behind the scenes: designing the Butterfly Bunch quilt pattern

An early version of a Butterfly Bunch sketch for my quilt pattern. A foundation paper piecing pattern drawn in Adobe Illustrator. Design and pattern by www.wholecirclestudio.com

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Curious about my process for designing my new Butterfly Bunch quilt pattern?

My process for new designs usually starts with an inspiration photo or a quick pencil sketch. Once I have a general direction, I draw in Adobe Illustrator.  For Butterfly Bunch, I went right to Illustrator since I knew I wanted to make a geometric butterfly that fit in with the general style of the first three “insect” quilts in the series.
A series of insect quilts by Sheri CIfaldi-Morrill of Whole CIrcle Studio. Quilt patterns available at http://shop.wholecirclestudio.com/ The four patterns include designs that feature a bee, dragonfly, ladybug and butterfly. All patterns include foundation paper piecing and make wall hangings, mini quilts, lap / throw quilts, twin quilts and queen quilts.
Bzzzzzz   |   Dragonfly Dance
Ladybug Loop   |   Butterfly Bunch

Here is an early draft of the block:
An early version of a Butterfly Bunch sketch for my quilt pattern. A foundation paper piecing pattern drawn in Adobe Illustrator.

After completing the initial rough sketch, I decided that the design felt more complicated than the previous three insects and there would be parts and alignments that would be far trickier than I wanted them to be for other quilters. After playing around with the design (within restrictions of foundation paper piecing), here is the design I settled on:
The finalized version of Butterfly Bunch quilt block. A foundation paper piecing pattern drawn in Adobe Illustrator. Pattern is available as a PDF download.

Next step: final design

I then sewed up a quick prototype with some fabric from my stash. If you look closely, you can see the mismatched background fabric. During this stage, I want to confirm that I am able to walk others through how to make it and that I’m happy with the direction of the design. I’m less worried about the final product.
Prototype test of the Butterfly Bunch quilt block. Using solid fabric from my stash, this pattern makes a great scrappy butterfly quilt.

While there were things I wanted to tweak, I liked where the design was headed after it was put together. Time to move on to sizing and arrangement.

In keeping with the previous three insect quilts, I looked at arranging six butterflies in a circle. Because the butterfly wings are much heavier and wider than the previous insects, the butterflies had to be smaller than the other insects to make this type of layout work. I decided for the sake of size consistency to go with four butterflies in a circle.
Butterfly Bunch quilt pattern drafted. This cute pattern makes four butterflies in a circle or you can customize the layout to your own taste. This is an easy to intermediate foundation paper piecing pattern drawn. Pattern is available as a PDF download available at http://shop.wholecirclestudio.com/

It was then time to start writing and drawing diagrams for the pattern. For many, this is the not-so-fun part of pattern design. Personally, I enjoy the documentation and explanation process. It’s fun to think about you (the quilters) that will be learning from the pattern and making my design their own by selecting fabrics and changing up the layouts. It’s really rewarding to see works in progress and finished quilts from makers like you and to hear about the people they will be given to. (hint, hint—keep sending me progress and finished photos!)

Last, but not least: pattern testing!

All of my patterns are also fully tested numerous times by me as well as a group of talented quilters at various quilting levels. Their feedback is invaluable! Check out this version made by Joann Harris:
Butterfly Bunch made by Joanne Harris. A cute foundation paper pieced pattern. Makes a great gift for a baby, child or nature enthusiast! Make a wall hanging or mini quilt.

Once the pattern is edited, tested and triple-checked, it’s time to release it!

Want to make your own Butterfly Bunch?

And, join the online Butterfly Bunch Quilt Along at your own pace. Check it out here. 
Join in the fun with my Butterfly Bunch Quilt Along! I'll be giving foundation paper piecing tips and tricks, sharing my favorite quilting tools. Let's select fabric and make some butterfly blocks! Make a wall hanging, throw, twin or queen size quilt. Use your fabric stash, fat eights, fat quarters or special fabric!

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