/ / It’s a Zoo Fabric Quiet Book using Retro Vogue Pattern 1959

It’s a Zoo Fabric Quiet Book using Retro Vogue Pattern 1959

Crafts for Baby | Sewing

See how a fabric activity book was created with the vintage Vogue Pattern for the It’s a Zoo fabric quiet book. Find out the fabric used and take a look at the cute inside pages. 

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Fabric quiet book with cute fabric animals.

Hello Crafty Friends! I am so excited to share this awesome fabric quiet book my mom made my son. My mom has had this Vogue pattern since before I was born! She originally bought it to make the quiet book for me and my sister but never had the chance. Thirty years later and the book has finally been made.

Vintage Vogue pattern 1959 lays next to a fabric quiet book with the title "Book 2015" on it.

Vintage Vogue Quiet Book – It’s a Zoo

The Pattern

The pattern, originally from 1978, features lots of animals with different quiet activities – perfect for little ones to work on their fine motor skills. Buttons, zippers, snaps, buckles, braids, bows – they are all so fun! This project was in no way a fast project, as my mom would quickly tell you! It was a definite labor of love but the end result is a beautiful keepsake.

Each page has appliqué work and hand sewing. Below I will show each page of the book and you can really see the love put into this book on each page. I know both my kiddos are going to love playing with this and I hope to keep all the parts together so we can pass it down to a new generation of little ones.

Vogue Pattern It's a Zoo 1959 lays next to fabric swatches and thread.

Choosing the Fabric

Part of reason I think this book turned out so cute is the fabric choices my mom made to give the book a more updated and modern feel. The cotton fabrics she chose for the background of each page are bright and cheery and all from the same pattern collection, Fleurish by Maria Kalinowski for Kanvas Studio. Choosing fabrics from the same collection gave the book a nice and cohesive feel. 

For the cover pages and elephants roller skates, my mom used the cotton print “Art Class” designed by Greta Lynn for Kanvas Studio in Artist Dot White/Multi. 

Besides purchasing the cotton background fabrics, all of the other fabrics came from my mom’s stash and my own. Between the two of us we tried to find lots of different textures – including faux leather, fur, fleece, silk, sequin fabric, and suede. Each page has an activity as well as lots of fun touchy-feely fabrics. 

Fabric quiet book with cute fabric animals.

The Quiet Book Pages

Page One: Pelican

The first page shows a cute pelican bird holding a fishing pole with two fabric fished hooked on. Both of the fishes are attached using small hook and eye closures so the fish can be taken on and off the page.

Fabric book page with an appliqué pelican and fabric fish.

Fabric fish are attached to the pelican's fishing pole with small hook and eye closures.

Page Two: Flower-Picking Turtle

Next up is a cute turtle page. This was a fun opportunity to use different textures. My mom used a fun suede fabric for the turtle and a thick satin for the outside of it’s shell. Kids can unsnap part of the shell to reveal a soft fabric heart – and another fun fabric!

Fabric book page with turtle holding fabric flowers, his shell is snapped closed.

The fabric shell is unsnapped revealing a cute fabric heart.

Page Three: Ice Cream Alligator

This page is one of my favorites! A soft velvety alligator is holding an ice cream cone. Unzip his mouth and a crazy pink, sequined tongue comes out to lick the ice cream.

Fabric book page with a large green alligator holding a fabric ice cream cone.

The mouth of the fabric alligator is unzipped revealing a sparkly pink tongue.

Page Four: Giraffe

Next up on page four is this sweet giraffe with a fun fringe main. Along his neck are three bows kids can tie and untie. Since my kids are still a little young, I often tie the bows when they are done playing with the book as they love untying them. 

Fabric book page with a cute fabric giraffe with fringe.

Page Five: Kangaroo and Joey

Following the giraffe is my children’s favorite page – the kangaroo and joey! While the buckle was a challenge for them at first, they absolutely loved the little fabric joey that pops out once the pouch is unbuckled.

Using a pattern that is over 30 years old proved a little tricky for my mom at times. There were several notions it called for that we had the hardest time finding. The kangaroo called for a 1/2″ self-cover buckle, which was really hard to locate! We found a few online, but with shipping they were pricey. On a trip to Joann’s, my mom found the a buckle that would work that didn’t need to be covered at all. It is larger than what was shown in the pattern, but it works!

Fabric book page with felt kangaroo and a pouch closed with a buckle.
The fabric pouch on the kangaroo is unbuckled revealing a small fabric joey.

