I have really gotten excited about the Getting Stuffed series of posts, and it shows in my recent production of stuffed animals. I have several in the works right now, but here is one that I have already finished: a (mostly) hand-stitched felt bird.
I got the pattern pieces out of this book I got from the library. Soft Animals A to Z by Carolyn Vosburg Hall is full of lifelike versions of stuffed animals. Some are the usual farm variety, but many are less common (including a xiphosura). It is definitely worth checking out if you like the realistic look for stuffed toys.
Here is the book's version of the bird I decided to make. I didn't have the same colors of felt on hand so I used different colors. I had light blue and aqua that looked nice together and I used off-white just like in the picture. I made a few small changes for my bird which I will talk about below.
Here is the body all stitched up according to the pattern instructions. There is my needle, hard at work. I didn't realize how long it would take to hand stitch. The thickness of the felt does not lend itself to the down, up, and pull through motion. Instead, I had to take my needle down, pull through, bring my needle up, pull through, and on and on. But, it was a nice easy rhythm for quiet nap time sewing.
Here is a view from below.
The wings and tail are the only parts that have machine stitching. The book called for a machine stitched embroidery design using a small zig zag stitch, and that is just what I did. I freehanded my design rather than tracing lines. The two wings look slightly different from each other, but the color of the thread matches so well that it is hardly noticeable. Not bad for "winging it."
The tail feathers are machine stitched with simple straight lines using a short stitch length. As before, I didn't draw lines on the felt, preferring to just look at the design in the book and go for it.
The pattern called for making wire legs. But, since this is meant as a toy for a toddler, I opted for felt feet. I put my finger on the bird where I wanted the feet to gauge the size to cut. Once I had a general idea, I cut the first felt foot freehand. When I had the shape I wanted, I used to first foot as a template to cut out the second.
After I finished the bird's body and sewed on the wings, I placed the feet on the belly and stitched them on with embroidery floss. I used three strands of brown floss to match the feet. Starting at the back of the foot, I used a straight stitch to each of the three front toes and then one shorter one to the back toe.
Using the same brown floss, I stitched the eye embroidery. Instead of plastic eyes, I satin stitched over a tiny circle of felt using black floss.
Of course, once I made the bird, I realized that I needed to make him a perch. But that's a tutorial for another day...
Hi. My name is Carley. I love to sew, craft, and create. As a Jane-of all-crafts so to speak, I enjoy sewing, writing, cooking, drawing, photographing. But the constant thread (if you'll excuse the pun) throughout my weeks is needle arts.