Charming butterflies: tutorial addendum

I know that other clever quilters have already adapted the butterfly block to be 5″ charm-square-friendly. I thought I’d get on board and update my tutorial as well. These butterfly blocks leave more background visible while the originals leave a smaller sliver of it around the butterflies. As I mentioned, these butterflies are less wasteful than the larger blocks! Bonus! I will be adding this to the original tutorial and this update may make more sense in the context of the original. So, let’s begin!

First, cut all of your charm squares in half so that you have two pieces –– 2 1/2″ x 5″:

For each block, cut two 3 1/2″ squares of background:

For each block, you will also need one 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ strip for butterfly body (sorry, no pic).

Layer the 3 1/2″ background squares (right sides together or wrong sides together, doesn’t matter) and make an angled cut approx. 1″ in from the bottom right edge and top left edge like so:

Cut so that you have four (mine are still layered) background pieces:

Lay out your butterfly blocks as shown (this just helps me keep track of which direction the background needs to go):

Sew the backgrounds to the butterfly wings (mine have the narrowest part of the background at the corner of the butterfly wing, background extends approx. 1/2″ beyond butterfly wing fabric):

Trim the butterfly wing fabric even with the background seams and press toward the butterfly wings.

Next, trim the background/butterfly wing unit. First trim the background so that it measures 2 1/2″ wide (same width as the butterfly wing). Then trim the background so that this unit is 5 1/2″ long — leaving approx. 1/2″ of background on either side of the widest part of the butterfly wing.

The butterfly wing/background units should measure 2 1/2″ x 5 1/2″.

See, a lot less waste than the original method:

Finally, sew the 1 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ butterfly body between the wings. Press seams toward butterfly body.

Lather, rinse, repeat for more and more butterflies!



  1. LauraJ said

    This is so awesome!

  2. Tara said

    Thanks! It’s very sweet! And who doesn’t like more waste? I prefer this version on looks alone!

  3. Lynette said

    Ok, now I know exactly what I’m doing with the stack of exchange charms I have from last year’s guild meetings! Thanks so much for sharing your update. 😀

  4. Michele said

    Thank you! This will be handy. I loved making the others out of my scraps, but I’m always looking for fun patterns for charm packs.

  5. Donna said

    Your butterflies are pretty–love the colors you’ve used! Thanks for the tutorial update too!

  6. lily boot said

    mmmm … I have a pack of momo odyssea charm squares that will be perfect for this! Underwater butterlies. Thank you clever Amy 🙂

  7. Cherie said

    Thank you for this update. I’ve wanted to try these every time I see them and this does it for me….tonight I make some 🙂

  8. nanette said

    You just make me want to make another!!! I’m going to teach this tutorial (if anyone signs up for my class) in June. it is a fantastic block. Thanks so much for your update. This version is beautiful in these colors.

  9. Janet said

    That’s so nice of you to share, I think I like the smaller blocks with a bit more background showing.

  10. pratima said

    Thank you so much, Amy! I would love to make these butterflies some time.

  11. Carla said

    Yes, I read all the way to end…lather, rinse, repeat. You are so creative…and so funny, Amy!! I’m adding this to my list…love it!Thanks for the nice tute.

  12. AnnieO said

    Just as pretty as before! I like the extra background giving each butterfly more room to fly 🙂

  13. Karin said

    I’ve had my charm pack ready and waiting for this! Thanks so much, Amy!

  14. pbach1 said

    (sigh) simply wonderful! thank you.

  15. Ferne said

    I also found that if I made the body 1″ wide then when you put it together your square stays 5″ exactly. I like your gray background it is so sophisticated looking.

  16. Your tutorial is fantastic!
    Thanks so much! :o)
    Sincerely, Trish

  17. Debbie said

    Your directions were great. I love these butterflies! less waste..yeah. Thanks

  18. susan said

    sweet. i did something similar for dqs10 but i used triangle for my corners and just did it wonky. i like your method, i may try it for one for myself!

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