"Little Bird" Sewn Toys

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About: I am a Graphic Designer by trade and a passionate crafter, tinkerer, and inventor at heart

These little birds were inspired by a keychain I bought from a fair as a child. The design has always been something that I thought was clever and the keychain has dutifully stuck with me throughout the years. Sometimes he's a christmas tree ornament, sometimes a backpack embellishment, but most recently he made his debut as the cat's favorite thing to play with. This inspired me to make her her own little bird, with a few add-ons for optimal pet fun.

This is a quick and fun sewing project that makes great use of the leftover fabric you have lying around. There are so many opportunities to personalize these to your taste through the fabric, string/yarn, and buttons you choose to use. I have included the process and templates for both a smaller toy and larger toy, but this project can be easily scaled to any size you'd prefer!

Happy sewing!

Note: This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center to look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard.

Step 1: Materials

  • Fabric **2 different styles recommended
  • Scissors
  • thread
  • needle
  • poly-fil **or any other stuffing
  • yarn/thick string
  • 2x buttons **or embroidery thread
  • Pattern template **pdf attached:
    • small toy: approx. 1.5' height,
    • large toy: approx. 3' height,
    • Personalize your own template: keep angles of 40 degrees and 85 degrees and adjusting the radius.

Optional:

  • sewing machine
  • cat nip
  • small bells

Step 2: Cutting the Pattern

  • Print and cut the pattern template.
  • Pin the larger template to the fabric that you would like to use as the body.
  • Pin the smaller template to the fabric that you would like to use as the birds belly.
  • Cut your fabric along the outside of each template.

Step 3: Sewing the Body

  • Match your two pieces of fabric along one straight edge, making sure that the "good" side of the fabrics are facing each other.

**for the following I use a sewing machine, but it can easily be done by hand**

  • Sew along the straight edge of the two fabrics you have just aligned, about 1/4 inch in and stoping 1/4 inch from the tip ( where the pie shapes comes to a point).
  • Alight the two un-sewn straight edges of the fabric together and again sew along the edge about 1/4 inch in and stoping when you meeting your previously sewn line.
  • Tie the loose threads that are at the beginning and end of each stitched line into a knot to avoid the stitches from coming undone.
  • Trim the excess threads.
  • Flip the little pocket you have created inside out so that the "good" side of the fabric is now visible.** I use a chopstick to push out the tip of the pocket so that my little bird has a nice and perky beak.

Step 4: Head Feathers

You can add head feathers to your design by:

  • Cut lengths of string or yarn and tie in the middle with thread to secure the bundle together. ** the more lengths of string or yarn that you use, the more fluffy your head feathers will become.
  • Fold the beak down to your preferred height ** I use about 1/2 inch for my small bird, and about 1 inch for my large bird.
  • Once you are happy with the length of your beak, stitch the string/yarn head feathers into the area under the beak . Make sure to only stitch through the upper most layer of fabric and not the back of his head.

Step 5: Secure the Beak

  • Secure the beak by adding a few stitched to the tip of the beak through the first layer of fabric. **Again, be careful that you don't stitch through the back of his head.

Step 6: **Eyes for Larger Toy

**If you are making a smaller toy, skip this step, it's easier to add the eyes on later for these tiny birds.**

  • Decide the placement of your button eyes.
  • Stitch them on. I have found that it's nice to have them sit a little over the beak, and by placing some of the stitches for these buttons through the beak , you add extra reinforcement to keep the beak flap in place.

Note: This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center to look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard..

Step 7: Sewing the Bottom

  • Add about 3/4 of the stuffing to the bird body. ** This is not necessary but helps cut down the filling you have to do later on when things are trickier.
  • Cut a 16 inch piece of thread and create a double thick piece of thread by looping your thread through a needle and tying the two end pieces together.
  • Using this length a thread, sew a running stitch around the base of the bird body about 1/4 -1/2 inch apart. DO NOT CUT OFF or FINISH THIS STITCH. You should still have a needle on the end of your thread when you are done stitching.
  • At this point I like to add some catnip and bells to my cat toys.
  • Fill the rest of their body up with stuffing ** Try not to over fill it too much or you will have trouble closing the bottom.
  • Slowly pull on the double thick thread that you've stitched around the base of the body until the hole starts to close. As this is happening, continue to stuff the raw edges of the fabric into the hole so that you don't have any raw edges showing. ** I use my chopstick to shove them all in there when the hole gets close to being closed.
  • Using the needle that is still attached to your thread, secure the hole by adding a few stitches and a couple of knots. ** this is also a good time to sew in any edges that may have slipped out of the hole and are showing.

Step 8: **Eyes for Smaller Toy

**If you are making the smaller toy, this is the point where you will need to sew on the eyes**

  • sew the buttons onto the face of your little bird by passing the needle from one eye button, through the head, to the other eye button. **Be sure to keep the thread taught, so that your eyes are securely stuck to the little bird's face, but don't pull your thread too tightly or you may squeeze and misshapen the head.

Note: This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center to look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard.

Step 9: All Done - Pet Play Time

Congratulation on making your own little bird pet toy! Now it's time to go play with your fur babies!

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31 Discussions

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eilu

10 months ago

I'm not a sewing person, but I just want to say these are absolutely adorable. I'm going to have to find someone to sew them for me!

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Elaina Meilu

Reply 10 months ago

Thank you so much eilu - what an awesome compliment. Im so glad you enjoy them enough to hunt down a sewer to help you out ! It's a pretty easy first time sewing project incase you fancy becoming a "sewing person" ;)

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chimpdr

10 months ago

My only recommendation as a veterinarian is not to use buttons on toys for pets as these can be removed and accidentally swallowed resulting in injury or obstruction.

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Elaina Mchimpdr

Reply 10 months ago

Thank you Chimpdr. I've spoken to a few people who share this concern and I want to make sure that no animals come to harm! I've made some amendments to the intractable, including a title change and the addition of this note :

This instructable outlines the process for using buttons as eyes. If you are making this toy for a small child or animal, you can choose to swap the button eyes for embroidered eyes or 2 circles of felt with the stitching through the center that look like pupils, to avoid a choking hazard.

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chimpdrElaina M

Reply 10 months ago

Thank you for your quick response and caution statement. I plan to try my hand at your little Birds as the OWL is our mascot at Rice University!

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srudy

11 months ago

This looks like a great beginning sewing project for my Junior High Life Skills class. Who does not like owls? I will give it a try, and post pictures of the results.

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Elaina Msrudy

Reply 10 months ago

Wow! What an honor that would be. I would love to hear about it if this idea takes flight ;)

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jessyratfink

11 months ago

aaaaaaaahhhhh!!! I love the ear floofs, these are so sweet :D

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Elaina Mjessyratfink

Reply 10 months ago

That's my favorite part Jessy! Ha! Happy to hear you like them too :)

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KevinA13

11 months ago

I love these birds. I wonder if you could use leather, foam and make one into a little leather belt pouch for Larp/ or reenactors? So fun a project.

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Elaina MKevinA13

Reply 10 months ago

That sounds awesome ! you could even maybe stamp some texture into the leather to give it another element. Super cool idea!

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pinkfly

11 months ago

nice! Cool and quickly done hand made gift

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ruirui_ahsam

11 months ago

I brought these pairs from a flea market years ago in Japan, so I am so happy to see your instructables

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