12 Days of Handmade Christmas Tutorials Day 4 {Fabric Birds}

by Edie Wadsworth on November 4, 2009

Sing it with me, “On the fourth day of Christmas, my blog friend gave to me, 4 calling birds“, 3::coasters from Sandy, 2::garlands from Nester, and a dishmat made by Dar-by. My friend Denise has that song ‘playing’ on her blog and now you are lucky enough to get a tutorial of her famous birds. And you better act fast because I’m not sure she’s gonna give us unlimited access to her pdf pattern. Print, people, print.

I am fortunate to be friends {in real life—aka—IRL} with Denise and always enjoy the chance to chitty chat with her about a myriad of topics from theology to blogging to crafting. She actually is partially responsible for my new life; she introduced me to blogging and has been instrumental in mentoring me as a homeschooler. I’m so excited she’s agreed to show us her birds and even though I have one of the ‘real’ ones—made by her—-I think I’m gonna give this craft a try! Welcome Denise and thank you for teaching me so many wonderful things!


I created my version of the little paper/fabric bird after seeing some out of my price range on Etsy. It took many tries–which you can read about here, but I think I finally *landed* on the perfect little decorating accessory.

Step 1: Pick out cute fabric and cut out pieces.
(Get a PDF of the pattern by contacting Denise)
Fabric Bird - pattern
Note: I would not attempt a paper bird first; but when you are ready, make your pattern out of something clear so that you can place it over the area of the map that you want to show. I used the plastic that was the window on some packaging. It is easier to see if you outline it with a permanent marker.
Map Bird - template
Note: I use quilter’s thread, small black beads, and old lady glasses for the next step. And in case you are wondering, in the above photo, LB stands for Little Bird. There are BB pieces as well. I used a small hole punch to make a template for the eye placement.
Fabric Bird - supplies
Step 2: Sew on the small beads for eyes
Fabric Bird - eye template
Fabric Bird - eye
Step 3: Line up the small head piece for sewing first.
Step 4: Sew in the directions of the arrows on the pattern.
(Back of head to front of head to back of head to tail to beak to middle of belly.)
Clear as mud?

Note: I’m not sure I have ever sewn a bird the same way twice. Do what works best for you.
Fabric Bird - Head
Fabric Bird - stitching
Step 5: Stuff bird.

Note: Use a pencil to get the stuffing in the tail. Poly-fil works fine for the fabric birds, but you will want to use a pulled apart cotton ball for the tail of a paper one. The Poly-fil will just keep sliding out and it will bug you.
Fabric Bird - stuff
Step 6: Sew shut.
fabric bird
Step 7: Make legs.

Note: I use 24-guage wire, but I think a large paper clip could also work–not a small paper clip because the legs would be too short. I know that because I tried it today when I couldn’t find my spool of wire. I use a jewelry tool, but needle-nosed pliers would probably work. I made the shape below out of a thicker wire to show the shape more clearly–actually, I made it because I couldn’t locate the missing spool of wire.
Fabric Bird - foot shape
Fabric Bird - foot
Step 7: Glue in legs.

Note: There are dots on the pattern to give you an idea of leg placement. Believe me, this is not an exact science. Getting the balance just right takes a bit of patience. I roll the ends of the wire in some tacky glue and then shove them through the holes that I make using a bigger needle–you know, stick it in and then just roll it around to make a bit of an opening in the fabric. I make sure the legs are about the same length and then allow the glue to dry. I then balance the fellow by holding down the feet and making slight adjustments to the angle of the legs. Sounds more complicated than it is.

Step 8: Give as a present and make people smile. See for yourself here.
More birds can be seen in this post.

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly November 4, 2009 at 1:10 pm

Looks great!


2 cheri November 4, 2009 at 1:34 pm

So cute! Pretty soon, I am gonna run out of fabric scraps.

Oh well, guess that means I'll have to buy more fabric!


3 do it yourselfer November 4, 2009 at 1:57 pm

omgosh! i'm so excited that you posted this. i have been looking for those bird patterns…since I saw them at Blissdom! yippee!


4 domesticatedbliss November 4, 2009 at 1:59 pm

Love it! I think even I could do this! I love that it can be year round, or holiday!


5 Richella November 4, 2009 at 2:05 pm

These are just adorable. And now, even though I've never met her, I really like Denise, because apparently without her we wouldn't have Edie the blogger!

I don't think I've left comments on the other posts, even though I've read all three. Shame on me! I'm just loving this series. Thank you for doing this.


6 Michelle November 4, 2009 at 2:06 pm

Those are really pretty! Thanks for the idea!!


7 Kimm at Reinvented November 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm

Those are so cute. Would make fabulous Christmas ornaments. Thanks!


8 Trudi November 4, 2009 at 2:23 pm

OMG those are sooo cute!


9 Kim November 4, 2009 at 2:25 pm

I just realized YOU are the one that made that cute bird for the Nester at Blissdom! I loved it {and still do – since that sounded like past tense!} Thank you for giving the tutorial!!! I will be all over it!


10 Anne November 4, 2009 at 2:31 pm

oooh…I will definitely be using this one! Birds are my theme this year for Christmas! Those are just too cute!


11 Ashly November 4, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Edie- I just found your blog & it BLESSES me to NO end!!!! If you get a chance drop my blog & check out my garland (inspired from your post yesterday)!!!!

In Him, Ashly


12 Kasey Hunt November 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm



13 Jodi November 4, 2009 at 2:53 pm

oh my gracious, those are ADORABLE!! can't wait to give these a try…I've been wanting some birdies, but haven't found any in any of the frugal places I shop ;)

thanks for sharing Denise & Edie!


