FMQ Feather Border Tutorial

Today I thought I would share with you the steps I used to make the feathered border in my Twelve Year quilt. No, I still don’t have pictures of the quilt.  🙁 I was going to take it outside even though it’s so rainy and gloomy, but my yard is one big soggy mess. I’m hoping there’s a bit of a break in the rain over the weekend.

So, until you can see the entire quilt I can at least show you how I quilted one of the borders. It’s a fun pattern and adds great texture.

For this sample, I stitched two lines 3″ apart for the border (we can pretend it’s the border on my quilt.) This design will work in a wider border but it will be less effective in a narrower one.

The first step is to stitch a wavy line through the center of the border and then echo it.

FMQ Feather Border Step 1You can see here that my wave is not exactly centered. I moved it to the left a bit so I would have more room on the right of the line for the feathers.

I also used a ruler to stitch the wave. You could definitely free-hand it and the design will work just as well. On this project I wanted to practice using my rulers so I did. The ruler I used is from Handi-Quilter and is the Wave D ruler. Those three rectangular shapes you see on the ruler is the grippy tape I put on to keep the ruler from slipping. It is also from Handi-Quilter and works amazingly well.

HQ Wave D Ruler

After stitching the wave and echo lines, you will stitch a dense back and forth (or matchstick) pattern to fill in on one side.

Matchstick Fill FMQ Feathered BorderWhen stitching the fill, make sure the bottom of the design touches the edge of the border, and the top of the design touches the first wavy line.

In this next picture you can see a larger section of the matchstick quilting:

FMQ Feathered BorderAre your triceps burning yet? Whew! You are now ready to fill in the other side of the wavy line with your feathers.

Use any kind of feathers you want and are comfortable stitching. I wanted to work on some traditional feathers so that’s what I practiced. You can see my first one here is kinda wonky. When stitching this on an actual quilt, I would start the feathers somewhere in the middle of the border and not on the end. That way it will blend into the design and no one will know it is the first wonky feather!

FMQ Feathers in a Border


FMQ Feathered BorderI had a lot of fun with this design and I love the texture it gives to the border.

FMQ Feathered BorderI stitched this sample in a contrasting thread to make it easier for you to see. Using a thread that blends would allow the texture to show and hide any wobbles in your stitching. It’s a great way to practice feathers in a low stress way.

Next week I’ll show you some variations of this design. It’s so versatile and a lot of fun to stitch.

Have a happy weekend!



About Beth

I'm a wife, mother of two, and lover of all things crafty. I love to cook up new things in the kitchen and in my craft room, and sometimes get "licking the spoon" mixed up with "licking the fabric"!!
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7 Responses to FMQ Feather Border Tutorial

  1. Great tutorial, I really like the dense back and forth combined with the feathers, the two patterns compliment each other so well.

  2. Thank you for sharing your method. I’ve shied away from feathers but having read (and pinned) your post I’m determined to have another go.

  3. I love this variation on a feather and thank you so much for the detailed explanation of how you create it. I definitely need to practice my feathers…

  4. Vicki in MN says:

    Great job Beth! I do love stitching feathers, that is what got me to buy my first longarm. I just wanted to do them so badly and I was no good on a DSM.

  5. Tish says:

    I love that your border contains two of my favorite things, back and forth lines and feathers. I will definitely be giving this one a try.

  6. I’ll have to remember this when I practice my stitching. I might even be able to pull this one off. Maybe. 🙂 I can’t wait to see the quilt; hope the weather cooperates!

  7. Jasmine says:

    So pretty! Thank you for sharing. I have a couple of the Handi Quilter wave rulers and I love them. But I’ve never echoed the wave. I need to try that.

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