Sometimes when I look through my pattern collection, I find incredibly ancient patterns, crinkly and yellowed with age. I hate to throw any of them out, because I have found that if you hold onto them long enough, they start looking good again!
I recently found just such an ancient pattern–McCalls 6355–that featured all sorts of frilly little projects such as pillows, pincushions, and lacy sachets. It included pretty little butterfly bookmarks–one large and one small–and I decided to use a piece of floral silk to make them.
The fabric came from an old silk skirt I had purchased at a rummage sale for a dollar. The silk was beautiful, but the skirt–a wraparound–never felt comfortable, as it always threatened to blow open at the slightest breeze!
You’ll see a square of plain blue silk in the photo below, but I found that it made a really plain-looking, rather stark, butterfly. Of course you don’t have to use silk fabric. The original pattern called for a cotton print, and you could use a length of narrow cotton lace instead of ribbon.
I gathered together the silk, some scraps of fusible webbing, embroidery floss, an embroidery needle, 1/4″ ribbon, and some sharp scissors. I also found a piece of cardboard to trace the pattern onto. The idea is to take two squares of silk and to fuse them together, cutting out the pattern from the fused silk.
Here is the pattern. Highlight it in order to print. I am never sure how patterns come out on different browsers, so as a guidelines, the larger butterfly is 3-3/4″ across at its widest point, and the smaller butterfly is 2-7/8″ at its widest point.
Cut two squares of silk and one square of fusible webbing for each butterfly. The easiest way to cut out the squares is to make two little paper patterns–one 4 x 3″ and the other 3-1/4 x 2-1/2. Sandwich the webbing between the silk squares, and iron the layers together. I set my iron onto its “silk” setting. (One pitfall–be sure the webbing isn’t larger than the silk, because it could melt onto your iron.)
I had made cardboard patterns from the tissue paper, because they are much easier to handle and draw around. I placed the cardboard pattern onto the fused silk, and drew around it with a ballpoint pen.
With three strands of the embroidery floss, use the afghan stitch to embroider around the butterfly. I advise practicing the stitch on a scrap of fabric before starting on the butterfly. When beginning to embroider, make a tiny knot, and trim off any tail–then begin embroidering. End off by bringing the floss through three or four stitches on the reverse side.
Cut a 12″ length of ribbon, and tack onto the butterfly as shown. Trim the bottom edge to a point.
And here are a few goldfinch photos–four of them visited today.
This last little finch was to cute not to include! Take care, Fran