The Plume Feather

When I was working on Tula Pink’s Pancakes quilt, I had to decided what to quilt in the diamond shaped blocks. I knew that I wanted it to be some kind of feather to go with the “plume” fabric. As I doodled and doodled (my preferred method of practicing) I figured I didn’t want just a regular feather, I wanted it to be a cross between a feather and a fern. I also knew that I wanted it to fill the whole block. So after some doodling, I came up the Plume Feather

I took pictures as I quilted to demonstrate how I did it. I am not an expert at tutorials or anything like that so please bear with me.

I started at the bottom of the block, this is also where I end up when I am done with the feather.

Quilt a gentle curve or “S” shape up the block. This is the stem of the feather. It can be straight if you prefer, but I like when things are a little curvy.

Once you get near the top of the block, quilt a swirl shape that almost touches the top of the block.

Stop in the middle of the swirl and quilt back out of the swirl, following your lines until you come back to the top of the block. This is what gives the feather the “peacock feather” look.

From that point, quilt down to the stem of the feather, following the swirl. You want this line to go into the stem at the same angle. This will make a leaf-like shape.

Echoing the the first “leaf” quilt back up to the edge of the block and back down to the stem of the feather, making the next “leaf”

Continue down the stem, quilting the “leaves” on that side of the feather. You want to try to fill the whole side of the block, so quilt all the to the edge. Also, try to keep them the same shape and about the same distance from each other.

Arrive back at the starting point. Now we need to make the other side of the feather.

Quilt approximately 1/4″ away from the stem, following it back up to the top of the block. In this particular feather, I didn’t have this line touch the swirl at the top of the feather. Instead I wanted it to “hug” around the top it. Of course, you can vary this if you want a skinnier or thicker stem.

From that point, begin to make the same kind of “leaves” (I am calling them leaves for lack of a better term). Continue down the side of the feather.

Follow the stem all the way to the bottom of the block making the individual “leaves” . Continue back to the starting point.

From this point I was able to stitch along the seam to the next block and repeat.

This kind of feather will work in most any shape block, just use the sides of the block as your guide.



  1. great pictures! {and skills!} …i’m a bit jealous of your mad skills over here!

  2. unbalivable!
    the quilt is beautiful! nice work!
    i wanted to say thanks for stoping by my blog and for the nice comment

    thanks alot!


  3. Wow! This looks great! VERY clever!!!

  4. Love this Plume Feather. Reminds me of a Peacock Feather too.

  5. Oh my gosh thank you ….. what a great idea. Beautiful.

  6. Camille says:

    You make it look so easy! I’ve got to try it. Thanks!

  7. I love this. Going to have to find a top to try it out on

  8. Wow that is such a great tutorial. So well explained the photo’s are so helpful. Thank you.

  9. Thanks it’s always nice to have another option!

  10. AWESOME!!!! I just learned how to quilt vines, but feathers were my next adventure. I really love how you did these plume feathers!

  11. ah, love this little tutorial!!! thanks so much for sharing with us. =)

  12. Very cool.

  13. Now, this is a beautiful technique, wonder if I can do something like it on my regular sewing machine? Wouldn’t it be nice if you made a short movie showing this online too?

  14. Very do-able design, reminds me of a fern, I’ll be keen to try that and appreciate that you have shared it with us. Have a great day, God bless you.

  15. Great tutorial! I really appreciate the time that you took to photograph each step. For some reasons, feathers confuse me. I’ve seen them done, but when I try, well, I guess I need more practice.

  16. very nice!!! can’t wait to try it!! Thank you!

  17. Just Gorgeous! You are having a “love affair” with thread!

  18. Liz Mackay says:

    This is very beautiful. Does anyone ever do this kind of feather quilting by hand? I don’t have a very good sewing machine and I just machine piece and hand quilt, which of course takes forever. But I think I might try some designs like this. Your work is gorgeous!!! Liz


  1. […] quilted the Plume Feather in each of the diamond shapes, I just love how it fills the diamond shape perfectly. So […]

  2. […] you don’t like traditional feathers you can check out my plume feather tutorial here….it is more like a fern than a […]

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