Butterfly Birthday Dress, DIY

We have butterflies!!  All ten of our caterpillars from our Live Butterfly Kit became butterflies. We even saw two butterflies emerge from their cocoons today. It was amazing and both the kids enjoyed the experience of the metamorphosis process.

new butterfly grow your butterfly kit
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This dress started a little differently than I had planned.  I had originally almost finished my daughter’s birthday dress, when I decided with all that hard work, I couldn’t let her eat cake in her dress, so I started a second outfit for her the day before her party.

I thought to myself I will just make a quick plain Haven Romper from Violette Fields Thread (VFT).  I already had made a few of these in the past therefore I had the pattern cut out and on hand.  After cutting out the bodice, I decided, maybe I should put a little embroidery on the front bodice???  You can reference my post on How to Center Your Embroidery Design Every Time.

how to center embroidery design elle est forte metallic thread milk sugar

I had made some gorgeous free standing lace (the fsl butterflies embroidery design can be found by artapli on Etsy) for her original butterfly birthday dress, however I was not fond of the colors I had made.  They did not quite match, so I decided I would just add a few free standing lace (fsl) butterflies to her romper.  Please feel free to reference my previous post on How to Make Free Standing Lace.  I thought it over for a bit and decided  fsl butterflies might look a little silly on shorts.  I had always wanted to try the Haven Skirt version with a chiffon overlay!  So I decided to go for it. I would attach the fsl butterflies to the chiffon overlay of the skirt, one on the bodice and one on the headband.

butterfly headband and bodice free standing lace
Butterfly headband to match butterfly dress

So much for my simple romper she could eat in.  Oops.  She cannot eat cake in this dress either.    I worked on this dress till the last-minute.  We had cancelled her party earlier in the week due to sickness, however she was feeling fine.  It was a rainy day, so we took the kids to the butterfly house and had a marvelous time.

butterfly dress with attached free standing lace 3d butterflies
Butterfly dress with chiffon overlay and 3D free standing lace butterflies

 

We absolutely love the butterfly house, it gives them the chance to see butterflies close up and it is fun to do on a day full of thunderstorms.  Baby Girl was super excited every time she found a butterfly!

butterfly birthday dress at the butterfly house
Butterfly Birthday Haven Dress 3D butterflies

I just love the vintage look of the Haven Dress by VFT.  I have made several rompers and now the dress version.  I see MANY MANY more in our near future.  Once I make a pattern and I like it, I usually recreate in a new way.  Okay, Okay, I already have my next one planned.  LOL

IMG_1501 antique lace more vibrance
Chiffon Overlay Butterfly Birthday dress

So came the true dilemma…..  What will she wear to eat cake?  We just put her in some of her every day clothes and it was just the 4 of us and the cake my son helped me bake and Baby Girl helped me decorate. Okay, I decorated while she ate the frosting. The cake may look like a Pinterest fail, however she loved it!  The pre-made edible butterflies definitely made the whole cake and the edible hearts sprinkles were pretty awesome as well. Oh and for the girl who said she wanted “Pink” for her birthday, I found her pink candles that glow pink too!

Butterfly birthday cake
Butterfly birthday cake with edible butterflies and edible heart sprinkles

The Photoshop actions used for the dress pictures are Tea Party by A Whimsical Pixel on Etsy.  I love the vintage look of these Photoshop actions, they went very well with the vintage style dress.

Supplies in this post:

  1. Haven Skirt and Romper Pattern
  2. Pink Bias Tape (Or you could make your own)
  3. 1.5 Inch wide Elastic
  4. Chiffon Fabric (I bought mine from Joann)
    1. I used remnants for all my fabrice, since I made a 2t size
  5. Gold Elastic for the headband
  6. Metallic Thread (See my tutorial on How to Embroider with Metallic Thread)
  7. Embroidery Thread
  8. Tea Party Photoshop Actions
  9. Edible Butterflies
  10. Gold Edible Hearts
  11. Pink Flame Candles 
  12. Live Butterfly Kit
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How to Make Free Standing Lace, Chrysalis about to morph

chrysalis about to change to butterfly

I watched this little Chrysalis from our Live Butterfly Kit for awhile and nothing happened.  I went outside for a little bit with the kids and of course we came back inside to a brand new butterfly.  We ended up with two new butterflies and woke up to seven butterflies this morning.  We have three more chrysalis and I hope to see at least one emerge.

