How to Sew Bird Ornaments

hi I'm Julia hood the manager of school and family learning at Renault the house Museum of American Art in our pop-up studio today I'm going to show you how to make a hand-sewn bird ornament out of felt fabric if you don't have felt available you can also use a regular woven fabric as in this example I'll show you what you need and how to make it for this project you'll need a bird sewing pattern which you can find with the links below where there's either a songbird or a cardinal slash bluej pattern if you don't have a printer try to draw your own based on the template you'll need felt fabric and a pair of scissors for the felt you might want to use the same color for the body and the wings or mix it up depending on what bird you're making or what kind of imaginary bird you might make if you don't have felt you can also use woven fabric which you'll need to iron before cutting out and sewing if you use fabric you'll also need to use either straight pins or safety pins to hold your pieces of fabric together while sewing you will need a needle and thread embroidery floss is the nicest with felt but regular thread will also work if you have a little piece of ribbon you can use it to hang your ornament for your bird to have shape you'll need something to stuff it with like polyester fiberfill or wool roving if you don't have these take any scrap fabric and cut it into thin strips finally if you have any beads that will fit over your needle you can use these for the eyes if not just use your thread to sew several stitches side-by-side to make the eyes

after you have cut out your paper pattern you want to use it to cut out your fabric pieces here I'm folding a piece of felt so that I can cut the two sides at the bird body at the same time see how I make sure that I can fit both the body and the wings on the fabric before I cut it out

in this example I'm making a cardinal and chose to make the wings and the body both read the cardinal also has a black area on its face so I'm using black felt to cut two face masks one for each side of the bird to use embroidery floss you will want to cut a length about 20 to 30 inches long then split the six small threads into two strands of three like this once you've divided the thread take your first set of three strands and thread your needle

run the thread between your thumbnail and your first finger to help relax it and make for a better sewing process every time before you begin to sew a new section you will need to tie a knot at the end of your thread here's how I make a strong sturdy knot I take the very end of the thread and wrap it three times around the needle with one hand I hold onto the wrapped area and keep it between my thumb and finger with the other hand I pull the needle and thread through the wrapping at the end of pulling it we'll make a knot then begin to stitch your wing onto the body notice how the two bird bodies and wings are mirror images of each other

when you have finished stitching the wing to the body makes sure that your last stitch goes from the front with the wing to the backside and pull it through to tie a strong sturdy knot I pick up a tiny bit of fabric with the tip of my needle and push it part way through so that the needle is sitting in the fabric and the thread is dangling down then I take the end of the thread farthest from the needle the end that just came out of the fabric and wrap that three times around the tip of the needle like when I made the first knot I then hold the wrapped area tight with one hand keeping that wrapped area as close to the fabric as I possibly can and then I use my other hand to pull the needle all the way through this makes a knot then snip the thread about a quarter of an inch to a half inch away from the knot thread a needle with black thread for the facemask and tie a knot at the end stitch the mask onto the face looking at the pattern for placement

if you have a bead stitch it in place where the eyes should go if not pick a different color of thread and make a few straight stitches right next to each other where you think the I ought to be

make a knot on the back the same way we finished the red thread and we completed sewing the wing repeat this process on the other half of the bird making sure that it is the mirror opposite of the first side if you have a piece of ribbon cut about four to five inches and fold it in half with the thread the same color as the body stitch it to the backside of one half of the body like this

to finish the bird place both halves together so that the wings are on the outside line them ups of the edges match starting at the belly of the bird pull your thread from the inside of the felt to the outside to start your first stitch and hide the knot inside the bird stitch most of the way around the bird stopping just after you turn the corner of the tail

then add some stuffing to the bird you can add more than I did if you'd like your bird to look more full after you've added the stuffing finish stitching around the bird

make a knot like we did before but before you cut the thread take your needle and stick it into the bird near the knot and pull it out somewhere in the middle of the wing pull it just a little bit tight and cut off the thread there this hides the thread tail and helps to make it a little more secure to

see some of the artistic birds andron all this collection or to learn more about birds from the Audubon Society check out the links below

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