making a cardinal or other crested bird

cardinal sewing pattern

It’s surprisingly quick and easy to create a fabric crest for a cardinal or bluejay or tufted titmouse etc. etc.. The tutorial that follows was created for my songbird sewing pattern – but you could adjust the size to fit pretty much any bird pattern.

cardinal sewing pattern

We made cardinals in a workshop in Vermont a couple weeks ago. You know, in the old days when we could still travel and gather and felt pretty secure about how much rice and toilet paper we owned… It was a great weekend and the cardinals are awesome. Check out more about the workshop at the end of the post.

The Cardinal Modifications

songbird sewing pattern

You can find the songbird pattern here

– or use any bird pattern you like and adjust the template size.


download the crest template


how to sew a cardinal

1. Download and cut out the templates.  Cut the face cover and 3 crest pieces from fabric.

2. Place the face cover on your bird –  around the  beak – trim and adjust the size however you like – for this demonstration I left it full size.

3. Pin it in place – overlap the top corners to make it fit snuggly and stitch in place.

4. Pin the head cover in place and stitch around the edge.

5. Pinch the pointed end of the crest 1 piece.

6. Pin in to the top of the head and stitch around the edge.

7. At the back stitch the sides of the opening together – just at the base.

8. Pin the crest 2 piece the same way – on top of crest 1 and stitch around the edge.

9. Again stitching the edge together  – just at the base.

cardinal sewing pattern

10. Add the third crest piece. Optional – fray the edges or make a few stitches through the crest layers. Stitch simple eyes onto the face cover.

So easy! If you try making a crest I’d love to see! Use #annwoodpattern on instagram

A couple more workshop highlights – 2 students brought a pin girl for everybody!! I love them – find the free sewing pattern to make your own here.

pin girl sewing pattern

fabric cardinal workshop with ann wood

cardinal sewing pattern

cardinal sewing pattern



  1. Erin Duncan

    Thank you. I love your comments at the beginning of the cardinal instructions. Lovely birds. I don’t get those here in California. But they are nice birds. Up in Northern California we have black birds with red splashes across their upper wings, but without crest. The last time I saw a crested blue jay was 30 years ago in the San Bernardino Mountains east of me. I hope that your rice and tp are in good supply. Enjoy. Love.

  2. Ann, your posting today made me smile (much needed in today’s world!). I was lucky enough to be one of the crafters in Vermont and want to thank you for a well-organized, thoughtful and FUN few days. My Carl Cardinal is proudly sitting in my handmade wire cage (with no door!), reminding me of the lovely experience. Thanks for the opportunity to get to know you❣

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