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Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction

Stuffed Animals From Concept to ConstructionI’ve been looking forward to this book for a long time. Abby told me about it way way back in the early days when she was just starting to write it (it takes a long time for a book to come out!) and I’ve been following along with interest as she designed all the animals, took all the photos, and edited all the drafts.

And now it’s here.

And it’s fantastic!

In many ways it reminds me of Anatomy of a Doll – my very, VERY favorite doll-making reference book.

Like Anatomy of a Doll, the book is filled with detailed information showing the reader lots of different techniques (a variety of ways to attach a head, a ton of joint options, etc.). For each technique introduced, Anatomy of a Doll has loads of photos of finished dolls – showing you the many different ways that technique can be applied.

Stuffed Animals: From Concept to Construction goes one better and has a project! A project with detailed instructions and clear step-by-step photos showing you exactly how to do it so you can practice that new technique right away.


As I said – I knew about this book long before I had a copy in my hands. As soon as I opened it up I knew I was in for a treat. People – the Table of Contents impressed me! I’m not kidding. Each chapter is the name of the animal you’ll be making, and below that is a list of all the lessons in that chapter.

Camel softie from Stuffed Animals bookIn the Camel chapter (yes – there’s a very cute stuffed camel) you’ll learn. . .

  • How to Design a Jointed Animal
  • Thread Joints and Exposed Button Joints
  • Invisible Button Joints
  • Cleft Hooves
  • Eyelashes

Eyelashes! I love it!

I read the book from cover to cover and it’s simply terrific. Fun projects. Clear instructions. Good photography. Well organized. It’s all there!

Oooh – and here’s another nice feature. The pattern pieces are all (except one) full-sized. No enlarging needed! AND you can go to the website of Lark Books and download them so you have digital files – which would make it super easy to print them out on printable freezer paper. No tracing! (You all know how much I loathe tracing.)

Abby has written a book that will become a well-worn reference for both makers and designers. I love that she assumes from the beginning that readers will want to design their own softies at some point. 🙂

We all learn best by doing and Abby gives us 16 projects to make, with 52 lessons to learn. Those lessons are so well-explained that you learn why you do things a certain way to achieve a certain effect. You’ll become better at making softies from anyone’s patterns, and you’ll be on your way to designing your own creations.

I was going to make one of the projects from the book – but every time I opened it to decide what I wanted to make I kept being drawn to the interesting joint she teaches in the Kangaroo chapter. (Here’s a little video showing more about the kangaroo.)

Kangaroo Featurette from Abby Glassenberg on Vimeo.

I’ve never used it in any of my designs, and never run across it it any of the patterns I’ve sewn. I was intrigued! I decided instead of making one of the projects from the book, I’d use this technique to design a new softie in my own style.

I thought about making a remora (or suckerfish) attached to a shark, but then I realized very few people would actually want a remora-stuck-to-a-shark stuffed animal – and for the few kids who would want that, they’d want the remora to be removable.

So I decided on a caterpillar instead. 🙂

Caterpillar softie patternA cute, bendy caterpillar with very sturdy joints between all his segments. And easy to sew! (You can get his pattern here.)

It was so much fun trying out this new technique! It’s one that kind of twists your brain around, but Abby explained it so well that my prototype turned out perfectly on the very first try – which hardly ever happens. 🙂

Have I convinced you yet that you need this book? How about when I show you this?

Elephant softie from Stuffed Animals book

My favorite project in the book. I love those droopy eyes!

Or this?

Puppy softie from Stuffed Animals book

Look at those big puppy feet!

Or this?

Dinosaur softie from Stuffed Animals book

You all know I love zipper mouths. . .

Seriously. This is the reference book on sewing stuffed animals. I’ve read (and I own) a lot of them and this is THE BEST.

Buy it.

You’ll use it over and over again for years of softie-making joy.

Happy sewing!

(For Stacey’s review of the same awesome book, click here.)

That's me!



  1. Thank you so much for this terrific book review, Wendi. I love your caterpillar! And I’m so thrilled that a technique from my book was the inspiration. Hooray! Happy sewing,

    • wendigratz SAYS...

      I’m so glad you like the caterpillar – that joint technique was fabulous! I already have plans to use it to make a robot. 🙂 Thanks for writing such a terrific reference book!

  2. Candace SAYS...

    I have grandsons. They would find remora stuck to a shark quite delightful!

    • wendigratz SAYS...


  3. Thanks for the great review, Wendi! I’m working my way through my copy of the book now. I made the mistake of reading it before bed. Bad idea! Usually reading before bed puts me to sleep….this book was too interesting to put me to sleep…..kept thinking of all the great ideas and techniques in the book!
    Thanks again.


    • wendigratz SAYS...

      I know! It’s really inspiring. Definitely not bedtime reading. 🙂

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