Butterfly Inspiration Mini - Detail

Butterfly Inspiration Mini Quilt Top {Design Bee Challenge}

After sharing my Crop Circles Table Runner with the design bee group in December, I was asked to submit the inspiration photograph for the next challenge. I went through photographs I have taken and even some of my favorite photographs that my husband has taken. In the end I chose a photograph of a butterfly that I took while on vacation in Heron Island, Australia, a few years ago.

Butterfly on Heron Island, Australia - Design Bee Challenge Inspiration Photograph

Butterfly on Heron Island, Australia – Design Bee Challenge Inspiration Photograph

After selecting the photograph and having it sent out to the group, I promptly didn’t think about it for over a month. I did have an initial thought about perhaps trying the 6-minute circle technique to approximate some of the organic blue shapes on the butterfly wings. However, when I was ready to start piecing, I took another look at the photograph and was struck by the change in value in the blues along the wing. You know I love that!

Reverse Applique Process

Reverse Applique Process

So I decided to give reverse applique a try instead. As I am currently wrapping up work on the 3rd bed quilt for Wabi-Sabi Overland, I have scraps of Kona Ocean, Astral, Lake, and Sky readily available to play with. I used a 28mm OLFA rotary cutter to free hand cut an organic shape, and then I used the 5″ OLFA snips to snip around the edges.

Reverse Applique Process

Reverse Applique Process

Then I gently finger pressed back the edges of the shape beyond the scissor snips and ironed the fold as flat as possible.

Reverse Applique Process

Reverse Applique Process

Placing a fabric underneath, I then used my sewing machine to top stitch very near the edge of the folded back fabric.

Butterfly Inspiration Mini - Detail

Butterfly Inspiration Mini – Detail

Once I had an assortment of reverse applique blocks in blue pieced on my design wall, I knew I wanted to frame them in a black or near black to finish the mini quilt top. I chose Kona Pepper instead of black and used reverse applique to inset the blue spots into the Kona Pepper as well.

Butterfly Inspiration Mini

Butterfly Inspiration Mini

The mini quilt top measures 12 1/2″ high by 19″ wide. I purposefully worked from a lighter to darker blue across the mini quilt top just like the blue in the wings of the butterfly deepens from bottom to top.

Butterfly Inspiration Mini - Stained Glass View

Butterfly Inspiration Mini – Stained Glass View

I held the mini quilt top up to a window to get a stained glass view and to show how the seams look as well.

I really love how the mini quilt top came together and although I am itching to finish it, I have a few other deadline projects I need to complete first.

I am in love with reverse applique now! Have you tried reverse applique?

Design Bee Group

I also have permission to share what others in the design bee made based on the inspiration image:









I am already looking forward to receiving the next photo and seeing what everyone creates!

18 thoughts on “Butterfly Inspiration Mini Quilt Top {Design Bee Challenge}

  1. I love the inspiration behind this fun mini! I’ve done reverse applique before, but this seems simpler! I’m going to give it a go :)

  2. Cindy Pieters says:

    That butterfly is a beautiful photo. I like how the that photo inspired your design.

  3. Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts says:

    No, I haven’t tried reverse applique. It looks fascinating. I can definitely see the inspiration photo in your mini. The blues are fantastic!

  4. First that butterfly and photo is incredible! Second I am intrigued how similar most of your minis are. Third I just love yours andyes I’ve done reverse appliqué but by hand and a long time ago! Need to try this-thanks for showing us the process. :-)

  5. jayne says:

    That is gorgeous Yvonne! I love the way you incorporated the shape, colors and design together. Brilliant idea using reverse appliqué. The Kona Pepper background amplifies the blues in such a good way!

  6. Perfect way to present those shapes and colors. So much fun to see what others are doing too! I love the way it looks and the dimension the appliqué gives the piece.

  7. Brenda Ackerman says:

    Hello Yvonne, I have to admit that I had a hard time understanding your version of the Butterfly. Yet, when I saw the remainder of the photos and all of their translations, I understood what you were all doing. Sorry that it took my brain awhile to realize and understand, Yvonne. Now that I see it, I do like the way you interpreted the wing and played with the colors. No, I have never tried reverse applique. Somehow because of my brain injury, I honestly have not found the right tutorial to explain it. Yet, just looking at your photos made it much clearer. Thank you for sharing your fabulous modern take on the picture and also for including the other modern quilt photos also. Have a spectacular day!

  8. Patty says:

    This looks like so much fun! Haven’t yet tried reverse applique myself

  9. aquilterstable says:

    Well this is lovely!! I have done some reverse applique in my early quilting days. It’s a little finicky but with a nice result. I’d say you’re a natural! Beautiful workmanship.

  10. Lisa J. says:

    These are all really gorgeous. I love the shift in values in yours.

  11. Anja @ Anja Quilts says:

    Very nice. I have not tried this technique. Everyone did a great job.

  12. Kaja says:

    What a great inspiration photo. I love that you picked out the detail of the wings and the way it worked out in reverse applique – which I’ve never tried doing by machine, though I really like the clean finish you got.

  13. Anne Hayward says:

    Love the great colours you used really creates a wonderful effect, the other interpretations are equally as gorgeous a bunch of very talented sewers. Thank you for sharing xx

  14. Tish says:

    I love how one simple picture can inspire in so many different ways. I have to say you make reverse applique look easy and fun :)

  15. Cheryl says:

    Your photo was awesome, such inspiration in it!

  16. Elizabeth E. says:

    Another beautiful finish, Yvonne! I double-checked the size and realized you now have another fun place mat for your Wabi-Sabi adventure. I like the use of the reverse appliqué and the gradation of blues in your mini quilt. The others’ quilts are beautiful as well. Thanks for an interesting post.

  17. First off, that butterfly picture is gorgeous! Second, I love the reverse applique organic shapes. They’re a great take on the shapes in the picture (plus, they’re blue :) ) I can’t wait to see how you decide to finish it.

  18. very interesting technique!

I really appreciate the time and thought you take to comment, and I look forward to conversing with you. :)