We’re excited to give you the opportunity to win one of two copies of Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love today, Hillary Lang’s new book! We love all she creates and we were excited to see the many new, creative designs in Hillary’s beautiful book. The hardcover book is chock-full of the sweet visual inspiration we’ve come to know and love at Wee Wonderfuls.

As we finish up our Baby Shower fun (enter to win all of last week’s giveaways through Monday morning!), the folks at STC Craft have compiled some gift giving tips for us with some excerpts from the book and ideas from Hillary’s work. Enjoy the tips and comment below for your chance to win one of two copies of Wee Wonderfuls: 24 Dolls to Sew and Love. You can also comment through noon tomorrow on the STC blog for another chance to win Hillary’s book or another STC Craft book of your choice.

Giving Gifts the Wee Wonderfuls Way from STC Craft
Thankfully, we’ve moved past old clichés when it comes to baby shower gifts (think: pink for girls, blue for boys) and these days you have the freedom to be as creative as you want when crafting your special present. It’s the little personal touches you add to toys that make them the ultimate handmade gift– Your fabric choice, the color palette, a doll’s quirky expression, or an offbeat toy design. Vintage children’s books can be a great source of inspiration. For example, the Wee Town Trolley featured in Wee Wonderfuls was inspired by a catalogue of antique tin toys.

Hillary has a few go-to projects for baby showers. A simple stuffed toy, for example, really allows you to experiment with fun fabric patterns. Babies love bright colors so when picking fabric, let your mind wander. In Wee Wonderfuls, Hillary included a project that was inspired by an adorable giraffe appliqué on a vintage baby romper. Boys and girls alike always seem to love giraffes– It must be the long, grabbable neck. Wes the Baby Giraffe has personality; he holds his nose high in the air like he’s sniffing out an adventure. He looks great made up in dots or other vibrant geometric patterns; when you combine cute and chic together you’ll have a present that parents-to-be will adore.

Wes the Giraffe

Another frequent shower gift is hand-embroidered dolls. The line between plaything and decoration can be fuzzy, and hand-stitched dolls have a classic heirloom quality; they’re as at home in a bassinette as they are on a bookshelf or mantle. Because they don’t require a machine, these projects are accessible to sewers of all levels— Little imperfections (lumpy stuffing, wonky seams, and the like) can only add to the charm of your present. Craft one for those special to you who will appreciate the thought and creativity you put into your stitches.

Bits of thread can transform into a special friend.

Another way to personalize any handmade toy is to experiment with faces. A great way to start is to cut out little scraps of felt fabric for the eyes and bits of floss for the eyebrows, nose, and mouth and lay them out on the head. When you’re happy with what you’ve got, mark lightly behind the positioned scraps with a sharp pencil. The most successful faces with the broadest appeal often have simple features: small, widely spaced eyes; and small, minimal lines for the mouths, eyebrows, and noses. But this is definitely a matter of personal taste so have fun and rearrange until you’ve got a distinctive face for a unique present.

I Heart You… Doll from the book.

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind while creating a baby shower toy:

  • Regardless of the type of project, you always need fabric that will wear well and hold up to stuffing… For children, choose clean, colorfast or pre-washed, nontoxic fabric that feels good next to the skin.
  • When sewing handmade toys is to make sure the toys are safe and secure if children are going to play with them. If you are making a toy for new baby, don’t use any detachable pieces like buttons or snaps; instead substitute infant-friendly details and trim, like sewn-on felt instead of buttons for eyes… Sturdily attach limbs, ears, and other extremities and features. It’s a good idea to use Velcro closures for toys given as shower gifts.

You can choose a project from Wee Wonderfuls—or any pattern, for that matter—but use the instructions as a starting point and then see where your imagination takes you. Before long you may be improvising and designing toys of your own. A handcrafted shower gift is the perfect way to celebrate the arrival of a new baby, and your lovable toy is destined to be treasured for years ahead.