Creating fabric feathers – chips off the Muslin Projects
Set the spotlight on your fabric scraps; grab a few other supplies; and let’s make a combo. Here’s something worth mentioning: I’ve thought of making fabric feathers for a long time but I never got around to it. Recently, I accumulated a quantity of scraps from 7 muslin projects I’ve completed. And since I’ve been in scrap-fabric-projects mode for the last little while, I thought it best to continue. Now that you know; welcome to my introductory to creating fabric feathers experiment.
Creating fabric feathers via Construction Paper feather basics
My motivation stems from wanting to produce some inspiring scrap fabric creations with the leftovers from my muslin projects. And these fabric feathers turned out to be the perfect activity. As I never made fabric feathers before. I looked to my construction paper feathers for reference and I used the same principles. So, if you’ve gone the paper feather route prior, you’re ahead. If you haven’t, and you need some tips, you can find more on how to make construction paper feathers here.
Redefine scrap fabric creations
Suggested uses for fabric feathers
Handbag and keychain accents
Enhance your table setting with fabric feather place cards: write guests names with a fabric marker before inserting skewer in pocket and cutting into edges.
To write on fabric feathers, you will need to fasten fabric to a flat surface with adhesive tape.
Create an interesting backdrop: Hang feathers near a wall at varied lengths.
Wall art: Mount feathers to a flat surface and hang it on the wall.
Centerpiece: Make feathers with longer skewers and display them in a vase. You’ll find them beautiful and comparable to flowers. Nine to twelve 3” wide feathers make an attractive display in a three inch diameter vase
Fabric Feathers Cost and Completion time
If you’re wondering how long it takes to create fabric feathers, it’s a pretty quick project. Assuming you have fabric scraps; you’re not dyeing feathers and you have basic craft supplies on hand, your non-fluffy version can be completed in 10 minutes. For a fluffy feather, add washing and drying time. Coloring feathers is a matter of personal style. That too lengthens the feather completion time and requires purchasing dye.
Tools and materials
Scraps of muslin or other fabric that frays
Half inch wide bias tape to cover exposed skewer ends (Non-bias is also acceptable)
All purpose thread
All purpose craft glue
Dressmaker’s chalk or water soluble marker
Bamboo skewers, 12”
Marshmallow roasting sticks -30”
Yarn or crochet thread
Clothing dye and gloves if coloring feathers
Flat working surface
Plastic or garbage bags to protect work area
Newspaper or rags to sop up dye from color drenched feathers
Making fabric feathers; tools, supplies, details
Scraps of muslin or other fabric that frays
Preshrinking fabric scraps before constructing feathers is recommended.
Half inch wide bias tape The bias grain of fabric intersects diagonally with the lengthwise and crosswise grain. True bias is found at a 45° angle to any straight edge when fabric grains are at right angles.
Ruler (Optional) Choose to eyeball and create an organic line, or press a seam down the middle when ironing scraps.
All purpose thread The general rule is to choose thread one shade darker than fabrics. Feel free to use a contrasting color to highlight feather center. Or use a decorative stitch to stylize your feather.
All purpose craft glue that adheres to wood/bamboo and fabric. Or a hot glue gun and glue sticks.
Dressmaker’s chalk or water soluble marker Both will disappear after going through the wash
Bamboo/wooden skewers, 12” Twelve inch skewers are reasonably priced at about a couple bucks per 100-pcs. They are available online and at supermarkets and department stores.
Marshmallow roasting sticks -30” Usually comes in packages of 12; also available online and at local dollar stores during warmer months.
Yarn or crochet thread Compatible to your needle size.
Tapestry needle Points are blunt but will penetrate fabric even if it’s a tight weave.
If working with scraps that have not been washed, you will need to factor in shrinkage when sewing pocket for skewer.
Creating fabric feathers: Marking and cutting
Step 1. (a) For uniform feathers, rip or cut 2 fabric rectangles; draw a line down the center, or use an iron to create a seam ; stack on top of each other; fold fabric in half lengthwise and cut out feather shape.
(b) To create unbalanced and flawed feathers: Draw or press line slightly off center; cut out and shape sides separately. In addition; cut away small portions of fabric at random distances to create inconsistent edges.
Scrap sizes will determine feathers dimensions; I used scraps sized roughly between (7” x 3”) and (16” x 7”).
DIY Fabric Feather Construction: center pocket/casing
Step 2. Sew pocket/casing wide enough to fit skewer size. Set machine to a short length stitch; Begin stitching ½” away from top edge at base of feather and taper toward middle, to within 1” from tip. Pivot and gradually return to original seam width; stop ½” inch away from edge. Backstitch at beginning and end of seams.
Cutting and creating feathered edges
Step 3. Use scissors to cut ¼” slices from edges of feather to near fold line.
Note: As fabric is likely to shift, inserting skewer in pocket before slicing is a great idea. It will help keep feather stable and works as a handy stop-point/cutting guide.
Washing and drying fabric feathers
Step 4. After cutting, slide feathers off skewers and put in the wash. To prevent them from migrating, use a laundry bag. Remove feathers from dryer while still slightly damp and shake to get rid of lint and fluff. Insert skewers, lay feathers flat and let air dry.
Fabric feathers assembly
Step 5. (a) Slide washed and dried feathers onto skewer; apply a small amount of glue to skewer under fabric at base of feather and press to fasten.
(b) Place another bit of glue on top of fabric at feather base, position tape over it. Stretch bias tape and twist skewer until it is entirely covered; use adhesive to secure end.
Note: Woven fabrics cut on the bias ceases fraying and adds stretch. Fabrics cut on the crosswise or lengthwise grain will work as well; pieces of tape need not be continuous.
Coloring fabric feathers
Step 6. Gather supplies and cover working area
Follow instructions on the dye package, mix a small portion, in a shallow container with enough room to dip and soak feathers.
Dip one end of damp feather lengthways, into dye bath until desired color is achieved; repeat on other side. Allow excess drippings to reduce. Lay flat on plastic covered area. Use newsprint or rags to press on feathers to extract moisture; it lessens drying time. Remove and lay on a paper-lined flat surface to air dry. Use a blow dryer to speed up drying Note: Colors will dry lighter than wet hues or tints.
Hanging fabric feathers
Step 7. Measure desired length of thread or yarn: at base of feather. At the side of skewer, poke a threaded needle downward to underside, bring needle up through to opposite side. Pull ends of thread or yarn until it lies flat against skewer; tie a knot.
Backstitch in action; (a) start stitching forward about ½” away from cut edge of fabric; (b) stitch in reverse to near edge at fabric top; (c) stitch forward again along entire stitch row to near end of fabric edge; (d) reverse stitch about ½” back.
Pivot: To stop and change direction while sewing along a seam. Pivot in action: on reaching a corner: (a) stop (b) keep the needle inside of fabric (c) raise the presser foot (d) rotate fabric around needle (e) lower presser foot and continue stitching.
To sew a casing for regular 12” bamboo skewers, stitch about 1/8” away from center line, on each side; that will create a 1/4” wide pocket.
A pocket approximately 1/2” wide fits a standard 30” long skewer; in which case, you’ll need to sew ¼” away from center line on both sides.
Those of you who drop by regularly, know of how I accidentally purchased a bolt of muslin online; and out of that situation, pretty DIY muslin projects was born. I didn’t see it coming but I’ve awakened to loving every moment of making pretty muslin items and finding ways to use every inch of fabric. I hope you are inspired to design own scrap fabric creations. Whatever you create, know that simplicity, glamour and flair are in your hands. Go ahead; set the tone.
As always thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read.
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section. I’ll answer as soon as I can.
If the LORD will, see you next time