Toca Tailor Review

Posted by Amy Solomon on November 12th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

Toca Tailor is the new, highly anticipated universal app that allows children to create their own clothing from a plethora of options.

Toca Boca is well known for what they call “digital toys,” wonderfully themed apps that children can play with in the same fashion as their other classic toys.

Toca Tailor reminds me of my old toy “Fashion Plates” where one could select from a series of plastic head, top and bottom plates, be it skirt or pants choices to create different fashions as one would make a relief, rubbing a crayon on paper placed over these plates with their raised designs. I have very fond memories of this toy, yet I was well aware even as a child that the different outfits one could make were not unlimited.

Toca Boca creates a similar experience with many more options available. Here players can choose from four characters: a boy and girl, as well as a fancy cat and interesting koala-styled animal.

After making a selection, one will be taken into the tailoring storefront where one can hear subtle ambient noises such as the doorbell ringing as the user arrives, the faint sound of sewing machines, as well as a view of the tools one may need to tailor clothing. In the background are colorful threads or piles of folded materials - all wonderful immersive details Toca Boca is known for.

I enjoy how many styles of clothing can be scrolled through, tapping the top or bottom half of their models as well as the lengthening or shortening of the sleeves, pants legs, skirt or dress length.

When players have found a look they would like to work with, they can enter the sewing area where these outfits have been deconstructed into sleeves, chest of the shirt, sweater or other top piece one is making, as well as the dress, skirt, or pants bottom - each piece seen laid out as a pattern on a cutting board.

A nice selection of colored bolts of fabric is included, as well as patterns, many of them bright and colorful, with forest, floral dots, cloud, quilt or animal print choices which I would like to wear in real life, or dress my child in.

To select, simply drag over the area one would like to add with the fabric choice, noting that an endless number of materials can be added into a single garment. It is worth noting, however, that I have had a hard time adding fabric to just the bottom of my pattern - an issue I hope can be smoothed out.

Players can also rotate their fabric to any angles, such as allowing horizontal stripes to become vertical or diagonal as well as zooming in and out to make the stripes wider or thinner as they see fit.

Fun embellishments are also included - each which can be re-sized and re-used indefinitely, such as buttons, pockets and zippers as well as a few fun inclusions such as an ink splatter, Toca Boca mouth icon, or decorative Mexican skull.

These fabrics and notions alone would entertain children and their adults for many hours, but there are a few added functions that bring this app to another level, as users have access to the photos saved on their device as well as the ability to take photos if their devices allow.

Players can then create fabric choices made from photos, capturing the color and texture of the image or object being photographed and turning these snapshots into materials for a great effect.

As of now, the last image taken for fabric is saved to be used later, but I wish a gallery of made fabric choices could be saved to work with later, as well as a “look book” of previous fashions made saved to the app itself, not just the camera roll.

Do also note that once a character is fully dressed and ready to accessorize, the garment styles can be walked through again with taps to the top and bottom of the outfit as well as the changing of lengths of sleeves, cuffs or shirt, dress or skirt.

Surprises may also be found as the lowering of a hem may reveal a color of pattern detail not previously seen in the smaller outfit, adding to the exploration that goes on as one tailors the outfits.

An eclectic selection of accessories is also available from hats, glasses, jewelry and scarves and hair bows or shoe choices that children will have fun fully dressing their models from head to toe - even if their client does not fully approve, as these characters are expert in expressing themselves using grunts or giggles to show displeasure or excitement in the outfits designed for them in ways very neutral in terms of language.

Every new release of a Toca Boca app is a festive occasion in our house, and Toca Tailor is no different. My son loves to create outfits for these characters, never once complaining that designing clothing is too “girly,” a concern that at almost five, he is now quick to voice.

Instead he works happily at this app, a solo project he has decided as he oftentimes becomes so caught up in his creativity that sharing can be hard - a compliment to Toca Boca, to be sure.

By far, my boy’s favorite activity is to take photos of fabrics or other objects we have in the house to use as materials - something I first demonstrated as I took a photo of the fleece camouflage pants he was wearing as well as the distinct logo from his camp-issued tee that he has been wearing since the summer.

With these swatches made, I was able to dress a character just like him, taking both photos of the character to remember the outfit as well as to be able to take photos of my boy and this creature lying next to each other, a nice touch, especially as one is able to re-size the character to get the scale correct in comparison to the context of the photograph.

I have heard no complaints in terms of limitations from my son, but I would love to see a scissors option to customize the top and bottom styles offered, allowing one to make cut-outs, remove collars, open the neckline to a sweetheart or v-neck or even to create fringe.

It would also be nice to have stencils available to either spray paint designs onto clothing as well as to be used to cut shapes out of fabric to be added as personalized patches.

I would also like to see the fabric used being an unlimited size, because when I shrink my fabric down to make the pattern very small, the piece itself is much smaller and does not fully cover my garment, leaving me with the time-consuming challenge of matching patterns to make seamless textile.

Sheer fabric would also be an interesting inclusion, and it would also be nice to resize the hats and other accessories as well as to have complete control of their placement, as a flowered headband cannot be used as a lei, and a hair bow cannot be worn at the neck - tough parameters for such an open-ended game.

Belts would also be a great addition, as they are needed to make some of the tunics and dresses that I have designed feel finished.

I would love to have a chance to pinch and zoom not only the lengths of the areas like the sleeves or legs of pants but also the basic waist-lines or general silhouettes as well.

Lastly, it would be terrific to turn the model 360 degrees to have a chance to style the back of the clothing as well with more pockets or added embellishments.

Having made these notes, even if no changes are ever made to Toca Tailor, this app will be able to keep children of all ages totally engaged for unlimited hours.

Parents of children, especially girls, who are into fashion should take special note of this app as adults will be quite pleased that Toca Tailor will focus their children’s attention on being creative and not on a cat walk or anything else that could be concerning or remotely sexual in nature as seen in many other fashion-focused toys in today’s market.

As the name may suggest, Toca Tailor is specifically about clothing design - not about makeup or hair color choices that may take this app into a direction that parents may not want to venture into from a fashion perspective, yet giving children a taste of the focus and creativity needed to be a designer as well as keeping this app gender-nuetral.

For these reasons and more I find it very easy to recommend Toca Tailor. Many fans will be happy to see Toca Boca return to their truly open-ended digital toys, arguably what they do best. I can’t wait to see what new digital toys they come up with next.

iPhone Screenshots

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iPad Screenshots

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