A few weeks ago I was in bed reading one of my favorite books, The Techniques of Soft Toymaking by Enid Anderson. Although I’ve read this book many times over, I’d never noticed the dedication. Here is what Enid says,
“I was motivated at the start of my craft career by many people, but possibly mainly by the books I read on the various craft subjects. I should like to give special mention to the work of the late Margaret Hutchings, whose books taught me many facts on the subject of toymaking, and to Baroness de Sarigny’s work, particularly her book Good Design in Soft Toys.”
Well, I, too, owe quite a bit of what I know to Rudi de Sarigny (had no idea she was a Baroness!), but I had never heard of Margaret Hutchings. A quick Amazon search led me to a book I’d never seen before, Modern Soft Toy Making, written by Margaret Hutchings in 1959. I love that I can find and order any used book through Amazon. All of the books on soft toy design are out of print (which is why I’m writing one!) so this is fantastic for me.
A few weeks later, the book arrived from the UK. Despite some very outdated cultural references, I am loving this book and I feel like I’ve just met a new colleague. The author of this book was clearly intensely focused on soft toy design, found it fascinating and found great joy in exploring all of its possibilities. In fact, she sounds just like me! Nice to meet you, Margaret Hutchings! I think we would have been great friends!
Margaret did all of her own diagrams. Here is a taste:
Nicely done. There are diagrams for play food, for felt flowers (including a daffodil much like my own) and several dozen toys.
And the rhino. Several of her patterns give variations and include the pattern pieces to make that same toy body into an entirely different finished design. These three birds are all made from the same basic pattern pieces.
I haven’t sewn any of her patterns yet, but I will. It is a rare find to get a soft toy design book that I haven’t seen before. If you know of any that you don’t think I’ve seen, I would love to hear about them!