How to make a dragonfly

I've been working on a piece with reeds and a dragonfly for a while now, and I finished the reeds a week or so ago and have now finished the dragon fly as well.

Making a dragonfly out of threads and fabric is tricky, there are so many recognisable parts to a dragonfly, and it is a very popular image. I also can't stand getting too close to perfect, real dragonflies are so much prettier than anything I could create with fabric that there isn't much point just trying to recreate one.

I made this butterfly for Rosie ages ago, using thin ribbon, 'novelty' threads (you can buy them as balls of wool from spotlight, lincraft etc), and my own threads. One of the benefits of doing it this way is that you can vary the thickness of the 'body' quite easily by cutting away some of the threads, and because the overall result is relatively messy you don't notice.

These are the threads I used for the dragonfly, I wanted him to be electric blue.

 You then bind them together, I find it is often easier to have a helper hold the ends together while you are working, plus this keeps everything tight. You can use a needle to punch through the threads, this gives you a bit more stability.

 After trimming into shape, you then bind the body to the background using whatever stitches you like. I've mainly used straight stitch here, to give the lines of the body you think of in dragonflies. I've used a few blues, black, and yellow thread to tie it down.

I made the tail out of a piece of satin, which I embellished and added a length of silver pearl sadi thread, and buried the top of the tail beneath the body of threads.

I capped the 'head' of the body with another piece of blue satin, and used black ribbon for a bit of shape on his body. I used the same ribbon for his legs and antennea.

 I layered white a black gauze between some soluable fabric for the wings. I then drew the outline of the wings and used free motion quilting/embroidery to stitch the layers together.

 They turned out ok, I wish I had added extra allowance for the fabric shrinking together as I sewed, but they have turned out quite well. I painted parts of the wings with watered down gold acrylic paint, and added some silver threads for some highlights.

I had almost finished but felt that his eyes were a bit bland, you can see in this pic he looks a bit boring.

But once I added some gold threads and beads for his eyes and onto his tail he looked much better.

And here is the finished pic: