Butterfly Embroidery (10 ways to make beautiful designs)

butterfly embroidery

“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.

beads embroidered on painted butterfly

Different ways to embroider a Butterfly

Embroidered 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).

butterfly embroidery

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.

butterfly embroidery

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.

butterfly embroidery designs

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.

butterfly designs for embroidery how to do butterfly embroidery butterfly embroidery

Ribbon embroidery butterfly

butterfly embroidery

Ribbons are shining, vivid and vibrant. Butterflies are the same. So using ribbon embroidery stitches to make your butterfly is a no brainer.

butterfly embroidery design

Mark 3 lines as in the picture below. 

Using 1/4 inch ribbons make straight stitches along these lines.

make a butterfly embroidery do a butterfly embroidery

Thread another ribbon on your needle and coming up from the middle of these stitches, Tie the three stitches with thread or ribbon.

ribbon embroidery butterfly

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.

butterfly chain stitch

Felt butterfly

stitching beautiful butterflies o clothes stitch butterflies

Cut out felt in the shape of a butterfly.Fold felt by the middle and cut away for symmetrical looking butterflies.

sew butterflies

Attach seed beads in the middle for the body.Add a big bead as head and use bugle beads as the antenna.


beaded butterfly

Beaded butterfly

beaded butterfly

Draw your butterfly and add the beads along the outline, just inside.

butterfly design

Make lazy daisy stitches over the beads as in the picture below.

butterfly embroidery design

Over this make another longer lazy daisy stitches.(Check out the tutorial for lazy daisy stitch here)

butterfly design

When the stitching is done, complete the wings with outline stitches and do the body.

butterfly embroidering design

Easy Felt Butterfly.

felt butterfly

Cut out simple circles from felt. Make running stitches along the middle to gather them

butterfly embroidery butterfly embroidery

Tie them up with the thread.Add the antennas as you attach it to the fabric.

butterfly embroidery

Sequins butterfly

butterfly embroidery

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.

butterfly embroidery

Appliqued Butterfly embroidery

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

butterfly embroidery

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

Butterfly embroidery – with ribbons

To make this butterfly you need a piece of ribbon of width 1 1/2 to 2 inch. 

butterfly embroidery

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.

butterfly embroidery

Fold each piece by the middle diagonally.

butterfly embroidery

Using a hand needle and thread make gathering stitches along the base.

butterfly embroidery

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.

butterfly embroidery

Like the picture below.Add small beads as the butterfly body. Make embroidery stitch or add a bigger bead as head.

butterfly embroidery

Outline stitch Butterfly

If you want a simple butterfly design you can complete the butterfly entirely with outline stitches – like back stitch, split stitch, running stitch, chain stitch etc.

baby embroidery motifs

Here I have completed the butterfly with bullion stitches – bullion stitch makes the outline pop out with a 3 D effect.

butterfly embroidery


Related post : Peacock embroidery designs; Different embroidery flowers

Updated on November 14, 2022 by Sarina Tariq


Hi, I love sewing, fabric, fashion, embroidery, doing easy DIY projects and then writing about them. Hope you have fun learning from sewguide as much as I do. If you find any mistakes here, please point it out in the comments.

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