As we have been watching our little caterpillars morph into butterflies, we have doing all things butterflies in our house.  I wanted to make some free standing lace butterflies for my daughter’s birthday dress, so I thought I would do a little tutorial to show how easy it is to make free standing lace with an embroidery machine.

First thing you need is an excellent free standing lace (fsl) embroidery design.  I purchased the fsl butterfly embroidery in this tutorial from artapli on Etsy.  Once you have it downloaded to your machine, the next thing you need is water soluble stabilizer.  The quality of the stabilizer truly matters with free standing lace.  I like to use Vilene Water Soluble Stabilizer.  I cut two pieces slightly larger than your hoop of the water soluble stabilizer and double them up inside the hoop.

double up on water soluble stabilizer for free standing laee

Once you have the stabilizer inside the hoop, place the hoop on your machine and start stitching your design.

fsl butterfly

I used metallic thread on my fsl butterflies.  Metallic thread is not always fun to use, but please reference my past blog on how to make embroidering with metallic thread easier. Metallic thread is so pretty and daughter and I love our metallic butterflies.

fsl lace butterfly stitched

Isn’t this gold metallic butterfly just adorable? After I finished embroidering my fsl, I like to cut down the edges, so there is not as much stabilizer to wash off.

fsl butterfly trimmed

The water soluble stabilizer is a bit sticky when wet, so the less you have to wash off the better.  Now that the fsl design is cut down to a more manageable piece, I turn on the water and let it warm up a little bit.  It doesn’t have to hot, but it does come off a lot quicker with warm water. wash off water soluble stabilizer with warm water

Under the warm water the water soluble stabilizer will just melt away.  You may want to wash your hands afterwards, as they can get a little sticky.  Once all the stabilizer is gone, I fold a piece of paper towel or regular towel in half and let the fsl lace dry.

letting fsl free standing lace dry

I chose to let the butterflies dry upside down, to help  give the wings a 3D effect.  Voila you are done!!  Many fsl have other steps, some pieces will need to be sewn together, this particular design will be sewn on to my daughter’s dress with its second step of its design, the body of the butterfly.  Here is a sneak peek of her dress:

butterfly dress and matching butterfly headband

Please let me know if you have any additional tips working with fsl below in the comments!

Supplies needed:

  1. Free Standing Lace Embroidery design
  2. Water Soluble Stabilizer
  3. Embroidery Thread 

How to Center your Embroidery Design Every time, great for a bodice, T-shirts or Onesies

how to center embroidery design elle est forte metallic thread milk sugar
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When I first started out trying to embroider onesies, I was having a very hard time getting my design centered on the onesie.  It would often end of too far to one side.  Then, I met a wonderful lady named Teresa.  She’s an expert in all things embroidery.  I was having an issue with one her designs I had purchased, so she took the time to teach me a few amazing tips about embroidery.

First thing she taught me, is don’t use embroidery needles, use regular sewing needles except with metallic thread, use metallic needles. (Please feel free to see my post on How to Embroider with Metallic Thread.) This tip worked wonders and also saved me money on being able to buy needles in bulk.

Next, she gave me tips on how to center the designs.  This was life changing.  My designs went from all over the place, to centered every time!  First, start off with some sticky tear away or cut away stabilizer.  I like to use Sulky Sticky Tear Away Stabilizer.  Cut it slightly larger than your hoop.  I like to use a rotary cutter whenever possible, saves the aches I get in my hands from using scissors too often.

how to center embroidery sticky tear away stabilizer
Cutting Sticky Tear Away Stabilizer

Place the Sticky Stabilizer around the bottom of your hoop.  I like to cut slits around the side and bottom pieces to give a snugger fit around the hoop.  Find a piece of paper, thicker the better and line up the middle notches.  Take a disappearing ink pen and mark a line down the center of the stabilizer.  Please note, I used a regular pen this time, as I was in the middle of moving my sewing room and couldn’t find my disappearing ink pen.  If you look closely at the photos, a little showed up on the dress bodice when I rinsed off the water soluble stabilizer, so please use the disappearing ink pen.

how to center embroidery design draw line with paper
Draw Line down Sticky Stabilizer

Now you should have a perfectly straight line down the middle of your hoop.

