Sew a Softie Paisley Bird

Maybe it’s my hippie roots showing, but I don’t think I’ve ever met a paisley I didn’t like. So while surfing through some of the crafty, sewing, DIY blogs I’m addicted to, a little bird caught my attention. It was a clever little bird with lots of body parts and fancy stitching.  It was more trouble that I was up for at the time, but the wing was in the shape of a paisley. And voila. This little bird was born.

I started doodling paisley patterns and came up with something I liked. This tutorial is part of the ‘ Sew a Softie for the Festive Season‘ tutorial hop. Check out the list of other softies over at Coloured Buttons,

I literally made this little birdie out of scraps, but if you’re new at this stitching stuff and don’t have a stash to raid, you’ll need two or three colors of crafting felt and a smidge of cotton fabric. Pick one color for the bird, one color for a wing, one color for the beak, and a scrap of cotton.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

Use regular all-purpose sewing thread for the basic assembly. You’ll need black and matching or contrasting colors of embroidery floss or pearl cotton. The bird will hang on a scrap of ribbon, cord, twine or other trim. A handful of fiberfill is all you’ll need to stuff it.

The tools you need are basic: sewing needle, embroidery needle, some pins, and scissors. Small scissors will help you manipulate the curves a little easier.

So download this pattern and get started.

Paisley Bird Ornament Pattern-JanMadeIt

Cut out the pieces and start with the top layer.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

I used white sewing thread to tack the scrap of calico to the wing. I stuffed it with a tiny bit of fiberfill as I made my way around the shape.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

OK, I know that’s not a tiny bit, you know how things will take more stuffing than you think they will. But you’re right, most of that didn’t go into the wing. In fact, a little snippet of quilt batting, just a bit smaller than the scrap, would probably work as well.

Anyway…

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

After you get the calico wing attached, stitch it to the body of the bird in the same way. Start at the back and stuff it as you go. Notice I’m still using the white thread which is practically invisible on these colors.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

At this point I realized the checked homespun was going to fray more than I wanted, so I appliqued it with a satin stitch to seal the ragged edge. I used red pearl cotton.

Now pin the front to the back and put the body together. I used the same red thread and a blanket stitch. I started at the center back and did the tail first. I had to stuff it along the way to get stuffing pressed firmly into the tip of the tail. Use the eraser end of a pencil or other pointy object, but not your scissors, to cram the stuffing all the way to the corner.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

Keep stitching and stuffing your way around the body. As you get to the face, have the beak handy and pin it in place.  I used two little triangles for my beak, but you only need one to do the job.

Don’t forget to stitch a little black eye.  A cluster of satin stitches or a French knot will do the trick.

Paisley Bird Softie on Jan Made It

Fold the ribbon in half and insert it at the back of the head. If you put the ribbon on the top of the head his tail will droop when you hang him. Center the ribbon between the front and the back of the bird to keep him on an even keel when he hangs on your tree.

Isn’t he cute?

This is the first time I’ve included a pdf pattern with one of my posts. The illustration is rather primitive, but now that I have my feet wet I’ll get better. In the meantime, it will do the job.

Let me know what you think and if you make one, I’d love to see how it turns out. If my instructions aren’t clear, just ask.

Hope you enjoy this little guy.

Jan

 

 

 

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Effie’s Makeover

Well, Effie the Elephant was cute before, but now she’s just too, too, two times as cute.

Effie the Felt Elephant on JanMadeIt 1

Just seemed like she needed a hair bow and a bright flowery blanket with appliques and lots of embroidery.

Effie the Felt Elephant on JanMadeIt 2

I just can’t seem to leave well-enough alone. Now all my other critters look naked.

Might have to do something about that. If so, I’ll be figuring out how to make little bitty hats, scarves, and other teeny tiny fashion accessories.

What d’ya think? Better with clothes, or without?

Jan

Effie the Elephant

Here’s a little felt elephant I made recently. She’s made out of plain ole craft felt and is about four inches tall. Her name is Effie. Effie Bass Miller was my great-grandmother.

Felt Elephant JanMadeIt 1

She has a yellow tail and yellow feet.

