Easter Hen

Materials

Makes one hen and six chicks

  • One fat quarter each of two different yellow fabrics
  • One fat quarter each of four different brown fabrics
  • One fat quarter of red fabric
  • Brown fabric scraps from your stash
  • Two 2in squares of orange fabric
  • Fusible web
  • Wadding
  • Black embroidery thread
  • Two black beads, optional
  • Tracing paper and thin card
  • Small chocolate eggs

Finished Size

Hen approx 23cm (9in) diameter and 23cm (9in) high

Skill Level

Advanced

Where to Buy

Similar fabrics are widely available from quilt fabric shops or see our advertisers for mail order services.

You can download a copy of the original magazine pages for this project here, Easter Hen and Chicks. The templates are available for download here, templates.

Cutting Instructions

  1. From each of the yellow fat quarters, cut the following:
    • Six chick bodies
    • Six chick bases
  2. From one brown fat quarter, cut the following:
    • Two hen bodies: place the pattern piece against the fold in the fabric as indicated on the pattern
    • Two hen tail feathers
    • Several hen body feathers
  3. From a second brown fat quarter, cut the following:
    • One1 1⁄4in wide and 15in long bias strip
    • One hen head
    • Four hen wings
    • Two hen tail feathers
    • Several hen body feathers
  4. From a third brown fat quarter, cut the following:
    • Two hen bases
    • Two hen curved bases
    • Several hen body feathers
  5. From the fourth brown fat quarter, cut the following:
    • Two hen tail feathers
    • Several hen body feathers
  6. From the brown scraps cut several hen body feathers. You need around fifty body feathers in total from the scraps and brown fat quarters.
  7. From the red fat quarter, carefully cut the following:
    • Four hen wattles
    • Six hen combs
  8. Use fusible web to stick the two 2in orange squares wrong sides together. Cut six diamond-shaped chick beaks, approx 3⁄4in long, from this double layer. Next cut a diamond-shaped hen beak, approx 1 1⁄2in long.
  9. From the wadding, carefully cut the following pieces:
    • Six chick bodies
    • Six chick bases
    • One hen body
    • One hen base
    • One hen curved base
    • Two hen wings

Making the Chicks

Stitch the chick body pieces together
Figure 1: Stitch the chick body pieces together.
  1. Place a chick body piece right side up on top of the pattern piece and mark the positions of the eyes, mouth and wings. Repeat for a total of three of each of the yellow chick bodies.
  2. Trace six right hand and six left hand chick wings onto the paper side of the fusible web. Cut out roughly. Fuse three right hand and three left hand wings onto the wrong side of each of the remaining yellow fat quarters and cut out neatly on the line. Fuse contrasting yellow wings onto the six marked chick bodies in the positions indicated. Satin stitch around the motifs.
  3. Place matching pairs of chick bodies right sides together, one piece with wings and one without; place a chick body piece of wadding on top. Stitching through all layers, sew around the curved edge and across the top left straight edge, leaving a gap for the tail. Snip each side of the small top semi-circle. See Figure 1.
  4. Turn the chick bodies right side out. Turn the right hand edges under approx 1⁄4in and oversew the edges together. See Figure 2.
Oversew the top right edge
Figure 2: Oversew the top right edge.
  1. Place the beak in position and stitch across it to secure. Embroider the eyes with French knots. Topstitch around the curved edge approx 3⁄8in in.
  2. Run a gathering thread around the small top semi-circle; follow the edge of the wadding stitching. See Figure 3.
Make the fringe
Figure 3: Make the fringe.
  1. Pull the gathering thread up tight and fasten off on the other side of the semi-circle, which will hold the top of the chick together. Run a gathering thread across the tail piece, snip a fringe, pull up the gathers and fasten off.
  2. Place matching pairs of the chick bases right sides together; place a chick base piece of wadding on top. Stitch all round through all three layers, leaving a gap for turning through. At intervals around the circle snip through the layers, taking care not to cut into the stitching. Turn right side out and slipstitch the gap closed.
  3. Oversew a matching chick body to a quilted chick base; the body will overlap the base by approx 3⁄4in. You will have six chicks.
Front and back of chicks, showing opening
Front and back of chicks, showing opening.

