Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ragged Butterfly Place Mat Tutorial

Here is the promised tutorial for the Ragged Butterfly Place Mats. There is nothing that is particularly hard about them, but I did find them to take some time (though I also did 10, so it may have just FELT longer!).

I started with a basic butterfly shape. I got mine from the Silhouette online store, but I'm sure you could draw one or use any butterfly clip art. I drew a line down the centre (the middle of the body) so I knew where the halfway mark was.

I sized it so that half of the butterfly filled a vertical (portrait) page. I printed this size and then I shrunk it so that it was about 1/2 inch smaller all the way around. I had to stretch out the wings a bit in order to make the body small enough, but basically you just want a 1/2 inch smaller butterfly as even as possible all the way around (but it doesn't have to be exact).

Once I had printed my butterflies, I cut them out of the fabric that I wanted to use. Use the large butterfly for the outer fabric and the smaller butterfly for the batting. Since you only have half a butterfly, you'll need to place it on the fold. To get better mileage from my fabric, I folded both edges into the centre fold line (and then I was able to cut 2 at once).

I was going with the birthday colours. 8 of the 10 that I did I made pink on one side and purple on the other. 2 of them (for the boys) I made green on both sides. Then for the circles (my butterfly shape came with them) I cut out the small ones all green for the girls (both sides) and opposite pink and purple for the big circles. On the boys I did one side with large purple and small pink and the opposite side was the other way around. It really doesn't matter what colours you use or how you do the dots.
For the 10 place mats I did I had:
8 pink butterflies
8 purple butterflies
4 green butterflies
20  purple large circles
20 pink large circles
4 purple little circles
4 pink little circles
32 little green circles

Cut the smaller butterfly (1 for each mat) out of the batting. I used a thin batting. I have no idea if it has a special name as I got it on a bolt. I just asked the girl at the store to help me find the cheapest and thinnest batting they had.

Once you've got everything cut out it's time to layer it.

Take one of the fabric butterflies, right side down, then place on some batting (centering it), then place the opposite colour fabric right side up. I then placed on my circles, being careful they are more or less in the same spot on the opposite side (I used my fingers to pinch the feel along the outer edge to gauge how close I was. Not all were perfect, but most were good enough). Pin in place.

Using a straight stitch sew around the circles (remember to back stitch) leaving about a 1/2 inch seam allowance. With your needle down lift your presser foot to help swivel around the circles. Again, these don't have to be perfect.

Starting 1/2 inch in from the edge, sew two straight lines on either side of the body of the butterfly. Stop 1/2 inch from the bottom edge (otherwise you won't have anything to fray!). This stitching helps tack everything in the middle down and gives definition to the butterfly.

Then sew around the entire body leaving a half inch edge (I realized after the second line down the centre by the body, you can leave your needle down, turn the butterfly and start sewing around the edge from there).
(if you look closely on this picture you'll see that some of my stitches got too close to the edge. You don't want that because it makes the next part not work as well)

Once you have sewn all the way around, take some snippers (they're the spring loaded scissors, also called ragging scissors) and snip all the edges and around the circles too, about 1/4 of an inch apart. Careful not to clip your stitches! You can do this with regular scissors, but it's very tiring on the hand. I found this to be a good TV watching exercise.

Once you're done throw them in the washer and dryer to help the fringe to curl and look all ragged.

That's it, you're done!



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