Birdy watching

Birdy watching


The Birdy 

This sweet piece started with the sleeves* or should that be wings?

 The wing is a sleeve /cape hybrid that starts as a sleeve in the front and spirals into a cape at the back.

This pattern includes 2 collar options and 2 sleeve options: round or pointy (or should that be curved and handkerchief) 

There is a third if you decide for a collarless/sleeveless version.

 There are no facings in this piece. It is as light as it can be for summer. The neck and armhole edges are finished with bias binding.

 The garment measurements are on the product page.

 The chest starts at 88.7cm and goes to 157cm.

The semi- fitted bodice is cut away at the side back. 

Both sleeve options allow for movement  and float over the shoulders to cover the top of the arms.

In the case that you would like a sleeveless version there is a bonus side back pattern piece too.

This style is deliberately different.. But not weird***

 It looks like it stepped out of the 1930´s. One of my favourite eras for clothing styles.

This top can be styled with a wide variety of bottoms: from a pencil skirt to long flared trouser or with a flirt skirt or jeans. 

 As I first started to share this piece there were some wonderful comments from those looking for a special something. 

A special something is clearly in the mind of the beholder.

When I put the first white Birdy in the shop window a customer came in and told me that she was a concert pianist. She imagined the Birdy would be perfect for performances because she would have free movement … and bonus …the audience wouldn´t see her sweat. 

I found the last comment a bit enlightening. Some piano pieces must be very hard work and stage lights are also very warm.

My other favourite comment was from the makers community. “ this will be great to wear when I go canoeing, so my shoulders won´t get sunburnt “ again ..true.

 I don´t play the piano and seldom paddle so this is good to know.


Getting started.

The first step is to choose your size.

A quick toile of the bodice is recommended.This pattern is surprisingly thrifty and quick.

Making a mock-up will give you a chance to check if the chest fullness is in the right place and to adjust it accordingly. It is also helpful to check where the crucial button** should be and mark it.

 If you are long waisted consider adding some length to the torso. There are adjustment lines on the pattern.

 Perfecting the fit of this bodice will be a useful reference point for projects beyond the Birdy blouse because it is very close to being a basic block.

And who knows there maybe add-ons ****


Birdy Watching

Thanks to being featured by the sew along challenge #Aprilamigas #magamsewalong (make a garment a month) hosted by Sue @suestoney, Suzy from @sewing_in_spain and guest host Helene @hportmanteau,

a whole flock of exciting Birdies emerged.

 Clever innovations 

 Lining the sleeves is a clever way to create another design element and an inspired solution if you want to avoid rolling the sleeve hems.

Sue Stoney ***** used a fine red silk to line the curved sleeves in the version below. I credit her with this clever hack.



 Most of the original samples were made in cotton shirt weight materials.

 A very feminine version was created by Helga @salixsews

She realised and shared that  softer viscose fabric. interfacing might be necessary under the buttonholes and the collar can be doubled and interfaced to create a classic collar.

I love red broderie anglaise version by @sewing_in_spain. It has the curved wings and is collarless. It will be so cool to wear in hot weather.

It would also not look out of place with a tango skirt.

 Leftover white linen was just enough for Wendy @whendy7,  to make a sleeveless and collarless Birdy. This version reveals the classic minimalist shape.

My lady in northern Queensland, Australia also made a sleeveless version; a doubled reversible vest! too clever and a great idea.

I was delighted  that Jo @jocastingoff shared her version. She created a neat button feature at the centre front and styled it with a belt.

 Helena @hportmanteau mixed it up a bit with a handkerchief collar and round wings. It looks great with a fabulous wax print from the 70´s. The collar is a bit narrower and lined ,due to not quite enough fabric.. Perhaps this is a lucky accident. It looks just as it should.


It remains for me to say “ Fly be free my beauties!”

Thank you to all the generous makers for helping get the Birdy off the ground. 

I am so proud to know you and enjoy your creativity.

Below is a bonus photo. Hot off the press. Sally @zusammengenahtsally has just shared this beautiful lawn version. Just right for a hot day.

Here lest I go off on a tangent...

*The sleeve was originally on the Garden dress. It is on the list…  A wrap dress with an adjustable fit- which stays closed, and has a pocket.

It ticked lots of boxes ,so I didn't want to mess it up with a sleeve that limited movement.


** the crucial button is best placed at the fullest part of the chest. There are no button hole positions marked because everyone is different.


***not weird, this is really a classic application of form following function.


**** Yes, a dress version, and a “ normality inspired” sleeve.

 ***** Sue Stoney Blog :

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