Tuesday, May 24, 2016


Hi friends.  A couple of weeks ago, I started working on a new quilt - hand applique butterflies.  I know it's a big project, but I love that it's portable until the blocks are all sewn together. 

I like to use freezer paper when I do hand applique.  That means cutting each piece from freezer paper (which I do in multiples) - I fold the paper twice, trace the pattern as many times as will fit on the folded sheet, then staple the center of each & cut them out.  I iron the shiny side to the wrong side of the fabric & cut those out with an additional 1/4" seam allowance.  I don't measure that, just guess.  Then I clip any curves and glue the seam allowance to the freezer paper with a washable fabric glue. 

For this quilt, I just pulled scraps from my stash.  I only needed enough to have matching upper or lower wings, but I cut both from many of the fabrics.  I am not putting any of the same upper and lower fabrics together on the same block.  This picture just shows some of the pieces.  These are prepped, but not sewn yet.  The stack in the lower left is just a small amount of wings that I've paired upper & lower. 

I also needed to choose background fabrics for the blocks and I don't want to use 2 the same.  The finished blocks will be 9", so I'm starting with 10" blocks, & will trim any extra off to 9-1/2" after the butterflies are sewn on.  That will allow for any variance if my stitching is tighter on any blocks. 

The plan is to make 90 blocks (9 x 10).  I think I have enough wings cut & prepped, but still need to choose more backgrounds.  As you can see from the pictures, I'm using both light and dark fabrics for the wings as well as the backgrounds. 

I made a basic template block from paper with the butterfly drawn on, so I can put it on my light table, lay the fabric on top & glue the wings down.  This way I can be sure that I have the butterflies centered on the blocks.  I roughly timed how long it takes to stitch all the wing pieces on & that was about an hour. 

Once the wings are stitched (blind stitch by hand), then I cut out the backing, leaving the seam allowance.

I then soak the block in warm water for a couple of minutes and pull out the paper. 

Once the block is dry, it gets pressed and is ready for the butterfly body. 
I haven't sewn any of the bodies on yet, but the process will be the same as the wings. 

Thanks so much for joining me today.  I hope you'll follow along on this journey.  I'll try to post more pictures as I go along. 

1 comment:

Sharon Madson said...

Your quilt is going to be wonderful! I can't believe the time it will take you! I love to hand quilt, or used to anyway. But I was never good at the piecing. I will want to see this one completed! Hugs Melody!