Friday, 30 May 2014

Made with Oakshott - the butterflies

Hello again, and thank you to everyone who wrote such kind comments on my post about designing the butterfly quilt.

I'm finally back to I show you my finished cloud of butterflies quilt. The good news is that I'm also going to give a short paper piecing tutorial and provide the measurements that you will need to create your own version of the Cloud of Butterflies quilt.

I was lucky enough to be sent a Lipari Moonlight Pack of Oakshott Cotton to play with. I had never sewn with Oakshott cotton before and have to say that it was an absolute dream to use for paper piecing. I can definitely see myself using Oakshott cottons again in the future!

The amazing sheen of the fabric lends itself perfectly to representing the delicacy of butterfly wings. I have previously sewn these butterflies using fussy cut prints, but I think you'll agree that the oakshott cottons add a whole new dimension- and just imagine this quilt in some of the other oakshott colours that are available- ooh I want to make one with the ruby bundle and a dark grey background too!

When it comes to paper piecing, I would encourage you to play around. Try different things, if my method doesn't work for you, I won't be offended, just please don't give up!

Try somebody else's method, they may be a bit more or less exact in their method or explain it in a way that makes more sense to you. There are lots and lots of different variations on paper piecing technique so its important to find the method that works for you.

I've broken my method down into a few basic steps. Its paper piecing at its most basic, but once you've mastered this you can refine the subtleties of your technique.

You can find my paper pieced butterfly pattern here. The first thing to do is to resize it. The original pattern creates a 5 inch finished block, so photocopy/ enlarge the pattern and print as shown below:

(I hope to alter the pattern in my Craftsy store and provide the complete quilt pattern soon, but in the meantime you will have to do this part yourselves)

You will need one 14 inch butterfly block (enlarged at 280%)
You will need two 12 inch butterfly blocks (enlarged at 240%)
You will need three 10 inch butterfly blocks (enlarged at 200%)
You will need four 8 inch butterfly blocks (enlarged at 160%)
You will need five 6 inch butterfly blocks (enlarged at 120%)

My patterns all include a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the paper pieces. Remember to cut your seam allowances down to 1/4 inch once you have enlarged the pattern pieces.

Ensure that you reduce the stitch size on your sewing machine. You want the stitches nice and small so that there are lots of perforations in the paper and it is easy to tear away at the end.

If you like, you can colour your pattern in or write notes to yourself on the pattern indicating which fabrics should be used where.

When making this quilt, I started by piecing the largest butterfly. The simple reason for this is that I  often to cut my fabric fairly generously and I knew that I would create quite a few scraps which could be reused on the smaller blocks in the quilt.

Measure and cut your first fabric piece to size. I tend to cut a rectangle that is it at least 1/2 inch bigger than the piece that I am working on. As I have already mentioned, I re-use many of the scraps that are trimmed away later in the quilt.

Place your paper pattern printed side down on the desk.

 Place your fabric right side up on top of the paper. (**Please note that with Oakshott fabrics there isn't a right and wrong side, but I am writing it this way for anybody who may decide to use this tutorial for printed fabrics**).

What you should pay attention to with Oakshott cotton is the orientation of the fabric. Because the warp and the weft threads are different colours, the light catches the fabric differently when it is rotated and can appear a different shade. I would encourage you to think about how and if you want to make use of this effect.

Now hold the pile of paper and fabric up to the light. Ensure that the fabric covers the edges of piece number one (which I have outlined in red in the picture) and overlaps by more than 1/4 inch in all directions. If the pattern piece that you are working on is at the edge of the page, your fabric should always cover the seam allowance and have a small amount of fabric overlapping the edge of the paper.

Pin the fabric in place with a single pin. I like to make sure that if I pin, the pin is well away from the line that I am going to sew.

Place your fabric for piece A2 right side down on top of fabric piece number A1. Now carefully lift the whole pile up to the light again. Check that the majority of the fabric is on top of piece number 1, but that the edge overlaps the printed line between piece number 1 and piece number 2 by about more than 1/4 inch.

In the diagram, I have outlined the fabric that I am using for piece A2 in blue and I have highlighted the line that I am going to sew in red. 

If you are unsure whether you are about to sew your seam correctly, gently fold the fabric for piece A2 over and check that it covers the paper shape A2 on all sides.

Carefully manoever your pile of fabric and paper into your sewing machine. You are going to sew down the line between part A1 and A2. Ensure that it is printed paper side UP and that none of the fabrics move as you position it in the machine.

