one at a time. I’m certain that by the end you will have built your skill set and confidence to be able to draft any character from your own imagination.

The following is a great trailer showing you more peeks into the book and Abby’s thoughts on writing it:

Stuffed Animals Book Trailer from Abby Glassenberg on Vimeo.

Abby always has something interesting happening on her blog, from new PDF patterns to business advice to podcasts! You can check out her podcast for friendly chats with people in the industry (like me!) sharing fun tips and ideas here. You can also can sign up for her newsletter which comes out twice a month and contains helpful tips and articles about sewing, blogging, and small business.

I hope you got something out of this review and please let me know if you have any questions. By the way, I did receive a free copy of the book from Lark. As always,  my reviews are my own views!

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Showing 2 comments
  • Kim

    I love Abby’s blog and this book is awesome! Hoping to work up to creating 3D creatures :)

    • Betz White

      You can do it! Start with the simplest project, like the fish.

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