A few sunny days this Summer has meant a lot of butterfly stitching in the garden. I love sitting in the sun, snipping tiny fragments of fabric from my scrap box and hand sewing them into place to create butterfly wings. I try to be as accurate and close to the real thing as I can, part of the challenge is finding the perfect fabric and I quite often use the backs of prints for a subtler shade, or even paint up ‘grounds’ of calico in just the right colour. Sometimes I add a sprinkling of hand embroidered stitches for extra texture. A lot of fiddly hand sewing goes into each one before they are finished off with machine stitching.
Here are a few of this Summer`s butterflies so far.
A selection of finished butterflies out in the sun.
Moorland Clouded Yellow, Clouded Yellow and Small Heath. These brooches are a dainty 7cm across.
I think Orange Tips are my favourite to make. I spotted quite a few real ones this Spring for the first time here.
Clouded Yellow. I love the soft illustrations in this vintage field guide book.
Four little ‘Cabbage Whites’. I couldn`t decide which one to make so I made them all!
A larger Large White.
It hasn`t been a cold Winter, but it`s been a very long, rainy, dreary, dark and depressing one. Everyone is longing for the Spring, and now we`re into March it feels as though it`s almost here. It`s still quite chilly, but there have been one or two sunny days, and it`s wonderful to have an extra hour or two of daylight in the evenings.
I thought I`d share a few bright, cheery makes that look forward to Spring.
A sunshine yellow Brimstone butterfly.
Stitched flower brooches.
A few twin heart brooches.
New butterfly heart brooches.
And a pair of Orange Tip butterflies fluttering over some lovely vintage fabric in cheerful shades of pink and orange.
I`m longing for long sunny days and really hope we have another Summer like last one. The clocks go forward in a few weeks so at least it will be a lot lighter, thank goodness! Like lots of people I find Spring a really energising and inspiring time so I`m really looking forward to exploring lots of new ideas.
These are some butterflies I`ve been working on this week. They are part of the little collection that I`m sending down to Made in Britain in a few days.
My version of an Orange Tip. I think this one is my favourite. I try to make my butterflies as close to the real thing as I can, although on a slightly larger scale!
An Adonis Blue.
A male Large White. I`ve made a few of these white butterflies now and really love layering white on white.
A female Gatekeeper.
Hello again to my poor neglected blog! Here we are in October already, the summer flew past and now it`s Autumn with Christmas fast approaching. It has been a very busy Summer for me and a creatively satisfying one. I really feel happy with my work now and I`ve settled into a style that marries four things I love; sewing, drawing, nature and vintage fabrics. I also finally embraced the wonders of Facebook a few months ago and have built up a wonderful network of supportive people and customers. So although my blog posts have become rather few and far between, I post on Facebook daily with news, previews, sketches and finished work. My Etsy sales have become steady too, and having the Etsy shop has really helped me focus on the style and look of my work.
I`ve been setting little stitched pieces in embroidery hoops quite a lot recently. Customers like them because they can buy a little piece of textile art that is ready to hang, and I really enjoy working within a circle. There is something quite satisfying about a circle, and I like the way a motif from a piece of vintage fabric becomes focused and can frame a little stitched creature. They remind me a bit of vintage plates hanging on the wall, and have become quite popular, I`ve had lots of sales and a few commissions for them. These are some of my favourites:
I love blackbirds!
Bees and butterflies were very popular over the summer. I want to work on lots of more birds over Autumn and winter and maybe some mammals (I`ve had an order for a hedgehog!). My focus over the next couple of weeks will be robins, I`ve got some lovely old linens and muted furnishing fabrics for backgrounds and some tiny 4″ hoops that would be just the right size to hang on the Christmas tree… I`ve had lots of lovely comments for my drawings too, so my next few bird drawings won`t be in my sketchbook, but for sale in my Etsy shop!
Filed under bees, birds, butterflies, drawing, embroidery, embroidery hoops, ladybirds, machine embroidery, online shop, recycled fabrics, stitched birds, vintage fabric
This is turning out to be a bit of a butterfly summer for me. I`ve been developing my stitched 3d butterflies, thinking of them as little soft sculptures as well as brooches. My recent ones are all based on real butterflies and I`ve been trying to make them as realistic as possible, layering tiny pieces of fabric and stitch and even incorporating little pieces of calico that I`ve hand painted to just the right shade. They are miniature labours of love!
