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Butterfly Embroidery Pattern

Enjoy this free butterfly embroidery pattern

This butterfly embroidery pattern is an extract from Creative Embroidery and Beyond: Inspiration, tips, techniques, and projects from three professional artists Jenny Billingham, Sophie Timms, Theresa Wensing.  Used with permission of the publishers Walter Foster Publishing. 


Butterfly by Sophie Timms

Make like a butterfly and adapt and overcome! Test your embroidery skills with my two favorite stitches: satin stitch and the French knot!

Note from The Sewing Directory: we have a guide to embroidery stitches here if you are not au fait with those stitches. 

Tools & Materials


Stranded cotton embroidery thread

Embroidery and fabric scissors

Embroidery needles

6-inch embroidery hoop

Calico fabric: 2 layers, sized approximately 8″ x 8″

Robert Kauffman Essex Linen fabric in leather: 1 square, sized approximately 8″ x 8″

Pilot FriXion heat-erasable pen (or your preferred method of pattern transfer)

Free butterfly embroidery pattern

Thread colour guide

DMC 310 Black

DMC 320 Medium Pistachio Green

DMC 561 Very Dark Jade

DMC 738 Very Light Tan

DMC 920 Medium Copper

DMC 977 Light Golden Brown

DMC 3826 Golden Brown

DMC 3865 Winter White

DMC 3866 Ultra Very Light Mocha


Butterfly template

Print at 100%, the circle should have a 5 inch diameter.

Transfer an embroidery design

Step 1

Transfer the pattern onto your chosen fabric.

Creative Embroidery and Beyond book project

Step 2

Using six strands of light yellow thread (DMC 738), fill the sections of the wing using satin stitch. The direction of the satin stitches should point inward, toward the butterfly’s body.

How to embroider a butterfly

Step 3

Using six strands of pale orange thread (DMC 977), fill the sections of the wing using satin stitch.

Step 4

To finish the lower wing, use six strands of dark orange thread (DMC 3826) to fill in the last six sections.

Step 5

Using six strands of the same dark orange (DMC 3826), fill the three sections at the top of the wing using satin stitch.

Satin stitch embroidery project

Step 6

Use six strands of red thread (DMC 920) and satin stitch to fill the middle of the upper wings.

Embroidering butterfly wings

Step 7

Using six strands of dark red and satin stitch, fill in the lower sections of the top wings.

Step 8

Fill in the two small sections at the bottom of the lower wing using six strands of light yellow thread (DMC 738).

Free embroidery patterns

Step 9

With six strands of white thread (DMC 3865), use satin stitch to complete the small sections on the edges of each wing. Although the areas to fill are small, using six strands helps create more texture over and above the black parts of the wing.

Step 10

Using four strands of black thread (DMC 310), use satin stitch to fill in each segment of the body.

Step 11

Complete the wings by using two strands of black (DMC 310) to fill in with two long and short stitch.

Step 12

With one strand of black thread (DMC 310) and backstitch, stitch along the lines to complete the antennae and legs.

Learn how to sew French knots

Step 13

Using three strands of beige (DMC 3866), fill in each section of the flower with individual French knots. Go around the edge of each section, winding each French knot twice to create even knots. Then fill in each section with more French knots until all sections are complete.

Step 14

Combine two strands of light green (DMC 320) and two strands of dark green (DMC 561) for four strands of thread, and then use long and short stitch to fill in the stem. Finish the hoop.

Enjoy this free butterfly embroidery pattern

Spiritually, butterflies represent profound change and transformation.

Accepting change is the epitome of mindfulness, so why not embroider a butterfly of your own?

For more beautiful embroidery projects purchase Creative Embroidery and Beyond here