The tail is crocheted cotton perle thread, probably size 5. I chained about 12–15 stitches and then turned around and single crocheted back down the chain.  I added a little tassel at the end.

She’s assembled with three strands of embroidery floss.

Felt Elephant JanMadeIt 2

Her trunk was too short so I used the half-circle scrap from between her legs to add some length and give her a little personality.

Felt Elephant JanMadeIt 3

That’s why the end of her trunk is orange on one side and pink on the other.

Felt Elephant JanMadeIt 4

I picked blue for her ears and used blue thread to attach little button eyes.

The trickiest part of the whole assembly was the ears (I made two sets that were too small), getting them in the right spot (they were first too far back, and then too low), and making sure they were lined up on each side of her head.

I might add and embroider a little blanket across her back. If I do, I’ll give you an update.

She makes me smile.

Jan

Butterfly and Flower Hair Clips

Last week I spent the day with my nieces, Riley and Avery, and I made a couple of hair clips for them. We didn’t have a plan, but we did have some felt.

Felt Butterfly 10

I first drew a butterfly on a sheet of notebook paper and colored it with markers. Then I rough cut a few little pieces of felt and shaped them into butterfly wings. They aren’t exactly like the wings I drew but the girls thought they looked good so I didn’t fret over it.

I cut a few smaller pieces and then shaped the spots on the wings. I used hand quilting thread to stitch the spots to the wings. All purpose thread will work, but 100% cotton hand quilting thread is wax coated to reduce drag when the thread is pulled through the quilt layers. Which means it’s less likely to tangle. Yay!

Felt Butterfly 01

I stitched the top two wings together and then tacked on the pink spots. Then I did the same with the bottom wings and the orange spots. I layered the top wings over the bottom set and stitched them together, first on the back…

Felt Butterfly 03

…and then tacked it securely on the top. These stitches would be hidden by the body.

After the wings were connected I placed the yellow scallops on the top wings and I cut out a little blue body.

Felt Butterfly 04

Easy peasy.

Felt Butterfly 06

It would be fun to add sequins to the wings, but we didn’t have any. Instead, I outlined some of the parts with lavender (or is it lilac?) cotton thread.

Felt Butterfly 07

We decided it needed a head, so a tiny orange circle was added to the top of the body. Then I attached a clip to the back and Avery was delighted.

Felt Butterfly 08

With a few more scraps I took a circle of felt and folded it into quarters. I sliced it along each fold to create four petals. I rounded the corners of each petal. Then I did the same with second piece of felt. I used two different shades of pink.

I did it again with an orange circle. To change it up I put a slit in the middle of each petal to make eight. It still looked like an orange circle so I cut a “V” shape between each petal and shortened them by about 1/4 to 3/8 inch.

With a needle and thread I stacked the three layers and tacked them together.

I traced around a spool of thread to get an accurate circle out of yellow felt.  The purple thread was handy so I used it to hold it all together.

FeltFlower 01

Then the hair clip was added.

FeltFlower 02

Riley was happy to have this one.

FeltFlower 06a

Pretty cute for a half-hours worth of stitching and a few scraps.

I wanted this to be a project for them to do, but I had no idea where I was headed when I picked up these felt scraps. Now that I figured out the sequence and the supplies needed, I can provide some simple patterns and they’ll be able to do it on their own.

These felt doo dads can be attached to a pony tail holder or a head band, either fabric or the hard plastic kind. Tack it to a tote bag or a t-shirt. Just make one or two or decorate with a whole garden full of flowers or a kaleidoscope of butterflies.

BTW: That is the real name of a bunch of butterflies; a kaleidoscope.  Sometimes they are called a swarm or a rabble. A swarm sounds scary to me, like bees.  And rabble sounds chaotic, and a rowdy rabble doesn’t make me think of butterflies.
Other websites ignore those names altogether and call a group of butterflies a flight or a flutter.

I tried to come up with a little bumble bee, but he needs some work.  A caterpillar would be easy, or a small bird.  And Avery wants a car.

Any other ideas for easy useful crafts for summertime?

Jan

 

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