Bird on Branch Pillow (and a loose tutorial)

(Updated on Jan 23, 2012 with instructions for making pillow.)

More bird themed stuff. This took me all friggin’ day. My first pillow. EVER. Not much more to say except I’m glad it looks like a pillow!

Actually, I’m pretty impressed with myself because it’s so much more than just a pillow. I saw it on Etsy via Pinterest (of course) and decided that I’d try making it…but I wanted to buy a pattern for the pillow portion. I got a really cool pillow pattern set from Simplcity which included, believe it or not, a version of this very pillow!

And…it has the rosettes I can’t quit making.

So, here’s how I made it (loosely…there’s a lot of room for interpretation here):

Materials and Equipment List

  • Simplicity Pattern, pillow F (not E which shows a similar pillow. And you can skip this part if you’re confident in making a simple pillow)
  • Four felt rosettes
  • Patterned scrap fabric, washed after you cut it out so you get some fringe (long enough for the branch – about 16″)
  • Solid fabric for pillow  (Wash before cutting. I used a solid calico, but you could get fancy and use linen)
  • Felt for bird
  • Embroidery thread and needle, Sewing thread and needle
  • Fabric marker
  • Stuffing stuff or 12″ x 19″ form if you’re talented
  • Hot glue gun
  • Sewing machine
  • Paper and pencil

*Tip: Read through the instructions before starting. I haven’t set this up like a step-by-step recipe. Instead it’s divided into the components. The fun is figuring out how efficient you can make it, right? 😉

The Rosettes

The Rosettes are pretty fun to make (read addictive). You can take any material you want (even paper, but not for this project), cut a circle, then start cutting a spiral out of the circle, ending with a circle big enough to cover the bottom of the rosette, then hot glue the bottom to your rolled material and voilá! Rosette! Here’s the tutorial I used. I used felt for this project.

You can use these rosettes for all kinds of things like barrettes and other hair paraphernalia, gift bows, wreaths. You can even glue paper rosettes on sticks for a flower arrangement. It’s a very forgiving craft. The more curvy your cuts, the more naturalistic the roses.

Cut Out the Pillow

Wash, dry, and lightly iron fabric. Cut using your pattern or free style (if you’re free-styling, your two pillow pieces should measure 12″ x 19″ finished with 1/2″ seam allowance).

The Branch

Turn your scrap fabric over to the wrong side and draw the branch on the back with the fabric marker. Don’t worry if you make it too long, because you can cut it. Just don’t make it too short! Position it on the correct side of one piece of your pillow  to check for scale. Trim if necessary. Then wash (so you get some fringing), dry, and lightly iron the branch.  Pin to the pillow front and use a running stitch to applique the branch ot the pillow. Pinning will ensure you don’t get the branch all wonky, like I did. Ripping ain’t fun, people!

The Bird

Use paper and pencil to draw a bird scaled to fit your branch and cut it out. You might want to practice some, or find a bird you like to draw from. Turn the pattern over (so your bird faces the opposite direction) and use your fabric marker to trace the bird on your felt (you’re turning the bird over because you don’t want the marker to show on the right side) and cut. Turn the felt bird to the correct side. Free cut some random-sized flowers (or make patterns and cut) and hot glue the flowers to the bird, overlapping them a bit.  Position your bird on the branch and pin (again, pinning will keep the bird from shifting). Use a running stitch to applique the bird to the pillow.

The Pillow

Now, take your finished front and face it to the other pillow part (right sides are facing and will be on the inside of the pillow), and sew up your pillow. Remember to leave a hole large enough on the bottom to fit your hand through if you’re stuffing. (If you’re using a pillow form, I can’t help you. I have no clue how to fit that in, but go for it!) You can iron the seams if you want, but I read somewhere that doing so makes the seams weaker? But, it helped me to iron them because the opening ended up being creased and easier to sew properly.

Stuff your pillow and sew up the hole with either a running stitch or whip stitch.

Hot Glue the Rosettes Onto Your Pillow

And you’re done!

If you end up following this tutorial and have suggestions for improvements/clarifications, please post below. Also post links to your pillow! I’d love to see variations on this…

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