Red Bird: Wing and Tail Stitching

You’ve probably noticed that only 2 shapes on Red Bird are made with fabric: the grass and the bird’s body. Other shapes, like the eye and beak you’ve just created, are made without a pattern, using free-form embroidery.

Free-form embroidery relies on your bravery and willingness to create shapes without a pattern. Improvising stitchery is a challenge but also a thrill. I know you can do it!

We now bravely move on to more free-form embroidery to create the bird’s wing and fancy tail.

Please note that directions are first given here on the blog then added to the Bird Stitch-Along page as we go.

Step #5

  • Stitch Stem Stitches from the top edge of the bird’s body down and then up to the beginning of the top edge of the tail. Stitches should form a C shape or the shape of half of a heart. This is the outline of the bird’s wing.
  • Use a size 8 pearl cotton thread (like Peas in a Pod) and a size 3 hand embroidery needle.
  • Stitch 4 rows of Fly Stitches across the wing using that same color of thread. Leave about 1/2″ free of stitches on the front or cap of the wing. Point the Fly Stitches toward the tip of the wing.
  • Whipstitch that same color of thread through the Blanket Stitches on the top of the wing and around to the bottom edge of the tail.
  • To whip the edge of a Blanket stitch bring the needle and thread up at the beginning of the blanket stitches. Insert the blunt end or eye end of the needle under the first line of the blanket stitch. Draw the thread through the blanket stitch.
  • Continue to insert the needle and draw the thread under each consecutive stitch. Always pass the needle under the stitch in the same direction.
  • Stitch 3 rows of Back Stitches vertically across the tail to make the tail feathers.
  • Stitch French Knots inside each Fly Stitch on the Wing. Use a size 8 pearl cotton thread (like Butter).
  • Stitch 4 rows of French Knots across the tail using that same color of thread.
  • Stitch Stem Stitches in close horizontal rows to fill in the cap of the wing. Use a size 8 pearl cotton (like Aquamarine).
  • Stitch Stem Stitches around the outside edge of the wing and the base of the tail using that same color of thread.
  • Stitch Chain Stitches on the sky fabric next to and across the tip of the tail using that same color of thread.