Feather cutting tutorial + Giveaway!

Hey there! I’ve got lots to talk about today. We’re starting off with a tutorial for sewing and cutting feather halves to minimize waste using Anna Maria’s Feather Bed Quilt pattern. Then we’ll have a chat about my second experience with Art Gallery fabrics, and we’ll finish off with a giveaway.



Feather Sewing + Cutting Tutorial

In Anna’s pattern, (find it here) she calls for making feathers using the whole width of fabric. That’s perfect if you have lots of full width fabric, but many times, we tend to purchase fat quarter bundles. My first time making this quilt I had only scraps to work with! So I had to come up with some way to maximize the amount of feather halves I was getting with each set. When I made my Field Study version, I did have full width of fabric on hand, but chose to use 22″ strips anyway, so I could place them differently and get more variety in my feathers.

Note: if you are participating in Stitched in Color’s String Fever Quilt Along, this is a perfect pattern for you! 

Today I’m using a fat quarter pack of some Art Gallery fabric to demonstrate how you can use smaller pieces of fabric (22″ length) to get just as many feather pieces as using the full width (44″) as demonstrated in the pattern.

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I began by cutting two strips from each fat quarter. My plan was to make a set of seven feather halves for both the right and left sides. In the Feather Bed quilts I’ve made, I cut various sizes of strips from 1.25″ to 3″ x the length (22″).

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Now we’ll start by making the right halves. These will be made using the side of the pattern piece that has the writing. We’re going to be working with the slant of the feather to determine the placement of the strips. Place your bottom strip down, then add a piece above that. Stagger the strips so that you can still see a good 1/4″ + of the second strip where the first and second strips meet.

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Sew with right sides together and using a 1/4″ seam. Press seam upward. Then add a third strip. Use the feather pattern piece as a guide to place the third strip so that you have a good 1/4″ extended past the pattern piece on bottom. Sew together.

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Repeat this step until you have enough strips sewn together to cover the whole pattern piece.

Now its time to cut out the feather halves! Begin by placing the feather pattern piece on the strip block. With a ruler to cover the pattern piece, use your rotary cutter to slice off the staggered edges.

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Flip the stripped piece and cut out your first feather piece.

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Rotate the pattern piece so that the bottom edge is on the top side of the piece, and cut another feather half.

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Repeat until you have six or seven right side feather halves. (I can almost always get seven out of 22″ strips.)

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Now we’ll move onto the left side feather halves, where we’ll just be reversing everything we just did with the right sides.

Begin by turning your feather pattern piece to the blank side. Using that as a guide, place your strips, staggering them according the the slant of the pattern piece.

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Continue to sew strips together until you have enough to cover that pattern piece.

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Now cut off the staggered edges using a ruler, the pattern piece (blank side!), and rotary cutter.

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Cut out your first feather half.

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Rotate the pattern piece each time! Top then bottom, then top, then bottom… until you have seven left side feather halves!

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See how little waste this method leaves you with?!

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It takes a little more time having to pause in between sewing strips, but the difference in the amount of waste is astronomical. Plus, every time you do a stripped section, you’ll gain speed. You’ll have to let me know what you think of this method!

Now for my little Art Gallery blurb: As I said, this is second experience with Art Gallery. After talking to a friend about my hangups with the brand, she sent me a little fat quarter pack so I could give it another chance. My opinion hasn’t changed. I do think it sews much better with other Art Gallery, but to me its still far inferior to brands such as Free Spirit, Andover, or Moda (and more). The fabric itself is almost “cheap” to touch. I’ve heard people compare it to voile, and I think that is just ridiculous. Its not at all like the voile I’ve used, which is finely woven yet quite durable. I really wanted to change my mind about it! The new stuff they are coming out with is so richly colored, and the designs are beautiful. But the fabric does not do those designs any justice.

I’ve made a few Feather Bed Quilts now. I’m on my third at the moment, which I hope to share with you soon. I LOVE this pattern. If I keep going at this rate, I will be the Katy Jones of the Feather Bed Quilt. But the pattern really is that good. If you’d like to give it a go, you can check out the free pattern here. Anna Maria is my fave. Seriously, who can compete with her?

I’d love for more of you to give this pattern a try! So I’m giving away these feather halves I’ve made, and the remainder of the fat quarter pack. All you need to do is leave a comment on this post and I’ll pick a winner sometime next week. Just be sure you’re determined to make the quilt before entering! US only, please.

