Katie Bird Pillow Sewing Pattern: Folk Art Embellishment Tutorial

Katie Bird Pillow Gingercake modern sewing pattern UpCraft Club

Written by Deborah from Fish Museum & Circus.

I love making animals and dolls, so I was very excited to see softie patterns on UpCraft Club! The Katie Bird Pillow Pattern by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake drew me in immediately. Katie Bird is so charming and inviting with a lovely curved shape that made me want to rest my head on it. The simple elegant shape is also perfect for embellishment and seemed a natural fit for some folk art inspired fun. I decided to add some embroidered and appliquéd flowers and leaves, as well as some wing feathers, and make a Katie Bird whimsical pillow for our couch! Download this applique pattern and follow along.

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club

At 15 1/2" long, the original pattern seemed a bit small for that, so first I enlarged the pattern 200%. This makes my Katie Bird Pillow a giant 31" from tail to beak! This pattern is easy to enlarge or reduce to any size you like. You can see the size difference from enlarging 200% here from the original wing pattern and the enlarged wing pattern.

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club

I found some wonderful cotton velveteen in my stash for both the body and the wings. Since velveteen tends to shed, I serged around all the pieces:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Next, I marked the stem on the wing with a Hera marker. I have included templates for the leaf, flower, and wing feather, but not the stem. Just make any nice curving swoop:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Then, I embroidered the stem with a chain stitch using 6 strands of floss. To make a chain stitch, come up through the back of the fabric:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Come back down through the same hole or just next to it, and then up about 1/8" forward on the line. Be sure to leave the floss in a loop:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Bring the loop of floss behind the needle and pull the needle through:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Repeat the chain stitch all along the marked line.

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Make a small stitch over the loop at the end of the stem to secure that last loop:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

For the appliqué leaves and flowers, I used scraps of felted wool and fleece sewn with a blanket stitch and three strands of floss. To make the blanket stitch, come up with the needle on the base fabric just outside the edge of the appliqué piece:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Insert the needle 1/8-1/4" to the left and 1/8-1/4" down, into the appliqué piece, and then back up 1/8-1/4" on the base fabric. Keep the thread behind the needle as you come up:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Pull the needle through:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Repeat this stitch all the way around the appliqué piece:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial


Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Appliqué all of the leaves:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

For the flowers and the eyes, I started from the top down. I appliquéd the top most piece onto the piece under it and then worked down from there, finishing with appliquéing the whole piece on to the base fabric:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial


Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

For the wing feathers, I used felted wool and left them unsewn on the rounded edges. To keep them in place while I appliquéd the wing, I sewed the straight edge on to the body, underneath where the wing would go. I marked the wing position and then made sure the stitching line for the feathers would come out underneath the wing:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

Then I turned under the edge of the wing and appliquéd it to the body with a blanket stitch:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

I finished the rest of the pillow following the instructions, but stuffed my pillow with recycled shredded foam. I had so much fun with Katie Bird! This enlarged version would work great on the floor of a child's room. I just love mine in our living room:

Katie Bird Pillow modern sewing pattern Gingercake UpCraft Club folk art embroidery tutorial

The instructions have a fun, conversational tone and I surprised myself by enjoying the hand drawn templates. With or without embellishment, the Katie Bird Pillow is a simple pattern that is perfect for adding your own personal touch!

We want to see what you are sewing! Share with us on facebook or Instagram. #upcraftclub #katiebirdpillow
October 14, 2015 by UpCraft Club
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