TUTORIAL-Chinese Butterflies Part 1

6 May 2007

This is dedicated to the delightful Minnesotan women in the Origami Shibori Workshop in St. Peter. They were curious about how to make resist-dyed butterflies on an indigo T-shirt that I had made. The simple technique is Chinese in origin, I believe. I have only seen it done in indigo.
chinese butterfly

I have also seen in the indigo work of the Miao Peoples in China too. My first experience was on t-shirts in indigo and the results were pleasing:
T-shirt chinese butterflies

As you can see the design is based on 6-fold symmetry. Choose your cloth, I started with natural colored silk noil cloth.
Start by folding your cloth in half. This fold will bisect your butterfly. It can be on or off grain, it depends on the placement you want.
Now you will fold it in thirds, like cutting a pie into 6 pieces. I fold the front over about a third
then the back over the other way and adjust so that all edges line up.
You should now have 6 layers of cloth.


Then you fold down the tip of the cone

Now you need a sturdy thread and a needle to carry it through the cloth.
Thread the needle with a double thread and knot the end. Poke the needle though the point that has been folded over.
Pull the thread through until the knot rest against the cloth. Now pass the thread over to the side with the knot, catch it under the knot and go back to the place where it came out. Poke the needle back through the cloth almost in the same spot it came out, emerging on the other side right by the knot.


 Now snug up the thread. This is tricky, you need it tight enough to make little dents in the cloth at the fold, but not too tight so that the point buckles and won’t lay flat. Then make a stitch that catches the thread and holds it in place beside the knot.


Tie off on the other side.

The thread looks like a v on both sides and the there is a knot on each side. The cloth still lies flat but the thread is pulled tight enough to to make little dents in the cloth at the fold. Finish your stitches and soak your cloth. You will then be ready to dye your cloth, part 2.


2 Responses to “TUTORIAL-Chinese Butterflies Part 1”

  1. Kate Says:

    I just wanted to let you know that I have added a link to your blog from mine. I love reading your posts.


  2. taitaimah Says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I recently ended a 5 year stay in China and visited the Miao villages and saw this beautiful print. I could never figure out how to stitch it Many thanks.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: