Wednesday 2 July 2014

Making Your Own Stencil

Finally got around to looking at the Whole Cloth feather border again after finishing the center of my Squares Quilt.

Thinking about it more, I decided that I needed to use a stencil in order to stitch the plumes consistent in the border. I could have avoided this if I had decided to stitch each of my plumes right up to the edge but for some reason I don't want this for this quilt. I could have hunted around for an appropriate stencil but I like to make my own, particularly with feathers. Over time I have developed my own way of stitching them and if I draw them myself, they just flow better.

First, I divided my border in half and drew the measurements of the border on Golden Threads Quilting Paper. I left 1/4 inch room at the top and drew a 1/2 inch line on the bottom. I then used a curvable ruler and drew in the spine guide. As you can see my feathers will not go all around but meet in the corner.  I then drew the plumes along the spine, making adjustments here and there to get a consistent look. The objective is not perfection but overall consistency in terms of how much space I have got left at the top and bottom.

Drawing the feather onto Golden Threads Quilting Paper
When I was happy with my handiwork, I took that sheet as well as another sheet to the machine and stitched over it without threat (using a 90/14 needle), ending up with two copies of the stencil.

Stitching over the paper
 My favourite part...the chalk pounce! Did a bit of a sample here to see what this would look like. I tend to be a bit over enthusiastic with the chalk as you can see on the right side...but it does not matter, it all comes off with the hot iron.
Using the Chalk Pounce
Then I stitched one side out to see how it all flows...bought Angela Walter's Freemotion Quilting with Feathers Craftsy class the other day and watching it, it reminded me that I could also use the 'bump' method, i.e. back stitching at the top of the feathers. I mainly stitch feathers using the backtracking method, so in this sample I tried both methods. Must say, I think I will stick with the annoying feathers just flow better for me that way, even though I go off track every now and then
Stitched out sample
Glad I tried this out on a 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch spaces got swapped when flipping the stencil over. Something I will have to watch when going on the quilt.

Linking up to Let's Bee Social at Lorna's Sew Fresh Quilts and WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

Until next time



  1. Thanks for sharing, I wish I could draw feathers that smoothly! Looks great!

  2. This looks so expert! Congratulations on your beautiful quilting!

  3. Wow! You just gave me the answer to one of my unasked questions! I'll have to try that soon. :-)

  4. I love feathers and hopefully I'll try to make them one day :-)

  5. Thank you for sharing your technique for feathers. I shall have to investigate that paper further.

  6. Those are such beautiful feathers, Karin! Thanks for sharing your method of making the stencils!

  7. Beautiful, cant wait to see the finished quilt

  8. I agree with you about the "bump" method, it's not natural for me neither. I think people should learn the 2 methods, and then choose the prefer one. Your feather looks great. I'm too lazy tough to trace them before sewing. I generally just eyeballed them, or just trace the stem.

  9. Very pretty feathers and so even! *SIGH* ... :)

  10. Thanks for the tips on making your own stencil. I have never made one myself and your post just encourages me to try it.

  11. They look beautiful! I love quilting feathers as well but have never tried making a stencil before. Thanks for all the info.

  12. Your feathers are beautiful Karin.

  13. I wonder if you could stitch without thread into template plastic and make a more permanent stencil.


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