Friday, September 1, 2017

Let's Make Butterfly Blocks: Kaleidoscope of Butterflies 20

It's time for another Kaleidoscope of Butterflies linkup. Last month I decided to make some butterfly blocks. Simple ones. I've looked at them for years and have a Pinterest board here if you'd like more information. Cathy has also made several darling variations.

At first glance, many of the simple butterfly blocks look alike but close observation reveals variations. The low angle wings on Yoko Saito's signature quilt {second photo down} create a curved effect. I'm sure these are larger blocks simply because of the room needed for those signatures. {What a beautiful quilt this would make for a reunion.} I like the four-inch size of Rita's blocks but also prefer the way the wings don't reach the corner on Mrs. Schmenkman's six-inch block. The wings on her five-inch version at the end of her tutorial are farther from the corner.  Fussy, aren't I?

Of course, what I prefer may not be your choice. Use any butterfly pattern you like or make your own as I have here. The only person you need to please is yourself.

Four-inch Butterfly blocks with straight and tapered bodies

So I drafted my own blocks. In addition to low angle wings I also wanted to consider is whether or not to taper the body. I've seen this on some dragonfly blocks but none of butterflies. My tapered body changes from one-half-inch to a quarter-inch. Here are my templates with two wing angles and changing bodies. Download and print them if you wish. Each butterfly should measure four-inches finished so check your printing before use. You can always draft your own or use the angles on your rulers. FYI: Rita's butterfly wings have a 30-degree angle.

Straight Bodies

The straight bodies are easier because left and right sides are the same as are all four background pieces.

1. Cut body strips 1" x WOF. Subcut into 4.5" lengths.
2. Cut background pieces 2.25" x WOF.
3. Cut pairs of wing pieces 4.5" x 2.25".
4. Place wing and background fabric wrong sides together.
5. Cut out the numbered templates for the one wing and one background piece. Place them on appropriate fabric and cut two mirror-imaged wings and four backgrounds ADDING seam allowances.

Cutting fabric with paper templates

5. Place backgrounds on wings right sides together and sew with quarter-inch seams.
6. Press seam allowances towards the wings.

7. Trim each wing set to 4.5" x 2.25" centering the wings in the lengthwise direction while also making sure seams are the same distance from short edges on both sets.

8. Sew narrow side of wings to each side of a body.
9. Press seams towards body. Seam allowances meet at center of body.

Butterfly block with straight body

Tapered Bodies

Working these out took several iterations. I never could get it to finish to size with templates as such. So here's what I finally did.

1. Cut tapered center body strip from overall sketch. Use with wing and background templates from straight body butterfly.
2. Cut body fabric into strips 4.5" x WOF.
3. Place tapered body on fabric and cut, adding seam allowances. Rotate body 180 degrees to utilize fabric most efficiently.

Cutting tapered butterfly bodies

4. Cut wing fabric 5.0" by 2.5" and place wrong sides together. Notice the unit is a half-inch larger than the straight set.
5. Cut background fabric 2.5" by WOF and keep with wrong sides together.
6. Using straight wing template, center on appropriate fabric, and cut pairs with added seam allowances.
7. Using straight background template, center on appropriate fabric, and cut two pairs with added seam allowances.

Laying the templates for cutting 

8. Place backgrounds on wings right sides together and sew with quarter-inch seams.
9. Press seam allowances towards the wings.

Wing seams pressed in and spread

Looking at the photo above, it's easy to see why the templates were cut oversized. Trimming a bit off each side will square the block up in the end.

10. Trim each wing set to 5.0" x 2.5" or at least straighten the inside of the wing set. Then carefully center the wing to be trim to 4.5" but only trim the bottom end of each wing set (the part that will start at the narrow end of the butterfly body. In my photo that's about 7/8" from the inside edge of the wing. Do not trim the other side yet!

11. Starting at the narrow end of the body, align wing sets and sew. Be sure to sew from the narrow end of the body because the taper causes the wings to spread. Sewing from the wide end will make the resulting block too short! See above photos.

12. Press seams towards body. Trim to 4.5" square block. All four sides will need a slight trim, so center the ruler along the center axis of the body. For a 4.5" block, that's 2.25".

Butterfly with tapered body ready to trim

Seam allowances overlap near bottom of body.

Four butterflies with tapered bodies

The blue butterflies wings are centered better than the orange ones now that I've figured out how to trim them before sewing to the body (steps 10-11.)

This is the first group of fabrics I've pulled for these blocks. The grey is the background for the straight bodies while the green is the background for the tapered ones. On the left are wing fabrics that look good on both backgrounds. On the right, the top set will make wings for the green while the bottom set looks better on the grey.

Butterfly fabric choices

Bhavna Mehta

Have you seen Bhavna's work recently? A fine artist who works in paper and embroidery, she recently combined art and social justice in a very creative manner. Monthly this year she sells a First Gift whose proceeds are all donated to a specific non-profit. And look! Several of them include Monarch butterflies!

I'm impressed with her savvy solution to the constant requests for artists to donate work for auctions. In the US at least, the artist gets only a minimal amount of tax write-off and undersells herself on the open market but devaluing her work. Read one of many articles here. Bhavna's method allows artists to maintain a respectable price and generously fund social justice. Artists deserve financial justice.

Enjoy the day, Ann

InLinkz removed because it was hacked.


Lisa J. said...

Very Cute butterflies.

Janie said...

Wonderful idea and perfect fabric.
Thanks for hosting Kaleidoscope of Butterflies 20.

Mystic Quilter said...

You have gathered a bright collection of fabrics for the butterflies Ann. Although I was going to join in with you, for reasons on my last blog post I will have to pass I'm afraid.

Ann said...

Thanks, Lisa.

Ann said...

I'm the laggard. It's time I made a butterfly quilt.

Ann said...

When I read about your injury I was certain you would not be able to participate. Although to completely stay away from fabric, I'd need "cones of shame" on both hands. That's from the movie, Up. Haha.

Cathy said...

Cute butterflies and wonderful fabric choices. Thanks for sharing the pattern.

Ann said...

Thanks, Cathy. It's a variation of the many simple butterflies out there. Everyone likes certain things so I hope people are encouraged to make their own adjustments.
Your little waste butterflies are fabulous.