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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’

I'm an artist & I make things... all kinds of things.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Bonjour Barb ! Je suis une femme de 75 ans qui habite dans le sud de la France et j’aime les oiseaux. Je leur donne a manger surtout l’hiver et je les regarde a la jumelle. Enfin je vois aussi beaucoup de feuilles. Mais en faisant ceux là, je pourrai les toucher. Le nid et les vers sont aussi très intéressants. A mes tissus, je vais en préparer d’avance. Merci Barb !

    1. Quelle joie de vous lire madame Baule! Chez moi aussi au Québec, nous aimons les oiseaux ! Les posts de Barb mettent de la beauté dans mon quotidien. J’ai 54 ans et je suis toujours heureuse de voir que cette passion de créer et de célébrer la nature nous anime, partout sur la planète! Que la beauté règne ainsi que l’amour pour celle-ci, qu’elle soit visible ou bien au fond des coeurs!

      1. (translate) What a joy to read you Madame Baule! At home in Quebec too, we love birds! Barb’s posts bring beauty to my daily life. I am 54 years old and I am always happy to see that this passion for creating and celebrating nature drives us, everywhere on the planet! May beauty reign as well as love for it, whether it is visible or deep in hearts!
        Thank goodness for grade school french class! I am happy to hear there’s a big love for birds! How wonderful to have one on your windowsill… ‘heureux faire!’ (?)

    2. Hello Barb! I am a 75 year old woman who lives in the south of France and I love birds. I feed them especially in winter and watch them through binoculars. Finally I also see a lot of leaves. But by making these, I will be able to touch them. The nest and the worms are also very interesting. To my fabrics, I will prepare some in advance. Thanks Barb!
      BonJour! France sounds wonderful! We still have snow on the ground here in Canada! It seems like the Red Cardinal is the only colour out there!

  2. OH MY Barb, these are so lovely. At first I thought they were out of polymer clay or paper mache but then I saw the seams and was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they were sewn. Thank you again for such a lovely project. Not sure if you subscribe to “Instructables” but there is a gentleman that makes primitive.animatronic animals from torn scraps of paper and wire. Hope the link translates.

    1. Thanks so much for the link. I am a huge fan of dragons. The first instructable on the list that came up was a mechanical flying dragon! That will make a wonderful gift for my granddaughters. The flying birds are awesome also. So many ideas and really no money to spend.

  3. Love your birds , I also thought they were made of clay. Birds ! Yes I ABSOLUTELY love them and it would be fabulous to have such realistic ones inside. Looking forward to trying to make some. Aaugh , your little helper is sooo handsome. Have a fabulous day.

    1. Thanks! Someday I hope to sit him at the sewing machine, as I wish the world would sew more. There’s too much waste from the clothing industry!

  4. These are awesome! My three little granddaughters (20-19 months old) all said OWL as there first word, other than momma and dadda. They may all have to have a grandma made owl. Can’t wait now for the pattern! 🙂

    You are an inspiration Barb, and sorry for the loss of your friend.
    Take care

  5. I can’t wait for your promised patterns. I adopted my first parrot in the early ’90’s and have grown to love all birds so much. Many people don’t understand how smart and loving birds are.
    I have been beading for quite a while and found a wonderful artist, Sheila Root. She has about a dozen bird patterns for sale and I have made several. But they take so long to make and they use 15/0 beads!
    I will definitely be making some of yours!
    One comment: You might want to modify your pattern for the great horned owl. Owls have specialized beaks and they don’t stick out like those of finches and other back yard birds do. Otherwise, your painting is definitely an inspiration. I will probably try a hummer first. You did such a good job on yours.
    I am curious about how you did the beaks. Some look like carved wood. Again, can’t wait for your next blog. You are a huge inspiration to me!

    1. Actually the hardest part I find is deciding how in depth I am striving for! Too many options of various and ideas flowing in my head! The owl was a quick test, yes it’s not that true to life. As soon as I can I am going to make some quite amazing owls! It’s an odd nagging feeling I’ve had for a while and I can’t wait to start but needed to make the ‘bird set’ for my ‘lil grandson first. Yes, the beaks are great, easy and will be explained, no wood or clay!

  6. Your talent, imagination, and creativity are something to strive for. I can’t wait to see the patterns!

    1. After decades of different creative avenues it seems they now all collide. Once you accept ideas to flow freely it’s amazing what can be done, even with little skill but some determination. I have taught in an art college for over 20 years and the most aggravating thing is when they say; ‘I can’t do that!’ before they even try!!! Imagine a baby never tries to walk! Happy making!

  7. 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.

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