How to Sew a Featherstitch


The seams of the top left block of “Glorious Splendor” are embellished with various featherstitches.

This “Glorious Splendor” crazy patch quilt designed by handwork expert Gloria McKinnon features a whole library of embroidery stitches created with silk threads and ribbons. Among the gorgeous array of stitches is the featherstitch — a beautiful surface embroidery stitch that has a delicate, vine-like appearance. Follow Gloria’s step-by-step tutorial from her book Glorious Embellishing to master the basic version of this stitch:

Basic Featherstitch (Single)
NOTE: This stitch is often created with buttonhole twist or floss, but may also be stitched with silk ribbon. This stitch is worked vertically.

1. Bring the needle out at A. Make a downward loop toward your right with the thread.


2. Enter at point B and exit at point C with needle above the thread loop (figure 1). Pull the needle through.

3. Make a downward loop toward your right.

4. Enter at point D (across from point C) and exit at point E with the needle above the thread loop (figure 2). Pull the needle through.

5. Make a downward loop toward your left. Enter at point F (across from point E) and exit at point G with the needle above the thread loop (figure 3).

6. Continue down the fabric alternating the swing of the thread loop to the right and then to the left.

Gloria is the owner of Anne’s Glory Box in Newcastle, Australia and has shared her handwork talents at sewing seminars around the globe as well as on numerous DVDs and books. Learn more embroidery and crazy patch techniques from Gloria with these great resources available in our Martha Pullen Online Store:

Happy Sewing,