FMQ – Floppy Feathers – I Did It!

Thank you, thank you, thank you Beth Sellers of Cooking Up QuiltsShe just recently referred to the post she had written back in January of this year.  I’m surprised I didn’t take note then, but I guess I wasn’t ready to give floppy feathers a try.  For this month’s OMG project, I have to quilt Garden Gate and thought this quilting pattern might look nice.

Cooking Up Quilts

Beth’s Floppy Feathers

If you check out the link I shared above, you will see that there isn’t a ‘stem’ in this method.  Each feather is open-ended, and Beth shares several great pictures on how to stitch them.  She also gives suggestions on how to turn a corner or a different direction.  This picture is directly from her website and was the impetus to give me the confidence try this technique:

floppy feathers - Beth Sellers

Picture from Beth Sellers at Cooking Up Quilts

When I saw this drawing I just knew I could do this!  Yes, I could!

My Floppy Feathers


Floppy feathers

My feathers may not be as nicely shaped or uniform at Beth’s.  Nope.  And they may not have turned the corners as beautifully.  Also, the first half of the stitching gave me FITS.  Broken thread every two inches at one point, but that wasn’t going to deter me.  Well, it may have deterred me for a few days, just for regrouping.

Solving the Floppy Feather Dilemma

I did a little research and found that there were a few adjustments I could make to solve the breaking thread problem.  I tried a different color of Aurfil thread, to no avail.  Then I pulled all of the solutions I found in my research.  I switched:  to Gutermann thread; the strike plate to the single hole plate; to a 90/14 thinner needle; and lastly I lowered the FMQ foot closer to the fabric.  I was amazed at the difference in size that needle was compared to the one I had been using.  While I cannot point to which of these things helped, they did solve the issue.  I was able to quilt the second half of the quilt without a single thread break.  Of course the bobbin had to run out of thread with only a small section left to go.

floppy feathers 2


I carefully selected areas that don’t look too bad for photos.  I will definitely give this method a try again, and put my research tips in place before beginning.  Thank you again, Beth.  You have helped me move our August OMG project along toward completion!


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17 Responses

  1. Congratulations on conquering your issue! 😊♥️

  2. Susan says:

    Yeah!!! Well done! And it does seem to always happen that the bobbin runs out. Why is that???

  3. tish says:

    You did an amazing job!!! This post makes me so happy. I has having trouble with threads breaking on my domestic machine and discovered my foot needed to be lowered more and it worked like a charm. And congrats on getting this quilt quilted!

  4. quiltinggail says:

    Roseanne!!!! Congratulations!!!! YEAH!!! Feathers! Wonderful!!! Once the quilt is washed, you won’t even see the little inconsistencies that may be there! I typically use Aurifil thread with no problems, but recently, my cousin Terry, recommended Glide thread … I’ve used it once an will definitely be using it again! I’m still grinning a happy grin over the fact that you mastered floppy feathers and even posted great pictures to prove it!!!
    Happy Q U I L T I N G!!! 🙂

  5. cheriec12 says:

    Looks like you really got the hang of it. Put another tick in the win column.

  6. Kathryn says:

    They look fantastic and what I like about this pattern is that its not too small, but a good size so that the quilt feels soft still. Good that the breaking thread issue was solved. Ah I know that bobbin running out just when you don’t want it to.

  7. chrisknits says:

    Practice makes perfect! Thanks for the list of things to try if tension and breakage occur!! I need to keep that list handy!

  8. I think your feathers look wonderful. I fear them……

  9. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Roseanne; Yeah…I knew you could do it! Your floppy feathers look spectacular!! The recipient of this quilt will treasure the quilt. Thank you for sharing the link also. I am getting close to having a few quilts to quilt and will have to try this method. I hope you have a fabulous day!

  10. Gretchen says:

    Good job, looks wonderful!!!!

  11. Shannon Fleming says:

    Yay! Glad you were victorious in your feather adventure!

  12. I”m happy dancing for you over here! Woohoo! You did it!

  13. Vicki in MN says:

    Another trick is to use this design again before your brain gets untrained!!! I don’t remember, but do you practice drawing the design several times before actually stitch it. I was told you should hold your pencil straight up and down as if your hand was the needle while drawing.

  14. cozyquiltslb says:

    Way to go Roseanne. You now have a new tool in the tool box. They look really good. I’m sure you your feathers were smoother towards the end of the quilt.

  15. Roseanne, great job! I’ve been using Gutermann thread a lot lately (because its available locally) and I’m really loving it– I always use a 90/14 Schmetz needle for quilting – I agree with the Quilted B about the bigger eye causing less friction. FMQ isn’t my thing but I really like the look of the Floppy Feather!
    Happy Wednesday!

  16. Barbara Esposito, the Quilted B says:

    Nicely done! I like to use a topstitch needle when I fmq – bigger eye means less friction on the thread. Look at me offering advice as if I were the FMQQ (free motion quilting queen), which I am NOT! I love that you gave it a go and stuck with it until it was done. One last tip…sometimes I find if I walk around my chair (three times clockwise, twice counterclockwise), tap the sewing table once with a lint brush, and then bow to the north, west, south, east, – yes it has to be in that order – then the fmq gremlins leave the room for a while. ;o)

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