Butterfly wings - tutorial

More dress-ups!  Just because I love them.  I think love them much more than Sophie does.  If wings like this were socially acceptable for me to wear in public, I most probably would.  If they actually worked, that would be even better. It's been one of those weeks...

These butterfly wings are a cinch to make, and can be made out of small amounts of leftover fabrics.  They slip on the shoulders back-pack style with elastic loops, and can be decorated however you like.   A bunch of these can be made up fairly quickly to keep handy as gifts,  and if your little girl was having a party, these would make a great party favour that guests could wear during celebrations and then take home instead of lollies.  Or, as well as lollies.

What you need -

Fabric for the wings.  Each side (front and back) needs a piece of fabric that is 40cm (16inches) wide by 35cm (14inches) high. Matching, co-ordinating or clashing in colour. Pre-washed cotton fabric is easy to sew, but it could be something shiny or sparkly.  (The fabric I've used on the spotted one is from a very unfashionable skirt I picked up at a second hand store, which isn't cotton.  The back of it is from an old pillow case.)

Extra fabric, again 40cm (16 inches) wide by 35cm (14 inches) high.  This doesn't have to be anything fancy, it will end up on the inside of the wings and you won't see it.  You'll be tracing the pattern onto it, so the plainer the better.  Have a look through your stash for something your dying to get rid of.

Craft wadding (the cheap stuff is fine).  Once again, 40cm (16 inches) wide by 35cm (14 inches) high.

A sheet of craft foam  (to make an inner stabiliser)

About 1 metre of 6mm (1/4 inch) elastic.

Thin card (cereal box) for making template.

Anything  you's like  to decorate your wings with.  Pom poms, ribbons beads, jingle bells, etc.

The usual stuff.  Pins, needle, thread, sewing machine, etc.

What  you do -

Firstly, save the pattern sheet below to your computer, print out two copies of the pattern template onto paper and cut it out.  This pattern template is obviously only half the wings, and you need to make full wings template. 

Fold your cardboard in half and glue the centre line of the template along the fold of the cardboard, cut around the outer wings through both layers of card so that you have a full wing template.  You also need to cut out a template for the inner stabiliser.

Next up stack your fabrics and wadding on a table as follows

- underside of wing fabric (that is the fabric that will be facing the child's back), face up
- outer wing fabric, face down
- wadding,
- and the plain fabric on which you'll draw around your fabric, on top.

Place template on fabric and trace around it.  Don't forget to include the markings for the opening.

Pin as shown through all layers so that nothing shifts as you run it throught the sewing machine.

Stitch around the drawn outline, leaving the  the gap where marked.

Trim around the wing shape, about 1/4 inch from stitching.

Clip around curves, and into corners.

Turn your wings inside out so that the underside and outer wing fabrics are showing, and the batting and plain fabric are on the inside.  Give it a press with the iron.

Make the inner stabiliser.  Trace around pattern template onto craft foam sheet and cut out.

Slide the stabiliser into the wings through the opening, between the batting and the plain fabric.  Bend and twist the stabiliser as needed in order to get it in place.  It's a little bit tricky, this bit.

 Hooray! - nearly done.

Fold in edges of opening and close with hand-stitching.

Top stitch around the wings, about a half centimetre (1/4 inch) from the edge.  I also like to sew a couple of lines down through the centre as well.

For the straps, take the end of the elastic and place it in between the child's shoulder blades, bring it over their shoulder like a back pack strap and back toward the starting point.  Pull it a bit so it's firm but not too tight (you don't want the straps too floppy, nor a threat to the child's circulation), and mark with pencil. Double it over to give yourself twice the length, add about a half inch and cut.    (* Note - if your a bit unsure, err on the side of caution and make it looser rather than tighter.  If the wings sit too floppily when worn, you can always unpick the elastic from the wings, shorten it and re-sew it.)

Being careful not to twist it, and using a zig-zag stitch, sew it into a loop.  Place the elastic join at the top of the wing about a centimetre from the edge and machine stitch it through all layers.  Determine the opposite centre of the elastic (so that both shoulder loops are of the same size) and mark with pencil. 

Stitch at that point on top of the elastic already stitched on, to form the shoulder loops.

On the outer wings, you'll see the stitching you attached the elastic with.  It looks a bit ugly, so cover it up with any decorations you like.  Ribbons, a big bow, beads, a favorite brooch, etc.  If you are a regular visitor, you'll know pompoms are my personal favourite.

I've also added some fabric strips and a couple of jingle bells to Sophie's, to serve both as a handy way of keeping track of her movements while in the playground and also a warning to other children that she is nearby...

 ...because she's a sneaky ...bug.  I almost used another word then, which would probably have been more fitting, but not so G-rated.  I'm thinking of the children.


  1. Super cute! I love your creativity.

  2. Thank you for this! I just made 3 pairs of wings for a butterfly party on the weekend!

    1. You're so welcome! I'm happy to hear that this tutorial was used for such a special occasion - a butterfly party sounds awesome! I want one now x


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...