July 28, 2011

Cashmerettes go a’birdin!

Jenny: Last night heralded a Cashmerette first – our inaugural class at Gather Here! We were joined by Honorary Cashmerette Melissa and the very talented Abby Glassenberg who taught us how to make our very own fabric birds from her new book, The Artful Bird.

As you can tell, we were somewhat excited to get started:

and who wouldn’t be, faced with the prospect of these beauties?

First, we learned an excellent trick that I had never heard of before: trace the parts of the bird’s body parts onto freezer paper, then cut them out and adhere them temporarily to fabric with a hot iron so that they act as templates stuck right on the fabric. Brilliant stuff. The photo below, by catching me unawares, reveals how much I secretly love the primary-school activity of tracing.

After cutting out the pieces- including an adorably small beak which I promptly lost- we began with the bird’s main body. We adhered the the freezer-paper body template to a piece of plain white cotton (Abby likes to use tightly woven cotton so that the seams don’t burst when you stuff it firmly) and sewed right around the template using the sewing machine on a very small stitch length (again, to avoid burst seams). Not forgetting, of course to leave a small opening at the bird’s, ahem, rear, for it to be stuffed (oh dear).

Melissa: This process of stuffing our birds may seem a bit sinister. We use surgical forceps to fill the bird’s body with fluff (wool or synthetic cotton) and then tie the wings with thread. We know, it sounds like the surgical practices of doctors in the 16th century. But hey, this is a fun sewing class and no birds are hurt in the process.

Once stuffed, this flat sack will soon turn into a pretty bird body.

Bag of real ole’ timey wool from Pennsylvania Dutch Country. (We didn’t use this, but thought it was cool enough to share)

Pick out the colors that will best suite your style and soon to be the vibrant tail feathers and wings of your fashionista birdie.Sew the wings to the body and tie a knot to secure. Don’t worry these wings are made of cloth and aren’t as delicate as the wings of a real bird. So go nuts with your stitch, the more creative you sew, the more attractive your bird will be.

Jenny: And here they are: three affectionately home-made looking birds! There even seems to be a bit of Jenny-Lauren bird love going on…

Though Lauren’s was giving her the beady eye…. eek!

All in all, a thoroughly splendid way to spend an evening. Who needs the pub when you can make fabric animals? Not us!

One thought on “Cashmerettes go a’birdin!

  1. Yay! I had so much fun sewing with you, and I love the birds you made! I hope we meet again soon!

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