Sunday, August 31, 2014

My Paper Pieced Butterfly Challenge

Now for something a little creatively different.

My very talented friend Juliet from TartanKiwi, designs the most amazing paper pieced patterns. She set a challenge a wee while ago and I signed up tentatively. I've never ever done anything quite like this and I'm not a quilter (still haven't made one!!) and I don't sew very much at all but I love creating, love this pattern and had ogled at Juliet's cushion on her couch a couple of times!  
She told me I could make my own ;-)so I made plans to!

She issued the challenge to change it up a bit, I know she was probably 99% referring to the PATTERN, but since I was more than a bit frightened of this paper piecing business I decided to make a the simple 5 " butterfly pattern, enlarge it to 200% and embellish by free-hand stitching with gold & blue metallic threads and beadwork clusters and lines. 

I did the whole thing with my trusty old sewing scissors as I don't currently have a cutting mat to use my cutter on! So its certainly not perfect on the back, but it can be done! When I held it up to the light you can see how all the intricate pieces are sewn together, with just one bit to trim. This image was taken after I removed all the paper.

I looked at lots of tutorials and watched a few youtube videos and then was confident to try! There were lots and lots and LOTS of unpicking, cutting off the wrong pieces by mistake (only did that once!) and sewing the wrong sides of the fabric together! The white background fabric pattern was very tricky to see the pattern when sewing in brilliant sunshine! 

I fussy cut the panels of the upper butterfly wings trying to get the circles perfectly lined up, and the body of the butterfly. I loved this peacock print range, the intricate designs and beautiful blues, greens, purples and gold hues suited a butterfly design perfectly.

And I put the strength of the stitches to the test and those teeny tiny pieces of fabric through the wringer by using my embroidery hoop over and over as I did my stitching. 
It all held together - YAY! I was able to find everything I needed from my mum's stash for my beadwork and stitching.

 I also had a go and made my own freehand paper pieced patterns for the back panel of the cushion, again doing fussy cut for those triangles. They remind me of the 'eyes' commonly seen on a butterflies wings.

Then decided to do a random freehand quilt pattern for the top half of the envelope back. I made it up as I went.

When the sunshine hits the free-hand gold hand stitched thread its quite divine! I wanted to emulate the intricate designs of a real butterflies wing, tying in with the beautiful pattern that Juliet designed.

I throughly enjoyed the whole process, took hours and hours on top of the fabric sewing with all the beadwork and hand stitching, but it was a wonderful investment of my time. From a distance and also from up close its a pleasure to look at.

So now I'm hooked!! I LOVE paper piecing, have already downloaded several patterns to make. Who knew it would be so easy, it really really was! I've also signed up to the #igminiquilt swap so can see a paper pieced quilt on the horizon too!

Thanks Juliet for issuing the challenge, I enjoyed learning a new skill and doing a bit of handwork again and I FINISHED a project!
( And I hope its unique enough to build up my stash )

x Gill

( Excuse all the crazy colours & contrasts, photos taken on different days with different camera's & light levels )

The Tartankiwi