Monday, July 18, 2016

Little Birdie Pincushion Tutorial

Note:  This is a revised re-post of my original tutorial at Riley Blake Designs' Cutting Corners back in November of 2014.  As I continue to have requests for the tutorial which is no longer available at the previous link, I'm sharing it again here at Quiltscapes.   

This adorable little "Snippet" is perfect for your own sewing room or to make as a gift for friends.  A couple of scraps and a bit of stuffing or filler - that's all you need! 

Little Birdies
"Little Birdie" Pincushions
  •   Body:  2-1/2-inch x 5-inch rectangle (Print A)
  •   Head:  1-1/2-inch x 5-inch strip (Print B)
  •   Tail accent:  1-inch x 5-inch strip (B)
  •   Wings:  2-1/2-inch square (B) 
  •   Beak:  1-1/4-inch square (Yellow/Gold)
  •   Filler (poly fiberfill, wool roving, silica sand, rice, ground walnut shells, lavender, etc.
  •   Glue Stick 
Little Birdies

Prepare Beak:
FOLD 1-1/4" beak square in half; PRESS.  Bring folded corners to the center, forming a triangle (prairie point); PRESS again.  FOLD in half again to form a pointy little beak.  Set aside.

Little Birdies
Little Birdies

Stitch Wings:
FOLD the 2-1/2" square diagonally in half, right sides together and STITCH raw edges together using 1/4" seam allowance.  Backstitch at beginning and end.  

Little Birdies

CUT stitched triangle in half; trim corners, turn each wing right side out (use a chopstick); PRESS. 
Little Birdies

OR *cut two 2-1/2" squares for wings and fold just like the beak instead of stitching, cutting, turning, etc.  (Yes, I'm a lazy-girl sewist.  If there's an easier way...)

Bird Body:
ARRANGE wings along one edge of body as diagrammed, 1/2" from the outer edges, leaving about 1-1/2" of space between the wings.  Trim corners.  PIN or *GLUE in place. 

Little Birdies

LAYER 1-1/2” head strip right sides together over wings; PIN.  LAYER 1” tail strip right sides together along opposite side.  STITCH both to body using 1/4” seam allowance.  
PRESS seams open, then PRESS tail piece under 1/4" to form a crease for the final seam. 

Little Birdies

FOLD bird unit right sid in half, matching side seams; PIN.  
Finger press to find the center of head.  INSERT folded edge of beak about 1/4" down from the center fold line.  PIN or GLUE beak in place. 

Little Birdies

STITCH as diagrammed, enclosing beak, pivot at the corner and stitch the bottom seam.  Backstitch at beginning and ending.

Next we need to shape the little bird's body with this seam:

Little Birdie Pincushion

Box Corner:
With wrong side still out, flatten the unit by centering the bottom seam, forming triangle points.  On the corner opposite the beak, finger-press the seams open and PIN, matching the seams.   I find it's easier to create the triangle point if I insert my finger right into the corner to press the seams open.  Double-check to make sure the seams are lined up!  MARK a straight line along the edge of the seam allowance, about 3/4" from the tip as diagrammed below.  

Little Birdie

STITCH on the line (right next to the seam allowance edge) to form the little bird's body.  Tuck the beak section down inside the body section to make it easier to sew the box seam.

Little Birdie

TURN bird right side out.  
Little Birdie

FILL the bird head and only about HALF of the body with your choice of stuffing; about 2 Tablespoons of filler.  Don't stuff it too full or you won't have a tail!

Little Birdie

Next, Re-FOLD the raw edges at the bird's tail along the pressed lines.  Center the seam and PIN.  STITCH by hand or *edge-stitch by machine to close the opening.

Little Birdies

Hold the bird tail-side up so all the filler is out of the tail area.  Pack the filler down toward the beak and body as tightly as possible.  Use a mini *elastic band and wrap it around as many times as possible without breaking to cinch in the bird's body and form the tail.  Fan out the tail.