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I hope this has been helpful! Have a great weekend!






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  • Elise

    I’d love to win! I’ve been waiting for an excuse to make these feathers for some time now :) Thanks for the tutorial – it is super helpful!ReplyCancel

  • Ok- fIrst- don’t enter me! Although it would be an awesome win, I dont know that I’d be able to tackle it anytime in the near future and I want someone who knows they will hop to it and bust out an awesome quilt to win. :) just wanted to say- 1- I LOVE this pattern. Once June actually naps for me maybe I’ll make one someday. ;) 2- no- no one compares to AMH. 3- I LOVE that you always keep it real. Thanks for your honest opinion on stuff. I’ve never sewed with AG fabrics but I hear so much about them that I’ve been curious. Anyway- wonderful tutorial- i’ll keep it in mind if and when I attempt this awesome pattern. Side note- I’ve always wondered what this pattern would look like if you were to make the feather pieces from one print- as opposed to stripped pieces. I’m lazy so I’m always thinking of shortcuts like that. Wonder if it would totally lose the feather look?ReplyCancel

  • Love this quilt! I’ve been on the mad search for a pattern to get back on quilting train. A head start on the piecing would be a bonus!ReplyCancel

  • Amy in UK

    LOVE the feathers and thanks for the easy way to make them. I was initially daunted by the large size of the feather but I have it on my to-do list one day!!!ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten

    AMH is my favorite too! I found your blog through one of her groups on Flickr and I love how your work does hers justice!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks, Kirsten! I think that’s one of the nicest things anyone has ever told me!ReplyCancel

  • I would love to win them! I agree with you that I only like to sew Art Gallery fabrics to other Art Gallery fabrics and not mix them with the other brands. I find I prefer them for sewing clothing than I do anything else, and maybe quilt backs….ReplyCancel

  • I’d love to make a little quilt with these going down one side.
    I must say I agree with you on Art Gallery fabrics, I just don’t like the feel when sewing with them. They just feel thinner. Having said that have you tried washing them? I bet they feel much nicer on a finished quilt.ReplyCancel

  • Connie

    Too late for the drawing but love the pattern, this is a must make/ReplyCancel

  • Wonderful tutorial, glorious fabrics – hope I win!ReplyCancel

  • […] your strips for the plumes that is much more efficient! Luckily, Meredith at Olivia Jane wrote a great tutorial on the […]ReplyCancel

  • Agnes

    What a great tutorial! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Virginia Keast

    Thanks for sharing this great method, it sure helps to save the fabric, and then we can use it for yet another project, my list is long!!! I have wanted to try this pattern for awhile, if I win I could just start sewing, what a treat! Thanks againReplyCancel

  • Mary Anne

    Dear Meredith – How very kind of you to share this tutorial!! It is just a brilliant way to use my scraps and fat quarters for this wonderful quilt for my daughter and her finances wedding gift. Thank you so muchReplyCancel

  • Wow, such a great technique. And feathers are all the rage right now, thanks so much for sharing! Love the fabrics too. :-)ReplyCancel

  • Megan Firth

    Hi! thanks for sharing this post. I’m looking for a tutorial on how to make the rest of the quilt too, as I’m stuck on one of the parts, and would love a picture step by step tutorial. Thanks :)ReplyCancel

  • Nicky

    Olivia, thank you so much for the tutorial. I’m a beginning quilter and hadn’t thought of staggering my fabric strips.
    I have a question about this pattern. When you’ve sewn all the strips together and then cut out the feather sides, you are cutting through stitching. I’ve never done that before, and I wonder about the possibility of the seams unravelling. Do I need to sew over the seams after I’ve cut the feather sides to promote longevity of the quilt?ReplyCancel

    • I’m glad the tutorial was helpful to you. Cutting through the stitched part is okay as long as your going to be stitching over it again. In this case, when you sew on the sides, you’ll be protecting that stitching you cut through, so there’s no need to reinforce it after cutting. My only other suggestion would be to use a stitch length of 2-2.2. :) Happy sewing!ReplyCancel

      • Nicky

        Thank you so much for your help. That eases my mind and gives me just the nudge I needed. I plan to get my quilt top started this week!ReplyCancel

