Windham Wednesdays with Butterfly Dance

Butterfly Dance by Windham Fabrics arrives in quilt shops in April. Not only are there butterflies, but some pretty sweet dragonflies are featured in both a light and dark print.

Butterfly Dance by Sally Kelly for Windham Fabrics

But, fabrics are really just blobs of material without a plan in mind, right? Windham sent me the 23 sku set of fat quarters and the challenge was on. Remember, a fat quarter is 18" x 22" and you are limited to making something small. NOT!

I revisited one of my oldie-goldie patterns which I affectionately call Metropolitan Home Star. I first saw this in a 1982 Metropolitan Home magazine and tore out the page. I have carried it with me through several house moves and I eventually laminated it so it wouldn't be shredded. Here is the vintage quilt that inspired me.

Vintage quilt from the 1920s
I've made this quilt multiple times. In fact, it was featured on the cover of my second book, Supersize 'Em Quilts (Martingale, 2009). I drafted those points to fit a 7" finished paper pieced unit. So, the block is a whopping 21" (in my quilts). If you scroll to the end of this post, I share the quilts I've made so far. But, this blog post is about what I did with 19 of the 23 fat quarters in the Butterfly Dance Collection.

I selected two fabrics with good contrast, intending that pink butterfly print to be the center of my pattern (which it didn't, but it's ok to change your mind as you're going along).
Printed foundation with pre-cut patches ready to sew
 I've shared before my process for paper piecing this block. Here are the first 3 patches sewn and trimmed.

First 3 patches sewn and trimmed
 I needed four of the 7" units to make one block.
Four units for one block, stitched and trimmed
I decided to make all the points (4 sets) before I selected the fabrics to finish up the blocks. This is typical of my method, especially when I'm sewing with a coordinated set of colors.

Here are the other 3 sets:

Magenta points with a soft turquoise background

Hot pink striped points with a deep blue print background

Hot pink dotted points with a navy and white print background
Now let's see the front and back of one block:

Here is the front of the block using the points above:
A single 21" paper pieced block. Love those dragonflies!
Here is the back of the block. Everything is neat and tidy because I always trim my patches BEFORE I add the next patch when paper piecing. If you didn't know any better, you would think that I used templates (gasp! this would be torture!)
The reverse side of the block above
Then I took an alternate assembly that I used once before back in 2006 for an Atlanta quilt shop. Here is the original quilt made with batiks:

Staggered Stars
Now for the one I made with Butterfly Dance. Remember, I only had fat quarters. The blocks are 21" square (21-1/2" unfinished). I squeaked out my 7" setting sashings from a variety of those fat quarters. In fact, I used 19 of the 23 fat quarters! Big wow, huh?

She needs a border, but I'm really pleased with the way I was able to get all those 7-1/2" squares and strips from the fat quarters. There are no set in seams. Everything was sewn in vertical rows, which means I had to split up two of the stars.

56" x 56" Butterfly Dance Stars
As promised, here are 2 other quilts I've made with this pattern.

First Metropolitan Home Star quilt I made in 2007
And an updated one in blue that I made last year:

Single star block with those extra sashes
Follow the links above for the pattern on Etsy: Metropolitan Home Star. Those spikes are not hard to paper piece and it's a great pattern to feature some awesome prints. And it's big, too!

Hope you enjoyed the show. Butterflies will be joining us soon now that it's Spring. I hope you check out Butterfly Dance at your local quilt shop.


  1. You may yet convince me to grit my teeth and plow through a little paper piecing. It's very painful for me, but I will try one of your tutorials one of these days and see if it helps. =)


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