Sew a straight line (again, make sure that you are using a short stitch length). Start exactly on the end of the line and if your fabric piece goes to the edge of the paper, keep sewing into the seam allowance, till the edge of the paper.

Anchor your stitches at both ends (we don't want it coming undone when you take the papers out do we!?)

Gently fold the fabric for piece A2 over. Hold it up to the light and ensure that it generously covers paper shape A2.
If it doesn't, CAREFULLY unpick.
If it does then unfold fabric piece A2.
Fold the paper back along the stitched line. Place your ruler along the seam and allowing a ¼ inch seam allowance, trim the edges.

(This step was especially important for this quilt as without it the colours from the dark oakshott cottons would seep through the cream background fabric.)

see how the darker fabric colours leach through if you don't trim your seam allowances!

Lay your paper flat again. Fold fabric piece A2 so that it covers paper shape A2 of the pattern and press it in position.

Repeat the basic process from "measure" (skipping over "the first piece") until you have pieced all the paper sections that you need for the quilt.

If you need some help accurately sewing you papers together, I have previously written some tips and tricks.

Sewing should be fun! If you are having one of those days where nothing works properly, take a step back, have a cup of tea and try again another day!


The finished quilt measures 48 x 60 inch.

The layout for my quilt was as follows:
Fabric Estimates:
I paired the Lipari Moonlight Bundle with about 2.75 metres of Kona Bone to create my quilt.

Exact fabric estimates are difficult to give for this quilt as different people produce differing amounts of waste fabrics when they paper piece. EQ7 suggests that you should have 3.5 metres of background fabric to produce this quilt, so use your judgement and if in doubt over estimate!

Cut fabric pieces as follows:
a= cut four pieces 3.5 inch x 6.5 inch
b= cut five pieces 2.5 inch x 8.5 inch
c= cut two pieces 2.5 inch x 10.5 inch
d= cut two pieces 4.5 inch x 10.5 inch
e= cut one piece 2.5 inch x 12.5 inch
f= cut two pieces 8.5 inch x 12.5 inch
g= cut two pieces 14.5 inch x 14.5 inch
h= cut five pieces 2.5 inch x  42.5 inch
i= border pieces measure 3.5 inch x 60 inch

For the binding you will need 5 width of fabric strips that are 2.5 inches wide. I used Kona Coal for my binding and love the way that it gives a simple and dramatic frame to this quilt.

I finished off the quilt by sewing the butterflies into rows, sewing all the rows together and then adding borders down the side.

Quilt, bind and enjoy your beautiful quilt!

My quilt was quilted for me by the ultra talented Leeanne- I love her work!


  1. So pretty. I just love the way the entire design flows. Thanks for sharing the pattern too.

    1. Thank you! I really enjoyed working on this quilt.

  2. Replies
    1. Thank you! The Oakshott fabrics are just wonderful to work with and so so pretty.

  3. I was looking forward to this finish; you've blown me away. It's stunning, especially with those Oakshotts. Great design and great tutorial.

  4. Oh my! This is lovely! It would make a wonderful present for a family member who adores butterflys! THANK YOU!

    1. Thank you.
      If you make one, I'd love to see it :-)

  5. Lovely design! I've used Oakshotts - they are nice to work with. There are some pictures of Lucy Boston inspired blocks on my blog - the minky colour around the outside of the blocks is an Oakshott. It is fine, but crisp.

    1. I totally agree, the Oakshott cottons are perfect for paper piecing.

  6. I saw your first post and was inspired to have a go but only got round to it yesterday. I have blogged about my first butterfly today and love your quilt so much I shall be making the whole thing. Whats more this quilt will be a keeper…for me! I shared my first butterfly on your Flickr pool too. Thank you for all your hard work!

  7. Your quilt is beautiful!!

  8. Replies
    1. Thank you! The sunshine came out in force for the photos and really helped bring out the beauty of the fabrics.

  9. Replies
    1. Thank you. I will admit that I was a bit hesitant about how these colours would work with this quilt, but I am super happy with the finished result.

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  11. So so was only half way through when you said you were lucky enough to be given the Oakshott that I realized it wasn't Lynne!

    1. I'll take that as a huge compliment so thank you :-)

  12. excellent tutorial, thank you! and The quilt is just amazing!!!

    1. Thank you. I hope it makes sense. If you need any help just give me a shout.


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