quick play

Denim feathers

Fluffy feathers made out of denim — another of those things that has popped up regularly in my Pinterest feed over the years. And now it was time to try it out. The same piece of denim can result in four different looks: which side is used as the top will change the colour of the centre strip and which direction it is cut in changes the colour of the feathery bits. To leave a straight strip in the centre, it is important to cut the feather shape exactly in line with direction of the threads in the fabric. If you line it up with the blue threads, you’ll remove the blue threads leaving a white feather. If you line it up with the white threads, you’ll remove the white threads leaving a blue feather. Just pull a few threads from an edge of the denim and you can see which way round it is. The blue threads tend to be heavier than the white ones which makes them slightly harder to remove.

The first one I tried was the simplest, no fuss, just cut out some feather shapes and then pull the threads away leaving a solid strip of fabric on the centre. I tried it in both directions on two slightly different colour denims.

Then I went looking for a version of the instructions that wasn’t just a video on Pinterest and found another variant, one with a sewn bakers twine rib. I’m not very confident with my sewing machine so I wasn’t convinced I could sew a piece of twine on in a straight line, but then I noticed a link on the Pinterest page that had a picture of a sewing machine with a straw taped to it. Curious, I followed the link and it looked like one of those tips that will never work but… I had a straw to hand and tried it anyway. I tweaked the angle and position of the straw to fit my machine and so that I could more easily feed the twine in from the left side of the machine. And it works a treat. Hands-free twine feeding in the perfect position for it to be zig-zag stitched in place.

I also found one that uses the jeans seam as the centre rib, but that will have to wait until the next pair of jeans gets recycled as all my denim pieces are neatly trimmed.

While I had the denim out, I soaked a piece in Terial Magic, a fabric stabiliser that minimises fraying, and made two different styles of feathers with it.

For the first ones I stencilled some feather designs in Versafine ink and then trimmed around the edges. This stretched the fray-stopping capabilities of the Terial Magic — some of those points are very small — but I still ended up with some very usable feathers.

For the second ones I simply cut out a couple of feather shapes and then cut a fringe into either side of one and cut some stylised notches into the other before drawing the ribs on with a gold pen.

I have no idea what I will use them for, but I now have a selection of denim feathers on hand for whenever I am inspired.

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