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Extract from Pretty Birds • By Virginia Lindsay • Published by Running Press


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Pretty Birds
Robins are beloved for their cheery disposition, bright red breast, and their appearance in early spring. Their presence after the cold winter months brings the promise of spring flowers and mild weather. Robins are strong and sturdy birds and have long been part of folklore. It is said the robin got its red breast by fanning the flames of a campfire to save the lives of a Native American boy and his father.

This scrap-fabric version resembles the American robin but can be easily altered to resemble its European cousin. This Robin features a sturdy fabric body, a bright red breast, gathered wings, a sweet felt beak, and a small button eye. It is a simple and quick project with some straightforward handsewing. Make yourself a few of these during the doldrums of winter to remind yourself that spring is just around the corner!

Get stitching!

Pattern measures

Height: 4 ¾ in. (12 com)
Width: 3 in. (8 cm)

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© 2022 Virginia Lindsay / Running Press · Reproduced with permission. · Reprinted with permission from Pretty Birds © 2015 Virginia Lindsay, Running Press, a member of the Perseus Books Group.
  • Step 1

    Cut out all the pattern pieces according to the guidelines. Make sure to cut the body pieces as mirror images.

  • Step 2

    Place the two body pieces right sides together and sew around the perimeter. Leave a gap as indicated on the pattern piece. Trim down the seams and clip the pointed ends.

  • Step 3

    Fold the breast piece in half lengthwise. Finger press to make a clear center line. Use this line to pin the top and base to the body pieces at the body piece seams, with right sides together. Sew the belly and body pieces together, leaving a 2-in (5-cm) gap for turning.

  • Step 4

    Turn the piece right side out. Poke out the tail and beak with a chopstick. Stuff with polyester fiberfill and handsew the opening closed with a ladder stitch.

  • Step 5

    Place the two wing-fabric pieces together with right sides facing. Sew around the perimeter of the wings, leaving a 1 ½ -in. (4-cm) gap on the straight edge. Trim down the seams and clip the corners. Turn the wing right side out and press flat. Repeat with the other wing

  • Step 6

    Press the wing opening under to match the seams. Tie a knot at the end of the coordinating embroidery floss and sew a small running stitch along the straight edge. Gently pull the threat to gather the fabric and tie a knot to secure it.

  • Step 7

    Pin the wing to the body. Handsew it in place with the remaining embroidery thread. Repeat with the other wing on the other side of the body.

  • Step 8

    Fold the felt piece in half and sew closed with a ladder stitch and the coordinating embroidery thread. Use remaining thread to attach the beak to the bird body. Sew on the button eyes.

    Other Ideas to Try

    Decorative Wreath

    Create a wreath centered around the Robin. You could make a nest from raffia, little candy robin eggs, and flower buds–use whichever leaves or flowers are in season. The wreath makes a beautiful decoration for your door or as a house warming gift.

    Potpourri Sachet

    In Step 2, when sewing the body pieces together, leave a 3 ½ -in. (9-cm) opening in the back curve. Make a small pocket by sewing together two pieces of fabric that are each 3 ½ x 2 in. (9 x 5 cm). Sew the rest of the Robin as instructed and then handsew the pocket in place. Fill the pocket with some fragrant potpourri. You could loosely sew the opening closed with ladder stitch to prevent spills but still let the scent out. Tuck the bird into your clothes drawer to keep your clothes smelling good.



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