Butterfly Effect

For some time I had this idea of making a dress for my sister that would be adored with butterflies. They are her favourite animal and as a good older brother I wanted to make her happy with this dress covered in them.

So I started with the studying process. I looked up origami butterfly instructions thinking that's the best place to start. And indeed it was a good idea. I cut out a few different sized squares out of a cotton fabric and made the butterflies to see how they perform and look.

I immediately spotted a few problems. Unlike paper the fabric had a tendency to unravel into the original square shape so I had to hand stitch a few spots to secure them in place. The raw edges of the squares were visible when in form of a butterfly so I rolled them couple of time, to hide them, before folding them into the butterfly shape. But this was not very aesthetically pleasing. It also created unnecessary bulking. And even though I felt I am going the right direction I was not completely happy.

I was not satisfied.

I wanted more.

I wanted perfection.

So I posted a couple of pictures on my insta @dramafruit to show people what I am up to and I went on exploring. Luckily one of my friends, in his infinite wisdom, commented that they would look great as bow ties which sparked another wave of enthusiasm and on I went exploring this further.

I started looking for suitable materials. I was on a hunt for a fabric that would not fray on the edges. But I also wanted it to look interesting and perhaps even with some delicate details. The ideal fabric would need to hold shape when folded and it shouldn't stretch. I played with tulle, I considered felt, I even tried cellophane just to see how it looked. None of them worked well.

The biggest limitation however was the thickness of the fabric. Because the folding happens multiple times there are going to be areas with almost 40 layers of the fabric and they will have to be sewn through.

So I needed pretty, non stretch, sturdy, light and thin material that would not fray. Uhmmmm... Sure. Might as well give up.

But give up I did not.

I kept thinking about this for over a week trialing different things. My brain was on overdrive. And then one evening, as I was falling asleep, something clicked and the solution was suddenly clear. You see, I actually did not need the edges of the fabric to stand apparat from each other when folded into a butterfly. They could be sewn together and the seam could be hidden on the inside. Of course this would mean that once I have sewn all the edges together, I would then have to invert the whole piece for the seams to end up on the inside.

The next day after this revelation I spent doing just that. Creating this kind of pyramid structure that was the first step for the origami butterfly made out of a fabric. Invert the pyramid and them just follow the steps as if made from the paper.

From this point on it was all about refinement and polishing.

There were challenges connected with symmetry as the multiple folds of the fabric tend to move a bit as you try to sew through them. But that can be sorted out by not choosing to use a complicated shape of the wings.

There are many different shapes of the butterfly that can be done from this point onwards by controlling the size of the central (torso) fold.

Right now it is all about finding the right fabric so I can implement all my knowledge and experience with making these butterflies. I have been contacted by a client asking me to look for a particular colour for a special occasion. It was a great adventure to go on a mission to find the perfect fabric and make it work.

So if you can't find in my offer the style or colour that you envisioned, do not wait and let me know. I am ready to show you what "secret" fabrics I am holding back or go and explore what is on offer out there :)