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Pretty Prints Please: Zebra Butterfly Fleece Throw

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This very cuddly, very cute fleece throw is another no-sew project to which we added a dash of sewing ... so we didn't feel so guilty about including it on a sewing site. The basic instructions could be winnowed down to two steps: 1) cut fringe around two big squares of fleece; 2) tie together. It's still just that easy, but we've added a soft appliqué to the front in the shape of a giant butterfly. This motif tied in perfectly to the fabric palette for our Pretty Prints Please teen room.

In case you get any grief from your friends about your fabric choice for the appliqué, impress them with thr knowledge that there is indeed a zebra butterfly - heliconius charithonia to be exact. This information should be delivered with your hands on your hips and your tongue stuck out.

The rest of the Pretty Prints Please teen room projects were made using fabrics from the collections of seven fabulous fabric designers: Amy Butler, Valori Wells, Anna Maria Horner, Erin McMorris, Tina Givens, Sandi Henderson and Paula Prass. Their beautiful prints were accented with the turquoise and zebra fleece featured here, as well as a pink designer solid from Free Spirit. To see how we developed our mix-and-match, teen-friendly palette, read our article: Pretty Prints Please: Teen Room Makeover.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • 2 yards of 60" wide solid color fleece fabric for front of throw: we used turquoise fleece
  • 2 yards of 60" patterned fleece fabric for back of throw: we used black and white zebra print fleece
  • All purpose thread
  • Contrasting thread for antennae
  • Contrasting print fabric scraps to make yo-yos for ends of antennae
    NOTE: you could also use large buttons
  • Small see-through ruler
  • Long ruler - a yardstick will work, but a long metal ruler works better
  • Fabric pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

  1. Cut the turquoise fleece into a 50" x 50" square.
  2. Cut the zebra fleece into a 50" x 50" square.
  3. Download pattern for butterfly applique. Trim around the drawn line.
  4. Pin the butterfly pattern onto a folded piece of leftover zebra fleece, placing the line indicated on the pattern along the fold. Cut out butterfly pattern. You don't have to cut out the antennae; we included those with the pattern simply to give you guidance for how long to make the antennae and how big to make the yo-yos (or buttons).
  5. Arrange your butterfly on one corner of the turquoise fleece. Place it low enough so there is room above for the antennae. Pin in place.
  6. Using your print fabric scraps, create two small yo-yos for the end of the antennae. If you're new to this technique, read our article: Product Review: Yo-Yo Maker. If you prefer, you can skip this step and just use large buttons.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

  1. We machine-appliquéd our zebra butterfly onto the fleece with a blanket stitch. If your machine doesn't have a blanket stitch, you could also use a simple zig zag stitch, satin stitch or even do the appliqué by hand.
  2. Create free form antennae by running two curving lines of tight satin stitching, in a contrasting thread color, up from the 'head' of the butterfly.
  3. Hand sew a yo-yo (or button) to the ends of both antennae.
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Assemble the layers

  1. Place the turquoise fleece square and the zebra fleece square wrong sides together.
    NOTE: It can be difficult to tell the right side of fleece from the wrong side. One thing to remember is the selvage edge of fleece will curl when stretched; the side it curls to is the right side of the fabric.
  2. Make sure all the edges are even. Don't pull or stretch the fleece; it's better to just smooth the two layers into place. You can distort fleece if you yank on it.
  3. Using your fabric pencil, measure and mark a 5" x 5" square at each corner.
  4. Cut the 5" x 5" square out of each corner.
  5. Lightly mark or place a straight edge (long ruler) along one side of the throw from cut-out to cut-out, 5" up from the edge.
  6. Cut through both layers together neatly at 1" intervals up to the line to create fringe.
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  7. Tie together each pair of fringe cuts with an overhand loop type of knot. Your fringed border will look SO much neater and hang better with this kind of knot rather than tying the two pieces together like a shoelace.
  8. To make the knot: hold both pieces of the fringe pair together. Curl them up, creating a small circle at the base of the curl. Feed the ends back through the circle, from back to front. Twist the fleece pair just slightly as you pull the ends through to make sure the correct color stays on top. Slide the knot up to tighten
  9. Repeat steps 5 - 8 on the three remaining sides.
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Hints and Tips

What to do with that leftover fleece?

You used up some of your leftover zebra fleece with the butterfly appliqué, but you probably still have some more of that, as well as a nice long strip of the turquoise. Why not make a toasty fleece scarf or two? Cut the fleece to your favorite length. Most scarves are about 50-60" long by whatever width feels right to you – around 8" would be fine. Fringe the bottom of both ends just like you did above. You could even seam together alternating lengths of turquoise and zebra fleece if you want a longer scarf. You don't have to hem fleece because it won't ravel. Easy as that, you have a couple quick and cozy gifts.

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation: Kathy Andrews, What Sew Ever



Comments (5)

Sue-Buford, GA said:
Sue-Buford, GA's picture

Sounds easy enough. I'll let you know. But being a beginner I appreciate the easy instructions. Thank you.

Mary Abuamsha said:
Mary Abuamsha's picture
I'm making this right now! I probably should have made it smaller, because it's taking forever, but it'll be worth it! Thank you!smilies/grin.gif
banndit1 said:
banndit1's picture
Oh you have done it again, my granddaughter loves, loves, loves zebra anything. Christmas in July, boy am I going to be ahead of the X-Mas rush! Ta-Da!!!!!!!!!