Felt is one of the most versatile art and craft fabrics. You can glue it or stitch it, and because it doesn't fray you don't have to worry about turning in any edges.
I keep pieces of craft felt and wool felt in my stash. I have also tried my hand at felting techniques, like wet felting, hand needle felting, and machine needle felting. I love them all.
I like to cut out shapes from my felt, and that means I always have small bits of felt lying around. The wool and handmade felt pieces are just too pretty to toss, so I'm always looking for ways to incorporate them in another project.
While sneaking a peek at the November/December 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, I noticed a little bird ornament project by Sharon Gross that uses felt for the wings and beaks. Sharon makes the bird bodies out of her own hand-printed or hand-painted papers. In the article, she shows how to make the handmade papers and then explains how to assemble the birds.
Here are the directions for putting together the birds, adapted from the article.
Mixed-Media Bird Ornaments
By Sharon Gross
Note: You must sew on all body parts and decorative pieces before sewing the main body pieces together.
1. Using a marker, trace the main body pattern onto the printed paper and then cut them out.
2. Cut 2 wings and 2 eyes from felt. Use embroidery floss and the needle to whipstitch the wings and eyes to the body pieces.
|Sharon prints her own papers, adds felt details,
then stitches and stuffs the birds.
3. Cut small shapes from the felt and use the embroidery floss and needle to cross-stitch these pieces to the body. Add sequins, buttons, etc., with cross-stitches as desired.
4. Place the front and back body sections wrong sides together. Whipstitch the body pieces together using embroidery floss and the needle. Begin at the bottom of the bird, inserting the needle ¼" from the edge and continue sewing toward the head.
5. For the beak, fold the beak triangle in half and insert a threaded needle into the tip of the beak. Sew the beak together with a whipstitch. Place the beak between the front and back parts of the body, centered on the face, and secure it firmly with a few stitches.
6. Continue sewing the front and back together, leaving an opening at the bottom of the body for stuffing. Fill the body with fiberfill and then whipstitch the opening closed. Knot and trim the thread, and dab the knot with glue, securing it to edge of the body
7. Insert a length of cord through a stitch in the middle of the top of the body, make a loop for hanging and knot the cord.
I could see making the entire bird out of felt, or using handmade felt to create the wings and beaks. But I love the mix of paper, felt, and hand stitching in Sharon's whimsical birds.
There are more felting projects and techniques in the November/December 2012 issue of Cloth Paper Scissors, including Extreme Needle Felting by Rebekah Meier and Resist-Dyed Wool Book Covers by Joan Ragan Kallay. Plus, a gallery of results from the Felted Wonders Reader Challenge. Order your print copy now or download it today.
P.S. Why do we like bird motifs so much? Discuss below.