Feather Lessons

This will be the main page for the Feather Lessons.

Supplies Needed
Resources You Might Like
Lesson 1 – Drawing feathers, including corners on the top border.
Video #1 for Lesson 1 – Drawing feathers.
Video #2 for Lesson 1 – Stitching the feathers on the top border.
Lesson 2 – The Second Border (includes video)
Lesson 3 – The Triangles in the Top & Bottom extra borders.
Videos for Lesson 3
Lesson 4 – Feathered Wreath (includes video)
Lesson 5 – The Star Points (Rhomboids) (includes videos)
Lesson 6 – Help with Inside Feathers on Wreath

Binding . . A – Z

There are two things I’d like you to now before I start this blog post.

  1. If you’re happy with the way you’re attaching binding and finishing your quilts, don’t change a thing!
  2. I’m pretty much self-taught in all my quilting so my way is never the only way to do things and probably rarely is my way the best way to do things.  I’m simply sharing how I do it.

Still shots are included, along with videos.

1.  My binding strips are cut 2-1/2″.  I do not make bias binding unless I have a curved edge (which rarely happens).  The first step is to determine how many strips I need.  I add the length and width of the quilt and multiply that number times 2 and then add 15″ for the “tail” for joining the beginning and the end.  Then I divide that number by 37″ because once I cut the ends at an angle, I figure that’s about the length I will get from each strip.  Example:  A quilt is 80″ x 90″.   80 + 90 = 170 x 2 = 340 +15 = 355″.  Divide that by 37″ and the number is 9.59 strips so I would cut 10 strips.

2.  All the strips are lined up, with the right sides up.  I twist each strip about mid-way down the length so that both ends of each strip are lined up with the other strips, all right sides up.  One end of one strip is left out so it is not cut.  That’s the ending piece of the binding.

3.  I make sure the strips are all lined up nice and straight so that one long edge is right on a horizontal line of my cutting table.  Using my ruler, I line up a 45º line with a vertical line on my cutting table and cut all the strips, both ends except for one end of one strip, at a 45º angle.

4.  Those ends are joined, with the seam being a 45º angled seam.

5.  When those seams are pressed open, there’s a perfect flat join that’s hardly noticeable when the binding is pressed in half and attached to the quilt.

6.  Next, the binding is folded in half so that I have a long strip that’s 1-1/4″ wide.

I measure and mark my binding strip to fit the measurement my quilt is supposed to be.  Since I use Electric Quilt, and since I square my blocks before putting them into the quilt, I know exactly what size my finished top is going to be.  By the way, I never measure my quilt before adding borders.  I know what the measurements are because EQ tells me!  I do check the measurements of the quilt after quilting and I mark my binding to be the exact size it needs to be.  Starting at the middle of the bottom of the quilt, and leaving a tail about 12 – 15″ long, I pin the binding to the top, matching the marks from the bottom center to the corner.  Here’s the first binding video.  There’s a second video that talks about turning the corner with the binding.  There’s a third video (I was on a roll, huh?) where I show how I join the beginning and the ending of the binding.  And, finally, there’s an older video of where I show how I do the final binding work on the machine instead of by hand.

This method of adding binding, along with carefully measuring, cutting and sewing my borders give me real close to perfect edges on my quilts, with no wavy edges.

Flat Non-Waving Quilts – Part 3

Even if we do everything perfectly as far as piecing our tops and adding borders, the quilting itself can make or break a quilt in so many ways but specifically as far as whether the quilt will lay nice and flat.

I am not a hand quilter so I am not qualified to give advice or recommendations about hand quilting so I will discuss longarm quilting, and this will include short arm and mid-arm quilting also.

One of the main issues affecting the “lay” of the quilt is the tension.  If too much tension is placed on the backing or on the top, that pulls the quilt, stretching every part that can stretch.  Since the center is usually pieced and the borders, at least one of them, isn’t pieced, the more tension placed on the top, the more stretching will occur on those non-pieced borders.  The quilt is quilted and then when it’s taken off the machine, the borders are going to flare or ripple a bit.  Be very careful with the amount of tension you put on the backing and on the top!

Another issue can occur with loading the top.  Whether the top is loaded by zippers, pinning or floated, if the edges are pulled and not allowed to lay flat, the corners are going to get stretched and again cause rippling.

Finally, when adding the binding to a quilt, be careful that the quilt is flat with no rippling and that the binding is not being stretched while being sewn onto the quilt.

I love lots of different battings and it would be hard for me to tell you which one is my favorite.  Some I like for different quilts, some I like better today while tomorrow I might like a different one better.  But, the quilts with Warm & Natural batting always seem to lay much flatter than those with other battings.  There’s hardly ever a ripple when Warm & Natural batting is used.

If you’ve read through these past three posts, please don’t worry about making perfectly flat quilts.  Most, if not all, of the quilts most of us make are quilts going to love ones or to those in need and I doubt any one of those recipients might scrutinize your quilt to see if it is perfectly square, with no ripples.  The quilts are loved and appreciated as they are meant to be and no one is passing judgment!  And, if you are making quilts for competition or to be photographed for magazines or books . . and you’re looking to me for advice, you have a much larger problem than a flat quilt!  🙂   I was simply responding to questions about how I make my quilts flat.  If your quilts are wavy and it bothers you, hopefully something I’ve written here will help you!