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 Birdie" Pincushion 

Main Print, Body:  2-1/2-inch x 5-inch rectangle
 Accent Print, Head:  1-1/2-inch x 5-inch strip
Tail accent:  1-inch x 5-inch strip Wings:  1 (or 2) 2-1/2-inch square
Beak:  1-1/2-inch square (Yellow/Gold)
Filler (poly fiberfill, wool roving, silica sand, rice, ground walnut shells, lavender, etc.
Glue Stick

INSTRUCTIONS:  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.


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.


CUT stitched triangle in half. 


Trim corners, turn each wing right side out (use a chopstick); PRESS.

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

 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.  

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.

FOLD bird unit right in half with right sides together, matching side seams; PIN.  INSERT folded edge of beak about 1/4" down from the center fold line.  PIN or GLUE beak in place.

STITCH as diagrammed, enclosing beak, pivot at the corner and stitch the bottom seam.  Backstitch at the beginning and ending. Next we need to shape the little bird's body with a boxed corner seam:

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


TURN bird right side out.

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!


 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.

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.

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.

Here is a whole flock of Little Birdies!

Make one, or make a bunch! 
Be sure to attribute the design to Deonn Stott
or tag on social media,  Instagram:  @quiltscapades #littlebirdiepincushion 

Happy Stitching! *Lazy-girl shortcuts

Comments from RBD

  1. These are adorable...
    by Marci
    November 03rd, 2014 at 12:17 a.m.
  2. Thanks, thanks a lot. That's so cute!! Merci beaucoup, ils sont si adorables.
    by nieves67
    November 03rd, 2014 at 5:21 a.m.
  3. Thank you for this fabulous tutorial, Deonn! I can't wait to make a few of these little sweeties! They'd make super cute Christmas decorations or gift toppers too!!!
    by Carolyn 
    November 03rd, 2014 at 7:15 a.m.
  4. Oh Thank you sew very much for sharing how-to create these little adorable and lovable birdies. Creative Birdie Bliss...
    by Saucy Chick Sherry
    November 03rd, 2014 at 6:09 p.m.
  5. Thank you so much. I can hardly wait to make mine. I won't be making nearly as many as you did.
    by Vicki H
    November 03rd, 2014 at 6:39 p.m.
  6. Lucky me! Received one as a gift today - it's the cutest to set up on the top of my sewing machine. It's so cute; it's for looks and not use!
    by Janet
    December 06th, 2014 at 4:56 a.m.
  7. What a cute little bird, thank you so much for sharing the pattern with us, how kind of you! And the tips are great. Love this!
    by Susan Mautte
    December 16th, 2014 at 7:25 a.m.
  8. Very cute!
    by Allison CB
    December 16th, 2014 at 1:50 p.m.
  9. just saw this and LOVE it, need to try this!
    by Bea
    December 18th, 2014 at 3:41 p.m.
  10. So cute! Thanks for sharing and giving us the choice of how to print, color or black/white.
    by marie
    December 19th, 2014 at 11:26 a.m.
  11. thank you! and i really appreciate having the color ink saving version to print thoughtful to nave both!
    by pam j
    April 21st, 2015 at 9:28 p.m.


  1. Simply adorable!! Hope to play with this pattern tomorrow!

  2. loving your little birds thanks Deonn for a very easy to follow tutorial, will have a go at these

  3. Adorable!!! I must make a bunch! Thank you for the tutorial, it is perfect!

  4. I have so enjoyed making these in the past. It is a great tutorial and easy pattern.

  5. BellĂ­simo ,gracias por el estupendo tutorial !!!!!!!!!!!!


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