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How to Make Birds on Stilts

How to - Birds on Stilts


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How to - Birds on Stilts class
£ 30.00 inc VAT.
6 available

Date and Time of Class: September 14 @ 10:00 am - 1:00 pm

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The “How to” series of workshops with experienced teacher and textile artist, designer Gary Mills, are short micro workshops to help you improve and develop skills in varying sewing and textiles processes.
Gary has really had fun coming up with this adorable idea which will put a smile on anyone’s face. Imagine these playful birds could be fishing along the tideline or just standing around and having a good old gossip with one another. Once complete you will have to find a place for them to sit and be viewed; maybe that is on your desk at home or work or on a windowsill or would even make for a fabulous gift for someone special.
The outcome is a decorative model or set of bird figures rather than a toy.

What You Will Learn in this Workshop

This three-hour session is divided into two halves with a short comfort break for 10 minutes in the middle. To begin you will be introduced to the project, and then Gary will guide you through each of the skills processes:
You will learn how to work through assembling the birds, cutting out from the supplied pattern, and then constructing through simple machine stitch with stage-by-stage instruction taking care to keep your machine stitched seam allowances consistent. Then turning through and stuffing your bird and then trimming back to avoid any bulk. finally adding the details to give him or her character through stitch and decoration.
This finished bird is 16” (40cm) high.

Level of Experience

  • This workshop is suitable for the beginner, Intermediate & Advanced sewer. For those more experienced and advanced you can further hone your skills by working on improved accuracy and stitch ability to achieve a first-class professional finish.

Materials / Equipment required by Attendees

  • Materials
    • Gary has used a combination of several fat quarters for this project including both ditsy-print patterns and solids which contrast in colour. Although this project is a great stash and scrap buster as you only need a small amount of fabric for each bird.
    • Total fabric required for each bird 10” x 20” (25cm x 50cm)
    • Polyester toy stuffing for each bird approx. 1oz (25g)
    • Good quality colour matching sew-all machine thread.
    • For eyes 2 x 4/8” (1cm) button for wings 2x 6/8” (1.5cm) button.
    • For legs 2 x 12” (30cm) kabab sticks or you can use very thin twigs or very thin plant canes.
    • Optional: Gary has painted his kabab sticks with acrylic paint to match with the contrast colours in each bird.

    Note: Once you have been shown how to make one bird you should have time to make more so have additional fabrics and materials to use.

The bird/s can be displayed on several surfaces such as a piece of found wood, a branch or drift work; it will even look good fixed into a potted house plant. You may wish to have this with you in the session or you can display later once you have made all the birds you wish to display.

  • Equipment
    • Pins.
    • Hand sewing needle.
    • Fabric, paper, and embroidery scissors
    • Useful: fabric marker pen
    • Useful; chop stick or similar blunt stick for aiding the stuffing; also, forceps long tweezers can aid in stuffing small parts.
    • Helpful is a Loop Turner Sewing Tool for pulling through small narrow pieces but not essential. (Available in store if you wish to purchase)
    • A bradawl to make holes in the wood display.
    • Sewing Machine (straight stitch used) needle size 10-12

    If you do not have a Sewing Machine, or don’t want to bring your own, you can use one of our latest Brother demonstration machines for the nominal fee of £3.00 per session.


  • Gary Mills