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.
Bzzzzzz | Dragonfly Dance
Ladybug Loop | Butterfly Bunch
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:
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.
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.
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:
Once the pattern is edited, tested and triple-checked, it’s time to release it!
And, join the online Butterfly Bunch Quilt Along at your own pace. Check it out here.