The butterflies have gradually been growing in size, culminating in my Red Admiral which measures just over 14cm at its widest point. This would be rather large to wear as a brooch, but would look striking perhaps pinned to a curtain. All my new butterflies would be equally at home pinned into a little box frame, or hanging on the wall just as they are, the brooch pin on the back will hook happily onto a little panel pin.
I`ve been adding a few butterflies to my Etsy shop, although some people have been buying them directly from my Facebook page where they`ve been having a wonderful response, which is really encouraging.
I`ve loved making these butterflies, especially with the gorgeous summer weather we`ve been having recently. I sit on an old quilt in the garden, with my butterfly books spread out for inspiration and surrounded by scraps of cotton, handstitching the first stages of the butterflies, then coming in from the heat to the cool of my sewing room to finish off with machine stitching. Perfect! I`ve been more aware of butterflies in general too, spotting lots in the garden and on walks, although I can`t always get a good look to identify them properly. I`d love to be able to identify them as easily as garden birds, I only know a few at the moment. I`m looking forward to making more butterflies and also perhaps incorporating them into larger embroideries inspired by their evocative names.
This has been a wonderful summer so far, in fact it`s wonderful to actually have a summer for a change! Long may it last, although the garden would love a little rain- maybe just the odd shower at night!
Here are a few of my new butterflies:
a special order blue butterfly
my favourite so far!
I`ve been working on some new butterflies this week.
I wanted to make a freestanding butterfly brooch that would give the impression that a butterfly had just landed on you for a moment. I looked closely at illustrations in my butterfly book and tried to make the brooches as realistic as possible, painstakingly snipping out tiny pieces of fabric before stitching the into place.
These are based on Large White, Clouded Yellow, and Large Blue butterflies (with a little bit of artistic license…).
The wings are covered with layers of machine stitching and the butterfly is slightly padded and backed with felt. The antennae are made from strong button thread.
These butterflies can be worn as a brooch but I think they would also look lovely pinned into a little box frame.
These three will be listed on my Etsy shop, although one has been reserved already. I`m definately going to make more, I`ve been thinking of some larger pieces and perhaps some 3D butterflies incorporated into mixed media embroideries.
Three little embroideries set in mini embroidery hoops, freshly listed on my Etsy shop. Two butterflies and a bumble bee.
I really like the soft, muted colours of this vintage linen.
I deliberately chose this piece of fabric so the bee looks like it`s crawling over daisies.
This little piece of fabric reminded me of a cottage garden.
I set my daisy embroideries into hoops too and I think they work quite well. I backed the embroideries with natural calico, with a thin layer of wadding in between. The fabric at the back was carefully snipped away and I decided to brush a thin coat of PVA glue onto the edges to prevent fraying and set the fabric into the frame. I`ll definately do a few more of these, in various sizes, perhaps birds next!
Last week it was all about bees and butterflies again as I concentrated on finishing some more brooches and lavender hearts. I also had a commission for some bee sketches from a nice lady via my Etsy shop.
The drawings gave me a chance to look closely at bumble bees again and inspired a few more brooches.
Two new bumble bee lavender hearts. I chose pale vintage linen so that the bees really stood out.
I love the colours in this butterfly, my favourite brooch from the latest batch!
More butterflies this week…. I made some more brooches…
and some new lavender hearts featuring an embroidered butterfly…
I really like the way the brooches and hearts look together.
I`m really pleased with these and have just listed a few hearts on my Etsy shop. I am enjoying working with these techniques and can see my butterflies and bees emerging as my signature style. I want to keep developing this way of working, combining drawings from nature, machine embroidery and vintage linens and lace. I`m hoping to spend a few days drawing soon, but first I have to make a few more bees, there`s only one left on my Etsy shop!
These are some butterfly brooches that I`ve been working on over the last week.
It took a bit of trial and error to get them right at first, but I`m really pleased with the final result.
The butterflies are built up of layers of tiny scraps of fabric, handstitching and machine embroidery. I painstakingly snipped out tiny pieces of cottons, choosing fabrics in soft, muted tones of orange, yellow, blue and brown to echo the colours of wild British butterflies. I was influenced by the illustrations in this vintage wildlife field guide book. The layers of machine stitching softened the effect further, with the black stitching picking up details of veining on the wings, outlining the butterfly and drawing the antennae.
I wanted these butterfly brooches to act as companion pieces to my bumble bees and made them the same way, trying to keep quite a loose feel to them.
It`s been such freezing, wintry weather all week so I`ve really enjoyed staying cosied up in my sewing room, surrounded by scraps of fabric and accompanied by my cat and Radio 4, creating these tiny heralds of Spring.