My Bird Pattern Design Process

Have you ever made a pattern from scratch? I hope these ‘lil fellows will bring some small joy in their cheeky way. I’ll share the secrets of my Bird Pattern Design Process.

Why Birds you ask?

Well, reason #1; why not birds? They are flitting around us everyday and always seem to bring some kind of happiness by their song or their zest for life! Right now, we have been inundated with so much negativity (and I can add a few more things like surgery and the loss of my best friend) so any small way I can make some joy I will jump at it! There’s also the bonus of not having to buy anything to make these…

Another reason, as you’ll see at the end is a very special little person just loves birds soooo I just had to comply.

Surprisingly my ‘It’s All for the Birds’ post has been one of my most popular posts as well.

Test & test some more:

I spent hours looking at pictures of birds. The cute cubby ones are the kind that I like. I had some vague Idea of making the form quite chubby so I drew up some sides and belly and cap and sewed them together. Hmmm, a bit thinner here and bit longer/shorter etc… Cut another pattern and make another one.

And another one.

And another one.

Maybe a longer neck, or shorter body, cut, sew, stuff… Yes, ok, I know I am a detail oriented person; I can’t help it – I just want to get to that point of complete satisfaction. I have about 15 pattern versions saved. There was also a very important mission I had to complete.

Does anyone really not LOVE birds?!

It was a big 3rd Birthday for my special lil’ guy and he just loves birds! He knows all the species that he sees in my trees and points them out constantly. We even see wild turkeys jumping over our fence!

You do remember that I also paint, so that was the quickest way to get a bunch of species done all ready for the big day.

I am surprised at how quickly I can paint if I have a deadline (I am my own worst boss). But how much fun it is and to know they will be cherished. All 12 (so far) male & female cardinals, Bluejay, Chickadee, Sparrow, Robin, Yellow Finch, Nuthatch, Hummingbird, Mallard duck, Canada goose, & Great Horned Owl, whew.

I am working on having complete instructions of how to make these sweet fabric birds and also their nest! Birds absolutely need their own nest… (you my recognize a bit of ‘basketry’ in the nest)

and some worms.

He loves his new little friends! I’m so happy that they sometimes win over the cars and trucks and he ‘yabbers’ non-stop mimicking all the conversations the birds are having with each other – so cute! ‘Warms my heart! They have lasted quite well considering all the play they get.

Notice that they all stand up?! Yup, specially designed to stay upright!

Unique Bird Design with Articulating Wing:

As per usual, once I’m on a roll I keep at it! I wanted MY birds to be different as I hate seeing regurgitated stuff form the ‘net all the time. So I wanted another version of fabric birds that are able to have their wings spread… ya, open wide and fold back.

I looked at the anatomy of how birds wings operate. When the wing folds back it folds the ‘primary feathers’ under the ‘secondary feathers’. Well, that makes for a nicer wing when it is closed.

Ok, I can do that in fabric! (I think) I can make a pivot hinge! Before I know it there will be a whole flock of ‘process birds’ at my place.

I sometimes marvel at how I just stumble onto ideas; as I looked at the fabric sprawled all around me and notice things like all the fringing on the edges of jeans… hmmm. FEATHERS! Hours go by in a flash it seems when I get so focussed in what I am doing.

How perfect it is to be able to just pull some threads and make feathers! It doesn’t take much nowadays to make me smile. Stress is not good for your health so… de-stress and make some sweet birds (and lower your blood pressure)

By now you are probably wondering where the pattern is? Well, after making a million prototypes and altering the pattern each time in Illustrator I am not quite ready to release it yet…

But I promise it will be soon. It will also need some quite specific instructions with pictures. Sit tight, gather some fabric, look in the trees and smile. Let me know if you too love birds!

UPDATE: It’s ready! Get the pattern here!

As my mother (who lived through a war) would say; ‘Be careful about complaining; things can always get worse’

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  1. Hi Barb,
    As always, you really amaze me with your creativity and craft techniques. The little guy is lucky to have your influence and affection! Hopefully it will live on within his soul.