A Flock of Felt Birds: A tutorial just in time for Christmas!

It seems fairly ironic to me that the first tutorial I’ve put on this blog is for a hand-sewn item when I love to machine sew and very rarely do any hand sewing anymore.  But regardless, I’ve loved making these little birds over the past month and hope that you’ll try them too!   For any of the pictures, you can click on it to make it bigger if you need more detail.

Supplies you’ll need to make one bird

  • dark brown, maroon, and white felt (small amounts of each)
  • dark brown thread (I used DMC #838.)
  • one 7-inch piece of white ribbon
  • two bird templates: bird and wing and cardboard to make the templates if desired (click to download the Word file that has the templates in it)*
  • permanent marker, needle and sharp scissors

1. Using the templates, cut out one wing in white and two birds in brown.  If you’d like, you can trace the shapes onto the felt using a permanent marker.  If you do this, be sure to cut just inside the marker line so that the marker doesn’t show on the ornament.  Otherwise hold the template to the felt and cut out the shapes.

2. Put the white wing onto a rectangle of the maroon felt.  Remember to leave space to cut a border around it.

Then, use two strands of dark brown thread and a running stitch to sew the wing to the backing felt.  This stitching will act as a decorative detail so try to get the stitches as even as possible.  The stitches on the back of this will NOT show in the final product.

3. Put another piece of red felt behind the first one and carefully cut around the wing, leaving a border of the backing color to “frame” it.

4. Position the wing (with both pieces of maroon felt) on one of the bird pieces.  Starting on the body, sew all around the outside “border” of maroon felt, sewing the wing pieces together and to the bird body.

At some point, you’ll start sewing just the two wing pieces together and not the body.  This stitching will show on the back in the final project.

Then you’ll come back around to sewing the three pieces together.  Sew all the way around the wing.  Don’t cut your thread yet if you have any left.

5. Fold the ribbon in half to form a loop and sew the two cut ends to the inside of the front piece of felt at the middle of the back (basically just behind the wing).  Don’t go all the way through to the front of the bird when you are doing this.  Tie off and cut off your extra thread.

6. Now finish the ornament. Put the front and second bird body pieces together perfectly, with the ribbon emerging from the top. Start your thread between the wing and the body so that this is hidden.

Then sew all around the outer edge of the bird body.  When sewing behind the wing, be sure to just sew through the two bird pieces and not the wing (so that these stitches do NOT show on the front.) When you get back to where you started, end with your thread between the body and wing.

Tie off your thread and you’re finished!  You’ve made a simple, easy, beautiful felt bird that looks perfect from the front and the back.  There shouldn’t be any indication of where you stopped or started sewing if you do it this way.

Soon, you’ll be so fast at making these that you’ll be able to make a flock of birds in just 2-3 hours!

I made these six while talking to friends, sitting in church, and playing with Ellie.  They’re a great portable project!

*I don’t remember the site where I found the original shape of the bird body and wing – my apologies for not being able to give credit where credit is due on that one.  Make these for personal or commercial use if you’d like.  It’s fine with me!  Although the design of these birds is my own, I took inspiration from the blog Bugs and Fishes, and constructed this bird using techniques that I learned from her tutorials.  So thank you, Laura!

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3 Responses to A Flock of Felt Birds: A tutorial just in time for Christmas!

  1. Sarah says:

    How cute! I don’t know how to use a sewing machine, but I can handle this. A few years ago I started the tradition of making at least one new ornament for the tree every year. It’s so fun to decorate the tree and remember all the good times with friends, family, and crafts.

  2. Pingback: Handmade Christmas 2013: Trees and Sheep and Birds, Oh MY! | Salmon and Souvlaki

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