Making the Hen

  1. Place a hen body piece right side up on top of the pattern piece and transfer the markings indicated.
  2. Place the second hen body piece wrong side up on a clean flat surface, followed by the hen body wadding and then the marked hen body piece right side up. Pin or tack to secure and then stitch around the curved edge approx 1in in. Fold and pin back both fabric layers and trim the wadding close to the stitching. Fringe the fabric around the curved edge. Stitch the three layers together at the top curved edge, approx 2in either side of the centre. See Figure 4.
Hen body fringe, body feathers and wattle
Figure 4: Hen body fringe, body feathers and wattle.
  1. Take a variety of hen body feathers and pin them onto the body along the lower marked line, placing the top of the feather approx 1⁄4in above the line. Stitch in place. You will need around twenty-four feathers. Repeat for the middle and top marked lines; you'll need around sixteen feathers for the middle line and ten for the top one. See Figure 4.
  2. Place two hen wattles right sides together; stitch leaving the straight edge open. Clip the curved edges and then turn right side out. Repeat to make a second wattle. Place the wattles in the centre of the top row of body feathers and stitch in place. See Figure 4.
  3. Place two hen wings right sides together with a wing wadding piece on top. Match the curved edges. Stitching through all layers, sew around the curved edge of the wadding and clip. Turn the wing right side out and fringe the fabric up to the wadding. Repeat to make a second wing. Attach a wing to each side of the hen as in Figure 5.
Tail feathers and wings
Figure 5: Tail feathers and wings.
Hen on her nest
Hen on her nest.
  1. Place a pair of matching hen tail feathers right sides together; stitch leaving the straight edge open. Clip the curved edges and then turn right side out. Repeat to make three tail feathers. Arrange the tail feathers in a fan and pin to one the side of the hen body, with the short edges of the feathers along the seam; tack in place. See Figure 5.
  2. Fold the hen body in half right sides together, making sure the tail feathers are enclosed. Stitch along the seam. There are several layers, so if your machine can’t cope secure the seam with hand stitching. Turn the hen right side out. If the seam looks a bit bare, add some more body feathers to hide it. 8 Make three hen combs in the same way as you made the wattles; see Step 4. Place the combs on one side of the top edge of the left side of the hen head, with the first comb approx 1⁄8in from the centre point; tack in place. See Figure 6. Place the beak in position, on the right side of the hen head about 3⁄4in up from the lower edge. Stitch across the centre to secure.
Hen head and combs
Hen head and combs.
  1. Fold the hen head in half right sides together and stitch, stopping the stitching line at the edge of the first comb. Turn right side out. Fringe the lower edge of the hen head with snips approx 1⁄4in long.
  2. Place the head on top of the body and secure with a small stitch at the back. Going through all the layers, embroider the eyes with French knots, or use small back beads.
  3. Place the hen base pieces right sides together; place a hen base piece of wadding on top. Stitch all round through all three layers, leaving a gap for turning through. At intervals around the circle snip through the layers, taking care not to cut into the stitching. Turn right side out and slipstitch the gap closed. Quilt the base; Ruth used concentric circles.
  4. Place the hen curved base of wadding against the wrong side of one hen curved base piece. With the fabric right sides together, join on the short edges to make a loop. Right sides together, join the other hen curved base piece on the short edge and place it inside the wadded loop; the fabrics of each loop will be right sides together. Stitch all three layers together along the longest circular edge; turn right side out and topstitch approx 3⁄8in up from the stitched edge. Bind the raw edge with the bias strip.
  5. Oversew the stitched edge of the curved base to the quilted base, ie the bound edge is at the top. Pop an egg into each chick, nestle the chicks in the base and place the hen on top.
Finished Hen and Chicks
Finished Hen and Chicks.

First published in Popular Patchwork March 2011