Friday, July 1, 2016

Hive 9 July Tutorial - Feather Block

Hello. This is Kelly from Chicago. I am so excited it is finally my month. :) I had intended to use this block last year but ended up going with a Converging Corners block instead, at the last minute. I went back and forth between a ton of different possible blocks pinned to my Pinterest board but decided to go with my first choice from last year, Anna Maria Horner's feather block.

For the fabric, scrappy is great. Modern florals, geometrics, patterns etc are all awesome. Please no novelty, holiday, juvenile etc.

I love, love, love the color palettes found in Cotton & Steel, Tula Pink, and many of the Art Gallery lines. So basically bright, vibrant colors (pinks, teals, plums, yellows, lime, etc with dark contrasts such as navy and gray). Here is a little inspiration...


For feathers (Pattern pieces A1 & A2): 
You can make the feathers scrappy or even a tad monochromatic as long as it blends in with this color palette. 

For background (Pattern pieces B, D, E, F1 & F2): 
The background of the block should be either a solid or very low volume white or off-white. Personally, I am more partial to a warmer white than a bright white but either is fine. The background can be a mix of like-fabrics as well and don't have to match. 

For quill (Pattern piece C): Please use a dark fabric such as a gray, navy, brown etc. Something tone on tone or with a very small pattern.

Step 1. Download the pattern here: Anna Maria Horner Feather Bed Quilt Pattern

Step 2. Print out the pattern on the last 2 pages. Please make sure you print full size and do not have it set to "fit to page" or anything that would alter the size. Cut out pattern. Tape A1 & A2 together as well as F1 & F2. Tip: Pattern part C is just a 1" by 18" strip if you don't want to spend time actually cutting out the pattern.

Step 3. Pull your fabrics. See above for colors.

Note: In the actual pattern, they give instructions for mass producing the feathers by using full width yardage. When you are only making a few, I like to use another method that saves fabric and is a better use of scraps. Olivia Jane Handcrafted has a tutorial using this method and is what I will be showing below.

Step 4. Your strips of fabric should range anywhere from 1.5 to 3" or so and roughly 6: wide. I lay mine out staggering them and lay the pattern over it as a guide. You will need more strips than you realize because once you sew them together, you lose quite a bit. Continue adding strips until you have enough.
* Use a 1/4" seam and press in one direction, towards bottom of feather, please.

Lay out pieces
Sew & continue adding strips

A little tip....
I lay out my strips so they are staggered. Then I make a little mark. I suppose you could do this with a pin (or not at all). I do it because then I just gather up all my strips in order and piece them together by looking at my marks. That way I don't have to take time to pin things together and such. It seems faster to me. But I am also relatively new to quilting so if this step seems crazy, you do what is best for you. :)

Another little tip that will help later, Make sure the piece that is at the tip of the feather is a larger strip. You may have to adjust the placement of the pattern before you cut or even add another strip to the bottom. I found this out with my first attempt is that there end up being a lot of seams at the tip of the feather which ends up being pretty bulky. By giving yourself a little more space in that area, it isn't so bulky and is easier to work with.
Step 5. Once you have all your strips pieced, cut out the right feather side.

Step 6. For the left feather side, you have a few options. If you made your initial strips wide enough you can just rotate the pattern and cut out a second strip as shown in Olivia's tutorial above. Personally I don't prefer this as I like there to be a bit more variety. Instead I just repeated the steps above for the left side and flipped the pattern over to cut. For even more variety I only used 4 wide strips. Feel free to do whatever you like.

PLEASE NOTE: For the left side you have to either stagger your strips in the opposite direction (because of the angle they go point in) or you have to cut from the wrong side. Just be aware of the direction the strips go and how they point in relation to the pattern. Personally I staggered my strips opposite (to the left instead of right) and just put the pattern upside down onto the fabric. I hope that makes sense.

Step 7. Cut out piece B and sew to bottom of feather sides. Press as shown. (These diagrams are taken directly from the original pattern)

Step 8. 
Sew both sides to center quill strip. Be sure to align the tips of the feather sides. Press and trim as shown. 

Step 9. 
Sew piece D to the left side and piece E to the right side. Press as shown.

Step 10. 
Sew sides F to each side of the feather and press as shown.

This is how mine looked from the back with everything pressed. Please DO NOT trim the final blocks. I would prefer to square them up myself. Thanks!

And here are 2 finished blocks.

I can't wait to see what you come up with. I am a really SLOW sewer and was able to do these fairly quickly. For me the trick was having the pattern cut out first then just having a bunch of strips ready to grab and sew. This is great way to use up random strips in your stash.


Puppilalla said...

I love those =)

Sherry VF said...

I'm in Hive 7 but thanks for the tutorial!

~Diana said...

Thank you for the tutorial! I've been wanting to make some feathers :)

Teadoddles said...

I came across this through a Quilting Jetgirl email. Very interesting concept for quilting together! I'm not part of a "hive" but I really like this block! Feathers are my favorite!