How to Make a Bird Fascinator
I’m a massive fan of pattern, and polka-dot is one of my all time favourites! In this tutorial I’ve combined polkas with gingham to create a vintage look fascinator, perfect for a day out at the races or even for a summer wedding.
How to Make a Bird Fascinator
You will need
For the Feather Plumes and Bird Brooches –
- Merino wool roving of your colour choice (I’ve used an antique mink colour)
- A selection of coloured and natural feathers
- Polka-dot patterned fabric, (small pattern)
- Gingham ribbon in a couple of different widths
- Buttons (I used vintage brass buttons and also covered some with the polka dot fabric)
- Needle felting pad
- Needle felting clover pen style tool
- Three felting needles, (38 gauge triangular)
- Paper bird template, (please see below)
- Acrylic felt sheet for backing the bird brooches
- Needles, (General household and tapestry)
- Coordinating sewing thread
- Coordinating embroidery thread
- 3 Brooch backs
You can buy a plain fascinator base, or to be thoroughly decadent why not decorate it with feathers?
To Make the Feathered Fascinator –
- Fascinator Base
- Glue Gun and Glue Sticks
- Cocktail stick for using with the glue gun
- Access to an electrical point
There’s a few stages involved in making this fascinator. We’ll start off by making some really easy, but ever so effective embellishments to help us along our way!
1. Cut a length of ribbon, shape the ends at an angle and seal them by running a naked flame quickly across the length of the edge. Do this over a sink just in case things get out of hand! Fold the ribbon in half and then fold each end over to meet the half way mark. Secure with small stitches.
How to Make a Suffolk Puff
Suffolk Puffs are so easy to make and can be used in a variety of different ways as embellishments for all sorts of creative projects.
1. Cut a circle from your fabric approximately 8 centimetres diameter to make a 4 centimetres diameter puff. A rough circle will do, mine are far from perfect and the rough edges won’t be seen!
2. Tie off one end of the thread and use a running stitch about 5 millimetres from the edge of the circle. Pull the thread tight so that the fabric gathers.
3. Sew on buttons and ribbons.
Organza makes for really great Suffolk puffs and adds a bit of sparkle but you’ll need to seal the cut edges with a naked flame.
4. You should now have a range of lovely puffs, shaped ribbons and a few buttons to use for creating your feather plumes and embellishing your birds.
To make the Needle Felted Bird Brooches
1. Pull off a tuft of merino wool from your roving, with the fibres running length ways in one direction. Tack the wool to the pad in a rough bird shape using a single felting needle. I’ve provided a template to use as a guide when shaping the wool into a bird.Download Template at Hobbycraft >
2. Once the wool is taking on the shape of a bird you can start to stab the wool with the Clover pen tool. Every now and then check that it’s not sticking to the pad as it will be very hard to remove!
3. Every now and then turn your bird over and stab the rear side. It will probably be quite delicate at this stage so you’ll need to go carefully. Add more wool if needed, and continue to stab until it starts to hold its shape and take on the resemblance of a piece of textile. Once complete, trim your bird all over with a pair of sharp scissors to de-fluff and neaten the edges.
4. I want to create two birds nestling together so for ease I’m shaping them together on the pad.
5. As I’m working to a ‘vintage’ green theme, I’ve sewn a coordinating button into place for the eye. This will also help me place the feather for the wing.
6. Pull off a teeny tiny piece of wool from the roving and lay it over the quill end of the feather, overlapping any downy feathery bits. Use your felting needle to stab the wool through the down of the feather and into the felt base. Turn the bird over and stab in the same area (you’ll be able to identify very easily due to the fluffy wool that’s been pushed through to the other side. Turn and stab once more on the right side so that your tangling the wool. This should now hold the feather quite securely.
7. Finish the wing by attaching a piece of shaped ribbon with needle and thread.
8. Pin the bird template to the piece of acrylic felt and cut around.
9. Place the cut felt over the top of your needle felted bird shape and cut the acrylic felt to a slightly smaller size so it’s not visible from the front.
10. I used a few simple ribbons to create the tail plumage for one of my birds.
11. Sew your chosen ribbons to the inside of the acrylic felt bird shape you have just cut. Sew a brooch back to the opposite side.
12. Use a glue gun or small stitches to attach the two sides together.
Once you’ve had a chance to play around with your feather combinations and lovely ribbons, you’ll need to attach them together so that they stay in one place and don’t move.
I’m not a huge fan of glue guns and avoid them where possible, one of the reasons being that once that glob of glue has dried, its very difficult to do any further work like sewing without breaking your needle!
1. Wrap a small piece of wool around the shaft of the feather and try to catch a few of those downy bits near the base. They’ll give the wool something to grip onto. Stab the wool securely around the feather shaft.
2. When enough feathers have been completed place them, wool ends together and add a little more wool.
3. Hold the wool taught with your fingers and carefully stab with your felting needle in order to secure them together.
4. Once they start to hold, turn them over and repeat with adding wool and stabbing. This will very quickly give a lovely felted base to your feathers into which you can sew ribbons etc.
Finishing the Feather Plume
You can stitch ribbons over the feather shafts to cover any untidy areas. I’ve sewn on a couple of Suffolk puffs. The one on the back has a brooch attachment so it can be worn on a lapel.
To Make the Feathered Fascinator
1. Sort through your feathers and make sure you have a large enough quantity to cover your surface area.
2. Start at one end and use a glue gun to stick the feathers down onto your fascinator. I always arrange them first to make sure I’m happy about how it looks before I start gluing.
3. Your birds and plumes can be easily sewn with a couple of stitches into place on your fascinator.
4. Play around with ideas and compositions. Have fun!
Hints and Tips
- When arranging all your goodies, take time to photograph your ideas. Its a good way of remembering all your great ideas!
- Sometimes keeping things simple is just as effective as being elaborate.
- You’ll be surprised just what a difference the addition of a few feathers can make to the overall look of your creation!