Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love
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64 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
If you only own one toy making book, Wee Wonderfuls should be that book.

I can't remember the last time I had a craft book in which almost every project was something that went on my "must make" list. There is a nice mix of hand-sewn and machine-sewn dolls and toys. From a cute felt inchworm (complete with kerchief and glasses) to a ribbon-haired dolly, each project is clearly designed to enchant and delight.The only thing that could have made this book better is for it to have been ring-bound so that it would easily lie flat as you work. But that's a minor nit.

At first glance it may look like a few of the dolls get a little bit repetative. But in reality - each doll introduces you to a different technique. If you read this book end-to-end, you'll find that you can combine techniques from different toys to create your own unique dolls. I especially love the myriad of toy/doll hair ideas (yarn, felt, quilted, fun fur...buns, pony tails, pigtails etc).

There are plenty of toys for boys and girls (topsy turvy dolls with lovely go-out/stay-home dresses, corderoy dinosaur/monster with felt spikes, and even some spoon puppets!) and a nice variety of techniques.

The best thing - is that this IS a book that beginning sewists can use. There is a "how to" section at the back and Hillary emphasizes that little wonky bits don't matter on toys - they're still cute. The photography is bright and inspirational...but shows close enough detail for you to understand the construction. The pattern pieces at the end are well laid out and labeled, the instructions are clear with illustrations to help on more complicated areas. The how-to section is useful...and I like that the author provides commentary on why she takes the steps or goes in the order that she does for her creations.

I hope Wee Wonderfuls becomes part of your craft book collection!
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2010
When I discovered craft blogs 4 years ago, Hillary Lang's [...] was my first blog crush. I've purchased and sewn several of her patterns, was pleased as punch to see the pending book announcement, and so excited to get the e-mail this week that her books were shipping a bit earlier than expected. I'm a big fan of Hillary's, appreciating her writing and aesthetic, so I was expecting to love this book (bought one for me and one for my mum). I can be quite critical of craft books, however: many seem to just be riding on an artist or blogger's niche fame and don't really offer anything new. But _this book does not disappoint_.

24 Dolls just came today, so I haven't actually sewn any of the projects, but I have sewn her patterns before and they're usually well tested. I particularly appreciate this book because:
(1) The photography is excellent. Not only is it design-gorgeous, but each view of a project shows useful aspects that help the reader in recreating or appreciating the toy's details.
(2) The illustrated instructions are very clear. Extras like color-contrasted stitch lines and measurements will keep me from making first-timer mistakes.
(3) There is an excellent mix of projects. Gender, detail, fabric type, size, and play use are varied. I could recognize each as uniquely Hillary's, but they are different from each other and from her previously shared or published patterns.
(4) The extensive "Wee Wonderfuls Basics" section at the end covering materials, methods, and expert hints is worth the price of purchase itself. It's clear enough for beginners and thorough enough for toy-maker-aholics such as myself.
(5) Although the instructions themselves are direct, each is headed with Hillary's own trademark best-friend commentary. She is so in love with these dolls; how can I help but share her enthusiasm? I do like a friend to "project" with, and am glad to have her along.

I am very happy.
(and so are my August-birthday nieces...hmmm...which doll to start on first??)
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2010
I love Wee Wonderfuls' blog so I was anxious to see the book. I was not disappointed. The little people in the book are so cute it was hard to decide which to make first. I went with the Sleepover pals; they turned out so cute and my granddaughter loves them. The directions and illustrations are great and easy to follow. One of the best things is that I will be able to make most of the creations without going out and having to buy new supplies; I'm able to use little bits and pieces that I have in my sewing room. I'm anxious to start on the the little pixie, she is so sweet. I think I will keep her for myself.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
Wee Wonderful is a very well rounded craft book. There is a real variety of items in this book; not just minor variations and tweaks to the same 'blueprint' to fill the pages. I love that the patterns in the back of the book do not require me to blow them up to use them. This happens all too frequently anymore.

While the front cover shows only dolls, a good half of the patterns are not dolls (bears, elephant backpack, trolly car, giraffe, etc.) so you won't end up with a pile of dolls at the end of the book, if you choose to make them all.