how to center embroidery draw line down center
Straight Line down Sticky Stabilizer

Next, we will work with the bodice, this can also be used with t-shirts or onesies.  Take your bodice piece and fold it in half.  Take your bodice to the ironing board and press the folded side to create a line.

how to center embroidery on shirt iron
Iron Folded Bodice Piece

Depending on the fabric used, keep the iron on a lower setting.  I created a very visible line, so it was easier to see in pictures.  The less line you make, the easier it is to iron out later. Now you should have a perfectly straight line down the middle of your bodice.

how to center embroidery on shirt iron down middle
Straight Line Down Bodice Piece

If your embroidery design has a placement stitch, run it now.  Next, take the bodice to the hoop and match up the two lines; the line on the stabilizer and the line on the bodice.   Please remember to leave room for seam allowances if you are sewing a piece together.

how to center embroidery design match up lines
Line Up the lines on the Sticky Stabilizer and Bodice Piece

I was working with metallic thread, so I wanted my design to stand out more and not sink into the fabric, so I used a layer of water soluble stabilizer on top of my bodice as well.  I usually use a thinner water soluble stabilizer, however being in the process of moving my sewing room, I didn’t look for it. Then, place the top piece of the hoop into place.

hooping an embroidery design
Optional: Top with Water Soluble Stabilizer 

Now stitch your design!! Voila you are done!!! (If you used a water soluble stabilizer, wash it off now).

how to center embroidery design elle est forte metallic thread milk sugar

In my picture you can still seed the line down the middle of the bodice.  You can get this out, by steaming the item or ironing it out.  I was literally scrambling at the last minute to get this dress done, as usual, so I did not have enough time.

Supplies for this project:

  1. Embroidery Machine (I used the Brother SE400)
  2. Sticky Tear Away (or cut away) Stabilizer
  3. Disappearing Ink Pen
  4. Rotary Cutter
  5. Water Soluble Stabilizer (optional)
  6. Sewing Needles

 

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How Embroider or Sew with Metallic Thread, Days 9 and 10 of Live Butterfly Kit

butterfly cocoon or chrysalis
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Day 9 and 10 of our Live Butterfly Kit and all of our caterpillars are officially in their own cocoon or chrysalis.  I kind of miss our little caterpillar friends. Soon we will move them to their chrysalis station in their butterfly habitat and prepare for the arrival of our painted lady butterflies.

Baby Girl is taking after her Mom in  loving all things girly and sparkly!  She loves when I create things with sparkly metallic thread, however my machine hates metallic thread.  I did some research on how to make it easier, because I wanted to make several metallic butterflies to make Baby Girl’s birthday dress.  I had already made a couple butterflies, however my machine and I were not getting along.

IMG_1423
Butterfly head band with free standing lace (sneak peak at Baby Girl’s Butterfly Dress)

I found the two things you need to make sewing with metallic thread easier.  A vertical thread stand and metallic needles! You can also drop your thread tension to 1.  I won’t guarantee the metallic won’t break, however I can tell you it won’t break quite as often. I also included in this picture my favorite water soluble stabilizer, as I was working with free standing lace for this project.  The 3D Butterfly Embroidery design is by artapli on Etsy.

how to sew with metallic thread
Vertical Thread spool, Metallic needles, Water Soluble Stabilizer

The thread stand keeps the metallic thread up right and should come off the spool counter clockwise.  If you can slow down the speed our your embroidery machine it will also help. I haven’t been able to figure out how to slow down my Brother SE400 yet, if anyone has a tip for that, please let me know.

The thread spool I purchased has a thread hole, but don’t use it with metallic thread (works great with regular thread).  I used the thread loop at first, but after awhile my thread kept getting stuck and wrapped around the loop.  My tip is to let it thread directly to your machine. See below how the thread gets twisted in the thread loop?  The stand is also too far forward.

metallic thread twisted and breaking
Metallic thread twisted and too far forward

I found setting your embroidery thread stand to feed similarly to the picture below works the best.  If I sat it too far back, the handle would of the embroidery machine would get in the way.  If I moved it too far forward the hoop would occasionally bump the stand.

how to keep metallic thread from breaking
Feeding Metallic Thread from Thread Stand

My first attempt using the new thread spool and the new metallic needle and my machine made an entire free standing lace butterfly without breaking one thread!!  OMG!!!  I made many more and my thread did break a few times, however I felt comfortable enough to walk away from machine while it was embroidering without fear of it completely ruining my machine.  I did not have any more thread tangles in my machine.

