“Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly” This is a quote by Barbara Haines Howett that I love. The quote is quite inspirational. Butterfly is beautiful enough to warrant the contrast involved in the metamorphosis from a caterpillar to butterfly. With its beauty, a butterfly inspires us to hope for the better, even in dire circumstances. Butterfly embroidery is an attempt to recapture this vision on fabric.
Different ways to embroider a Butterfly
I will start with the regular embroidery filled butterfly. You can stitch your butterfly with any of the filling stitches ( see the other filling stitch options here – like satin stitch, french knot, blanket stitch).
First draw your design on the fabric with your favourite marking tool. I just drew the butterfly free hand. The faults of this are evident – a butterfly body ought to be symmetrical on both sides – mine seems to be different. Check out the different ways you can use to transfer embroidery patterns accurately
If you wants some simple images of butterflies you can check out this post on drawing butterflies here.
Start by filling the butterfly body – I am using long and short stitches with 6 strands of the embroidery thread.If you use one or two strands you will get a delicate needle painting look which is beautiful.
Most of the original butterflies have their wings outlined in black.So if you want some realism use black. If not, use any colour you want.
Ribbon embroidery butterfly
Mark 3 lines as in the picture below.
Using 1/4 inch ribbons make straight stitches along these lines.
Thread another ribbon on your needle and coming up from the middle of these stitches, Tie the three stitches with thread or ribbon.
Use thin ribbon for this. I used a wide ribbon and my butterfly looks like it has gone rogue. More of a wasp than a butterfly
You can do the same with embroidery thread.
Some simple straight stitches tied with a chain stitch make the cutest of butterfly embroidery.Simple is beautiful.
Cut out felt in the shape of a butterfly.Fold felt by the middle and cut away for symmetrical looking butterflies.
Attach seed beads in the middle for the body.Add a big bead as head and use bugle beads as the antenna.
Draw your butterfly and add the beads along the outline, just inside.
Make lazy daisy stitches over the beads as in the picture below.
Over this make another longer lazy daisy stitches.(Check out the tutorial for lazy daisy stitch here)
When the stitching is done, complete the wings with outline stitches and do the body.
Easy Felt Butterfly.
Cut out simple circles from felt. Make running stitches along the middle to gather them
Tie them up with the thread.Add the antennas as you attach it to the fabric.
This one is self explanatory. This tiny butterfly is made with bullion stitch and some sequins. Make the body with bullion stitch and then add a fly stitch as an antenna. Attach sequins as body
Check out this post on making a bullion stitch if you do not know how to.
Appliqued Butterfly embroidery
You can add a butterfly to your clothes by attaching other interesting fabric pieces as applique. Cut out the shape of the butterfly and then satin stitch along the edge to join it to the fabric. Learn how to machine applique and hand applique.
Butterfly embroidery – with embroidered patches
This is an embroidered patch attached to the fabric with the middle stitch filling the body. This is a nice 3 D butterfly embroidery.
Butterfly embroidery – with ribbons
To make this butterfly you need a piece of ribbon of width 1 1/2 to 2 inch.
Cut out the ribbons in the length equaling its width (square pieces) – you need 4 such pieces. Fix the edges from fraying with the flame of a candle or cigarette lighter.
Fold each piece by the middle diagonally.
Using a hand needle and thread make gathering stitches along the base.
Gather to form this petal shape – this is a wing of your butterfly. Make four of them and arrange them like the wings and stitch in place.
Like the picture below.Add small beads as the butterfly body. Make embroidery stitch or add a bigger bead as head.
Outline stitch Butterfly
Here I have completed the butterfly with bullion stitches – bullion stitch makes the outline pop out with a 3 D effect.
Updated on November 14, 2022 by Sarina Tariq