Many people enjoy keeping birds as pets. Caged birds have personalities, can bond with their owners and create family-like environments in a group. Being in a cage, however, isn't the same environment as a natural habitat. Many birds, for example, have a hard time detecting natural cycles of darkness and light. Having a birdcage cover in place can mitigate this issue.
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Things you need
- Flexible tape measure
- Plain butcher paper
- Sewing scissors
- Lightweight, breathable fabric
- Sewing machine or serger
- Sewing pins
Measure the dimensions of your birdcage by using the flexible tape measure. Transfer these measurements to the butcher paper by using a pencil. Add the desired seam allowance to all sides of the pattern pieces. If you are unsure of how much seam allowance to add, draw an additional inch on each edge to account for a 1/4- to 1/2-inch seam allowance and a slight overlap.
Cut the pattern pieces out of the butcher paper and lay them on top of the lightweight, breathable fabric. With the sewing scissors, cut one layer of fabric for each side of the birdcage cover. You will need to cut two side pieces, a back piece, a front piece, and a top piece.
Place the side panel piece against the back panel piece, with the right sides of the fabric touching along the side seam. Stitch this edge together with your sewing machine or serger, using the previously determined seam allowance. Leave about 1/2 inch of open seam at the top of the pattern pieces. Press the seam open or flat with a hot iron.
Match the opposite side panel with the opposite edge of the back panel, with the right sides together. Stitch the edge together by using the same procedure as in Step 3. Press the seam with the iron.
Match the front panel side seam with the side seam of one of the side panel pieces. Stitch together with your sewing machine or serger, with the right sides of the fabric together. Leave 1/2 inch of open seam at the top of the two pattern pieces. Press the seam.
Turn the partially joined pattern pieces so that you are looking at the inside of the birdcage cover and can see all your previously stitched seams. Match the remaining side seam on the opposite side pattern piece and the front pattern piece. Stitch this seam, leaving the same 1/2-inch opening as you did on the other seams. Press the seam. You should be looking at the wrong side of the fabric and see a tubular box shape with visible seams.
Slide the unfinished birdcage cover over the birdcage to assess the size. Adjust as necessary.
Match the top birdcage cover panel with the shape of the side panels. A rectangular cover will have two short ends and two long ends, while a square cover will have all sides interchangeable with each side of the top panel piece. At this point, the entire birdcage cover will be inside out.
Pin one side of the top panel to the corresponding edge of a panel piece, matching the top panel with either the top edge of a front, back, or side piece. Place the fabric together so that the right sides are touching. Bend back the 1/2 inch of free side seam to evenly match the corners. Complete with each edge, pinning the top panel piece securely to the tops of each of the other panels.
Lower the needle of your sewing machine into one corner of the top panel 1/2 inch from the edge. Carefully stitch along the seam, removing the pins just before your sewing machine needle approaches them. At the opposite corner, slow down the sewing machine, match the corners evenly, and sink the needle into the corner point. Raise the presser foot on the sewing machine, pivot the fabric, put the presser foot back down, and resume sewing down the next seam. Continue until the top panel is attached to all sides of the birdcage cover. Press the seam with an iron.
Turn the birdcage cover right-side out. Hem all raw edges with your sewing machine or serger. Create a rolled hem on a serger or fold the raw edge over to form a narrow double-folded hem and stitch close to the edge with a sewing machine.
Tips and warnings
- Placing a straight pin at the top edge of each panel piece can help you orient the top, sides, and bottom of each pattern piece.
- Attaching a ribbon loop to the top of the birdcage cover will make it easier to remove.
- If you want to create a curtain-like look of the front of the birdcage cover, cut the butcher paper pattern piece for the front cover in half and add an additional inch to each side of the middle portion. Hem these edges on the fabric panel and overlap them at the top when you attach the top panel piece.
- You can change the shape of the birdcage cover by changing the shape of each of the panel pieces. Adding a triangular portion to the top of each panel will, for example, create a more draped look.
- Heavier fabrics will block out more light but could also restrict air flow to the birdcage.
- Do not attach anything to the bottom portion of the birdcage panel or it will not slip over the birdcage properly. There should be an open end when the project is completed.
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