Supplies needed to make sewing with metallic thread easier:

  1. Vertical Thread Stand
  2. Metallic Needles
  3. Embroidery Machine (I use a Brother SE400)
  4. Quality Metallic Thread
    1. Large Metallic Thread Starter Pack
    2. Small Metallic Thread Starter Pack
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Butterfly Footprints and Chrysalis, Day 8 of Live Butterfly kit!

chysalis j shape caterpillars metamorphosis life cycle of a butterfly
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Day 8 of our our Insect Lore Live Butterfly Kit and look what we have here! A Chrysalis!  It is so fascinating to see the caterpillars morph.  I am not sure who is more excited, the kids or me?  Did you know that caterpillars don’t “weave” a cocoon, instead the spit and wiggle out of an extra layer of skin?  I am learning so much about these amazing creatures.

caterpillars metamorphosis j shape life cycle of a butterfly

I am naming these caterpillars my Hanging J’s! LOL!  I can’t believe how fast the chrysalis process happens.  I cooked dinner and when I was done we had a second chrysalis!  Wow!

For today’s butterfly project I did a footprint painting with Baby Girl.  It was a lot of fun to make and she loved having paint on her feet.  Little Dude does not like to get sticky, so he opted out of this project.

baby footprints in a butterfly shape painting decor
Butterfly Footprints

I will admit I tried to do a painting class with the kids.  You know, like the painting and wine classes, except this one had no wine. Maybe that is were I went wrong. LOL  I first started off with blue paint to make the sky.  They painted blue on their little canvases and then soon asked for more colors. I decided to let them do their own creative pictures and I would do my own.  I like to keep these 8×10 thin canvases in my craft stock.  We paint a lot and these make them feel like they are making their own masterpieces.

My picture above is done in several steps.  They were done painting long before me, in fact, they had a second painting session that day as well.  Some colors are hard to find in washable paint, however I truly enjoy Crayola’s 10 ct Washable paint. It comes with pink, which for some reason is hard to find, but more importantly it comes with white as well, so you can mix the colors to lighter version.

I started with several different colors of blue paint just brushing them back and forth down 3/4 of the canvas. As it dried, I tried to fill in spots where you could see the white part of the canvas seep through. I then set it aside to dry completely.

Next, I mixed a few colors of green and pulled down brush strokes for grass.  I tried pulling the brush stokes up as well, but it didn’t give me the look I desired.  I let it dry a little and again filled in spots where the white was showing.  I set it aside to completely dry.

On a paper plate I mixed my desired color of pink together.  I placed Baby Girl’s foot in the paint then placed it on the canvas.  You can roll the foot a little to see the toes more.  It would a bit easier with a baby than a toddler.  Then I wiped it off her foot with baby wipes, then repeated with the other foot.  Please note you want the feet to be opposite of their normal position, so the right foot goes on the left side and the left foot goes on the right side.

I normally would say let the butterfly wings dry before making the butterfly body, however I was impatient. I drew an outline of a caterpillar body then filled it in.  Once the body dried I added the face.

Lastly, I made the sun.  I recommend any additional items added to the picture be added after the butterfly.  You never know where your child’s foot may land.  I started off with orange to make the sun.  I impatiently let it dry then added another color of yellow, then when that dried I a lighter color of yellow.

I wanted to added some Glitter Mod Podge to the butterfly wings, but I’m out!!  NOOO!  I will have to buy some more, because it is the most amazing thing ever.  You can also top the picture off with clear coat of Mod Podge so it will last longer and not flake.

This would make an Amazing Mother’s Day gift!

Today’s Craft Supplies:

  1. Insect Lore Live Butterfly Kit
  2. 8×10 Plain Canvas
  3. Crayola Washable Paint
  4. Paint Brushes
  5. Modge Podge
  6. Glitter Mod Podge 

 

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Planting a Garden for Bees and Butterflies Day 7 of Live Butterfly Kit

caterpillar eat food
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Day 7 of our Live Butterfly KitLive Butterfly KitLive Butterfly Kit and look at the all the food the caterpillars have eaten! The food used to look like a large thick paste, however now it looks like a bunch of little chunks and you can see empty spaces in the bottom of the cup.

