Adding Embroidered Butterflies à la Valentino
For years, I have been watching the rise and continued use of butterflies as a theme in designer collections, from edgy looks at Alexander McQueen to lighthearted at Valentino. Butterfly motifs are a gender-neutral design choice and can be found on men’s and women’s accessories from bags to shoes and on every type of clothing item you can think of. And butterflies continue to run strong season after season.
That’s why I would love to show you how fun it can be to run with the idea and save a ton of money. Most designer items featuring embroidered butterflies run upward of $1,000. A simple T-shirt with butterflies at Valentino can easily set you back $1,400. Gasp!
I personally have a couple Valentino butterfly-embellished items and have done the work of dissecting the embroidery and am totally spilling the tea on how to make one yourself.
Picking Fabric and a Pattern
For this project, I was going to buy a ready-made camouflage T-shirt and then add hand-embroidered butterflies to it. However, on a recent trip to New York City, I came upon an authentic Valentino cotton piqué in a camouflage print at Mood Designer Fabrics. It’s the nicest cotton piqué I have ever felt, so I opted for that and made a polo shirt.
I used McCall’s 9136, a vintage commercial pattern for this project.
I just happened to have it in my stash in a men’s size 38, which is the perfect slim-fit size medium of today. It’s a simple pattern with only a handful of pieces and works easily as a unisex design. I highly recommend making a test garment, or toile, before cutting into your expensive and/or unique fashion fabric, no matter what…