I was taken by a fabric bird that she did in the style of Jenni Horne in an article in the Summer 2009 edition of Sew Somerset inspired by an original by Betz White.
It's a long time since I did any hand sewing even though I only used blanket stitch on this one, but Gail sent me a piece of driftwood that she had collected from the beach (to use as a perch for my birdy), the patterns for the body pieces, the florists wire, the fabric (calico in this case) and the polyester fibre filling ! In fact everything I needed to make one. I had no choice really, did I?
So I set about making my little bird. I have set out my instructions in a class and the steps clearly show how you too could easily make one and call it your own by personalising it in your own unique style.
You will need the following Materials:
- Bird Pattern (Click to request copy via email)
- Florists Wire
- Polyester Wadding
- Plain Calico
- Driftwood or Wood Dowel
- White Gesso
- Stazon Inkpad (Jet Black)
- Rubber Stamps
- Fabric Paints (Stewart Gill)
- Thread (Metallic Gutermann)
- Sewing Needle
- Decorative Brads
- Sequins (Gutermann)
- Stickles Glitter Glue
- Any Other Decorative Elements
you want to use
First take the template (Request by email) , which has all the parts to make your birdy
which consists of 2 body sides, one throat piece & 2 wings. Cut out the pieces on the template (they are actual size) and pin them to a piece of plain calico. Use a sharp pair of scissors to carefully cut out the pieces then remove the pins and save the pattern pieces for further use. If the cut calico frays a little, don't worry ........ once painted this will stop any further fraying and you can then trim them along the edges to make them as neat as possible.
The cut out calico pieces
The calico pieces then need a liberal coat of white gesso applied with a brush. The wings need it
on both sides. This primes the calico ready to take the stamping and paint and
also resists excessive fraying of the calico.
When the gesso is dry take your selected stamps and using the Stazon jet black inkpad stamp the calico as desired. I used a selection of stamps from the ones shown. The finished stamped calico pieces are then shown.
The stamps I used.
The stamped pieces.
Next paint the stamped calico in any colours of fabric paint that take your fancy. I used a selection of Stewart Gill paint, both metallic and transparent to colour my calico. I used Pearlise and Metallica colours to do my thing ! Most fabric paints can be heat set, but I didn't do this (only necessary if you are going to be washing)
The painted pieces
Next step is to attach the wings. I used two red metallic swirly brads through the wings and the body pieces bending over the legs of the brad on the inside to secure. I also added the teardrop crystal brads for the little fellas eyes at this stage. Once done, I then took some purple sequins and sewed these in place over some of the stamped circles on the breast body piece.
The pic shows one completed body piece and the breast body piece complete with
sewn on sequins.
Next we need to sew all of the body pieces together leaving a small gap through which we will stuff the birdie with the polyester wadding. I sewed the back first using two strands with blanket stitch and the turquoise metallic thread.
My sewing is not perfect but with the metallic thread I don't
think it needs to be perfect
Here's another closer shot of the sewing.
Then I sewed in the breast piece taking care to position the throat correctly so the bird was not unbalanced.
This pic shows the back and breast piece sewn in.
This shows detail of the sewing of the breast piece.
The rest of the sewing was then completed, leaving a gap at the birds bottom end to allow me to stuff it with the polyester wadding. I did this with a ball tool until the bird was firmly filled and had shape. The final bit of sewing was then done to close the hole through which the stuffing had been done.
This pic shows the wadding ready to be stuffed
This pic shows the stuffed bird which has gained a nice plump shape !
At this stage it's best to add any other embellishments that you desire. I just added some dots of Stickles glitter glue to outline the flowers, wings and flower centres. You could add faux gems, metal charms for example.
This pic shows the dots of Stickles I added.
Once these have dried it's time to add his beak and legs.
Take a small length of your florists wire and simply bend into a U or V shape with your fingers or craft pliers. Cut off this shape from the wire with wire cutters and simply push into the bird between the stitches in an appropriate spot where the beak would be. The wire will stay in place as it is embedded in the wadding inside.
This pic shows the beak made of bent florists wire ready to be
This pic shows the beak pushed into place in the wadding.
The legs are made by taking another suitable length of florists wire and bending it with the pliers into a V at right angles to the legs. This is then simply pushed through the calico of the breast piece, threaded through to the other side and pushed out again through the calico. Take care not to deform the V shape when you do this as the V acts as a stabiliser and stops your birdie flopping backwards or forwards. This is a bit fiddly but experiment until you are happy. The calico is very forgiving if you have to try it a few times before you are happy but only make one pair of holes to avoid damaging your little bird..
This pic shows the V with the legs ready to be threaded through
the breast piece of the bird.
This pic shows the legs threaded through the breast piece of
Finally we need to make the perch and attach the bird to the perch. Take your piece of driftwood or a piece of dowel cut to approx. 5 inches. Wind the ends of the birds legs around the central area of the wood tightly and cut off any excess wire with wire cutters. Then take another two pieces of florists wire and wind round the very ends of the wood to make the swing for the perch on which your little bird is sitting. This needs a bit of trial and error to get right but you will end up with your little bird firmly attached to a perch on a swing.
Well that completes the class. Remember you need to make it your own by using your own colours and embellishments. As you can see there are endless possibilities and variations that you could achieve, but whatever you do enjoy making one of your own. Hope you have found the
tutorial enjoyable and if you have been inspired I would love to see what you do