14 Meaghan November 4, 2009 at 2:58 pm

hey edie! it's been a while since i've been here and i'm trying to figure out why!!! i've always loved you and your blog! i keep seeing you on my 2 fav blogs (darby and nester) and it led me back! you're now linked on my blog so i won't forget. xoxo


15 Sheri November 4, 2009 at 3:05 pm

so so so cute. Going to dig through scraps right now!!!! (okay not right now, in about 5 seconds)


16 Homemaker, MD November 4, 2009 at 4:04 pm

adorable little birds. i like it you can make them with paper, too. maybe another way to "upcycle" all this old pile of dusty medical journals with pretty pictures of cells on the cover…


17 Scattering Lupines November 4, 2009 at 4:40 pm

LOVE THEM! Such a great idea with the bird fad of late! I think my friends will be getting THESE for Christmas.


18 ♥Amber Filkins♥ November 4, 2009 at 5:12 pm

Super cute!! I am loving this series!


19 carlotta November 4, 2009 at 5:27 pm

Oh my. This is going straight on my favorites list!
Love your blog, by the way :)


20 Sandy Toes November 4, 2009 at 5:39 pm

How sweet and great fabrics!
sandy toe


21 Gina @ The Shabby Chic Cottage November 4, 2009 at 5:47 pm

Those are ADORABLE! I'm sooooo doing some of these! Toile would be beautiful!


22 Mandi Shandi November 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

Love,Love, LOVE these! Yet another wonderful idea for Christmas. I'll be adding it to the list. Thanks for sharing!


23 Melissa Stover November 4, 2009 at 7:07 pm

i love those!


24 Molly @ A Bit O' Shine November 4, 2009 at 8:17 pm

Squeal! Those are so cute! I know exactly who will love getting some of those this year.


25 Nancy Jacobs Basketmaster November 4, 2009 at 11:08 pm

What a perfect way to use up some fabric stash!


26 Alyssa Johns November 4, 2009 at 11:47 pm

i love these sweet little birds! thanks for all of the tutorials. can't wait to see what's next.



27 Chic Mama November 4, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I just have to tell you that I just found your blog this week and I LOVE it! So inspirational in a variety of ways! You have a wonderful way with words that is captivating! Thanks for your wonderful blog!


28 rita November 5, 2009 at 12:54 am

Help — can someone please tell me a brand name of sealant to use for the coasters shown the day before? I'm not normally a crafty person and don't know these things.


29 Sherri S November 5, 2009 at 1:04 am

These are just TOO darn cute. Now I need about 2 dozen for the Christmas tree idea I have. WISH I could sew! Hmmm, I wonder if I could talk my mom into sewing some? LOL


30 { L } November 5, 2009 at 3:03 am

I don't know if you catch comments from a few posts down…BUT I just left you a comment on your husband's birthday post.

Also, I am very much enjoying this Handmade Days of Christmas and look forward to more! Thank you.


31 Tudi November 5, 2009 at 3:51 am

I just found your blog today by way of Nester. I don't know how I missed it before! The birds are adorable.

Then I noticed your Issues, etc. widget. Love it. I started skimming past posts and realized you must have been the caller on the homeschooling broadcast talking about the Latin/Spanish tutor? That was the broadcast I happened to listen to today while walking on the treadmill.

How cool to "run into" the same new person twice in one day! I look forward to reading more (and downloading that cute bird pattern.) Thanks!


32 Carrie @ Cottage Cozy November 5, 2009 at 4:01 am

So cute! What's next?



33 cindy November 5, 2009 at 11:03 am

I am so excited! I don't know when….but I am making these. I have loved these birds from the first time I saw one…

Thank you for the 12 Days….I can't wait to see more!


34 sweetjeanette November 5, 2009 at 2:52 pm

Goodness gracious! I just found your 12 days… on Day 4. So glad I did. (btw, those little wire feet are precious!) Thanks for hosting this!



35 Cheryl November 5, 2009 at 3:05 pm

This is so dog gone cute I can hardly stand it! Thanks for taking the time to share and post a tut!


36 Mary November 5, 2009 at 8:09 pm

LOVE LOVE LOVE the fabric birds. I am working on my third now. I made 1 with different fabrics that coordinate. I love that one the most!


37 Kyle Lynn November 5, 2009 at 8:15 pm

These birds are really fun, I might just add them to my never ending TO DO: list… thanks for sharing!


38 Jodi November 6, 2009 at 1:57 am

oh- just finished up my first birdie…not perfect, but LOVE it!!! cutting out several more once the kids get in bed…

thank you!!!


39 Dewanna January 23, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I am searching for the Bird pattern, do you mind sharing?


40 Su November 6, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I bookmarked your site. . just so I could come back and see these birds .. how generous of Denise to share how she made them. . wow!! What a great series. . thanks!!!


41 stitching under oaks November 7, 2009 at 1:17 am

I'm not even a bird person and those are cute! this is a fun little carnival you've got going on! glad I found you!


42 Homemade Diva January 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm

Love, love, LOVE!! I saw some cute birds like this on etsy, but they were $50 a pop!

Since I needed a bunch, because I want to incorporate them into centerpieces for my wedding, $50 for one little bird was waaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy too much!

Thanks to you, I can easily (and cheaply) make my own. I'm addicted!

Linked this post in my own blog. Love it!! :o)


43 Dewanna January 23, 2012 at 5:31 pm

I am also looking for the pattern for the birds to put in my baby’s nursery.  Would you share the pattern with me?
Dewanna Campbell


44 Laci February 24, 2010 at 10:06 pm

These are so cute!!! I am dying to make them. But when I click on the PDF link, the google document page says this document isn’t available. Is there any way I can get that document?


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