After I mentioned in my post about making felt food that my carrot was based on the design in Big Little Felt Universe but I didn't actually own the book, the publisher Lark Crafts contacted me to ask if I would like a copy to review. Having had a chance to look through the book briefly, I knew how great it was and didn't hesitate to say yes! This book really goes above and beyond in the quality and detail of instructions and, with over 70 patterns, is a great value if you have ever wanted to make felt food or other felt softies. All the patterns in this book are handsewn, and there are a projects with a range of difficulty from simpler vegetables to an intricate cake with individual icing swirls and berries on top.
I tend to think of food first when thinking of softies to make from felt, and this book has some really great ones. They have a really nice set of veggie patterns - I love the way they have you make a little tube for the stems, making them more sturdy and realistic.
The fruit patterns are amazing and are all designed with either velcro or internal magnets to hold together two halves that can then be "cut" apart with a play knife. I think this is a great idea that would definitely make them more interactive for a kiddo to play with, but if you wanted you could easily modify the pattern and just make one half without worrying about the velcro part, or combine the two pattern pieces to make a whole fruit that doesn't separate.
I also loved the hamburger (or, in our household, black bean burger) with veggie toppings - I can definitely see myself making one of these in the future.
While I immediately gravitated toward the food patterns, the book also has lots of other imaginative pattern ideas, from the doctor set above, to an office set (complete with laptop, calculator, and stapler), to a little girls purse with a cellphone and makeup. It took some serious self restraint not to include photos of every chapter intro page here, they are all so cute!
There's also a whole camping set including this adorable campfire - another one I can definitely see myself making in the future.
I wanted to try out a pattern to be able to do more than just gush about the cute pictures in this review, and while I was tempted by all the fun fruits and veggies, I decided to branch out since I just made a whole slew of felt food. While my adorable nephew is a bit young to play with felt softies, I decided it wouldn't hurt to start making some for him that his parents can give him when he is old enough to play with them. Since my brother is a contractor and works with tools all the time, I thought some of these cute play tools would be a surefire hit!
In addition to the large number of projects, something that makes this book stand out among other craft books is the fact that it includes full-size patterns for each project and super detailed instructions with step-by-step photos showing how to assemble the item. I love that when the urge to make something strikes, you can trace the pattern with paper at home rather than having to run out to the copy shop to enlarge a pattern. The patterns are well-designed and with the step-by-step instructions you aren't left wondering how they got it to turn out that way or scratching your head at cryptic written instructions.
I made the hammer and wrench and may well make more items from the set in the future. I loved how these both had great details - the little screw adjustor on the wrench and the claw on the hammer in particular. I was hanging out with my mom and a bit distracted when I started making the hammer and I messed up the head a bit, but it turned out great on my second try (I did tweak the order of construction a bit and found that the hammer head came together better when I slightly modified one of the pattern pieces - but I am the kind of person who always finds a way to make the pattern my own way).
There are a lot of free patterns for felt softies and especially felt food on the internet, so I imagine some folks don't feel like they need a book. This book really takes it to the next level, though, with creative, detailed ideas - and includes a lot of complicated items like the wrench and hammer above where not only would I not have thought of the idea myself, but I would have been hard-pressed to just make up my own pattern if I was trying to wing it. I really appreciate the fact that this book includes these types of more complicated projects - it seems like often craft books are aimed only at the beginner/intermediate level market, while this is a book that I think a crafter of any level of experience could enjoy and find a project to challenge them.
Thanks again to Lark Crafts for the chance to review this excellent book!