using different techniques to create butterflies

Butterflies - appliqued verses embroidered


I've been playing around with applique and embroidery butterflies. I downloaded a couple of embroidered butterflies for my embroidery machine to get a feel of how different embroidery is to applique. Of course, I already know the main difference is to use threads for embroidery and fabric for applique, but today I decided to show you some different options for both.

Of course, applique is my go to, but many quilters are afraid to do it - but really there is nothing to be afraid of and one of my favorite things is, you can make it as simple or as difficult as you like. Here's an example....

yellow butterfly from Spring Life quilt pattern

This applique butterfly in my Spring Life pattern is only made up of 2-3 fabrics. It could be made up of lots of little bits or made as I have dividing up the wings using embroidered lines.

And you don't even need to embroider the lines, you could simply use a fabric pen to draw them in.... or use a combination of both stitching and fabric pen.

using a fabric pen to color in the outlines on a butterfly wing

Here is another applique butterfly that is stitched using free motion.

free motion butterfly with free instructions

I have free instructions in my library on how to make this. You can find them here: Butterfly Instructions

Then we have a fully embroidered butterfly that is stitched out on my embroidery machine. I purchased a couple of designs only to be confronted with the amount of time it was going to take me to transfer the files to my machine without a data stick (this was the first time to attempt this), hence I needed to go to plan B to get this post completed in time. Plan B was to used one of the files already in my machine - fortunately there was a very nice butterfly to stitch out.

machine embroidered butterfly

The fun thing about this embroidery is, I could actually add different fabrics to applique it as I went (need to discover more about this technique before actually doing it - perhaps another blog post in the future!) ....and because of the nature of this embroidery where not all the fabric is covered, I could grab my fabric pens and do a little coloring as I did for the applique butterfly from my Spring Life pattern.

machine stitched embroidery with fabric pen coloring

I think the one big difference between the two styles is that embroideries have a size limit. You can only stitch as large as the hoop you have - of course, there are probably larger hoops you can purchase but I am only using the hoops that came with my machine.

On the other hand, I could easily stitch this on solvy (an interfacing that washes out) and then add it to a quilt. There are so many ideas and lots of playing to be had. I'm really anxious to explore these various types of embroidery and applique, will you join me?

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