  • renee rivard

    thanx at last found you an . too do the feather’s for quilting even though have ms.horner’s pantern reading it still my brain did not connect, your feathers rmake-ins did . each tute showing understood, sooooooooooo happy reneeReplyCancel

  • Melanie

    Thank you so much. Just read Anna’s pattern n although seems a bit overwhelming, I feel better seeing these tips n tutorial! Thank you so much. I’m frugal n don’t like to waste fabric. I think I can actually pull this off!!!ReplyCancel

  • Dawn

    My last day go work before Christmas break I copied AMH feather pattern. It’s a great scrap buster and I love the finished quilt. Thanks for the giveaway!ReplyCancel

  • […] blog  OliviaJaneHandcrafted.com, has an interesting tutorial on doing the feathers, lots of clear […]ReplyCancel

  • Neysa

    THANK YOU so much for this tip! This was SO helpful as I just started my first Feather Bed quilt!ReplyCancel

  • Neysa

    Thank you SO MUCH for this tip! So helpful as I just started my first Feather Bed Quilt!!ReplyCancel

  • Nicky

    I wonder if I could ask for some advice…
    I am a beginer quilter, and I have completed 22 feather squares and am ready to assemble tem into a quilt… BUT… My quilt squares are not perfectly identical in size! I think something in my cutting or pinning or sewing was innacurate. They all look great, but vary by about 1/16″ in length. Would you suggest trimming them to the same size prior to assembling the quilt?ReplyCancel

    • Nicky, I’m so sorry to be so late in getting back with you! I would definitely recommend trimming the blocks to be equal prior to sewing. Even though they’re only off by a smidge, when they are all joined together it will probably be more noticeable. Basting and quilting will be so much easier if the blocks are even and the quilt lays flat. Good luck! I’m sure its going to be amazing!ReplyCancel

      • Nicky

        Hi Meredith,
        I just wanted to say thanks for your help. I finished my quilt and I love it!ReplyCancel

  • This was helpful. It was great to see this done with fat quarters, to see how many feathers it yielded. I hope to be making one of these quilts soon.ReplyCancel

  • Becky U

    Olivia, I am teaching myself to sew/quilt with online tutorials and blogs like yours. I just had to tell you that the feather bed quilt is one of the most beautiful and simple quilts I’ve ever seen. I just love everything about it. Thank you SO much for sharing your talent with those of us that really need direction and lots of helping hands! I printed out the feather pattern and one day I will make this for myself. Your work is beautiful. Have a great day!!ReplyCancel

    • Wonderful!! I’m so happy it’s been helpful to you, and be sure to send me a picture of your quilt!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Bingham

    Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this quilt…and then to turn around and teach all of us. It’s a very unselfish act that you smart quilters do when you do a tutorial for us just starting out. That is what keeps us going. Thank you again. PaulaReplyCancel

  • de baker

    I have been so determined..just waiting to collect enough fabric, and now that this simpler method will help,thanksReplyCancel

  • Is there a patter for this or can you give me demensions for the pTter piece?
    I ldlove to make these feathersReplyCancel

    • Hi there, Sandi! I have had to do a little detective work as I’ve had an influx of emails asking me where the link has gone. Apparently she changed her site, and now the URLs for everything are different. My links to her free pattern have been updated. You can also find it right here. Happy sewing!ReplyCancel

  • Candy B

    As the pattern appears to be no longer available I was particularly thankful for your tutorial and the great photos on the cutting grid so that I could replicate the pattern. Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Hi there, Candy! I’ve had a backlog of emails asking this very same thing. Apparently AMH got a new site and that changed all the links on her patterns too. I’ve updated my links here to the new ones. I’m sorry for the inconvenience!ReplyCancel

  • Cameron

    Love this pattern and can’t wait to try it!! Wish me luck!ReplyCancel

  • Susan Perkins

    Thank you taking the time to streamline the process. I have seen 1 quilt made like that and am excited to see if I can be as successful. I have a good stash to choose from so it’s on to washing and pressing. Hoping I can get the pattern downloaded correctly. I have made it a goal to work on new patterns instead of remaking the same quilts.ReplyCancel

  • Sue Brandenburg

    Thank you for sharing the pattern and tutorial. If I can get my printer to work, I’m going to print this tonight!!ReplyCancel

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