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Bird-Embroidered Quilt




This quilt fits a full-size bed and measures 72 1/2 by 82 1/2 inches. The finished quilt is made of 30 embroidered squares plus 26 plain squares that are incorporated to form a border.


  • 5 1/3 yards of 60-inch-wide white linen fabric
  • 5 yards of 60-inch-wide linen fabric in a contrasting color for back and border
  • Embroidery thread (chose any color you like)
  • Transfer paper
  • Embroidery hoop
  • 12 1/2-inch square quilting ruler
  • Rotary cutter
  • 2 full-size sheets of cotton batting (90 inches by 96 inches)
  • Bird Pattern


  1. Step 1

    Cut out thirty 14-inch squares of fabric. Use a photocopier to enlarge the bird pattern of your choice so each is 7 to 8 inches tall (for 30, you will have to use one bird twice). Place a linen square right side up, and top with a sheet of dark transfer paper. Place bird pattern on top; trace the lines of the bird pattern with a ballpoint pen. The pressure will transfer the paper's ink onto the fabric.

  2. Step 2

    Embroider each square: We used the chain stitch for all of our designs. Secure linen square in the embroidery hoop. Thread needle with one strand of embroidery floss. Follow instructions for the chain stitch included in our printable file

  3. Step 3

    After you've finished stitching, place the square quilting ruler over an embroidered square, and use the grid to center the embroidered bird. With a rotary cutter, trim each of the edges to a length of 12 1/2 inches. Repeat with remaining squares. For border, cut out 26 plain 12 1/2-inch square pieces. Lay out quilt, 8 rows long by 7 columns wide, arranging the birds as you desire (in the center 6 rows and 5 columns) with a white border around the entire perimeter.

  4. Step 4

    Sew squares together to make vertical strips (you will have 7 strips of 8 when done), right sides facing, with a 1 1/4-inch seam allowance; press open seams. Then sew strips to one another: Begin by sewing 2 adjacent strips together, first pinning at points where horizontal seams meet to align the squares' corners exactly. Sew together two sets of 2 strips and one set of 3. Sew the 2 sets of 2 to each other, and then sew that piece to the set of 3. Press open all seams.

  5. Step 5

    Cut the 5 yards of green fabric in half across the width. Sew long sides together with right sides facing, leaving a 1/2-inch seam allowance, to make a piece about 90 inches by 120 inches; iron seam flat. Lay out the quilt parts, starting with green fabric wrong side up. Top with two layers of batting and the embroidered squares, right side up. Pin a safety pin just inside each side of each square, piercing through the quilt, batting, and green-cloth backing.

  6. Step 6

    Trim batting to size of front piece. Stitch along each of the square's seams through all of the layers; remove pins. Trim green cloth to extend 2 inches beyond sewn squares. To create quilt's green border, fold green cloth 1/2 inch all around; iron. Fold over remaining 1 1/2 inches; iron. Top-stitch all around.

Martha Stewart Living, August 2003



Reviews (45)

  • LauraEma 6 Dec, 2012

    I love the embroidered napkins . It reminds me the old times !!!!Thanks for the idea!!!! I`ll try to do them!!! From Argentina the best wishes!!!!

  • noodlenyc 22 May, 2010

    I love the bed itself, does anyone know where it can be bought? Thx.

  • noodlenyc 22 May, 2010

    I love the bed itself, does anyone know where can it be bought?

  • rbrads2003 23 Jun, 2009

    Let me preface my comment, by telling you all that I am new to embroidery. How many strands of the embroidery floss should I use when chain stitching?

  • kparise 23 Mar, 2009

    dry clean your quilt, linen shrinks. or just don't dry it

  • jacquelinerommel 26 Apr, 2008

    have used the pattern to make little window curtains in my sewing room - love them - they were so easy and quick - wanted to bring the outside in and still have bit of privacy - it worked

  • ibcrafter 18 Apr, 2008

    If I'm too lazy to make the quilt, it would make a good coloring book for my grandchildren.

  • JeanieK 16 Apr, 2008

    mtngirl: just click on the blue bird patterns in para 1.

  • mtngirl 16 Apr, 2008

    i can't find the patterns? Where are they? I saw them the other day, now they'r gone?

  • MysticPaige 15 Apr, 2008

    Thank you MaryMac422 for the sites available for liquid embroidery. I love to embroider by hand but I also love the liquid embroidery as a different sort of craft.
    The latter is much faster and can make a quilt just as beautiful. Thank you again.

  • DigitalMedia 14 Apr, 2008

    The problem with all these crafts is the fact none of the photos can be enlarged. Even though I can see the pdf birds clearly, it would be nice to be able to download both the directions and LARGE photos in .pdf format

  • boko 14 Apr, 2008

    This is a charming quilt! You can also make similar quilts to this for horses, or national landmark buildings, or sea creatures - good resources for simple, easy to copy images are the many coloring books from Dover or any similar publications.

  • Quanah 14 Apr, 2008

    Anyone knows that quilts are made with squares for this kind of design. Click on bird desing below to copy their bird.