If you don't have a little tiny elastic band, you can double-thread a needle with matching thread or embroidery floss.  Take a running stitch all the way around the body center about 1/4" away from the stuffing, then gather to form the bird's body and tail.    Wrap the thread around several times and secure with a knot, then bury the threads.  

Little Birdie

For eyes, stitch buttons or seed beads, work a French knot or simply use *pins.  Lastly, give a little tug on the beak to straighten it out.

Store needles in the tail - and load your new pincushion with pins, if you can bear to poke him!  

See more ideas for your Little Birdie HERE.

Little Birdie

See how you can easily make a whole flock of Little Birdies with this TUTORIAL.

Happy Stitching!
*Lazy-girl shortcuts

Monday, June 6, 2016

Color Me a Rainbow... Quilt Market

Here are a few snapshots from International Spring Quilt Market, held right here in Salt Lake City where I was able to work (have fun) in the Riley Blake Designs' booth.  Don't mind the goofy smile.

Isn't that Crayola box the cutest thing you have ever seen???  At first glance it looks like a box of sidewalk chalk. Then you open the lid.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

It's time for the annual Panguitch Quilt Walk Festival!

Looking forward to teaching these classes next week in Panguitch, Utah.  "Pecking Up the Pieces" is the theme of this year's show, and it's always a hoot!  Can't wait!  What a great way to kick off Summer!  If you are in the area, check out the classes and events at

Laser-cut kits for the Owl quilt are available on my Website, and you can find the other patterns on Craftsy or Etsy.

I love small towns where quilting is a big deal.  The little town of Panguitch is one of my favorites.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Owl Always Love You

"Owl Always Love You" 44" x 54" Wall Hanging/crib size quilt.  Now available:  PATTERNS & KITS 
 My latest quilt finish.  It was so nice to have all the little pieces laser-cut by Barb @ Quilted Works when I visited her studio in St. George last January.  The silhouette on mine is the view of Mt. Timpanogos, here on the back side of the Wasatch mountain range of the Rocky Mountains.  I love it! 

I'm getting ready to teach some upcoming classes on raw-edge applique' techniques, one of which is chenille-strip applique'.  See my upcoming class schedule HERE.  There's still time to sign up for HMQS and Panguitch!  Can you see the chenille?  This is the perfect little quilt to practice applique' techniques.

This little cutie ↑ is a smaller version of this adorable ↓ quilt.  The original is a 60" x 72" Lap Quilt.

My niece Aubree was living in New York area a couple of years ago and asked for a quilt for Christmas.  She wanted "Sweet dreams and good night, my daughter" quilted in Spanish on the tree (I added lettering on the picture because you can't really see the quilting).  The New York skyline makes it a sweet memory of her time there, not to mention that she wrapped up in it every night.  She loves her quilt!  Here's that story:  Sweet Dreams.

My sweet Aunt Marjorie saw Aubree's quilt and immediately went to work to make a couple of quilts for her own granddaughters.  She had never made a quilt. (!)  Auntie M liked the idea of quilting "Owl Always Love You" into the tree, and using the Teton mountain range as a skyline silhouette - her granddaughters' favorite mountain view from the Idaho side.

Aunt Marjorie and Uncle Jack were troopers!  With her shaky hands, Aunt Marjorie wasn't sure she'd be of much help, but she did most of the stitching on the applique'!  Uncle Jack grabbed the scissors and went to town.  I showed a sneak peek a few months back (see post), but now that the quilts have been given away, here are pics of the finished quilts.

Gracie's.  If you look closely, you can see the words "Owl Always Love You" quilted in the tree.

Olivia's.  You can't see the words in the busy print, but they're quilted below the baby owl in the tree trunk.

Each of these quilts are quilted with Cuddlesoft plush fur on the back.  Mmmm, they are definitely warm, huggable quilts of love, whether for granddaughters, a niece, future grand baby... 

And Aunt Marjorie's next quilt?  She wants a bear and an owl:  "Bear in mind, Owl always love you!" Nothing's going to stop Auntie M now!  Stay tuned!

p.s.  I love this quilt so much, just had to share this story over at Quilt Story!

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