How to Embroider a Feather

Written by genevieve van wyden
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How to Embroider a Feather
This pillow has flowers stitched with the feather stitch. (Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images)

Learn how to embroider a feather using simple needlework stitches. Feathers have a central stem and smaller filaments or barbs on each side of the stem. Because of this simple construction, you should be able to lightly sketch the outline of your desired feather, then embroider each filament and the stem, using the embroidery floss colours indicated in your needlework pattern. To embroider a feather, you should be familiar with the basics of needlepoint, such as stitching along a pattern outline and basic embroidery stitches.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Vanishing marker
  • Even weave fabric
  • Tapestry needle
  • Embroidery floss
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Sketch out the lines of a feather on even weave cloth, using a vanishing marker.

  2. 2

    Thread your tapestry needle with two strands of embroidery floss in the colour indicated in your embroidery instructions.

  3. 3

    Stitch a running stitch along the main feather stem. Working from the right side of the design to the left, bring your needle to the top of the fabric at the beginning of the stem, pulling the thread through. Imagine that each point where your needle enters the fabric is a point of the alphabet -- A, B, C . . .

  4. 4

    Push your needle and the embroidery floss down at B and up at C, continuing until you have stitched the entire feather stem.

  5. 5

    Sketch the remainder of the feather on the fabric with the vanishing marker.

  6. 6

    Work the feather filaments with a whipped running stitch. Complete the first part of this stitch with the running stitch along each filament of the feather. Use the same floss colour or a different shade, and bring your tapestry needle up at the point where you began the running stitch. Pass your needle down along each running stitch -- pass the needle and floss in between the fabric and stitch. Do not pick any fabric up as you whip the floss around each running stitch. As you finish stitching a filament, push your needle down to the bottom of the fabric where you ended the running stitch. Anchor the floss by passing it under the backs of several stitches and cut it close to the strand.

Tips and warnings

  • The diversity of embroidery stitches allows you to choose different stitches if you want a different look to the feather strands and stem. Some of these include the outline stitch, the stem stitch or a couching stitch.
  • Use a tapestry needle with a dull point to make it easier not to pick up any threads from your even weave cloth as you work the whipped stitch.

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