Quilt as you go to make a bargello backdrop for fussy-cut butterfly appliqués. Fabrics are from the Butterfly Forest collection by Ann Lauer for Benartex.
All Aflutter
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Designer: Ann Lauer of Grizzly Gulch Gallery

Finished quilt: 52-1/2×20-1/2"


Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

  • 1-5/8 yards backing fabric
  • 1/2 yard dark blue tone-on-tone (rows, binding)
  • 1/4 yard each of medium blue print, butterfly collage print, multicolor fern print, green print, multicolor print, and light blue print (rows)
  • 1/2 yard white tone-on-tone (rows)
  • 18×21" piece (fat quarter) large butterfly print (appliqués)
  • 24×56" thin batting
  • 3/4 yard of 54"-wide gridded flannel, printed with a 2" grid (optional)
  • Water-soluble marking pen (if not using gridded flannel)
  • Quilt basting spray (optional)
  • Lightweight fusible web

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

From backing fabric, cut:

  • 1—24×56" rectangle

From dark blue tone-on-tone, cut:

  • 6—2-1/2×42" strips

From each medium blue print, butterfly collage print, multicolor fern print, green print, multicolor print, and light blue print, cut:

  • 2—2-1/2×42" strips

From white tone-on-tone, cut:

  • 6—2-1/2×42" strips

Assemble Foundation Unit

1. Lay backing 24×56" rectangle wrong side up on work surface with long edges at top and bottom. Smooth batting 24×56" rectangle atop backing, aligning all edges.

2. If you are using gridded flannel, cut a 24×54" rectangle with a horizontal line along one long edge and a vertical line along an adjacent short edge. Center flannel rectangle atop batting. (Grid lines need to be visible for stitching, but they should not show through the fabric to the right side of the finished quilt. If grid lines are too dark, place flannel rectangle wrong side up atop batting, or place it right side up under batting.) If you are not using gridded flannel, place a long acrylic ruler vertically on layered backing and batting rectangles. Using a water-soluble marking pen, draw a vertical line on batting 2" from left-hand edge (Diagram 1). Continue drawing vertical lines parallel to the first line every 4" across the batting rectangle. In same manner, draw a horizontal line 2" from top edge, then draw horizontal lines every 4" below the first line.

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3. Secure layers with safety pins spaced about 10" apart to make foundation unit. (Or use basting spray instead of pins.)

Assemble Bands

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seam toward darker fabric.

The narrow strip-set bands will receive a lot of handling. To prevent seams from raveling during handling, use a shorter than normal stitch length (2.0 or 1.5 millimeters) when joining strips.

1. Referring to Diagram 2, lay out one 2-1/2 ×42" strip each from dark blue tone-on-tone, medium blue print, butterfly collage print, multicolor fern print, green print, multicolor print, and light blue print for positions 1–7, and three white tone-on-tone 2-1/2 ×42" strips for positions 8–10. Sew together strips. To avoid curving and distortion, designer Ann Lauer recommends alternating the direction of each seam. First sew together strips in pairs, sewing each pair with the even-number strip on top. Then join pairs, keeping even-number strips on top each time. Press all seams toward position 1 strip to make strip set A.

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2. Join long edges of strip set A (positions 1 and 10) to make an A tube; press seam toward position 1 strip.

3. Lay A tube flat on cutting mat, carefully folding along a seam line and aligning remaining seams. Referring to Diagram 3, cut A tube into 17 assorted-width bands to use for making odd-numbered rows. To duplicate the featured quilt, cut A tube into:

  • 2—5"-wide A bands
  • 1—3"-wide A band
  • 2—2-1/2"-wide A bands
  • 1—2"-wide A band
  • 5—1-1/2"-wide A bands
  • 3—1-1/4"-wide A bands
  • 3—1"-wide A bands
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4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make a B tube. Press all seams toward position 10 strip so seams will abut when assembling quilt top.

5. Repeat Step 3 to cut B tube into 17 assorted-width bands to use for making even-numbered rows. To duplicate the featured quilt, cut B tube into:

  • 1—5-1/2"-wide B band
  • 2—3-1/2"-wide B bands
  • 1—2-3/4"-wide B band
  • 1—2-1/4"-wide B band
  • 3—2"-wide B bands
  • 2—1-1/2"-wide B bands
  • 5—1-1/4"-wide B bands
  • 2—1"-wide B bands

Make Quilted Unit

1. Select an A band (Ann used a 2-1/2"-wide A band). Remove stitches joining positions 1 and 10 to make row 1. With position 10 at the bottom, lay row 1 right side up on foundation unit, aligning left-hand row edge with first vertical line and row seams with horizontal lines (Diagram 4). Pin row in place and machine-baste 1/8" from left-hand edge through all layers.

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2. Select a B band (Ann used a 2"-wide B band). Remove stitches joining positions 2 and 1 to make row 2. With position 1 at the bottom, lay row 2 right side down atop row 1, aligning horizontal seams; pin. Join rows, stitching through all layers (Diagram 5). Press row 2 open.

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3. Select an A band (Ann used a 1-1/2"-wide A band). Remove stitches joining positions 3 and 2 to make row 3. With position 2 at the bottom, add row 3 to row 2 as before; press open (Diagram 6).

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4. Continue in same manner, using A bands for odd-numbered rows and B bands for even-numbered rows, to sew 34 rows total. Refer to Row Placement Diagram for the band width order Ann used. When layering each new row atop previous row, align horizontal seams and make sure they are parallel to horizontal grid lines. When pressing each row open, make sure the long raw edge is parallel to vertical grid lines. If rows begin to distort, sew with a slightly wider or narrower seam allowance. Try to make these adjustments in the wider bands so the change will be less noticeable.

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5. Machine-baste 1/8" from right-hand edge of last row (Row Placement Diagram). Trim backing and batting even with row edges to make a quilted unit. The quilted unit should be 52-1/2 ×20-1/2" including seam allowances.

Finish Quilt

1. Bind quilted unit with remaining dark blue tone-on-tone 2-1/2  ×42" strips.

2. With paper side up, place fusible web on wrong side of large butterfly print 18×21" piece. Fuse together following manufacturer's instructions. Fussy-cut 10 butterfly motifs from fused fabric, cutting 1/8" from motif edges. Remove paper backings to make butterfly appliqués.

3. Referring to quilt photo, position butterfly appliqués on quilted unit. Fuse appliqués in place following manufacturer's instructions. Using thread that matches appliqués, machine-straight-stitch through all layers 1/8" from appliqué edges to complete quilt.