New This Month


Fabric Bird Tree Topper

Fabric birds tending gold-leaf eggs make a peaceful scene atop your Christmas tree. Give life to their shapes with colorful feathers and beaded trim.

Source: Martha Stewart


  • Similar fancy fabrics in contrasting colors and textures (we used brocade, velvet, and wide ribbon), from

  • Polyester stuffing

  • White craft glue

  • Gold-leafed or spray painted eggs


  1. Using our templates and enlarging them to 200 percent on a photocopier, cut out two body pieces, four wing pieces, and one breast piece.

  2. Sew two sides of the body together leaving a 1/4-inch seam allowance, right sides facing, beginning at the tail, over the back, and ending on the throat, at the point indicated by the line on the template, leaving the bottom open.

    Sew breast fabric inside out to the body beginning at this line: First lift up one side of body, and stitch breast in place along entire lower half of body; then, on other side, sew from the line for about an inch, and leave a gap of one inch or so before joining the rest of body to breast fabric. (Don't completely join the two lines of stitching at tail; leave a small hole to insert feathers.)

    Use gap to turn fabric right-side out: Place head between your thumb and forefinger, and gently separate the two pieces of fabric; poke your finger through gap and inside head, and begin to turn fabric right-side out; push head toward gap with a thin, rounded object like a chopstick, until head emerges from gap.

    Beginning at head, fill bird with stuffing. Repeat sewing process for wings, which are also sewn together with right sides facing. A similar gap is left on wings to turn them right-side out, but they're not filled. Don't attach wings to body until step 4.

  3. Transfer the strung beads to the beading needle threaded with string in a color matching fabric. Use the curved upholstery needle to sew alongside beads, crossing over every third bead with thread: Begin sewing beads to the body at the tail, running over the beak and to the breast, where beads will branch to one side of the breast fabric, and end at the tail.

    Sew restrung beads along unbeaded side of the breast by the same method, and also along edges of wings. Knot string at the end of the restrung beads to prevent them from slipping off.

    Bunch together the tips of feathers; glue them to a small triangle of fabric. Dab glue in tail-feather hole, and insert feathers. Sew restrung beads around tail.

  4. Thread the bead eyes through the head several times, knotting off the end of thread. Sew the wings to the body; using the curved upholstery needle, sew downward from the top underside of the wing to the bottom middle of wing. Don't sew the back half of the wing to the body.

    To make the claw, transfer the black beads to the floral wire; when you've transferred several inches of beads, begin looping wire to form three claws (each formed again into smaller loops at top of claw to keep beads from slipping), as shown in progress here. Leave the wire open at the ends of the two legs to poke into the bird, and position leg. Repeat for second leg.

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