Monday 1 September 2014

Origami Fabric Butterflies from Across the Pond

Summer is drawing to a close and with it comes the end of the sights and sounds of summer.  But never fear - there is a way to keep hold of the beauty of summer all year round with this month's Across the Pond sew-along project – fabric origami butterflies. 
Creating these beautiful insects is very simple - all it requires is a couple of pieces of fabric, some folding and pressing and a few stitches to help the butterfly keep its shape.
I used the paper origami tutorial by Ralph Matthews.   
Large and Small Butterfly
Start with two fabric rectangles per butterfly.  For the large butterfly I cut two 6½” x 5” rectangles and for the smaller butterfly the rectangles measured 4½” x 3½”. 

With right sides together stitch the two rectangles together using a ¼” seam but leave a small gap in the middle of one of the long seams for turning.  Clip the corners and turn the rectangle right-side-out.  (A chopstick is very good for pushing the corners out.) You can either slip-stitch the opening closed or do as I have done and topstitch all the way around the rectangle, close to the edge.  Press.

From hereon it is simple – follow the origami instructions and press as you go along.  Once your butterfly is complete, stitch the wings together along the centre as indicated by the arrow:
A couple of stitches in the underside of the wings will help
the butterfly hold its shape

I added two short lengths of knotted ribbon to mimic antennae, stitching them in place with a couple of stitches. 

These colourful fabric embellishments are so much fun and they can be used in so many ways.  Pop over to Susie’s Sunroom to see how she used her butterflies and then pop over to Amy made That to see her stylish turquoise butterfly and some colourful butterfly projects. 

What did I do with mine?    The little one is a book-mark fitting neatly onto the corner of my current notebook ..... 
Butterfly Bookmark
... whilst the larger butterfly seems more at home amongst the flowers, as a plant stick.  This was easily achieved by inserting the blunt end of a cane skewer into the fold of the butterfly and stitching it in place.    (I am thinking this would make a lovely gift - especially if accompanied by a Butterfly Patch mug rug.)
Butterfly Plant Stick

You could even pop one into the corner pocket of my Butterfly Pocket Mug Rug:
Butterfly Pocket Mug Rug Pattern

Until next time ...... 


  1. So cute! Thank you for sharing xx

  2. How very clever! Love these little flutterers. I wonder what other origami sculptures might be fun in fabric.

  3. Amazing and adorable, who'd a thought?

  4. Nice! As usual I'm thinking, yes I can do some. So we'll see :)

  5. Your butterflies are sew colorful and beautiful! The little antennae are totally perfection, and really make these butterflies come to life! How clever!! And, I love the little itty bitty one, too.It is a perfect bookmark! I have made your patchwork butterfly mug rug and know it is a wonderful gift... to cheer up anyone!

  6. How fun the antennae with ribbons! And the colours are perfect too! I haven't understood how you've sewn the wings down: did you sew from the side or underneath? I can't see the stitching from the photo...

    1. I added a few stitches from underneath - it is very easy to catch the wings by stitching in the underside of the fold.

    2. Thank you for the extra explanation. I will definitely be trying this out!

  7. I really enjoyed making a little butterfly, once you'd assured me that they really ARE fun to make! The little ribbons for antennae are a brilliant idea!

  8. So cute! Can't wait to try this. But I don't see sharp corners in your butterflies. Did you kind of round them when you sewed the two rectangles together?

    1. If only I was that conscientious Kathy! I didn't round the corners intentionally and I stitched them as corners but I didn't push them out tightly for fear of pushing through the stitching. It left the corners slightly rounded. I have looked at Amy's butterfly on Amy Made That and her corners are much sharper.

    2. LOL, I do the same thing! I'm currently making little drawstring pouches for shower favors and I hate to even snip corners for fear I'll break the stitching.