It's just easier for me to sculpt something and then cover it with fabric. I would like to be able to do it the normal way-which is make a pattern, cut it out and stuff it, and then make it primitive by using the right fabrics and trims.
I have done it that way, and I like making patterns. I guess this has become my favorite way of making birds. I start with a base and sticks for legs. Just drill holes that fit the stick and use E6000 to secure the sticks to the base. I always cover the bottom of the base with felt or paper-just for furniture protection. Then I find a photo of the bird I want to make. In this case it's a Savannah Hawk. The photo showed him standing up pretty straight, and I liked that.
Gather bags and masking tape. Rip off pieces of tape about 4-6 inches long, and have them ready to use by sticking them on the end of your work table.
I just look at the photo and make the parts one by one, and tape them together. It's important to have this step secured on the legs, because when you start adding fabric, it gets heavier, and you don't want a falling off bird! Perfection is not needed at this point-if you are aiming at a primitive bird.
I know this technique will work if you want a papier mache or paperclay bird-but you must cover it with a light muslin first. I'll show that step next, as it's needed for a fabric covered bird as well.