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Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Origami Butterfly Tutorial

Want to make your own fabric butterfly? Okay, let's get started...

You will need:

rotary cutter and quilters ruler and mat (ideal but not essential)
2 x pieces of fabric cut to a 3:4 ratio (e.g. 9 cm x 12 cm)
a sewing machine
sharp scissors
a chop stick or other turning tool
hand sewing needle, threaded and knotted and ready to go
thread to match your fabric

Accurate cutting and evenly spaced seam allowances are key to this all working nicely. A rotary cutter is a big help if you have one.

Sew a box as pictured above, leaving a gap in the middle of one long edge.

Trim the corners, being careful not to snip into the stitching. This will make your butterfly have nice neat points on the wings. Use a chop stick to help you turn the fabric out the right way. Gently ease the corners out even more with a pin if you think they need it. Press. Sew up the gap, using blind stitches with the hand sewing needle and thread. If you are feeling lazy, it is possible to skip this step, as long as you don't have too big a gap and the pressing has been done.

Fold the rectangle in half.

Fold it in half again.

Finger press as you go, and keep adjusting the work at each step to check the corners are all matching up nicely.

Holding three corners in place, lift the top corner and bring it across to form a triangle.

Flip the work over, and it should look like this.

This is where it starts getting fiddly (and I was wishing I'd used a bigger rectangle to demonstrate with!). Bear with me...

You want to create the same triangle shape on the other side, so, pinching the centre seams together, bring the other (what is now the top corner) over and squash the fabric into a triangle shape like you did before.

It should look like this. At this stage, take some time to readjust the work - make sure the centre folded edges are matching together, and, that the long base line on each triangle is running parallel to the two short edges of the rectangles you can see in this picture.

Now you are going to create the body of the butterfly. I find this easier to do with fabric than with paper, as you can spend time adjusting it and getting the two sides even.

Push one of the inner corners of one rectangle so that it looks like this. Hold it firmly in place (yes, you could do with extra fingers!) and do the same to the other side.

Hopefully, your work looks like this...

Holding onto all the different bits so they don't spring open, lift one top corner and fold it down like so.

Do the same to the other side.

Bring the bottom corners down and pinch them together to form the body.

Grab your hand sewing needle again and put a few tiny stitches into the body to hold it all in place.

Ta dah!

There are loads of ways you could use these butterflies...

The Cupboard Under the Stairs (aka The Indoor Garden)
Vintage silks used to make an arrangement to brighten up a windowsill or dull corner of the house

I hope this tutorial works for you - please do share your creations so we can all admire and be inspired. I'm on Twitter as @kitchentablesew and the hash tag is #OrigamiButterflies.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Love this make, great for using up my ever-growing box of scrap fabric!
    1 Question: How do you make this into a necklace (on a chain)? Where are the attachment point(s)?