Kodansha is a Japanese publisher with a US division for great translations and I'll get back to this review in a second, I'm kind of lost in their website.... Oh, I need The Decorative Art of Japanese Food Carving, and my husband might like one of the sword books, and my kids love manga.. oh SHINY! Clothes, embroidery and textile.. need to get back to the review...
Ok, I'm back now, it's just awfully distracting. How long did it take you to stop browsing the link and come back to read the review?
Felt mascots, toys appliques and accessories, all of them super cute. The projects are wonderfully photographed. Like a lot of Japanese craft books, the first part of the book is photos of items, with the instructions in the back of the book. Page numbers are given on the photos to find the instructions.
The photos are adorable. They are captioned and done on good backgrounds to show them at their best. It takes minimal supplies to make them. Craft felt for beginning sewers is an economical choice, then switching to wool felt for a higher quality finished item when you're comfortable with the hand stitching.
So with this book, before you start a project, read the tips at the END of the book. They will show
- how to do the stitches including the embroidery accents
- tell you what kind of supplies to use
- how to use a wire armature,
- how to use the patterns
- how to stuff the toys
The projects are good for a wide range of skills. There are some very easy applique projects, coasters and pouches which are perfect for beginners. They are whimsical and sweet. The Happy Coasters include a fish, a frog face and a chick, with easy embroidered accents. You might like to make the pouches and eyeglass cases as gifts.
A little more complicated are the lightly stuffed but still mostly flat Face Brooches, which are a bunch of cute animals and can be made with small scraps, the finger puppets and the charms which are strung with beads into darling hanging curtains. My favorite of those types of projects is the Little Forest Birds charms because it reminds me of the felt ornaments my Great-Aunt Elizabeth made.
The most complicated are the fully dimensional stuffed toys. These are more of a challenge because it's a small scale, but they are made using the same basic stitches, just more parts to create things like a giraffe, elephant or posable retro dolls that look like they came right off the set of an old stop motion movie. There are also dolls like Miss Kitty from the cover that have a full wardrobe you can sew for them.
Some of the patterns you'll copy out of the book, the more involved patterns are printed on the inside of the dust jacket.
The diagrams in the instructions are clear and show how to put the items together.
This is a lovely book, and a must for anyone who really enjoys Japanese crafts.Kodansha USA gave me an extra copy to give to one of my readers! Giveaway is open to people in the USA only because of shipping costs.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book to review, I received no other compensation, and my review is my honest opinion of the book. You can read more about my review policy here.