So, as my early gift to you, here is a free pattern and tutorial to make a Playful Partridge ornament! The pattern also includes a baby-sized bird for those who would like to make a whole partridge family.
Wool blend felt in assorted colors (a 12 x 12" square will yield 3 Mama partridges with leftover scraps for flowers and leaves)
Quilting cotton fabric scraps for wings
Lightweight fusible interfacing for wings
10" length of narrow ribbon or medium rick rack for hanger
About 4" of floral wire (try Joann or Michael's)
About 10-15" of fluffy or feathery yarn (I used Bernat’s "Boa" yarn and Patons "allure")
Hand sewing needle
Scissors and/or small rotary cutter
Crochet hook (optional)
1. Cut two bird bodies from felt. Cut one wing each from cotton print and interfacing (bumpy side up). Cut flower embellishments from felt, using the provided templates or inventing your own. (You'll notice two sets of wings in the photo; you will only need one unless you choose to decorate both sides of your partridge)
2. Fuse the bumpy side of the interfacing onto the wrong side of the wing according to package instructions (this will help reduce fraying and adds stability for embroidery).
3. Carefully divide a 60” length of embroidery floss into two sections of three strands each. With one length of floss, attach wing to bird body with blanket stitch, using the (*) on the pattern for placement.
4. Stack felt flower embellishments in desired order at top of wing, place button on top, and attach to wing through button holes with embroidery floss.
5. Make fluffy plume for top of bird's head:
Crochet – Ch 10; Row 1: SC in 2nd ch from hook; SC in next ch; turn; Row 2:Ch 1; SC in second hole from hook; tie off and trim end
Cut 3 strands of yarn several inches long; knot strands together at one end; braid strands for about 3 inches; tie strands into a knot at end of braiding. Trim ends.
Now, weave florist's wire through long SC tail of crochet or one knotted end of the braid, all the way to the other end. Bend the wire backwards at the top and twist to secure wire (this step is a bit fussy, go slowly and be patient!). Bend the remaining wire at the bottom of the yarn tail into a larger, exposed loop and twist to secure--see photo. Trim off any stray yarn fluff and long ends as necessary.
6. Attach plume to wrong side of partridge's head, using embroidery floss and carefully whipstitching around the wire and then through a superficial layer of felt (so it doesn't show through the front, I recommend using floss that matches the color of felt) all the way around the loop; bend the plume so it curves toward the beak of the bird.
7. Fold rick rack or ribbon in half to make hanger. Sew cut ends together with embroidery floss and use Fray Check on the ends to prevent unraveling. Place cut ends of hanger (overlapping at least 1/2 inch onto the felt) on the wrong side of partridge--where indicated on the pattern--and attach with whipstitch, again only going through a superficial layer of felt.
8. Place the two halves of the partridge together, right sides out. Blanket stitch the two pieces together using the unused 60" length of embroidery floss, going three quarters of the way around. Tip for corners: use the needle to help place the thread exactly on the tip of the corner. Hold down floss at the tip with your fingers while making the next stitch to keep it from sliding off the point.
9. Stuff the bird lightly with polyfill and finish blanket stitching around the body. Tie off and trim embroidery floss.
10. Hang the partridge along with your pear ornaments on a tree, wreath, mantel, or garland and enjoy that holiday feeling. They'll make sweet gift toppers, too. The pear pattern is also available for purchase in the sidebar to the right.
Happy creating! I hope you'll share your partridge creations in my flickr group. I can't wait to see your own interpretations of this project!
P.P.S. Those fluffy plumes remind me of the feathered plumes we used to wear on our caps in marching band, we called them "chickens". I can still hear the section leaders boisterously shouting to us, "Fluff your chickens!" while we waited to go out on the field.
P.P.P.S. Yes, I was a band nerd. I played alto sax. Good times. Go Cougs!
Please let me know if anything needs clarification!