Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Fun Embroidery for Kids' Stuff

Title: Fun Embroidery for Kids’ Stuff
Author: Irene Fackler
Date: 1998
Publisher: Madeira / Urania-Ravensburger t Dornier Medienholding
ISBN: none
Length: 63 pages of text and illustrations, plus folded pattern insert
Quote: “In this book you will find ideas for making clothing and textile accesso­ries for children, and how to enliven them with appliqué and embroidery.”
Madeira is a manufacturer of sewing supplies; after seeing a pile of embroidered children’s things next to the introduction, you will next see an assortment of colorful threads, including metallic thread and multicolored thread. Then there’s an introduction to iron-on and wash-out interfacings, needles and hoops, and the Madeira Magic Pen, which is used to draw lines that will disappear in a few hours, making the finished product look as if you’d literally drawn a picture with a sewing machine. Then, after a short note on techniques, the author starts explaining how to sew and embroider things made from the patterns given in the insert.
Then, at last, we enter that terribly cute nursery world where the cartoon characters roam, plain white summer gear gets bands of multicolored embroidery, and it’s perfectly safe to make backpacks out of dress fabric because children that size aren’t likely to try to carry anything too heavy to be toted round in scraps from a cotton shirt. Measurements are calculated using the metric system, then converted to inches. Some words are used in European ways, as when a bath mitt made out of towelling is identified as a “Flannel.” 
In addition to the little shirts and dresses you expected, this book also explains how to make a not very realistic “strawberry tote bag,” a helicopter fan’s backpack with a real propeller that could be made to turn, key tags and brooches to go with everything, and a big quilted “book” on whose “pages” tots can practice buttoning, zipping, snapping, braiding, and tying bows.

How to tell whether you need this book: Look through a store copy with your favorite children. (Garments are designed to fit average-built children about three and a half feet tall.) If they like the finished products, the book is for you. If they’ve outgrown either the garments or the embroidery patterns, leave this book for someone else, as it doesn’t offer much guidance on ways to adapt the projects.

Should Fun Embroidery for Kids' Stuff be a Fair Trade Book? Google isn't helping us determine this. Apparently "Irene Fackler" is one of those names, like "Priscilla King," that doesn't sound as if it would be terribly common but is in fact used by several different people. The Irene Fackler who wrote this book was not young at the time. At least two Irene Facklers of what might be her age have died since the book was published. I don't know, at the time of writing, whether the author can benefit from the Fair Trade Books program or not. In any case, the best price we can offer for Fun Embroidery for Kids' Stuff online is $10 for the book + $5 for shipping. If you're buying a Fair Trade Book from this web site (salolianigodagewi @ you can probably fit this slender book into the same package and pay only one $5 shipping charge. If not, check around, you might find a better price. If you do buy it here, we will mail a real letter to the publisher and ask them whether Irene Fackler might still have a use for $1.50.