Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vintage Butterfly Pattern

 Isn’t this a beautiful photograph! I love the delicate nature of the stitch design. It is the cover of the October 1918 Needlecraft Magazine.  At first glance, I thought the butterfly cloth to be a small doily…but, each butterfly measures over 9 inches wide! That would make this more of a table cover!

This magazine is one of many vintage documents available for preview at the antique patterns library. I encourage you to go check them all out. As I was reviewing this specific magazine, I saw that it included a photo of the original pattern and instructions. Here is the artwork included in the magazine…

and below I've re-typed the portion of the article that describes the butterfly…(I’ve tried to be correct in the way the author punctuated…and the sentences are long…)

A Handsome Centerpiece for the Library-Table
By Marion Matthews
“The butterfly is a popular motif, always; and probably it has never been used to better advantage than in the decoration of the centerpiece illustrated. The colors are well chosen and effectively combined; although rich in appearance there is nothing about the work to hint of gaudiness—it is in the best of taste, and the centerpiece may well find a place in the library, living room or hall of any attractive home.
The butterfly measures nine and one-half inches from ti to tip of upper wings, and reminds one of the rare specimens sometimes found in collections, but never seen outside them unless in some tropical land.
The legs and antennae are outlined with black, in close, heavy stitch; body and wings are also outlined with black, but this is not done until the embroidery is completed. The upper part of the body is done solidly with black, as are the tips of the wings. Beginning with the lower part of the body, work the tip in satin-stitch with the darkest shade of golden brown; make the next bar of black, the next with a medium shade of golden brown, the next of black, next of yellow, next with medium brown and finish with the lightest shade of brown. Work the edge of the lower wings, between the lines that are to be outlined with black, with medium brown, taking stitches of this up into the black of the tips, inside the second line fill in the top with dark blue, leave a space which is filled with scattered French knots of yellow, make a narrow band of blue across the wing—outlined on both sides with black, as are all the bars save those across the body: leave a space to be filled with the knows, as before and finish with blue. The upper wings have the space between the lines, or the edge, worked with the darkest shade of brown, taking stitches up into the black tip, as before; two narrow bars of yellow, curved, cross the wing at even distances apart, and the spaces between these and the portion joining the body – also of yellow – are filled in with scattered knots of blue. At the base of the antennae two tiny circles are outlined with yellow and filled in with black. As a whole, the butterfly seems very real indeed. And is certainly a lovely creation of the needle.”

I tried to re-draw the butterfly pattern for you.
 Hope you enjoy the pattern.

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