Feathers – Help with Wreath

This will be the last of the feather lessons.  If you have any questions, if anything I’ve written isn’t clear, please post a comment on this post and if there are enough questions, I’ll do a “Q&A” post and if not, I’ll respond to the comments here.

Before getting into the help with the feather wreath, if you’re fairly new to machine quilting, it may seem easier and more accurate to use stencils.  It will probably always be closer to perfect if using a stencil but if you can get to the point where you can freehand, things go so much more quickly and you don’t have to worry about getting marks out of  your quilts.  Keep practicing and before you know it, you’ll be happy with your freehand feathers.

DSC01639Someone had asked about help with the feathers inside the circle on the feather wreath.   We probably have all struggled with those inside feathers.  I can’t tell you why it seems so hard to get the slant correct.

See the arrow?  That’s where I started and you can see that the angle was not right so that when I got back to that point, there was a gap.   Be aware of how you’re starting out.  If you know that your beginning feathers aren’t slanted enough or are slanted too much, make a note to either slant more or less.


Depending on the size needle you’re using and the fabric, stitching with your machine unthreaded may leave permanent holes.  If you know you can stitch and then make the holes disappear (scraping with a wet fingernail usually does it), then unthread your needle and stitch 4 or 5 feathers.  By the 3rd or 4th one, you should have your angle correct.  See the dotted line in the photo?  Pretend that was stitching without thread in the machine.  See how after a few feathers, my angle was better?  If that doesn’t  help, the draw 4 or 5 with a water soluble pen or whatever you know will come out of your fabric, and start stitching on the 3rd 4th feather.  Make sense?


  1. 1

    Sarah says

    Just want to say thank you Judy for these lessons on feathers. I only do hand quilting, but these are going to be a great help to me. I struggle with the inner curves and rounds. You make it seem so easy.

  2. 2

    Linda Hoffman says

    Hi Judy,
    Thank you so much for these wonderful lessons. I have been quilting on a frame for a little while, but haven’t dared try much except meandering, loops and a few stars and hearts. You have given me the confidence to try something else! Feathers! Do you have any hints how to match up the feathers on the border after you roll your quilt ahead? Do you start where you stopped and go the other way or try to meet up with the other feathers if you start at the bottom again? Any hints? I have never seen this done before. Thank you again for all the time you have spent with us.

  3. 3


    Thanks so much for these lessons, Judy. I’m finally starting my quilt, now that you posted the lesson on star points (I thought it best I start from the center, since I’m working on my home machine). Your tips and pointers have been really helpful.

    • 3.1


      Same here, Krista. Mine will be done on a hsm, so I will be starting in the center. I’ve been drawing to get the feathers into my head. Judy, this is so helpful – thank you so much!

  4. 4

    Pam C says

    Thank you Judy! I can see I need a lot of practice on those inner circles.

    I would like to know how you did the feather meandering you said you had used in one of your quilts instead of the stippling. (I think that is what you called it.) I would like to try to practice feathers all over this quilt.

  5. 5


    I was told that keeping the feathers at approximately a 45 degree angle to the stem is the most visually pleasing to the eye–and most of us can eyeball that, as perpendicular is 90 degrees, so about halfway to that…..and it still doesn’t have to be perfect, but in your “bad” example, your arrow is pointing at a feather that is almost 90 degrees from the stem.

  6. 6

    ellie says

    Judy, Thank you for taking the time to do such a nice tutorial. I am very, very new to LA and you really broke down in simple terms what I thought was going to be extremely difficult. Although, I imagine I am going to be practicing a lot; in fact, I think I am going to draw some squares on muslin before attempting these on my top. You are a five ‘star’.