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Fun of the Fair – book tour and giveaway

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It was a lovely surprise a couple of weeks ago when I had an email from Stitch, Craft Create asking if I would like to take part in Melanie McNeice’s book tour. I have to say, I was a little hesitant to start with because, to be honest, making soft toys kind of scares me. I’ve attempted a couple but have always ended up with funny shaped heads/scary facial features! However, Melanie is an expert soft-toy maker having written loads of books (and designed fabric too!) so I figured that if anyone could get me over my fear it would be her!

The front cover of Fun of the Fair is so appealing. I let Little Girl look through the book and after that, there was no going back – seals! elephants! lions (oh I love the lion!)! monkeys and the pony that stars on the front cover.

I went for the monkey as this was picked as one of the favourites and I thought it would be liked by all of the Smalls so set to making three (yes, three!) monkeys!!!! A monkey can easily be made out of a Fat Quarter of fabric – although some careful placement is needed if using directional fabric. I got my felt from here as they had a lovely range of colours and my delivery arrived within a day. 

Fun of the Fair Monkeys made by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The pattern directions are very clear and walk you through how to make the toy really well. The only thing I found a little frustrating at first was having to read through the pattern to find out what I was meant to be cutting out of fabric/felt/fusible webbing, so I wrote this on the pattern pieces as I cut them out. As a toy-making newbie, a couple of things I found that helped me were;

  • Starting sewing the curves in the middle and working towards the outside lines.
  • Use pins to position buttons/nostrils etc before sewing the facial features in place.
Fun of the Fair Monkeys made by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Overall, I had lots of fun making these! I think I even managed to do an alright job of doing the faces, although a couple of the monkeys have got a slightly lopsided smile.

Fun of the Fair Monkeys made by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’ve even made them some shorts so that they’re a bit more decent!

Fun of the Fair Monkeys made by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I have been given a hardcopy of Fun of the Fair to giveaway, so if you would like to have a go at making yourself, or some Smalls a gorgeous soft toy, then please leave me a comment telling me about your favourite toy from when you were a kid! Mine was a giant dungaree-wearing dog which was probably as big as I was when I was about 7…..my Dad bought him home seat-belted in the front of the car!!!!!!

*GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED: the winner is Arianna – congratulations!!!*

S x

Today’s sky ● blue skies with a few whispy clouds


  1. October 3, 2014 / 4:53 pm

    I can so melt! seeing soft toys especially monkeys!! I used to read a book about a lost doft toy monkey to my kids and these look a bit like that one. Beautiful

  2. October 5, 2014 / 12:50 am

    My favorite doll was made by my grandmother out of a white stocking. She painted her face and made her clothing, and it was beautiful to me

  3. October 5, 2014 / 2:46 am

    My favourite toy as a child was a black elephant that my mum made for me. I would twirl it by its tail until I fell asleep.
    I really love this book and thank you for the chance to win.

  4. October 5, 2014 / 10:27 pm

    Hi Sonia, love your monkeys! My favourite toy in the whole world was oggy the otter. He went everywhere with me and reappeared on my wedding night courtesy of my dad! Jen xx

  5. October 5, 2014 / 10:33 pm

    Your monkeys for the littles turned out great.Love the colors you picked. My favorite stuffed toy was and still is a Raggedy Anne doll.

  6. October 6, 2014 / 2:37 am

    My favorite toy as a child was a woolly mammoth, ( not very big) and I used to annoy the heck out of my elder sister walking around behind her making trumpeting noises, while carrying the mammoth.

  7. October 6, 2014 / 4:10 am

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  8. October 6, 2014 / 4:11 am

    Your monkeys are very cute! I would love to sew something from this book, this would be the first time I sew a stuffed animal. My favorite was a Barbie that came with a huge pink wardrobe and a lot of accessories including some outfits with hangers that I could hang inside of the wardrobe. Also there was a bed with bedding set and pillows. I used to spend hours changing the outfits on my Barbie. No wonder I became a dressmaker ☺ Thanks for the giveaway! ☺

  9. October 6, 2014 / 1:47 pm

    My favourite childhood toy was a pancake doll that was made out of sacking of some kind. She was very soft and had covered buttons for eyes and yellow wool hair.

  10. October 7, 2014 / 4:47 am

    Your monkeys look great! My all time favourite softie is my teddy Bubi. I went everywhere with him. He got so worn out my Grandma made him a pair of dungarees to protect his body a bit!

  11. October 7, 2014 / 4:18 pm

    A patchwork fabric turtle that was also a footstool. I rescued it last year from my parent's basement & reupholstered it so my own kids can enjoy it now.

  12. October 8, 2014 / 12:11 am

    I would love to have this book, always need a pattern when making memory toys (using fabric of a family member deacesed). Such a sweet toy to make and donate to the Duke Children's Hospital. They can never have enough toys for those kids. My favorite toy when I was little was stuffed Cindy bear, my sis had Yogi bear I still have it packed away somewhere. Thanks for the chance.