Cheerios sent out free seeds for their campaign to #bringbackthebees.  My son loves honey and the moment he found out honey comes from bees he decided he loves bees as well.  I was one of the 1.5 billion people who received their free seeds.  In anticipation of our new butterflies we decided to plant the seeds in our backyard.

kids watering plants

This part of the yard was previously covered in ivy and it was now very dry.  I think the water hose might have reached this far, however the kids really enjoyed using their bucket with an attached watering hose.  We (I) made several trips back and forth with water.  They of course argued a little over who was able to water the ground.

kids digging in the dirt with shovels

They decided they wanted to dig a little with their shovels.  They were having fun slinging mud everywhere. I tried to tell them to dig a little everywhere, however they just kept to dig one big hole.

little dude helping till garden for bees and butterflies

I brought out the hand tiller, I did most of the tilling, however they wanted to help as well.  Little Dude actually did an amazing job on his turn.  Baby Girl insisted “Me Turn!”

baby girl tilling the garden

She found it a little more difficult to move the tiller through the dirt, well mud…  I think their favorite part of this project was playing in the mud.  I tried to explain that we didn’t want a lot of mud, but they were having too much fun.  I am so glad I had switched them to their rain boots, as they were eventually covered in mud.

kids playing in the mud

Hmm??  That is a lot of mud. They were having a blast.  They were a little sad when I told them that playing in the mud was over and it was now time to plant the seeds.  I poured some of the Cheerios #bringbackthebees seeds in each their hands and told them to wait to throw them in the dirt (now mud), however in true toddler fashion, they threw them down immediately.  I am not even sure where most of the seeds went.  I gave my son a few more that were leftover in the package and was able to get a quick picture.  I tried cover a few of the seeds up.  It will be interesting to see if the seeds grow, either way, thank you Cheerios for this amazing learning experience! If these do not grow, we will try again.

planting wildflower seeds in the mud for bees

Later that evening, we checked in with our caterpillars from on our Insect Lore Live Butterfly Kit.  We have a couple caterpillars starting their J shapes to start building their cocoons.  We are so excited!

caterpillars starting their j shapes cocoon chrysalis
Caterpillars starting their J shapes to start their cocoons

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Painting A Butterfly House, Day 6 of Live Butterfly kit

caterpillars starting the j shape
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It is Day 6 of our Live Butterfly Kit!  The caterpillars are starting to practice their J shapes.

To prepare for the arrival of our butterflies we decided to paint our own butterfly house.  I found this Toysmith Paint-A-Butterfly House on Amazon and thought it would be perfect for our Butterfly Spring fun.  I let the kids help me open the box and Little Dude loved it.  He even gave me a hug and said thank you.  Baby girl LOVES to paint and she couldn’t wait to get outside to paint the new Butterfly house.

baby girl carrying the butterfly house
Baby Girl super excited to paint her butterfly house

Baby Girl also likes to paint herself, so I had to remind her a few times the paint was only for the Butterfly House.  She did very well and was actually a little sad when she got paint on her shoes.  She also got some paint on her pants, however she wasn’t concerned at about those.

kids painting a butterfly house
Kids working together to paint the butterfly house

They actually worked together well painting the butterfly house.  They each picked their own sides.  There was absolutely no arguing over anything and they shared the paint well.  The kit comes with one paintbrush, so I grabbed two of our own to have a paint brush for each color.

painting a butterfly house with kids
Painting a Butterfly House

Little Dude is a little older, so his method of painting was a little more methodical compared to his sister’s lets throw some paint on this butterfly house.  We also worked on mixing colors and making new ones.  Little Dude made a lot of green, while Baby Girl enjoyed making orange and purple.

 

I think their Paint-A-Butterfly Kit turned out well!!  I refrained from “fixing” anything.  I still remember when I was a kid I painted a little craft project with a fence and a rooster on it for a fundraiser for Girl Scouts.  One of the leaders ended up “fixing it” and making the paint and words look better.  My Mom, of course, ended up buying the craft project and every time I looked at it, it just reminded me how the leader thought my project wasn’t good enough.  I try my hardest to not “fix” my kids projects, though sometimes its harder than others.

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