Tuesday, April 5, 2011

3D butterflies

Lynn Schoeffler recently emailed me to ask if I had a tutorial for my stitch-and-turn butterfly motif. She's writing an article for CQMagOnline and wanted to use a butterfly on her work. She was willing to not only give me credit, but refer readers to my tutorial. Well, I didn't have one....yet! I'm taking care of that right now.

Begin by finding a good cotton print with some fairly large butterflies on it. They need to be fairly large so that they're not too tedious to handle (at least for your first one; you can try to go smaller after you get the hang of it), and they also look quite real when they're life-size. But an even more important consideration is that they need to be pretty much symmetrical. This fabric is available at equilter.com, or search for "creature comforts butterflies".

You're going to cut two images of the butterfly, and pin them, right sides together. At this point, they are just roughly cut out; you'll trim off that excess later, but for now it helps to have that extra fabric to hang on to. When pinning, I try to match up the points of the wings and the head area. If they're not absolutely perfectly symmetrical, you can ease the two images slightly to get them to match up.

I hand stitch around the edge of the images, taking the smallest stitches possible, and leaving an opening on the longest straight stretch for turning. Here I've left the area between the two pins unstitched. Don't finish off your thread; leave it hanging.

Carefully cut off the excess, leaving a bit extra across the space left open for turning, then VERY carefully clip the curves.

Turn the butterfly right side out. This is sort of how they look when coming out of a chrysalis, isn't it?

Tuck the raw edge of the opening to the inside, and taking up the thread again, invisibly stitch (I use a ladder stitch) the opening closed. Press the heck out of it on both sides until it is as flat as possible. Here are two that I made recently, having alighted on my needle carrier. They are simply pinned on here. Next post I will show you how I attach the butterfly to a block.


Ruby said...

When you say 'smallest stitches possible' you're not kidding.! Will be waiting for part 2. Thanks!!!

Cathy said...

I was lucky enough to get one of your butterflies on a RR block. Since then I have made several myself but made them a little differently -
1. If I don't have two symmetrical b'flies then I just use some other fabric for backing.
2. I sew together the two pieces completely (not leaving an opening)and have even sewn on sewing machine. Anyway, when I want to turn them I cut a slit on the back along the body and turn them right side out that way. And slit is hidden when attached to the block so no extra sewing to do!

That's my lazy way of doing things! And thanks for that beautiful monarch b'fly you did for my block. You inspired me!

Cathy L

Laurie said...

Thank-you Janet, I have several butterfly fabrics and am going to try one!

crafty cat corner said...

Beautiful, I often applique fabric butterflies to my blocks but a 3d one would look great,
thanks for the tutorial