September 10, 2010

Little Butterfly Shirt: Tutorial

So, after having a bit of interest in my little butterfly shirt, here's the tutorial so you can make one for your little butterfly too!


Materials Needed:
  • One plain t-shirt, singlet or long sleeved t-shirt
  • Three small pieces of different patterned fabric for butterfly applique (scraps are great!)
  • A 30cm x 20cm piece of tulle
  • Double sided fusible applique webbing
  • 10cm x 10cm piece of medium weight fusible interfacing or tear away stabiliser (to enable embroidery on a stretch t-shirt)
  • Scrap paper to draft your butterfly wings
  • Coordinating Embroidery thread and needle
  • Coordinating Sewing Thread
  • Coordinating ribbon (15cm length)
  • Sew-on or glue on sequins in a coordinating colour
  • Disappearing ink/washout fabric marker


Step 1:  Draft simple shapes on paper, and then from your fusible applique webbing cut out:
  • 2 x large wings 
  • 2 x small wings 
  • 1 x butterfly body 
Step 2:  Place cut out webbing pieces onto the wrong side of your chosen fabrics and fuse following the manufacturers instructions.  The paper side of your webbing should be facing up.  You should be able to iron over the paper in order to fuse your webbing, however, do follow the instructions on the product you're using. 

Step 3: Cut your fabric pieces around the outside of your paper so that you have the following:
  • 2 x large wings  (fabric 1)
  • 2 x small wings (fabric 2)
  • 1 x butterfly body (fabric 3)
The right side of the fabric wing should look like this:

The wrong side should look like this: 

Step 4:  Lay your pieces onto the right side of your t-shirt front and position in the centre so that the wings and body overlap slightly.

Step 5:  Peel off the backing paper and iron on each part of your butterfly, doing the large wings first, then the small wings and finally the body.  (NB:  You are ironing on the right side of your t-shirt and butterfly wings.  Remember to use a heat setting suitable for your t- shirt too, not just your applique fabric).

Step 6:  Decide on a  method of stitching.  I fused a sample wing to some scrap fabric and tried out a few different stitches.  You could choose a hand running stitch, blanket stitch, straight machine stitch or something else you prefer.  I preferred the look of a plain straight stitch on the machine.

Step 7:  Using your desired stitch, sew around the border of each wing and butterfly body in a coordinating thread.

Step 8:  Using a disappearing ink fabric marker, sketch two antennae on your shirt.  (If you're using a soft and stretchy t-shirt material, you may need to fuse a piece of interfacing or tear away stabiliser on the wrong side of the fabric behind the antennae to enable you to embroider them neatly).  

Step 9:  Embroider your antennae using a backstitch or stem stitch with a coordinating thread.


Step 10:  Take your piece of tulle and handsew or glue a few sequins along the left and right borders (leave the centre of the piece free for gathering and sewing).

Step 11:  Take your piece of embellished tulle and pinch at the centre.
Step 12:  Sew along the pinched and gathered centre with your sewing machine.  Reinforce it a few times to ensure it's secure.

Step 13:  Wrap a small length of ribbon around the centre and pin in place.  Sew this piece of ribbon around it's border to secure.  You're nearly there!  Now you just need to attach your wings.

Step 14:  Pin and sew your completed wings onto the centre back of your little butterfly shirt, sewing over the same stitching line around the border of the ribbon.

Hooray!  You're done!  The front of your shirt should now look something like this:

And the back like this:

Step 15:  Find a sweet little butterfly to wear your new creation!

Happy dress-ups!


  1. Thanks so much, Gret. What a fabulous tutorial -very easy to follow. My daughter will love it. J x

  2. That's the sweetest! Your tutorials are always so clear and very, very welcome. x

  3. Wow Gret, this is just gorgeous, is that your little girl? She is beautiful and her little outfit is divine!
    Best wishes and thanks for the tutorial - it is great,

  4. I know a little girl who'd love this. Thank you!

  5. Aww, that is so, so cute! I just clicked over from Craft Gossip. I would love to link to this if you didn't mind.

  6. You are truly amazing Gret - I still wonder where you find the time to do everything!! :-)


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