I'm going to share how to make the basic butterfly, without specifying how to make the wing markings. I've just been playing around with my scraps, sewing scraps together then cutting down to the right size base sections J and I. Go ahead and just play with your scraps and see what you end up with!
The block will measure 12" finished (12 1/2" unfinished). For a single block you will need:
- 6 - 2 1/2" squares A
- 2 - 4" squares B
- 2 - 3 1/2" squares C
- 2 - 2" squares D
- 2 - 1 1/2" x 5 1/2" E
- 1 - 1 1/2" x 4" F
- 1 - 1 1/2" x 2" G
- 1 - 1 1/2" x 7 1/2" H
- 2 - 6" x 7 1/2"J
- 2 - 5" x 5 1/2" I
Step 1: Draw a diagonal line, corner to corner, on the wrong side of each square.
Step 2: Sew F and G to the ends of H as shown below.
Step 3: Position squares A on the wing base sections J and I as shown below, right side down and with the drawn lines running across the corners. Notice that the right wing will be a mirror image of the left wing. You'll need to keep track and make sure the squares are in the correct corners. I didn't the first time and ended up wielding my trusty seam ripper.
|Close-up view of A sewn to J|
Step 4: Trim fabric from the corners, 1/4" away from the sewn diagonals.
Step 5: Press the background fabric into the corners.
Step 5: Position squares B and C on the wing base sections as shown below, right sides down and with the drawn lines running across the corners. Again, take care to make the wings on the right side a mirror image of the wings on the left side. Sew along the drawn lines. Now sew 1/2" away from the drawn line, on the corner side, to gain two bonus HST units.
Step 6: Trim away the corner fabric by cutting between the sewn lines. The corner fabric will open up to a bonus HST square to use in another project.
|Bonus HST units|
Step 9: Sew each lower wing to the corresponding upper wing, as shown below.
Step 10: Sew the wings to either side of the body to complete the block.
This is the basic method for making my butterfly block. You can choose to make the bases for the wing sections any way you choose.
Just a few more thoughts about the two butterflies I've made so far.
Purple butterfly details
When I made the purple butterfly, I had a lot of assorted squares and strings. I pieced squares in rows to make two sections a little larger than were needed for the upper wing base sections, then trimmed them down to the required 6" x 7 1/2" size. I sewed strings of assorted widths together to make base sections with the strings running vertically, and trimmed those down to the required size for the lower wing base sections. You'll notice I didn't pay attention to making the right side wings match the left side ones.
Aqua butterfly details
For the aqua butterfly, I decided I wanted the wings to match. This required piecing the base sections as mirror images of each other. The lower wing base sections were string pieced with the strings running diagonally, then trimmed to size.
I made the upper wings by sewing strips sets, subcutting them on an angle , shifting the sub-cut strips before sewing them back together then cutting my base section H out of that. I actually had 5 colors in my strip set, but adding the background over the corners hid two of the colors. From now on I will remember not to bother piecing anything interesting in 3 of the 4 corners, because they will just be cut off in the end!
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