Make, mend, recycle: fabric use-up seagull

If a favourite printed dress has seen its last summer, turn it into something that transports you back to the coast with this crafty bird activity from Kate at The Makery.

You will need:

  • Fabric: Two pieces measuring 60cm x 20cm (wings), two pieces measuring 34cm x 15cm (body)
  • Felt: One piece measuring 4cm x 3cm (beak)
  • Paper patterns: click to download
  • Stuffing
  • Pins
  • Fabric pen or tailor’s chalk
  • Scissors
  • Needle & thread
  • Optional: Sewing machine
  • Something pointy (like a knitting needle)
  • Iron & ironing board

*NB: If your fabric is particularly lightweight, you will benefit from backing it with lightweight iron-on interfacing.

Step 1

Download, print and cut out the paper pattern pieces.

Step 2

If you are using interfacing because your fabric is quite thin, apply that to the reverse of the front fabric first.

Step 3

Pin the patterns to your fabric and felt. Remember to place the wing pattern piece on the fold, so you cut out one large piece for the top of the wings, and one large piece for the underside of the wings.

Step 4

Draw around your pattern pieces before cutting them out, or just cut around the paper patterns if you prefer.

Step 5

Transfer all the pattern markings onto the fabric pieces with fabric pen or tailor’s chalk.

Step 6

Place the two body fabric pieces together, right sides facing. Place the felt beak in position between the two layers of fabric as shown. Pin everything in place.

Step 7

Stitch the body fabric pieces together by hand or using a sewing machine, 1cm in from the edge. Make sure you leave a gap between the notches as shown.

Step 8

Clip all the curves and corners. This will give a neater finish.

Step 9

Turn the fabric right side out. Use something pointy to push the curves and corners all the way out, so they’re nice and neat.

Step 10

Take small pieces of stuffing at a time, fluff them up a little bit, then gently stuff the body through the gap. Push the stuffing all the way to the ends using whatever pointy thing you have to hand.

TIP: Don’t over-stuff the body; if you do, it will start to lose its shape. I recommend putting less stuffing in than you think, ensuring it’s evenly distributed and holding it up to check the fabric holds its shape.

Step 11

Pin the gap together, then hand-stitch it closed. I prefer ladder stitch for the neatest finish.

Step 12

Repeat steps 6-11 for your wings.

TIP: Don’t over-stuff the wings either. You will need to push the stuffing towards each wing down the centre line, so even more reason why less is more here!

Step 13

Make a dent in the stuffing down the centre line, then pin the wings to the body down the centre line, in between the notches. The centre line stitched on the wings should follow the top back seam of the body piece. Stitch the wings to the body with a few tight stitches. Make a few extra stitches at each end of the wings so they sit flush to the body.

Step 14

Sew a length of cotton to the top of your seagull, as a hanging loop. The exact positioning will depend on the weighting of your seagull, but I find about 1cm up from the back of the wings is good. Make sure it’s central, or your gull will hang a little lop-sided!

Find out more about The Makery at and on Instagram @themakerykate.

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