Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Make a Quiet Book - For a Toddler

We usually make our own Christmas presents for family members.  This year for Maggie, I made 
A Quiet Book.

I wanted to make it full of things that she can touch, and that her little eyes and fingers can explore, (rather than of activities to do), since she was not yet twelve months old.  
To get ideas for what to make, I searched about on the net, and found something very similar to this finished project, 'Maggie's Garden', on Etsy.  The one I saw was actually so cute that I even thought about just buying it, but a little chat to Abby confirmed that she loves to have me make something myself.  
So - many hours later, here it is!  I really enjoyed doing it, and was especially impressed with myself to have it all finished in good time before Christmas day!
I particularly wanted to put it up online, since I very much appreciated being able to see the ideas that other people had shared.  Although I have copied a lot of what I have done from the book on Etsy, if you like any part of what I have put into this book and would like to pinch ideas, please be my guest!  

If you would like to see more detail in the pages, clicking on each picture will enlarge it.

So (or Sew!) - to the Book!
(Some instructions below)

Instructions - Such as they are!

My objective was to create a good amount of colour, shape, tactile and textural interest, by using a wide variety of  fabrics and notions such as: 
Silk, velour, velvet, lurex, wool, vinyl, satin, flannelette, plastic, metallic fabrics, cotton quilting prints, tinsel, elastic, buttons, beads, crystals, ribbons, lace, pom-poms, sequins, flowers, knick-knacks, fabric paint, glitter paint, hand and machine embroidery and silver thread, etc.

Leaves and wings can be lifted and played with.  Some of the wings have noisy cellophane stitched into them.
Each of the white pages are stiffened with iron-on interfacing, and the covers are lightly padded with iron-on pellon; each of the joined pages are bound with satin ribbon and threaded with two ribbons.  

My photos aren't fabulous; most of the pages are better when you can see and touch them.  For example, I love the spider's web page, which doesn't show up well here, unfortunately.  The background is black satin; the web is silver metallic embroidery floss, threaded with lots and lots of tiny glass beads and real crystals that can slide back and forth along small lengths of the thread.  

Pretty much everything is well-glued, then stitched and sewn down over and over again, to make it all as safe as I could for little ones to play with.  Most of the eyes are glued and sewn, although the smallest eyes are only glued, since they can't be sewn.  However, they seem to be very sturdily attached.  I went through the book several times myself, trying to pull everything off, so I hope it will all be fine! 
 The exceptions to this are the wings I have used on the firefly and dragonfly - the way they are attached is too fragile; they could be ripped off - so I would do those a little differently if I made this again.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who does something like this!


  1. Best. Quiet. Book. EVER!!! I love it, everyone loves it, and most importantly, Maggie loves it!! :) I am sorry I made you make it when you were going to buy one, I had no idea, but I really do love this one - it's so perfect and I love that you made it. And Maggie will keep it forever and give it to her daughters one day too, possibly minus wings lol :) Thankyou so much, we love it. :)

    PS: Everyone who sees it thinks you should sell them ;)


    PPS: It looks even better in real life! xo

  2. It seriously is amazing. And those photos don't even begin to do it justice... not at all!

    xo Tammy

    PS. So talent mum!

  3. I agree with Tammy. It is a wonderful project you have made. It is an inspiration to what a little thought, time and sewing talent can do!

  4. This is a such gorgeous book Sandy, I am so impressed! If I have another baby, I'd pay you to make me one too! Haha! :D

  5. Mummy, Mummy, Mummy. So much talent.
    I LOVEEE this quiet book Mum! It's absolutely the best thing ever. I was really jealous of Maggie when you were making it for her and gave it to her!! I'd certainly play with mine in church if you gave me one! ...maybe that's the point :P
    And having watched you make it, I know how much time and thought and love you put into it. It's amazing! I'm so proud of you :)
    Love you Mummy! xoxo

  6. I am officially blown away. That is the most amazing quiet book I have ever seen, and where I come from, I've seen HEAPS of 'em. You'd get a trillion orders online... what enormous talent and such a lucky little Maggie!!

  7. amazing pics...........coloring is so wonderful........i love this post.........This is so much a gorgeous artical...I really like it........... thanks for sharing this awesome story........