Feather cutting tutorial

Free no waste feather cutting tutorial for the Feather Bed Quilt

Make Anna Maria’s Feather Bed pattern with no waste and less fabric using my free and easy feather cutting tutorial!

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.

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.

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!

-Meredith

 

 

 

 

A Feather Bed quilt just for me!

Justin bought me the Field Study collection in quilting weight for Christmas. After waiting until Christmas to get the line, I don’t know why it took me so long to cut into it! It beckoned me day after day, until finally I could devote my full attention to it. I knew I wanted to make a Feather Bed quilt for myself after sending this one off to my dear friend, so I set off making feather halves. A little note here: I can get seven feather halves out of every 22″ length of fabric because I stair-step the lengths as I sew the strips together, which leaves virtually no waste. Would it be helpful for me to post a tutorial on how I make the most of my feathers? 

*Edited to add: you can find the my full, no-waste cutting tutorial for Anna’s free pattern HERE.*

This quilt is 54″ x 72″, and it is the perfect couch lounging size!

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Anyway, I got the top sewn up, and spent the past week or so hand quilting. I really took my time on this part because I just love the relaxation of the activity. I used several colors of Perle 8’s to quilt around each feather, which adds some fun pops of color against the very white background. And I used a Perle 8 the same color as the stems to quilt each stem.

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I spent the past few days sewing on the binding. I’m the world’s slowest hand binder! But I will always do it that way because I cannot stand machine binding. I’m not trying to be catty, but its just one of my things.  I may be black and white to a fault. The binding is voile just like the backing. So. Stinking. Soft.

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Emilee, Layla, Olivia, and I went out to Boca to get some pictures of my new quilt! Emilee does the best job ever taking pictures of my really special projects. I don’t like to take pictures of some items, because I know only she can do them justice.

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My new Feather Bed quilt has already been put to good use. I cannot describe to you how amazing voile backing is. I really will have a hard time using anything else because it is so dang soft!!! And light. It is insanely lightweight, which is deeply appreciated in humid and hot Southwest Florida.

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Justin and I put together a movie watching area on the floor last night. We covered the rug with a quilt then covered that with pillows and covered ourselves with the Feather Bed quilt. We are dorks. But I’m just letting you know this quilt is perfect and is already getting constant use.

Have a great Monday!

-Meredith

Art Student Tote

I’ve been using a tote from Target as my everyday bag for quite some time. It used to be a lovely mustard color, but is blue tinted now thanks to my super dark jeans that dye everything they come into contact with. Besides its generally ratty appearance, the button ripped right out of it, rendering it completely useless to anyone who would care at all about their appearance. So Saturday evening after work I knew I needed to get out my Art Student Tote pattern from Anna Maria and make myself a replacement everyday bag.

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Its worth noting that for once I had every single material I needed to complete this bag on hand with zero planning involved. This is a first and probably the only time that will ever happen. So there. It has been recorded.

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I ordered two half yards of Anna Maria’s new linens to sample, and I was able to use one of them for the exterior of the tote! How awesome is that? I used a great basic print from LouLouThi for the trim and interior of the bag.

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The straps took a really long time to make, but I didn’t care at all because Layla went to bed at her usual 7:30 bed time and Justin went to bed shortly after and I had the whole night to myself. IT ROCKED! I think I was able to complete the whole bag from cutting to finishing in only three hours.

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I just love this bag! In my tired state, and even though I read through the directions prior to beginning, I still managed to have a mess up. I boxed the corners that were not supposed to be boxed! After a little Instagram pep talk with some friends, I was assured that boxing the corners was actually better for the bag if I wanted more room. So even though I made a mistake, I am very happy with the way the bag has turned out, and I would box the corners again if I could have a do over.

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and here’s Layla asking Aunt Emilee to take a picture of her lollipop

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That’s all for today! I’ve got to get back to quilting the stems on my Feather Bed Quilt! I’m growing impatient to use it.

Have a good evening!

-Meredith

Goings On

I’ve been working away on my Feather Bed quilt. I’m one feather away from being halfway done with quilting around the feathers. After that, I’ll quilt the stems. I’m not sure if I’ll add any more quilting after that, but I’ll be sure to let you know. I’m thinking I’ll be so anxious to use it, that I won’t bother with any more quilting once the feathers and stems are completed.

Another project I’ve picked up in the past week is knitting. This is my second ever attempt. I’m just practicing my knitting and purling and trying to develop an even tension. Its very new, and you can see all the tension issues in this picture. I’m going to keep working at it, though! My three year old is very ready to learn how to knit. It’s become a daily topic for the two of us. She wants to learn, I don’t know how…so Mom’s got to learn in order to teach child.

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Emilee and I took a trip to J.Crew and Anthropologie. Its always a special trip when we go since the closest these stores are to us is an hour and a half away. I bought this handpainted mug to serve as a companion to my owl cookie jar. They seem quite happy together.

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Speaking of Anthropologie, I’ve had my eye on this amazing rug for more than a year. When it went on sale, Layla (okay, Justin actually) decided I should have an early Mother’s day present. I’ve had it gracing the floor of the living room for about a week now, and I am still gushing over it! I LOVE it! I’ve been wanting to do some redecorating in that room for some time, and this was a perfect place to start. Next up will be some Field Study linen curtains followed by an antique couch reupholstering.

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I’m going to get back to work on my quilt! Have a great afternoon!

-Meredith

Progress Report : Field Study Feather Bed Quilt

Hey there! So I’ve gotten back to working on my Field Study Feather Bed Quilt. Last night I finished piecing together the blocks, and I was able to trim them and assemble the quilt top today. I’ll be riding this wave of excited motivation for as long as I can.

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After piecing together the top, I had to immediately baste it because for once, I actually had the backing and binding already here! That does not happen. Like ever.

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I’ve been planning on backing the quilt in a Field Study voile since before I even began the quilt, and its getting voile binding too!

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I don’t have any pictures to show you yet, but I’ve also been able to get a jump start on the hand quilting, and I’ve gotten through about a quarter of the feathers today. I’m ridiculously excited to get this one finished and put into daily use!

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I can’t wait to show you the finished quilt!

-Meredith