Feather Sewing + Cutting Tutorial

Feather Sewing + Cutting Tutorial

In Anna’s pattern, 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.

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.

IMG_1 (18)

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″).

IMG_1 (19)

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.

IMG_1 (20)

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.

IMG_1 (21)

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.

IMG_1 (22)

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

IMG_1 (9)

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

IMG_1 (23)

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

IMG_1 (8)

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.

IMG_1 (10)

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

IMG_1 (11)

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

IMG_1 (12)

Cut out your first feather half.

IMG_1 (13)

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

IMG_1 (16)

See how little waste this method leaves you with?!

IMG_1 (15)

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!

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 hope this has been helpful! Have a great weekend!






  • pamela

    Thanks for this tutorial! I am a new quilter, and was just thinking about making some feather blocks. I prefer this method of construction since I have so many FQ’s. This will also give me more diversity in my feathers. I’ll be sure to check back and let you know how it works for me.
    Have you made smaller feathers? I was thinking about shrinking the pattern pieces a bit to make a block with 4 smaller feathers or something.ReplyCancel

    • I’m glad you’ve found this tutorial helpful! I haven’t tried making the feathers smaller, but I imagine it wouldn’t be terribly difficult. As long as you shrunk the feather template, getting it to square up shouldn’t be much hassle. I’d love to see what yours look like!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly

    This is SO helpful! Thanks for posting it! I was wondering how many fat quarters you would recommend buying to do a quilt like your couch sized one in Field Study? Since it’s in between the baby and twin size did you just double the baby size? Thanks for the help!ReplyCancel

    • Hi there, Kelly! Hmmm… My goal when making the feather quilts I’ve made (I think I’m up to three or four right now), is to have a good assortment of prints in my feathers since they are one a solid background. Aside from choosing favorite prints or a color scheme, I haven’t had a definite plan. For this couch size quilt, I believe I used a fat quarter pack with 36 prints, but I didn’t even come close to using all of them. I don’t know what your vision is for your quilt, but my suggestion would be to think of a good variety of your favorite prints, and start with at least 15-20 fat quarters of them. The beauty of this quilt is that you’re really just working with strips of fabric. They’re not a certain width, so you have a lot of freedom. You could even use a jelly roll to make up your feathers. In fact, the very first feather quilt I made, I used up mostly scraps in a certain color scheme, and because I was using my careful cutting method, I was able to make plenty of feathers for the whole couch sized quilt. Does this answer your question? I hope I’m being helpful. :)ReplyCancel

      • Kelly

        Thank you so much! That’s super helpful! I was really just stumped about how much fabric I should have and you just gave me the boost I needed to get started! :)ReplyCancel

  • Marty

    I love the feathers, but I find this pattern so confusing. Your tutorial really helps, but I’m wondering if you still use pieces B, D, and E from Anna Maria Horner’s pattern? I’m not sure why I took up quilting when I have a major problem with math and geometry!ReplyCancel

    • Marty

      OMGosh! I think I just figured this out by looking at your finished quilt pictures. Are B, D, and E made from the background (solid) fabric? I am such a dingbat!ReplyCancel

      • Yes! those other pieces are from the background. I’m sorry for the confusion!ReplyCancel

  • Ria Els

    Very pretty.ReplyCancel

  • […] pattern is available here on Anna Maria Horner’s Make Page. I am so grateful to Meredith of Olivia Jane Handcrafted for her efficient cutting tutorial. If you are planning on making this quilt, I highly suggest you start here. After a while I got […]ReplyCancel

  • […] tkanin szyję zaś wąskie bloczki z piórkami, z których zamierzam zrobić ramkę do quiltu. Tutaj znajdziecie tutorial na szycie takich patchworkowych piór, a tutaj ściągniecie darmowy wzór z opisem wykonania w […]ReplyCancel

  • Noelle

    How can get this pattern? I could print it off if emailed to me. Thank-you!!! NoelleReplyCancel

  • Katherine Monney

    Thank you for your very informative tutorial. Is there somewhere where the feather template is available for download or have I somehow missed it. Thank youReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *