With an eight-year-old budding fashion magnate in the house, our playroom floor is often covered with attempts at designing new wardrobe items for various Barbies and princesses. But without the skills to actually sew the creations together, we have been somewhat limited to draping and tying of fabric rather than being able to see designs come to life and look like she had imagined in her head. Harumika fashion design craft sets aim to change that and really allow kids with an interest in fashion to start putting outfit ideas together, and see how they would hang properly on a mannequin. There are several different sets available, but they all include mannequins, fabrics of different designs and textures, pins, embellishments, ribbon and a design tool.
We were sent the Harumika Bridal Gown set (RRP: £24.99) and the Harumika Frozen Fruits Double Torso set (RRP: £19.99) to try out. The Bridal Gown set includes 2 mannequins, six different fabrics (white satin, pink satin, champagne satin, white floral satin, white lace and a sparkly voile) as well as cream ribbon, a variety of pins and embellishment pins, and the design tool. The Frozen fruits set also includes 2 mannequins alongside four fabrics (black fruity satin, pastel striped satin, pink velvety fabric and a green voile) as well as yellow ribbon and the pins, embellishments and design tool.
We thought the packaging design was great and you could see exactly what was contained in the set, and it is really nicely presented, making it a lovely gift idea. However, my craft-mad daughter certainly wasn’t going to be minded to give this one as a gift and she couldn’t wait to dive into it! The packaging also makes it really clear how the designing and dressing works with the mannequins; the designs can be made, changed and taken apart time after time as there is no cutting, no sewing and no gluing. This also means that the finished dresses can’t be taken off the mannequins and be used to dress a Barbie but we were fine with that as the fun of the toy is the creative process.
The mannequins have linear cut outs down the middle of the back, across the hips and on the thigh area as well as little holes on the shoulders and various points down the front of the torso. The cut outs are there to anchor the fabric into, so to dress a mannequin in the pink satin, you would wrap the fabric round the figure then use the design tool to push the excess into the cut outs, which hold it firmly in place thanks to the plastic zig-zag edges. The fabric can also be layered, so you might attach the lace fabric from the hips, the fold a satin fabric so it is slightly shorter and attach this from the back or shoulders, giving a layered effect.
The pins and embellishments can be used to give the designs shape and form too – for example, placing one at the decolletage area can give a shaped sweetheart neckline, ant placing one in the tummy button area gives the skirt of a dress some shape and definition. My daughter thinks this set is absolutely fabulous and is having great fun with it. Tiny scraps of fabric from around the house really add to the fun and experience too, and we’ve now found a use for some of the frayed or falling apart Barbie clothes that she tends not to use because they aren’t pretty anymore. We have cut them up to give her more combinations and choices for her designs.
We think this toy is a great one for kids who enjoy art and design. It’s something a little different (I have personally not seen anything like it before), and my daughter thinks it’s just brilliant. It has the added advantage of never running out – so many craft sets come with enough product to make a limited number of items, but with this, it can be used again and again. It’s also ideal for when you just don’t want mess! Our lounge is kept as the ‘nice’ room, so there’s definitely no crafting allowed, but with this there is no problem at all and my daughter brings in in with her on an evening and will sit an play with it for ages.
A real winner in our house and I wholeheartedly recommend it!