Aug 5, 2013

Scrap Buster: DIY Butterflies (with a free pattern)

This post originally appeared on The Sewing Rabbit and today I'm bringing it home. Such a fun project for using extra fabric.

Fabric scraps. Every sewer has oodles of fun bits of beautiful fabric left over from another project, myself included. Well, all those bits can be put to good use with this fun and VERY versatile project: fabric butterflies.
I originally thought about making these butterflies to use as decorations on a wall. I'm always looking for inexpensive and fun ways to make my house pretty. (Especially after the major renovation we did because our house was completely ruined by water. I still don't have decorations on most of our walls.) But after making a few of these butterflies, I realized they could be used for much more than wall art. They are SO versatile. You can use them for everything from hair clips, to embellishing gifts, to placing on your walls, lampshades, or even putting in picture frames.

Want to make some too? (Caution: once you get started it's hard to stop - they're so easy and cute!)

Here's what you need:
- Pattern Pieces (download them here)
- Fusible Interfacing (I used Pellon Midweight)
- Small Scraps of Fabric (ANY fabric will work. I used linen, cotton, canvas, satin, knit, etc.)
- Felt (optional - you will need a tiny amount of felt if you want to add a tab to the back of your butterflies that allows them to easily be used as a hair clip)

Step 1: Prepare your pattern pieces by cutting them out. There are four different sizes you can layer together.

Step 2: Once you choose the size you want to make, cut a square of interfacing big enough to fit each size pattern piece you are using. (Hint: the interface square measurement is located on the downloadable pattern sheet.) You can also cut fabric slightly larger than the interfacing. Then iron the interfacing to your fabric per the manufacturer's directions. I went a little overboard and did LOTS of butterflies at the same time by just lining them up on the ironing board.
Step 3: Fold your interfaced fabric in half and place the butterfly pattern piece along the fold. Then cut around the piece. Because the pieces are so small, I didn't see a need to pin. You can just hold the piece firmly in place as you cut.

Step 4: Place the small cut out on top of the larger butterfly piece with right sides facing up on both pieces. Sew a basting stitch down the center from top to bottom. Back-stitch once or twice at the bottom to make sure the threads hold and then leave the threads long.
Step 5: Gathering the butterflies a little bit helps their wings 'pop' up a bit. To create the gathers, first tie a knot in the lower threads to further reinforce them and make sure they don't pull out. Then gently pull one of the upper threads to gather the butterfly slightly. Once it is gathered in the way you want, tie a double knot in the top threads to secure them. (You can sew a tighter stitch down the center if you'd like to but I found it held really well with the knots.)
The next step is optional. I added a small tab to the back of the tiniest butterflies in order to easily use them for hair clips or on gifts. You can skip this step if you plan on just using tape or a product like the 3M Command Strips to attach them to a wall.

Step 6: Cut a small rectangle out of felt. (Felt is perfect for the tabs because it does not fray and is soft against the head if you're making hair clips.) Fold the smaller fabric butterfly over to the other side so it's out of the way while you're sewing. Then place the tab on the wrong side of the larger butterfly wing and sew it down across each end. The threads will be hidden behind the wings of the smaller butterfly.
You can easily slip a barrette or bobby pin through the tab now. You could also use the butterfly on a headband, or slide ribbon through the tab to use when wrapping a gift. There are so many possibilities!
Now go bust through your fabric stash and make some amazing little butterflies! And please share them when you do, we'd love to see your creations.

Once I got started making them, I just couldn't stop! I put several of my sample sets up for sale in my Etsy store. Feel free to browse them for inspiration in pattern mixing and be sure to check out details on the blog of my soon-to-be-released pattern. I'm looking for testers now. All the details are here. Hmmm, maybe these butterflies would make a cute applique too! I'm telling you, the possibilities are endless!

Happy sewing!

1 comment:

  1. Love that butterfly and birdhouse wall in the girls' room! So adorable.


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