There are lots of cake topper birds on my worktable right now. It’s been 10 years since I made the first set and I guess-timate that I’ve made more than two thousand pairs. That’s a lot of dressed up birds. Today I’m going to show you how to make my frothy little gown for a cake topper bird or any other formal bird occasion. The bird is made from my little bird sewing pattern but I think you could use the same technique on other birds – just adjust the size of the lace. I think it’s helpful to read through all the steps before beginning and you can click the images for a larger view. You will need a basic sewing kit and some lace scraps – something soft and not to stiff or heavy is best – I’m using cotton tulle.
1. Cut a piece of lace or tulle – a rectangle that is 7 and 1/2 inches by 3 and 1/2 inches.
2. Place the lace on the bird so there is a long and a short side – you want one third on one side and two thirds on the other. Fold the raw edge under and pin the lace to the back seam of the bird neck.
3. Starting with the short side turn the raw edge under and pin into the seam at the side of the neck and then again – right on the seam – about half way down the from of the bird body.
4. Repeat on the longer side – pin once at the neck and then bring the lace across the body – folding the raw edge under and meeting the pin on the other side – use that pin to hold both sides in place.
5. Begin stitching the gown to the body where the sides meet – make a couple tiny stitches here and knot once – keep the thread attached.
6. Using tiny whip stitches stitch all the way around the neck twice. It’s important to go around twice to make sure the neckline stays in place.
7. Pin the short side of the lace back out of your way and pull the long side around the body. To make the fancy ruched front gather the top 3/4 of an inch or so with your fingers into little folds – pin in place with one or two pins and sew the folds in place along the seam ( these stitches won’t show).
8. Use your finger to pull the long side of the lace around the body ( you may need to take out the pin holding the short side) and stitch the rest of the lace to the seam, stitching towards the tail – again these stitches will not show.
9. Stop stitching where the body meets the tail and trim the lace – just leaving a small edge. Stop trimming about one half inch below top (where the little folds are) and leave a long piece of lace. (save your little scraps – we’ll use them later).
10. Pin the long piece you left out of the way and pull the short side of lace across the body. While holding the lace across the body stitch in the same place as the previous side, right on top.
11. Stop stitching at the tail and trim the lace – just leaving a small edge.
12. Stitch the lace to the seam where the tail meets the body – tiny stitches – and trim the extra lace- just leaving a point over the tail.
13. Trim the long piece of lace left at the front – just smoothing the edges – making it neat.
14. Fold the side edges under and gather and pin to the base of the tail – stitching tin place.
15. Whip stitch the folded edge to the body with tiny neat stitches – both sides.
16. Add a little scrap of lace at the top .
17. I’m using a tiny scrap of silk for a flower – 2 or three tiny circles on top of each other – stitched through and then gathered at the center.
18. Stitch the little flower on over the little lace scrap.
19. For her little train and veil cut 2 little piles of scraps – vary the size and shape a little – one pile should be 2- 3 inches across and the other 1- 2 inches. Each pile should have 3-4 scraps.
20. Beginning with the larger pile stitch together through the center.
21. Bunch it up and gather at the center.
22. Stich the center to the bird – go around making several tiny stitches.
23. Repeat the process with the smaller pile of scraps and stitch it right to the top of her head. Trim her train and veil if needed – to get the size you want.
P. S. If you need a tiny top hat find that tutorial here.
hello fancy bird!
Thank you for sharing this precious pattern, Ann!