Butteryfly Efforts


I’ve been trying to do butterflies for an art quilt. Her are some I made during a class I took with Christine Fries. They’re gorgeous! But somehow I didn’t have quite so much luck at home. These are made using Sulky water-soluble stabilizer (top and bottom) over two layers of fabric. Put the “sandwich” in a hoop and thread paint, mainly using metallic threads. Wash off the goopy stabilizer (I really don’t like this product), and you’re done.

For some reason, I wasn’t having good luck trying this process at home. You begin by tracing the butterflies onto the Sulky stabilizer. using a Sharpie. Then you outline the butterflies with a ziz-zag stitch. I just wasn’t happy with my outlines. I do have a relatively new machine, and I probably needed to play with it some more … but I finally abandoned the project.

So I’ve recently discovered the Sulky stabilizer that is heat sensitive. It is a great product. Easy to use and just melts away when you’re done. I thought it would be my answer to the butterfly problems. However … it is very bumpy and difficult to trace onto. Also, it is much lighter than the Sulky soluble and not as stable to sew with. Sigh. I couldn’t get my fabric to fit very tightly in my hoop. Once again, I abandoned my butterflies.

Time to try something totally different. I wanted to use fusible web, but I didn’t have any in the house. I did have some fusible interfacing, but unfortunately not the nice kind (like Wonder Under). This is fusible interfacing. I copied my butterfly designs (these are all courtesy of Christine Fries, by the way) onto the non-fusible side of the interfacing. I fused the interfacing onto muslin. I fused more interfacing onto the back of the muslin — and hoped this would be stable enough for me to sew on. I then used my Fabrico markers and colored in my butterflies.

So here’s the final product. I thread painted the butterfly using three colors of polyester thread. I was most of the way through the butterfly when I realized I needed more stabilizer, so I just added a sheet of Sulky tear-away to the back. As a final step, I ziz-zaged black around the outside, as well as the body in the center. The butterflies will be on a black background, so the zig-zag stitch on the outside should not be visible. I carefully cut it out.

I’m going to do some beading and embellishing on the butterfly. I think I’ll do some more ornate thread painting on the other butterflies, but I wanted to try a simple one to make sure the whole process would work. I’m glad it finally did!


3 responses »

  1. You may also want to try Pellon 541 Wash-N-Gone. It is a fabric type stablizer that will wash out once you are finished doing your sewing. You will have to experiment with it as well because it is rather thin and you may need 2 or 3 layers depending on what you are doing. I’ve seen some good results from this product since up here the Sulky stabalizer is getting harder to find because the Canadian distributor closed up shop and it now all comes from the states and they aren’t shipping it as frequently so the shops are having a hard time getting it.


  2. I haven’t heard of this. Do you just rinse it off under the tap? Also, does it get slimy like the Sulky product? I’ll look for it in the U.S. next time I’m at Joann’s. Thanks for the info.

  3. I checked wth Bernice since she used it for her embroidery classes in the fall. You soak it for a few minutes in cold water and it simply dissolves, no real slimy residue from it.

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