The Baby Bird Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

FMQ, Tutorial, BirdsGood Morning, Quilters!

It’s Tuesday…and time for another FREE free motion quilt tutorial.

Spring has finally reached as far as Stillwater Minnesota and so have the birds.  It’s so nice to hear birds singing again! (It was a long winter!)

So let’s welcome the birds with a tutorial!


Birds are fun to stitch because no two look alike and there are several places to add your own embellishment.

Begin by drawing a square.  In the tutorial below, the square is 3-1/2 by 3-1/2 inches.

Stitch a semi-circle.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyAdd a curved head.  Stitch back to the top of the head.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyAdd a few head feathers.  Stitch down several stitches and add a circle eye.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyStitch a triangle beak.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyAdd a ruffle of neck feathers.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedy Stitch a wing within the body of the bird.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyEmbellish the wing, if you like.

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyAdd tail feathers.

Stitch underneath the bird and add either standing or flying legs:

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedyStitch a flock of birds…

Bird, FMQ, Tutorial, LKennedy

They’re rather ridiculous, but lots of fun.

“Whenever that red, red robin goes bob-bob-bobbin along.  You’ll know it’s Spring Time when….”

You might also like:  Olivia the Owl-A Free Motion Quilt Tutorial.

Happy Birding,


PS…This tutorial was stitched with Sulky Rayon 30wt on top, Aurifil 50 wt cotton in the bobbin on Kona cotton fabric, Warm and Natural cotton batting, on my BERNINA 820 (without a stitch regulator).

PS. All tutorials, images and information are the property of Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt and are intended for personal use only.  Feel free to re-blog, share or Pin with attribution to The Inbox Jaunt.  For all other purposes, please contact me at  Thanks!



29 thoughts on “The Baby Bird Free Motion Quilt Tutorial

  1. I just love your wonderful step-by-step directions for quilting your designs! I’m becoming more confident with my own quilting and look forward to each and every post you do. Thank you for your generosity in sharing with us!

  2. LOL… they are SOoo cute ! We have been watching a pair of red tailed hawks feed their young in nest across the street. They had used clippings from our cedar trees for the nest, Hoping we don’t miss the young ones’ exit from the nest when it happens. I can just sew some tho !!

  3. OMG!!! This is totally OFF the cuteness scale! Those tail feathers make me smile. You just made my day! Can hardly wait to try this…gotta doodle it first though. Have a wonderful day, Lori…you’ve really helped mine.

  4. A bird vase quilt is just what I was wanting to make. Maybe with an applique bird and now just the right quilting motif to finish it off. So cute!

  5. Lori,
    You never cease to amaze me! I could not imagine how you were going to break this bird into a FMQ and then you prove it can be done with your step by step directions. Lovely, and it will be included in my next project.
    We have a nest of cardinals in a bushy trumpet vine growing on the corner of our house with 3 eggs. For Illinois, that is about as good as it gets for color! We are eagerly waiting for the babies.
    Happy Spring to all.

  6. Lori, love your birdie and step by step instructions, and am practicing them today. My question is, I make quite a few doggie quilts for our humane society, especially for a dinner/auction yearly in May. Have you worked up anything dog-related, either border or all over or both, I’ve been looking all over the place and can’t seem to doodle anything up myself. Comments?

  7. My other question is, I see lots of quilters sometimes use Sulky 30 wt thread. I haven’t looked at any, but 30 weight seems so heavy! My tension is so good now on my mid arm quilter with Aurifil and Superior 50 weight cottons that it seems a shame if I had to significantly tweak it. Also I’ve used Superior polyester quilting thread, and others, and poly seems to twist up and break. Comments on this?

  8. As a bird enthusiast, I’m sure I’ll use this a lot. I can imagine several variations. Thanks very much.

  9. I fairly new to free motion quilting so I am curious as to why you use 2 different weight threads.

  10. The birds are just darling. Your tutorial is so clear that I want to start immediately on my own flock.

  11. Lori I have been getting your info daily and I look at the images and think one day I will stitch that….then a couple of days ago it dawned on me…PAULA – duh – draw it out. That is what Lori has been saying to you – doodle it out and then I can stitch. My lightbulb went off. What took it so long. OMG. Life is just busy I guess. THANK YOU LORI. I think you are so awesome!

  12. Adorable like usual!! I am so glad to hear the birds again too and after 24 degrees this morning the sun is out and just that gives my spirit a lift! Did some cleaning all morning so now I’m ready to run down and stitch the afternoon away. I’ll be humming Rockin’ Robin…TWeet! Twiddle dee deet! and trying to remember the rest of the song! LOL! Oh and your flying feet bird made me LOL from it’s cutness. I think I saw one of those go by! LOL!

  13. I have followed your blog for a little while. I really like the step by step instructions. And yes, I too volunteer at a dog shelter and the owner is always asking me to do some stitching so it would be good to try a pooch.

    Thank You, I appreciate your dedication to us hard working free motion wantabees.

  14. Ahhh….look at those happy little birds with their wonderful plumage! At first I wondered how to stitch the neck feathers and end up in the area over to the right where you made the wing, but then I figured it out – you made both lines of each neck feather first and that would put your needle in position to make the wing. Ah ha. My “how’d she do that?” got me drawing it out with pencil & paper.

    Your photos are SOOO helpful. Breaking it down step by step (feather by feather 🙂 is definitely of great benefit. Drawing it out ourselves as we look at the photos sure helps.

    When you get around to doing pooches (per Karen’s request), let’s not forget the kitties. I’m thinking a little change purse with a kitty or dog stitched on it would be a good fundraiser. I have both kitties and a dog so would be happy with whatever you come up with.

    Tavette – S. Fla.

  15. One more thing…..don’t think we don’t notice that on each of the birds you have “changed things up a bit” – different feathers, different wings, different tail feathers. You always make sure there’s something for everyone’s taste. In addition to the preference choices, we can now make a flock of birds & each will have its own personality.

    Bird #4’s eyes are even a little different. Yah – we notice. 🙂

    Tavette – S. Fla.

  16. I just figured out how to leave a comment. I am a little slow sometimes! LOL

    I have been practicing doodling the birds. Are you going to do more with them? I am curious. I see you referenced the owls. I remember them and had fun doodling them but didn’t feel confident to quilt them, but I do now. Just wondering what is next! Thanks for all of the inspiration.

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