Butterfly Wings

  • Difficulty Rating: Intermediate
Butterfly Wings

These colorful butterfly wings are eye catching and impressive and give you the perfect excuse to use some of the more weird and wonderful fabrics available. The fabrics I used include some iridescent vinyl, sequined satin, bright felt and something that can only be described as mermaid skin.

I used 1 yard of fabric for the main base of the wings, as modeled by my 7 year old. You may need more or less depending on the size of your child. The width of the fabric needs to be about as long as their arm span and the height from about the nape of their neck to their ankles.

Depending on the kind of fabric you use, you may need to hem the raw edges.

Hemming-the-fabric

Next, cut 2 strips of fabric for the center stripe. I used black felt for mine. First I cut 2 strips 4 inches x half the length of the main wing fabric. I then used the diagonal lines on my Fiskars Cutting Mat to taper the ends into a more stylized long diamond shape. Once you have cut out 2 of these strips, put them to one side.

Cutting-center-piece

Next, I started working on decorating the wing base with a typically symmetrical butterfly wing pattern and I enjoyed using an assortment of different textures and colors. I drew pattern pieces onto construction paper freehand and again, cut them out using the diagonal lines on my cutting mat.

Cutting-pattern-pieces

I then pinned the pattern piece to my fabrics, cut them out and sewed them to the wing base. I made a zig zag stitch around the fabrics that tend to fray at the edges and a straight stitch on fabrics that would not fray.

I used my Fiskars Circles template to create the circles for the ‘eye’ of the wings and my Non-Stick scissors to cut the ‘sticky’ vinyl.

Circles-template
Wing-pattern

If you are sewing vinyl fabrics like me, it may be necessary to use a non-stick machine presser foot which helps the fabric to glide much more easily through the machine than a metal zipper foot.

Once happy with the wing patterns, I then needed to finish them off by attaching the center piece down the middle. First, I pinned one center piece at the ends to the top and bottom of the wing base, then gathered the wing base into layers about 6 inches from the top and 6 inches from the bottom.

Gathering-ends

I then placed the second center strip underneath the wing base, lined it up against the strip on the top and pinned it all in place. Next, I sewed all the way around the outside of the black strips, joining the top one to the bottom one and holding the gathers in place.

Pinning-center-piece

I sewed a loop of elastic onto both top corners so that the wearer can put their hands through and flap their wings.

Sewing-elastic

To attach the wings to the body and avoiding something going around the child’s neck, I sewed 2 lengths of ribbon (each approx. 1 yard long) to the wings at the neckline. The ribbons come over the shoulders, cross at the chest and tie behind the back.

Ribbons

Supply List

Approx 1 yard of fabric for the main base of the wings
Up to 1.5 yards of assorted fabrics for making the patterns on the wings and the center piece
20” of 1” wide elastic
Approx 2 yards of ribbon for the ties
Pins
Thread
Sewing machine