Embroidery Library

Freestanding Fabric Butterfly
(In-the-Hoop)

Free project instructions for creating free flying embroidery, in-the-hoop.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.


Craft a natural marvel with this unique in-the-hoop freestanding butterfly design! Delicate floral stitching combines with your choice of fabric to create graceful and lovely textures. We'll show you step-by-step how to craft this beautiful, unique decoration!


Project Needs & Notes:

- 1/2 yard of smooth, flat fabric (we used gray linen)
- Heavy weight water-soluble stabilizer (we prefer Sulky Ultra Solvy or Vilene)
- Medium weight cutaway stabilizer
- Temporary spray adhesive
- 40 weight rayon or polyester embroidery thread
- 75/11 sharp sewing needle
- Scissors

Designs featured in this tutorial include:
- M17952, Winged Whimsy Butterfly (In-the-Hoop)

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

When you download the fabric butterfly design, you will find a multiple files. One file is the embroidery file and the other files are dieline files marked with the letters DL. Dielines are used to cut the fabric to the right shape and size.

Open each dieline file with an embroidery software, and print it. If you do not have embroidery software, Wilcom TrueSizer is a free program to use.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Start by spraying the back side of front dieline printout with temporary adhesive and smoothing it on top of the fabric.

Add medium weight cut-away stabilizer to the back of the front piece fabric.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Cut out the shape and repeat to make the back dieline piece.

After cutting, make sure to fold up one corner of the paper dieline to make it easier to remove later.

You can also label the paper with a "F" for "front" and a "B" for "back" to keep the pieces in order and prevent them from being mixed up.


Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Hoop the stabilizer firmly. Make sure it is nice and tight with no wrinkles.

There are a couple of different kinds of water-soluble stabilizer. One is clear and plastic, and that brand is Sulky Ultra Solvy. The other is soft and fibrous, called Vilene. Both will work well. Vilene is used in this demonstration.

Use a size 11 or 75/11 sharp sewing needle. A sharp sewing needle has a smaller, finer point than an embroidery needle. That means it will make smaller holes in the stabilizer.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Load the main embroidery file onto the machine (not the dieline files), and begin embroidering the design.

The first thing to embroider will be a dieline, or outline stitch. This marks the area on the stabilizer where we'll place the front fabric piece.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Remove the hoop from the machine, but do not unhoop the stabilizer.

Spray the back of the front piece with temporary adhesive, and place the fabric piece right inside the sewn dieline.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Reattach the hoop to the machine and continue with the design. A tackdown will sew next. This binds the front fabric piece in place for the remainder of the design. All of the inner elements will follow.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Watch the color change sheet, and stop the machine before sewing "back piece takedown".

Remove the hoop from the machine, but do not unhoop the stabilizer. Spray the back side of the back dieline with temporary adhesive, and place it on the back of the embroidery.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Since the fabric butterfly is seen from both sides, wind a bobbin with the same thread that you're using in the needle before returning the hoop to the machine.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Place the hoop back into the machine and embroider the back piece tackdown. An E-stitch will bind the edges, the lace antennae and head will finish the design.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

After the embroidery is complete, unhoop the design and cut away the excess stabilizer.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

The stabilizer's packaging should give instructions for removing the excess. For Vilene, soak the fabric butterfly for a few minutes.

Free project instructions for creating a freestanding butterfly, in-the-hoop.

Let the fabric butterfly air dry, then press using a pressing cloth.

Freestanding Fabric Butterfly, In-the-Hoop



This project is featured on the Embroidery Library Pinterest page.

Pin it yourself using the "Pin It" button on this page.



Questions or comments? Let us know! Send an email to us; the address is support@emblibrary.com.

Products used in this Project: