Boyfriend bought me this book for Christmas one year; Steampunk Softies by Sarah Skeate and Nicola Tedman because we both think all the Steampunk stuff is quite cool. (Steampunk, by the way is a type of sci-fi that reimagines the 19th century with a focus on steam power and the kind of anachronistic technology that HG Wells might have come up with). There’s a lot of Steampunk inspired stuff knocking about in the craft world, much like a lot of sci-fi stuff, and I’m only a casual fan rather than an ardent purist so I don’t worry myself with checking the authenticity of the steampunkiness of it.
So boyfriend bought me the Steampunk book full of ‘softies’ (characters to sew and stuff, making stuffed toys that no child would ever be allowed to play with), and we both agreed that they are all super cute. The subtitle of the book is ‘Scientifically minded dolls from a past that never was’ and each of the eight dolls has a name and little story. I have to admit I only made one; Minerva Dupine she is a detective, the other include Charity Storm an aviatrix, and Floyd Fastknight an explorer.
The book has a list of materials needed, step by step instructions and pictures of each stage. I found the instructions easy to use but to be honest I almost always use the pictures as a guide so I was glad they were included. And at the back of the book there are the patterns for all the pieces for each softie which need to be traced and cut out of paper. For a dress pattern this would be a massive chore but for these little and fairly simple shapes it wasn’t too bad.
But the problem- on the back of the book it says ‘use everyday crafting materials to create some decidedly out-of-the-ordinary characters’, now you’ll have to tell me if I’m out of the loop on everyday crafting materials but do you have assorted crafting brads and bradawl, a brass curtain ring, or latex adhesive about the house? Because I didn’t. And those were but a few of the 34 things needed to make Minerva Dupine, this included scraps of fabric in particular patterns or colours as well as metal accessories like chains and rings, and equipment like pliers and glue. The town in which I live has very few craft shops and so I had to buy a lot online and ended up spending about £30 given that I had to buy larger quantities than I needed and pay for postage on things.
I chose Minerva Dupine because the materials and equipment needed looked the most reasonable, some of the other characters had me getting a pack of miniature playing cards, two clock keys, a small hacksaw, sand paper, or a small corked bottle. I don’t consider these to be ‘everyday crafting materials’! I may make another character at some point but it took a lot of money, time, and effort to get the stuff together the first time, the actual making of the softie was a piece of cake by comparison. As a result it’s hard to recommend this book unless you already have a wide variety of crafting stuff about the house, although it is very cute and cheap so you may like to get it just to look at.