As with any good sewing book, there is a short section of basics which breaks down the process by explaining the sewing terms and showing illustrations of common stitches used in the patterns. It is a quick reference, and includes many 'specific to doll/stuffed animal' tips. Illustrations show steps well and directions are straightforward and concise.

I own many sewing books, but this one in particular will get good use due to the diversity of projects.

2012 additional information:

While this book would be a great option for a beginner, I would recommend a newer book, Storybook Toys: Sew 16 Projects from Once Upon a Time Dolls, Puppets, Softies & More for more complex projects. It has a great section on embroidering faces & yarn hair methodology.
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21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on February 24, 2011
This book has maybe 3 projects in it that I think are cute enough to actually make. It's colorful and has a lot of projects, but it's not as great a book as I thought it was going to be.

Update: As I delved into the book a little deeper, I came to agree with those who said the instructions were pathetic, even maddening. I've been a seamstress for over 20 years and have sewn anything from children's clothing and doll clothing to dolls and stuffed animals, so I can make the patterns work for me, but why should I have to? People buy these kinds of books to save themselves from having to make their own patterns. Over the years, I have found that most of the time, I have to remake the patterns I buy, and this book is no exception. I've finally stopped using other people's patterns and started making my own from scratch. It's much less frustrating!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2010
My husband pre-ordered this for my birthday a few months back and I wanted to like it, but instead I love it! This is in no way a recyle-old-and-already-blogged-ideas book! These truly are 24 fantastic projects that, while consistent with the style of her blog, are very fresh and fun. Whether you're a long time reader of her blog or are just looking for a new craft book, stop here and find a melding of folk, traditional, modern, and retro, all with a whimsical, wonderful twist.

This book is great for beginners and seasoned crafters alike. So many of the projects got me excited and motivated even with the first glance through the book. There are unique projects like a little daschsund necklace (which my daughter will go CRAZY for) and a 'paper doll pillow' complete with little outfits tucked in a pocket on the back (Christmas gift extraordinaire). There are toys fit for whimsical home decor (a little stuffed house that lends itself to holidays and playdays alike), a few for boys (like a cheerful trolley), and so many delightful dolls (a mermaiden, sleepover friends, or spoon puppets) there's sure to be a few for every type of little (or big) girl on your gift list--and maybe a couple for you too.

The instructions are clear and simple with illustrations and explanations. The photos are lovely and the variety even better. Lang really pulled out all the stops for this book and it's worth every penny. More actually.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on February 14, 2012
This book is very pretty. The photography was well done. Don't buy it as a pattern source though, its the same pancake we've all used when first learning to sew a doll with no variations worth mention.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
This book could not be more wonderful! Unlike some craft books where there are only one or two things I want to make, this book is full of them. For full disclosure I will admit that I have made dolls from Hillary's patterns before (that I purchased through her website). I love her clear and concise instructions. Everything is laid out in a logical way, there are illustrations where necessary, and things don't get so wordy that you are tempted to skip over reading parts. There is a great section explaining some basic sewing terms for beginners. Some of the projects are easier than others, so there is something to challenge everyone. Beyond all of the practical considerations, there is also a lot of lovely photography. I'm already getting started on making some Christmas gifts!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2011
Even though I really like this book I had to take 2 stars off.

-1 star for The back-and-forthing between the pattern page, stitches page, the picture, the drawings of what to do and the written directions. Some parts of the directions are only written on the pattern pieces in the back of the book! I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth for each project.

-1 star for the abundance of hand sewing. While I am a fairly skilled and practiced at hand sewing, there was A LOT of hand sewing which was very time consuming. Often I thought that some of the things I was hand sewing could have been sewed on the machine instead.

I made the monster Koji and I made the Mermaiden along with 2 veriations of it: a fairy and a princess doll. They all turned out very nice and were not terribly hard to make.

Also, I thought the Koji monster was going to be small like the mermaid because the book said 7" for the mermaid and 8" for the monster, the mermaid is small and hand sized while the monster is pretty big around.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on March 21, 2011
This book is cute and has great ideas. However, missing pattern pieces, incorrect instructions, and incorrect pattern size upset me. Infuriated me. I bought this book so I would not have to figure the projects myself. Author needs a new editor. I almost gave this book one or two stars. Only buy this book if you want to figure out the projects yourself, and the book is on sale. Not worth retail price.
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