Saturday, October 6, 2012


Thanks once again to Kym at Totally Tutorials for playing matchmaker because I was able to receive these gorgeous feathers from Abakhan, a fabric, hobby, and craft company located in the United Kingdom.  As you can see, I have now received the feathers from the UK, along with a lovely postage stamp, which I considered a bonus.  I was even more thrilled that I received the yellow and orange feathers, which fit in nicely with an idea I had for a small art quilt.

In exchange for these lovely feathers, I agreed to create a tutorial using some of my hand dyed fabric and Abakhan's feathers.

Here is the completed project I call "Sunfeathers," and I will now step through the process.

Supplies clockwise from back left:
Plastic quilting ruler
Rotary cutter
Dressmaker tissue to be used for backing
Templates (plastic lids, 2 each)
Hand dyed fabric
Brown tulle
Rusted fabric
Self healing mat

Not shown:
Fabric scissors
Sewing machine
Stitchless fabric glue
Abakhan feathers

I welcome you to see how I dye my fabrics using various stamping reinkers and how I rust my fabric.  These processes are beyond the scope of this tutorial, but you will find hand dyed fabric and rust dyeing labels listed on my right sidebar or on my Tutorials page.

I cut two pieces of felt in my basement studio using my self healing mat, plastic quilting ruler, and rotary cutter.  I decided the smaller felt piece was too small for the project.  At the same time, I auditioned the template I would use for the center of the Sunfeather.  I'm not very good at cutting, preferring to tear my fabric and materials.  Unfortunately, you can't tear felt. 

I was, however, able to tear my yellow fabric which I laid on the cut felt.   It was at that time I realized I had to iron this fabric.

Rusty fabric was called for when I needed some brown.

I had trouble using my rotary cutter to cut both the rusted fabric and the brown tulle.  I had to move to my other craft area to do this.  You can barely see the two layers of tulle I cut that will cover the rusty fabric.

It was now time to audition some brown buttons to go with the rusted fabric I would use for the Sunfeather center. 

I used E-6000, a strong rubber based glue found in most craft stores, to attach the buttons to the fabric.

While I waited for the glue to dry on the buttons, I sewed two pieces of dressmaker tissue together for the backing.  Although it's hard to see, I made a sunflower in the center with yellow thread.  This was quite a feat for me, because I have no feed dogs and no way to create free motion stitching.  Here the piece has been sewn, but not cut to size, which I will do after I attach it to the front.

After the glue under the buttons was set, I added the two layers of tulle, which I purposely cut larger so I would have some overlap when I sewed around the buttons.

It was now time to sew the tulle to the center assembly.

After sewing around the buttons, it was time to cut the threads

and the excess tulle.

Next came the quilt assembly.  I began by placing a bit of batting behind the hand dyed fabric and sewing it to the felt.  Then I sewed the decorated dressmaker's tissue to the felt and cut it to size.  Finally, I added the Sunfeather center using stitchless glue designed for fabric, a product found at most fabric stores.

Then came the magic!  When the feathers were added using the same fabric glue, the piece seemed to come alive.

I intentionally placed the Sunfeather center off-center to the background and added an extra orange feather on the right side of the assembly.

The completed piece was scanned and a hanger was glued to the back.  Please click on the scanned image for a larger and overall view of this completed piece.

Once again, I want to thank Kym at Totally Tutorials and Abakhan for providing me with this opportunity to create this fun and colorful "Sunfeather" art quilt.  I hope I have shown that any mixed media artist with limited sewing skills (like mine) and any experienced seamstress who actually knows how to sew, can create something this beautiful and fun. Thank you for visiting.


12 thoughtful remarks:

Healing Woman said...

The rusted material and yellow really make a great contrast in your small quilt. I can see you get your inspiration from materials and I can understand why. There is nothing more exciting than finding an item or in your case, receiving one in the mail, that will ultimately lead you to create a masterpiece.

Anonymous said...

Oh how cute and fun. I like yur sense of hummor.

XX Rachel XX

Rita said...

Oh wow! I love when you show us the process, too. This is eye-catching and I love that you used rusty fabric with the feathers. :)
Happy Saturday!

505whimsygirl said...

Hi Elizabeth,

That tag is amazing -- and the all the steps involved is very impressive! I honestly don't know if I'd have the patience!!!

Thanks for visiting me. I really enjoyed helping out at the pet adoption. All of us, no matter if it's a cat or a dog (or whatever other animal that strikes our fancy) adds so much to our lives. I've been blessed by every single animal I've had. Bluebeard is a lucky fella!!


kimmie said...

that's really neat Elizabeth! you are so thoughtful to photograph the process - I usually forget until I am halfway done!

Carol said...

I absolutely LOVE IT ♥♥♥♥♥♥ Those feathers just make it POP!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Sunflowers are a favorite of mine and you did a terrific job with this tutorial. The feathers really finish it off.

Dandelion and Daisy said...

WOW! That is one outstanding project, the colors, the texture, the design and the gorgeous feathers. Beautifully done, Elizabeth!

D`P said...

Thank you for this tutorial, colors and design are marvellous, thanks!

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Halle said...

So pretty, love the colors and texture.

Margaret said...

Stunning colours and I love your button centre piece, adds another dimension to your picture.
Great tutorial, thank you!

~*~Patty S said...

This piece is really stunning E! Made extra special by feathers that traveled to be with you and you used your rusty fabric so brilliantly too!

Thank you for bringing sunshine to my day!