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#StitchTogether: Two Butterflies and a Caterpillar Visit a Museum

merian artwork

“Study of Butterflies, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Chrysalis,” Maria Sibylla Merian, 1719, Hand-colored engraving, Museum purchase made possible by John Glynn, 2016.7.2.

As we prepare for the upcoming exhibition Women’s Work, we are getting inspired by the artwork that will be featured in the show.

As a result, our second embroidery pattern features Study of Butterflies, Caterpillar, Pupa, and Chrysalis by Maria Sibylla Merian. The artwork comes from the McClung Museum’s Nature Print Collection (this beloved piece was a recent Faculty Favorite post too). It is beautifully colored and highly detailed, because Merian was not only a talented illustrator but an important naturalist.

Fun tip: embroider on patterned fabric or a piece of clothing!

The embroidery pattern features three of the largest specimens from Butterflies. They are designed to be used individually or can be arranged together however you like. We also preserved the high level of detail and color gradation from the print to the pattern. This way you can stitch something more challenging or, if you’re just starting out, transfer fewer elements onto your fabric and use fewer colors.

Download the pattern! 


  • embroidery needlemedian embroidery
  • hoop (10-inch and 6-inch diameters used in pictures)
  • a piece of fabric or clothing
  • scissors
  • pencil
  • embroidery floss: 
    • 2 shades of yellow
    • 2 shades of brown
    • 4 shades of blue
    • 3 shades of red
    • black


  1. Place fabric on the hoop making sure it’s taught.
  2. Draw or trace the design onto the fabric adjusting for the detail level that you want.
  3. Thread your first color (black or your choice for an outline) onto the needle and begin stitching using the colored guide from page one. 
  4. You can start by stitching an outline with the split stitch. Then continue with the split stitch or use the satin stitch to fill in each section.
  5. Add any final details like French knots for eyes or some small crisscrossing straight stitches to create caterpillar fuzz.
  6. Sit back and take in your awesome work! 😁

Videos of Stitches:

Want more? Suggest a piece from our collection for a future pattern. Explore our online collections and send us an email at

You can also see this print featured in our #SendAPostcard Project, check out our other #StitchTogether Patterns, and watch our embroidery Facebook Live event!