  • TwoDarnCute 14 Apr, 2008

    What a lovely quilt! This will be an excellent summer project. I am teaching my girls (ages 10

  • marcie195 14 Apr, 2008

    I was a bit disappointed that we didn't have a better view of the quilt too.
    However, it quickly reminded me of a favorite quilt my mother had made in the 1940's. Inplace of birds her quilt had state flowers embroidered in each panel. Instead of lamenting the loss of Mom's beautiful quilt and sadly years later my Mother too. I hope to use this pattern to remake this quilt. Consider it therapy of sorts. :)

  • fasawasa 14 Apr, 2008

    How about guidance on what colors to use? It's hard to see your photo but it appears each bird is one color rather than various colors within each block.

  • kim58 14 Apr, 2008

    The picture of this quilt is so washed out that I can't even tell what it looks like. There should at least be a couple of detailed close-ups. I also imagine that a number of your readers are folks who may have some trouble with their eyesight, and a picture of this poor quality only makes it worse. It's a real shame - - the project looked interesting.

  • cjkraich 14 Apr, 2008

    Beautiful! I can't wait to try it! My grandmother taught me to embroider and to quilt and I haven't done it in years. This will be a perfect first (again) project!!!

  • amycooper 13 Apr, 2008

    I'm anxious to try this. I can remember sewing embroidery kit pictures as a child with my mother. My grandmother was an avid embroider-er (is that how you say it?).

  • PreciousIittleOnes 13 Apr, 2008

    thanks for this idea looking for looking forward to see more craft iideas soon

  • jerseylois 13 Apr, 2008

    I have been making a candlewicking patch work quilt for some time now... I needed new ideas, an the birds of the states is just what I need to help fill in the blanks... Now all I have to do is find pictures so I can get the colors down right...

  • ltlgold 13 Apr, 2008

    So when do we get a better picture of the completed quilt?? I am a very visual person and this would really help.

  • emilybeck 13 Apr, 2008

    i love this idea I can't wait to get started, I will probably do mine in cardinals they are my favorite brid.

  • margaret70403 13 Apr, 2008

    Am very excited about this one. Love to do hand work and I also love to quilt. Can`t wait to do it. I am getting out my bird book to try to make the birds as authentic as possible THANKS for this one!

  • msjean 13 Apr, 2008

    I made this when it was first published in Living several years ago. It really is a very pretty quilt and I get lots of comments about it. It was easy and fun to make as well.

  • MaryMc422 13 Apr, 2008

    RE: Liquid Embroidery
    Paige: I typed "liquid embroidery" - with quotes - into Google and got many results.
    Try these:

  • gram675 12 Apr, 2008

    What was the % of increase when copying the bird patterns? That would be very helpful when making copies.

  • MysticPaige 12 Apr, 2008

    I was wondering if anybody did liquid embroidery anymore? I haven't been able to find any kits but the company that used to sell on the party plan, Tri-Chem, doesn't seem to be in business anymore.
    I agree with others, hard to get excited about the project when you can't see it.

  • margebenke8 12 Apr, 2008

    If you don't embroidery, or don't want to do all that work, outline patterns using fabric pens in different colors, or paint the birds using tole paint mixed with fabric medium to keep painted design soft and pliable. I've done this on pillow cases, and the paint lasts forever if heat set with iron when completed.
    Aunty M

  • irishbrod 12 Apr, 2008

    click on bird pattern to print and you can see all the details i may not do this soon but i will print for future project. looks pretty and easy to do.

  • jmyhogan 12 Apr, 2008

    I agree with Sheryl50 ~ it is difficult to be enthusiastic about this project not being able to really see it. Poor photo and too small. I expect it is really a beautiful quilt if we could see it.

  • Sheryl50 12 Apr, 2008

    Would be nicer to be able to see more enlarged pictures of the crafts. This bed spread didn't get justice. A close up of a couple of squares would have been much better.


    As always, a beautiful embroidery project that I could totally envision on one of Martha's own beds. Ive been thinking of a bird decor for my twin grandaughter's bedroom in their new home and I am hoping this might tickle their fancy. Thanks for something truly remarkable.

  • its_ruthie 12 Apr, 2008

    Wow! Thank you very much for the patterns!

    So many times on other sites, we're shown this "great idea" and then, oh yeah, fork over 45 bucks for the patterns!

    Your more than generous!

  • nancyjean54 12 Apr, 2008

    I've been embroidering since I was about 11 and finding patterns isn't easy. Thank-you for this one and hope to see more in the future. Nancy

  • mopsyjesse 12 Apr, 2008

    do you have some bird patterns for us?
    MaryJo Brady

  • Nadine_Martin 12 Apr, 2008

    Hi.....need a video of this one -- bird embroidered quilt....

  • k2l555 12 Apr, 2008

    Craft of the day? More like craft for the decade!!

  • 1noblelady 12 Apr, 2008

    For some reason I'm not able to download the bird patterns. When I went to the TRY THIS section with "Bird Embroidery" it's the same. Help!

  • kaecakes 12 Apr, 2008

    I would like to see a close up of the quilt. If you had the enlarge feature on the picture that could be a big help for when someone would like to see a larger picture.

  • Auntsadie 12 Apr, 2008

    This is lovely and I adore hand embroidery. Thanks!

  • cartersgrandmother 12 Apr, 2008

    Picture is not clear or large enought to get a good feel about if I want to do the work.

  • kellimaier 12 Apr, 2008


  • kellimaier 12 Apr, 2008


  • Sandrush 12 Apr, 2008

    Loved the bed head bord!!!!!!! where can i get one ???