Vintage Toys ‘R’ Us…

Kapok-Stuffed Lion guarding the telephone!
Kapok-Stuffed Lion guarding the telephone!

This is the scary looking chap that guards our telephone in the front room… As part of the start of yet another collection, I felt it was time that some vintage sewing made an appearance in the form of some vintage toys.  I’ve got a few old or at least retro-inspired toys now and some fabulous 70s handicraft books featuring even more.  Read on to see the delights of toys from yesteryear!  (See how many you remember from various grandparents’ houses…)

The original label on the lion
The original label on the lion

I’ve Googled the ‘Airspanded Kapok’ and all I’ve managed to find is a retro owl toy for sale which tantalisingly has the phrase: “Made in the 1970s, label missing, but appears the same as ‘Leroy the lion’ (shown above) great condition.”  Now this owl does look to be of the same design of my lion, so perhaps I do have a Leroy.  However, another quick search has come up fruitless.

At first glance, I thought my next toy was another retro one from the same era as the lion:

Blue dolphin - the latest stuffed addition
Blue dolphin - the latest stuffed addition

However, it turns out this is not so.  There is a very prominent label on his underside proclaiming that he is handmade in Sri Lanka.  The material and colours both look retro, which is why I purchased him anyway – there was no way I could leave him behind!  He looks fairly forlorn as it is; perhaps jealous that he’s not truly retro like the newly-christened Leroy Lion…

St Michael Handicrafts book from the 70s...
St Michael Handicrafts book from the 70s...

This is the front cover of my favourite retro handicrafts book: a St. Michael’s one from the 70s.  Off the top of my head (i.e., I can’t be bothered to walk back downstairs to where the bookcase is to look), it’s from ’76. I think. Anyway, it contains some absolute gems.  The doggie on the front is enough for me to love it, but just take a look at some of the other little (and some big!) toys you could make:

HUGE plastic tortoise pouffe!
HUGE vinyl tortoise pouffe!
The full collection of retro toys, possibly sewn by me in the future!
The full collection of retro toys, possibly sewn by me in the future!

The owl above and the following lion can also be found on this Flickr group.

Love the fabric on this lion!
Love the fabric on this lion!
Well to finish this post off properly, I thought I would include a picture of a toy that I made myself. I can’t for the life of my find the pattern this cheerful elephant came from, but I remember when I was making it that it was from the ’60s.  The fabric itself came from a car boot sale stall run by two little old ladies, along with a huge pile of other vintage fabrics, purse and glasses!  Please don’t laugh at his ungainly pose; it’s my fault as I made his front legs a little bit too wonky…
Elephant using vintage fabrics and pattern.
Elephant using vintage fabrics and pattern.

He sits quite happily atop the Mousey stool in the bedroom and just adds to the splashes of colour provided by all of the German pots. One day I’ll make him a companion, but for now he’s definitely one of a kind.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. When I was in the Girl Scouts in the latter part of the 1960s we made soft toys for a home for kids with learning disabilities (did not use such a PC phrase in those olden times).

    I do recall making dogs very similar to the one in your pics – he came out cute in all sorts of fabrics.

    1. littleowlski says:

      I’d like to have a go at the green dog, but I’d need to find the right kind of material for him first. I don’t think he’d look right in the textures of modern fabrics. Thanks for your comment! I’ll be putting some pics on of a toy I have attempted myself within the next couple of days – just didn’t have the time last night. Emma 🙂

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