Saturday, January 17, 2015

Dancing Butterflies Quilt - Phase 1

Before Christmas, I won a copy of the Dancing Butterfly quilt from a drawing done by the pattern artist, Leah Day. I was so very excited! 

But I had a lot happening at the time. I was doing Bonnie Hunter's mystery quilt, Grand Illusion, on I was preparing to kick off my 2015 mystery quilt, Dazzle Burst on January 1st, in the Mystery Projects tab on the top of this page. The holidays took over. Needless to say, this project had to wait. 

Well, the waiting is over! Here's what happened  with it over the last few weeks. 

Early experimenting with fabrics. I was determined to use what I had in my stash! This was almost the way they would turn out. 

I changed up the look of the butterfly from the pattern because of the precut batik fabrics that I already had and chose to use. This was as big as the wings could be for me to get a pair out of those squares. 

Once the wings and body were cut, they were attached with fusible web.

Some of the blocks were to have the butterflies facing downwards. The way I could know which ones were to set up that way was by placing a pin in the bottom corner of those 4 blocks.

Butterflies need antennae! A simple template helped draw them in the same on each one. 

I had a huge spool of beautiful gray Isacord thread so that is what I chose to use for this project. It was a neutral that would match all of the butterflies and give the blocks a color connection. 

Appliqué requires satin stitching. I had four different width settings that I liked for the butterfly. The widest went around the wings. A narrower one went around the body. And two passes of the absolute smallest zig zag was perfect for the antenna. All of these setting numbers were written in the pattern book so I wouldn't forget how to make them the same on each block. The back of the block was covered with stabilizer to help keep the fabric flat. 

#1 of 12. So far, so good! The first one is always the hardest to get through. They were much easier to stitch after a few were done. A light press helped set the stitches and flatten any slight puckering.

Satin stitching one butterfly takes at least 20 minutes. This is not for the faint of heart! But the pile of them kept getting bigger and seeing another get finished motivated me to get them all done!

Here's my flutter! (Yes, I just learned that that is what you call a bunch of butterflies!)

Since there will be various free motion quilting on each of the 12 blocks, I wrote what design numbers  will go on each block in the upper left hand corner.

These numbers coordinated with the worksheets in the pattern book. 

All of the preparatory sewing is done. All 12 butterfly blocks are made. All 24 accompanying blocks are cut. Everything has been paired with backing blocks and made into quilt sandwiches and basted.

The next phase is practicing the free motion quilting designs so they become familiar enough to stitch onto the real blocks! That's when the magic really starts!

If you want this pattern, go to and buy it anytime you want! My mystery quilt can be found at the mystery projects tab on the top of this page. Happy sewing!


Susan Wharton said...

This is a great start. I love your smaller butterflies. It is a cute design change. I've only gotten 2-1/2 butterflies satin stitched. Mine are a chore and a trial to me. Everytime I change color and bobbin I have to readjust the tension or rethread the machine. I haven't decided what is helping, I have to run a new test everytime I change anything. Thanks for showing your process.

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog! From Cheri Wallace