Welcome to week 1 of the crow sew-along, or, crow-along! This week will be focused on getting the body shape sewn and stuffed. That’s steps 1- 32 in the sewing pattern, so do-able!
If you are new to this kind of sewing it seems like a lot before you begin. Focus on accomplishing one step at a time. Each step is super simple if you just focus on that task. You’re going to make an awesome crow.
How this sew-along works :
Each week we will focus on completing one section of the pattern. There will be a blog post with tips and some additional insight or instruction. All the pattern steps will not be recreated in the blog post – please follow the pattern steps in your pdf and read each section before beginning.
Please check the blog on Fridays for sew-along posts – there will not be an email each week.
This is not a class or live event. You don’t need to sign up for anything or be available at a particular time. All you need to do is purchase the crow pattern and complete the steps each week – sharing on instagram or facebook is totally optional.
Ask questions or offer your own tips in the comment section. There are lots of people participating and some are beginners. If you have made the crow before or you’re an experienced sewer and can help out with questions that is very much appreciated.
For sharing images and discussion please use #annwoodcrowsewalong and #annwoodpattern on instagram and you can join the crow facebook group. At the end of the sew along I’ll also provide an email you can send photos to so you can share your finished crow that way if you like.
Let’s start by checking out how the parts come together to make a 3 dimensional shape. Seeing the bird assembled helps you get your head around the construction steps before you start. This is especially helpful if you haven’t sewn anything 3-D before. Please watch the video above – if you don’t see the video click here.
week 1 – making the body
Please read the pattern notes and at least the first 32 steps before beginning.
I chose a cotton fabric salvaged from a vintage apron for the body. The wings and tail will be made from that fabric as well as other scraps that were overdyed in black. Overydyed fabric is a great way to use a bunch of old clothes or fabric scraps you already have for your crow. It’s especially helpful if you’re feeling stuck on fabric selection, throw a bunch of scraps in a dye bath and see what turns up. The fabrics above were dyed with RIT dye which gives a very purple tone. I’ll mix these with some true black for variety in the feathers.
In steps 1- 4 of the pattern you will cut out your pattern pieces and mark the seam line. Careful cutting will make the rest of the project much easier and it’s super important to not skip marking the seam line even if you are a very experienced stitcher. I’m using a white colored pencil. Measure and mark dots at ¼ inch all around the pieces and then connect the dots. It goes fast – marking all the pieces only took about 15 minutes. Pro tip: place a sheet of fine sandpaper under the fabric piece and it won’t slide around so much.
Also mark the front of the head and the section to leave open.
In steps 5 – 8 we begin to assemble the body by adding the head gusset. If this is your first gusset congratulations! Notice I’ve used a ton of pins. I’m sewing the seam on the machine and I don’t want my carefully matched edges to move around. Pin and sew the other side of the head and follow steps 9-11 to sew the back seam.
the exciting and magical world of darts!
Darts are magic, they pull the crows legs under him. Darts look scary and complicated but they’re not! And once you know how darts work a new world of sewing possibilities is available to you. Before we install the underbody we sew the darts. Make your marks carefully using the dart template (steps 12-13).
Fold the leg in exactly on the fold line (step 14). I always stitch these by hand using super small stitches.
Attach the underbody to the sides (steps 19-27). Take your time, use tons of pins and match your edges carefully. The key to success here is focusing on one step at a time. In step 20 you sew the long side seam and in step 21- pictured above – the front seam of the leg. With both sides and front leg seams sewn it’s easy to fit the tail and back leg seams to finish the body.
That’s it – the body is assembled! Before you turn your crow right side out clip little triangles all around the curves.
When it’s right side out, take a chopstick and run it all around the edges of the seam from the inside with firm pressure – this will make your seams even smoother.
Stuff your crow with wool stuffing. Begin at the head adding a little at a time. You want a firmly stuffed bird with a smooth surface. I used about 2 ounces of wool. Check out this post about stuffing. You don’t need to stuff the legs now – we’ll deal with those later.