October 06, 2020

Hello! Welcome back. Let's dive right in to part 3 of the tutorial.

Click here to download your free PDF moth pattern

We had finished sewing the body and the upper wings, so now let's make the underwings.

(The text refers to the photo beneath it.)

Sewing the lower wings (underwings)

Choose thread for your underwings. I've used a matching green, but you could choose a contrasting color, or a darker shade of the same hue as your fabric.

two cut pieces underwings in green satin, placed on two yellow cotton backing pieces


Pin your main underwing fabric to the backing.

underwings pinned to the backing pieces


Starting at the top, stitch around the edges with a long zigzag stitch, removing the pins as you go.

one underwing and backing piece stitched together around the edges with a zigzag stitch


The back:

showing the back of the underwing, stitched to the yellow backing fabric


(For the demonstration, I have stopped after the first zigzag stitching on the outer edges of the wings, to show the long zigzag stitch, but I usually don't stop or cut my threads.

After stitching all the way round once, I change the stitch length to a closer stitich, and continue round for the second time.)


Stitch once more around with a shorter zigzag stitch (the stitches are closer together).

two underwings stitched a second time around edges with a shorter zigzag stitch



For the veins of the underwings, which are much simpler, I stitched them in a straight stitch without marking them on the fabric first.

If you need a line to follow, you can use the pin prick + frixion pen method that I showed you for the upper wings in part 2. Or you can draw the veins on freehand with your frixion pen. Remember that once you've sewn the veins, you can remove the pen lines with your iron on low setting. Use a pressing cloth if your fabric is fragile (satin, silk, flocked, velvet, etc). 

two underwings pictured with veins stitched and the paper pattern lying above them



Next, fold the upper edge in half as shown, and pin.

finished underwings viewed from the back, inside upper edge folded over


close up of one underwing, folded and pinned



Stitch across upper edge with a zigzag stitch. And you've finished your underwings.

two underwings with upper edge stitched across top, one face up, one backing side up

close up of one underwing, folded and stitched across top edge



Now it's time to assemble all the parts. We'll start with the upperwings.

finished upper wings, body, underwings placed in the moth shape with embroidery scissors to the right


Decide where you'd like the upper wings, leave a little of the "head" showing. Using long pins, I pin across the wings and also straight down through wings and body.

upper wings pinned to the moth body, one pin straight through body, one pinned horizontally across wings


close up of upper wings pinned to moth body



In order to hide the knots, I pass my threaded needle, beginning on the underside, up through the body and into the upper edge of the upper wings.

I  use a doubled length of Cordonnet (button craft thread) and a #4 or #5 embroidery needle.

underside of the body with threaded needle going into the underside, towards the top of the body



Hand sew the upper edge of the upper wings using a whip stitch. I begin in the center, after coming up from the underside, then whipstitch about one cm to the right and one cm to the left of center. Make your whipstitch the same size as your zigzagged edge stitch, and use the same color thread so that these hand stitches  blend in.

Staying on the top of the moth, pass the needle under the middle of the wings, through the body and out near the lower edge.

close up of whip stitchon upper edge of upper wings


Attach the lower edge of the underwings in the same manner (whip stitch) as you did the upper edge, stitching about 0.5 cm on either side of center.

close up of the lower edge of upper wings being hand stitched to the body


Once you've finished attaching the upper wings, sew back down to the underside of the body. If you had a shorter length of thread, you can do this step in between the upper and lower edge attachment.

Underside of moth body showing needle and thread coming out


Tie off your thread and snip.

close up of knot tied and scissors about to cut the thread


Now you'll attach the lower wings.

Pin your right underwing to the body just under the right upper wing. You can push a pin straight through the wing and body.

lower wing pinned to the right side moth body just under upper wing



 Pin the second underwing to the left side in the same manner. Lift up the upper wings to check that the wings are evenly placed.

both underwings pinned to the body, hand holding the two upperwings upwards to view the placement of the underwings



Using a whipstitch, sew each wing to the body. Begin by coming up from the underside of the body, do your whipstitch and finish by going back down underneath to tie off your thread.

I used the Cordonnet thread (button craft thread) for strength. The lighter color thread is easier to see in this demonstration, otherwise I would have used black.

right underwing sewn to the right side of the body with a whipstitch in light thread, so as to be visible for the demonstation


scissors snipping thread that has been tied off on the underside of the body


the underside of the moth with all wings attached


Stitch the lower wing to the upper wing close to the body, using a close whipstitch and without going through to the front of the upper wings. Your stitches should just catch the backing fabric. A few stitches will suffice. This is an added stabilizer for the wings. Along with the three layers of upper wings, this will help your wings stay in an outstretched position and not droop.

underside of wings, with arrow pointing to whipstitches which join the lower wing to the upper wing


 You've nearly made it to the end!  In part 4, you'll give your moth further definition and individuality by adding eyes and antennae.

If you're like me, and you do your sewing projects in short spurts when you have some time for yourself, then before going on to part 4, you can have a look through your supplies. Find some string, cord, fiber, wire or feathery trim that would make good antennae for your moth, in keeping with your tone. Choose a color of embroidery floss for her eyes. Will they contrast with her body? Will they be shiny and metallic? Bright, light or dark?

See you soon for the final part 4.

Click here to download your free PDF moth pattern.










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