i was very pleased to be asked a to be a stop on the blog tour for abby glassenberg's new book, the artful bird. i have long been a fan of abby's beautiful birds, and wrote about seeing them in person just after moving to atlanta. i was blown away then by the intricate work that goes into each bird and not only does this book capture them beautifully in photograph (seriously it would make a good coffee table book to have around) but gives you the opportunity to see how they are made. so, as you know i regularly sew little animals myself, but i have to admit i was intrigued and a little nervous about the idea of trying one of abby's projects. though i can hand sew up a storm, i'll let you in on a little secret... machine sewing is not my forte. i do not generally venture beyond a pair of curtains. so, i thought i would challenge myself. i'm not a beginning sewer, obviously, and i do have the advantage of understanding how a three dimensional animal comes together... gussets are no big deal for instance. i have to admit to you though that i never read patterns! even when i use old patterns, i never actually have read the directions. generally i look at the form, and adapt it to my hand sewing needs. it is like a puzzle and generally just comes together. written directions just never make sense to my brain somehow, so like i said, i was a little nervous.
as spring is just around the corner i wanted to try the sweet little chick project. i have made chicks in the past so i thought this would be an easy introduction for me, especially for trying out her leg instructions. i have to say the directions and photos at the beginning are super helpful. she goes through the steps of making any bird, thereby making each individual project easier to follow. she gives you both written and pictorial instructions which is really great. read that part first, and go back when you need to. i didn't have the exact fabric she used, but i thought i'd improvise a little. luckily, i had some fabrics that worked and most of the other supplies necessary (if you don't, once you bought them they would be used again). my first daunting task was to actually find my supplies, but it was a good motivator to get my studio in working order.
|after cleaning some|
|you can see my addiction to fabrics|
i went through step by step, and found the directions to be surprisingly understandable (that isn't a comment on abby, but my own brain)! the only part i was personally confused by was the head, but i figured it out really quickly. it is definitely a challenge using the machine to sew such miniature pieces and my finished bird came out a little bigger because the fabric i used was stiffer and a little more difficult to use than the recommended one. i'm really happy how it turned out though! it was challenging to me in a really good way. i learned the basics of machine sewing animals, which i honestly had never done before. the feet took me two tries, mostly because i hadn't done it in a while and was out of practice... so the same would probably be true for someone new to it. i also didn't have sealer for paint, so i chose to wrap the legs in fabric. they bird was really easy to get to stand. i was amazed!! i am super grateful to abby for sharing this info because it was always a struggle for me. honestly, it was really much easier than how i usually do it.
(my favorite part... hand sewing, my least favorite part... stuffing, which is always true but i love abby's advice to come back to it when you are rested! i didn't take a picture of making the legs because it was dark by then. my husband came in and asked my why i was sitting on the floor... because i need the space, obviously!)
so my cute new friend is up on the mantle in the new playroom, waiting for spring. actually my daughter has already adopted him and "rescued" him from a lonely life so they can play together while they wait. i can't wait to try another project... i'd love to make an owl for myself!
this is a really great book to have, and i know i will really enjoy it. thanks abby!