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Toca Tailor: Fairy Tales app review

fairy tale tailor titleToca Tailor: Fairy Tales (Toca Boca, 2012; iOS only) is a fairy-tale-themed companion to the original Toca Tailor app, in which you can “make” clothes by tailoring size, choosing fabrics, and adding accoutrements.

Click on one of the two child characters (a light-skinned girl and a darker-skinned boy), and your chosen figure is brought to a cottage room with a hand-cranked sewing machine and a window showing a snowy forest landscape outside. A box with a needle-and-thread icon sits at the bottom left of the screen, a box of accoutrements at the bottom right; two buttons for taking pictures are at the top right. Tap on the sleeves, shirt, and skirt/pants the character is currently wearing to choose from multiple other options for each — all vaguely medieval — then tap the box on the bottom left to open a page where you can customize your outfit.

For the very simplest level of designing, drag and drop fabric swatches onto the pre-designed items and the app fills them in, creating solid-colored (or all-one-pattern) clothes. You can also add buttons, belts, and contrast stitching. Hit the “back” button to see your character now clothed in your personal design. From here, choose fairy-tale-inspired accessories (plumed hats, tall boots, a wolf mask, etc.) to add to the outfit and take a picture of the complete ensemble.

fairy tale tailor photo

Up for a challenge? Alter the size of the pre-designed clothing before choosing fabrics, and resize or rotate swatches for more intricate designs. This adds a level of difficulty (as the square swatches of fabric can only be resized, not reshaped, and nothing can be copied and pasted), requiring you to put some serious time and thought into how to create your fashion masterpiece.

fairy tale tailor diamond dress

In addition to designing with the swatches already loaded, you can take a photo of your own surroundings for a unique fabric pattern. (I, of course, took a picture of books and made it into a shirt.)

After you’ve dressed, accessorized, and photographed your character, you can go back to the menu and choose to play again. The style and type of clothing automatically changes between sessions, so you might first make a pantsuit, then a blouse with puffy pants, then a dress. (The app does not designate any specific clothing items as “male” or “female” — communicating the egalitarian idea that clothing isn’t gendered, and boys and girls can wear whatever the heck they want.)

fairy tale tailor yellow dress

It’s no Singing Cat with the Universe in Its Mouth, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (requires iOS 6.0 or later); free. Recommended for primary users.

Siân Gaetano About Siân Gaetano

Siân Gaetano is assistant editor for The Horn Book, Inc. Follow her on Twitter @KidLitChick.

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