I love vintage soft toy patterns.
Unlike clothing styles that tend to look dated as the fashion trends change, soft toys don’t go ‘out of style’. Whether a soft toy is made today from a 1940’s pattern or a 1960’s pattern, it is as much ‘in style’ now as it was then! Best of all, you can use fabric purchased 30 years ago or you can use fabric purchased today. Either way, the results are going to be terrific.
I’ve found quite a few vintage books and leaflets of crochet patterns, knitting patterns and sewing patterns at rummage sales and second hand stores. You’d be surprised at how often I find them at these sales, so now I have quite a collection! This photo shows some of the books from my collection.
I have a toy horse that was sewn by my grandmother in the 1960s from a 1964 Simplicity pattern. This toy horse nicely combines cotton fabric with a yarn accent for the horse’s mane and has embroidered facial features. It’s not stuffed with polyester fibrefill which may have not been readily available locally at the time. It seems to be harder and a bit lumpy, indicating that it may have been stuffed with cut up fabrics or another suitable material. Either way, it is well made, in excellent condition and of course still ‘in style’. It is now a treasured toy to be passed down to my children.
A few months ago, I participated in a Sew-Along with other soft toy designers from Abby Glassenberg’s private Facebook group, the While She Naps Softie Designers Forum, using patterns from a 1944 publication, Easy-to-Sew Toys. This booklet was also shared by Abby Glassenberg on her blog.
I chose to make the elephant. The pattern called for cotton fabric; however, I used a modern fleece fabric in vibrant colours. The only change I had to make to accommodate the thickness of the fleece was to increase the size of the pattern piece used for the tail. I really enjoyed working on this project and the result was a fantastic, colourful toy!
To view some of the other toys completed through this Sew-Along, see Abby Glassenberg’s blog post Easy-to-Sew Toys Wrap Up.
I’ve highlighted some sewing patterns here, but the same holds true for crochet and knitting. Whether it’s crocheted, knitted or sewn, soft toys never go out of style. Making soft toys from vintage patterns is so much fun…from finding the pattern, selecting the materials and finally, making a wonderful toy for children (and adults!) of all ages to enjoy.
Until next time,
Welcome! My name is Lisa Bosch, and I'm the soft toy designer of Softiez patterns.