Page Six: Rollerskating Elephant

Next up is a rollerskating elephant1 This page is adorable but the activity on the page has proven challenging for both kids and adults. The pattern called for tiny buttons with elastic loops and they were really tricky to use. I think it could have been just as cute with just one larger button.

Fabric book page with gray elephant wearing roller skates that button closed.

Page Seven: Baseball Bear

Following the elephant is a cute baseball-playing bear. My mom made the baseball glove using faux leather and kids can untie the lacing for a great fine motor skill. 

Fabric book page with tan felt bear wearing a baseball hat that reads coach and holding a baseball in a baseball mit.

Page Eight: Lion

I’d say the lion page is all of my kids favorite page in the entire book. They love the fringe mane and love untying the lion’s tail. I re-braid it and they untie it again or try to braid it by wrapping the pieces around each other in crazy ways. The lion is made from soft tan fleece which is so fun for little ones to touch and feel along with the playful fringe. 
Fabric book page with fleece lion with a fringe main and a large braided tail.

Page Nine: Bus Diving Hippo

Who wouldn’t want a hippo driving their school bus? This hippos mouth unbuttons to reveal the inside of his large mouth complete with a cute fabric tongue! My mom used black suede for the steering wheel and gray felt for the hippo so there are lots of great textures on this page too! 

Fabric book page with a gray felt hippo wearing a hat that reads "BUS" and holding a pleather stealing wheel.The hippo's fabric mouth is unbuttoned showing a tongue.

I hope you enjoyed looking through the pages of this sweet fabric activity book. I love the way the book came together and I love its backstory in our family. I’m happy my mom could finally check this off her “to-craft” list, even if it took a little longer than she’d expected!! 

Where Can I find this Pattern?

This retro Vogue pattern is still available for purchase online. Do a quick Google search of “Vogue Pattern 1959 It’s A Zoo” and you will see some options pop up from Ebay, Mercari and Etsy.

Vintage Vogue pattern 1959 lays next to a fabric quiet book with the title "Book 2015" on it.

Happy Crafting! -Kim

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  1. I just Started making one with the pattern my mom bought over 30 years ago and never got around to making it . Now I’m enjoying it .
    Maybe I adk What you use for the pages ,? They look so cheerful .

    1. Hi! My mom used a cotton fabric she found in the quilting section at JoAnn Fabrics called “Fleurish” by Kanvas Studio. I added links to the fabric in the blog post if that is useful to you. Have fun making the book! That’s awesome your mom saved the pattern! My kids love playing with it :)

    1. Hi! Thank you, my mom has a great eye for picking out fabrics! She used cotton fabric she found in the quilting section at JoAnn Fabrics, from the collection “Fleurish” by Kanvas Studio. I added links at the end of the blog post in case that is helpful. They are such vibrant color. I’m about to use her left over scraps for another project, I’m so glad she saved them! :)

  2. How wonderful to find such a recent rendition of the quiet book. I found the pattern in a charity shop in Fleet, UK a while back and was just enamoured with how cute it is. Thanks for sharing your pictures and story with us. =)

    1. Thank you! I hope you have a chance to make one! It has been a few months now and my kids still love playing with it :)

  3. Hi! This makes me so excited to see this! I bought this pattern almost 40 years ago when I was right out of high school and working at the local fabric store in Mesa, Az. I knew one day I would make this for my own kids, and I did! In about 1985 or 6 I had a 4 year old girl and a 18 month old boy and I decided it was time to make this Quiet Book! And I did! All except for the last page, the hippo. We were in the middle of a move and I put the pattern and the last page in a box that a dog we had got into and tore it to shreads. I was sick that the pattern was wrecked. But the rest of the book was intact for MANY years, 3 more kids later and I still had it up until about 5 years ago when we moved again and it disappeared! This post brought back such wonderful memories. I would love to make it again for some grandkids! Would you possibly share the pattern? I would love to remake it! Thanks
    My name is Kathleen.

    1. Wow Kathleen! Thank you for sharing your story about this pattern! That is so neat you bought this pattern before having kids and held onto it and then actually made it! That is so sad the book has gone missing!! My mom, who made the book for my kids, has the pattern. When writing this post, I did find the pattern on Etsy (sold from andthenYesterday) and Ebay to purchase! They were new and unused. I’m sure your grandkids would love the book if you ever made another one! :)

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