making a cardinal or other crested bird

You’ll need the songbird sewing pattern and details below to make your cardinal.

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.  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❣

  3. Mary Ellen Wells

    I am a beginner here in Washington . …what do you recommend as a simple easy project . .I will be 80 next week so want to make small things that don’t the up a lot of so of space . …do you supply some fsbric. I would like to purchase some as I am home bound.
    Thank you MaryEllen Wells

    • Mary Ellen,
      I am a beginner too and have had a lot fun making Miss Thistle, the tiny rag doll, and the very nice mice. These are two great patterns to start with.

  4. Wendy Pullin

    Wonderful! I will make this little fella soon. I have made at least 6 songbirds. I still have two in my possession, the rest I have given away. I even made a sandpiper ( well, sorta looks like one) by using your pattern but modified. I look forward to the crow!
    Plus I finished making your Rag-doll last week. So cute!

  5. Janelle Gaye

    Hey! I’m very excited to be working on one of your songbirds! Thanks for great instructions. Can I ask why you prefer wool stuffing?
    Can’t wait to see your crow!

  6. Barbara Proscia

    Just wondering how do you make the beak for the Cardinals, I would love to try this.

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