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Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Toddler Fleece Appliqued Butterfly Jacket

Sewing for a granddaughter is a special delight.  This toddler  has SO many clothes, that I am making only a few and very special ones.  This polar fleece jacket was quite delightful to design and create.  Even though a big machine with embroidery capability sits in my sewing studio, I honestly am more comfortable with the traditional method of applique and I KNOW I enjoyed 'painting with my machine' and being the DRIVER rather than letting the computer part of an embroidery machine do the work.  In addition, I KNOW it is a softer, more comfortable jacket without the stiffness of filled-in digitized embroidery.  I snapped a few pics along the way and you'll find some interesting techniques below, but I admit this post is just as much to show off her cuteness as it is to share how-to's. :)

Do ya think she caught her Mommie's tendency to POSE for pictures? This shot shows the curved back hemline and together with the next photo, shows how the butterflies were scattered and appliqued (the old-fashioned way).

butterfly polar fleece jacket

Applique Technique

We had purchased only 1/4 yard of the butterfly print cotton, but I sure wish I'd looked at it closer and purchased more.  Doing so would have given me more directions and sizes from which to choose.  Sometimes my frugality backfires!

For the appliques, I cut out motifs from the butterfly cotton fabric and played with their placement.  Typical zigzag stitching with shiny polyester decorative thread and a close zig zag stitch goes around the perimeter of each of the butterflies.  Since my Pfaff offers what we called a 'Lightning Stitch' for applique, that is what I used, as I find it goes around corners better.  Instead of angle angle angle of a zig zag, it goes straight from side to side, and then an angle from upper right to lower left.  Check to see if your machine might have that stitch and do some comparison.  I fused the butterfly appliques down to the polar fleece with a light press using  a fusible web, but did not find any backing below the polar fleece to be necessary.  After the perimeter stitching was done,  I dropped my feed dogs, added the free motion foot from my machine (Pfaff 7550) accessory box, and with black embroidery thread did free motion along select 'lines' in the wings, and created the long center body, head, and antennae.  I did as many of the planned butterflies as I could before setting in the raglan sleeves, but also planned some to lay over those seams, so those few got done later in the process.

Front View and Butterfly Placement 

Looking at this flat (yet still) shot, you can see the placement of the front butterflies.  It 'reads' from upper left to lower right as you look at the garment.  This picture was snapped before I decided to add the cross cut and pulled 3/4" strips of polar fleece as ties.  The pattern was actually a toddler bathrobe from my pattern stash.  Our little one will be 2 in August, but she is TINY.  I compared a pattern to her when they visited before Easter, and realized I would need to use at the most, a size 1! Her mama feels it should fit just fine come fall.  I hope it gets tucked into the BAG that goes everywhere to keep her warm from too COLD air conditioning so often experienced.

Another good shot of the jacket on her - but OH, how I want to tug it down on her little body! front view with tie


I knew the shoulder seams would need to be DE-bulked, so I graded them quite drastically as you can see below, then pressed the longer edge over the shorter trimmed edge and topstitched from the right side.

grading seam allowance     topstitching raglan shoulder seams


The underarm sleeve and side seams definitely needed to be clipped to allow the seam allowance to s-p-r-e-a-d to lay correctly.  See how much I clipped, and then really spread that edge as I serged to finish.

cliping underarm seam     serfing undearm seams to finish


Adding to the 'grow with her' plan, I created bias turn-back cuffs as follows.  I believe I cut these like 5" deep, and BIAS.  Bias is always best when asking fabric to bend on itself and/or around a body part.  I stitched the right side of the polka dot cotton to the wrong side of the polar fleece.  Notice too that I turn back the end when I start, then overlap generously when I end.  This bias then wraps around to the OUTSIDE, the edge is turned under, and I stitched that remaining edge invisibly by hand.  The circumference of this cuff is too small to go onto the machine free arm, so nice that I turned it WRONG side out and am stitching INSIDE the tube.

stitching inside the tube  turned back end to start

And one last picture.....

font view tied



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