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Thursday, October 20, 2016


When fall weather blows in, I start dreaming of warmer weather and exotic locales. Usually, dreaming is as far as it goes.  Travel is a lot of work, so instead of packing up, I head to my fabric stash.   

After posting UrbAnimals, several people suggested ideas for animal dolls.  A flamingo was the most popular suggestion, and Whittlewoman's suggestion for an ostrich sounded fun.  Although there is a great deal of paint on these dolls, they have added dimension with fabric and yarn feathers.  

Getting Started

You can see from these photos, there is no science behind the drawing.  A vague idea and a pencil with a good eraser works well.  Once I had a rough pencil sketch I thought could be translated to a pattern, I darkened the lines for tracing onto freezer paper.  The parts were cut out and ironed onto white muslin.  Using free-motion stitching on my machine, I stitched around the parts before cutting the fabric.  This original flamingo pattern did not work well.  Once stitched, the large beak would not turn through the narrow neck.  I created a second pattern widening the neck just a bit.  When creating your pattern, consider how well pointed parts will work.  For example, the toes of the ostrich had to be broadened and lengthened to ensure well-defined toes after turning.  

Dressing Up

These "feathers" were created by using free motion stitching on my sewing machine to outline feathers on white organza.  I stabilized the organza with water-soluble stabilizer then stitched individual feathers in a variety of sizes and shades of pink.  After creating about three dozen feathers, I gently soaked the organza in a small amount of warm water to remove some of the stabilizer.  I did not rinse in fresh water so the dissolved stabilizer remained in the organza as starch.  Protecting my iron and surface with pressing sheets, I ironed the feathers dry and cut them out.  I sewed them onto the flamingo with embroidery floss.  If they did not lay in the direction desired, I dampened them and re-shaped.  Her hat is crocheted twine.

  Flip flops were made using layers of pink felt and black gold fleck fabric. 

The ostrich is dressed with eyelash yarn for feathers and a ribbon hat. I simply crocheted a little oval with the eyelash yarn to shape over her body and sewed it on.   A string of pearls adorns her neck.  

 The shape of her toes inspired gold braid ribbon for slippers.

I would like to try more birds and, perhaps, take a more subtle approach to their dress.  I have started to sew for Christmas, so Urb-Birds and UrbAnimals must wait.  

Please come back to visit in November for "It's In The Bag."