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How-Tuesday: Fun Finches

Aug 21, 2012

by Julie Schneider handmade and vintage goods

In honor of Craft Party 2012, our friends at Spoonflower held a special contest to design a cut-and-sew project that fit on a fat quarter (a 21″ x 18″ piece of fabric) suitable for making at a social craft gathering. Budding fabric designers far and wide entered some pretty inspiring entries. After all the votes were tallied, Shelli Heinemann emerged as the gold medalist for her cut and sew project, featuring a flock of colorful finches.

For this week’s How-Tuesday, I stitched up her winning design and wrote up a how-to take on these fine feathered friends. And because Spoonflower is so great, they even gave us a coupon for a free fat quarter for the Craft Party Kit. You can use it to get this very project!

Hello! I’m Shelli Heinemann, the artist behind Potbelly Bears.  I live with my husband, sons, and a small fuzzy menagerie in beautiful Northern California, where I create sweet, soft, stuffed things in my home studio. I’m also a graphic designer, and that’s where Fun Finches was born. I created the pattern in Illustrator, just for Spoonflower’s Etsy Craft Party contest, inspired by an ever-expanding flock of chirpy zebra finches we once owned and loved.  I had the best time conjuring this cheery project and wish you happy sewing. Enjoy!

Your fabric design
Fabric scissors
Needle and thread
String, yarn, or twine
Sewing machine (optional)


1. Cut out each finch along the gray seam allowance line.

2. Fold the fabric with right sides facing together. You can make a nice crease with the side of your thumbnail. I found it helpful to draw a dotted line on the wrong side of the fabric to act as a guide when I started sewing around those curves.

3. Stitch edges shut, leaving one end open. Cut small notches in the seam allowance to make the next step smoother.

4. Turn it inside out. A knitting needle is helpful for this part.

5. Fill your finch with stuffing.

6. Stitch up the opening to finish. You can do some blind stitching for secretive hidden stitches, or blanket stitch or whip stitch for a more decorative edge.

7. Repeat all of the above with each of the remaining six finches.

8. Using a long doll needle and yarn, twine, or strong thread, string the finches, knotting at entry and exit points.

9. Hang them up, and enjoy!

Want to design your own cut and sew project? Here are some tips and ideas:

  • Make your own custom variation with fabric scraps you have at home. Sketch out a basic bird shape on paper. Cut it out, trace it, and trace the mirror image adjacent to your bird shape’s spine. Add a 1/4″ seam allowance around the perimeter. Stitch it up following the directions above. Add in any custom embellishments, such as embroidered details, buttons, trimmings, feathers, flappy wings, and the like.
  • Design your own Spoonflower fabric with these tips from Spoonflower.

    A glimpse into Shelli's design process.

If you make your own fun finches, share a photo with us in the Etsy Labs Flickr group.

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