Saturday, 17 November 2012

#2 Butterfly Quilt - Techniques and Construction

Butterfly Quilt English Piecing Blocks
English Paper Piecing the Butterfly Quilt

The Butterfly Quilt was hand pieced, using the English Paper Piecing Method.  This involves tacking each piece of fabric over a paper template, to give it shape and structure, and then sewing the pieces together.  I tend to leave all the paper in until the top is complete, again, to keep its structure.  I find that this method leaves me with a dead flat top at the end. 

This was a great project.  I spent hours playing with fabrics from my stash and choosing the colour combinations.  It was a great portable project too.  I used my train journey to work to cover paper templates and piece blocks, and it went on many car journeys, as well as holidays to Amsterdam, France and the USA.  This is where all the action took place, and without a fuss, quietly the blocks came together. Once the blocks were together I decided it needed a border to frame it.  I pieced 2.5” x ¾” strips together out of the scraps, and that made up the border, along with calico borders. In a large quilt like this, don’t underestimate how long it will take to remove the paper templates!  For the back of the quilt, I used the same cream calico as on the front.
Before I put the sandwich together I needed to add the 64 antennae. The antennae of the butterflies are hand embroidered, using a backstitch, in a regular stranded embroidery cotton.

The wadding in the middle is 100% polyester.  All I remember about it is that I wanted one piece of wadding, and with the large quilt, my choices were limited.  I had also previously had a BAD experience hand quilting cotton wadding, which ‘bearded’ on a navy background, so I knew I wanted to give that a wide berth.  Having used the quilt daily for several years, I still really like the feel of it.
When it came to the quilting, I knew I wanted to hand quilt it, but I didn’t know where to start.  As the top gradually came together, I knew I had to do something about it, so I booked onto a
Sandie Lush Hand Quilting Workshop, at Busy Bees, in Newport. That was a brilliant class, and I left with the confidence to start quilting the Butterflies Quilt.  I didn’t know what to quilt on it, so I made up my own pattern (not without MUCH deliberation), having outlined the butterflies, and ‘stitched in the ditch’ of their bodies.  I remember quilting this quilt quite distinctly. It was July and August in 2006.  It was HOT.  And I was underneath a quilt, hand quilting.  I was quilting to a deadline – I had entered it into the NEC Festival of Quilts in Birmingham, so it had to be done, ready for delivery in August.  Without the deadline, I think I would have done more quilting on it. 
Butterfly Block Scrap Quilt
Example of Butterfly Quilt Block
Once complete, I washed it in the washing machine.  I had been dragging this quilt around with me everywhere for a couple of years.  The cat had regularly sat on it whilst I quilted, and the heat of the summer meant that more recently, it had taken the brunt of my perspiration.  It washed up a treat on a 40 degree wash, and luckily the sun remained out long enough for it to dry outside on the washing line. However, almost immediately, it was packed up and taken to the depot where they were collecting the quilts for the show.  I was missing it already.
Further information about the Inspiration Behind the Butterfly Quilt can be seen in earlier posts.


  1. Wonderful to see how you EPP'd this one - so lovely! I love EPP and find this inspiring that you joined so many different shapes successfully this way - fabulous! So glad I discovered your work.

  2. do you have a tuto for this wonderful butterfly ? i meaan the dimanesions of each piece ?

    ty for answering me @

    1. The pattern is in the New England Quilt Museum book,