In my previous post I showed you the fairy dresses that I made for Mathilda’s Enchanted Garden 7th Birthday Party – they were a bit more work than they really needed to be, mainly because I had changed and modified the pattern to include an invisible zip at the centre back – requiring a bodice lining and alteration to the belt.
But I was really pleased with the way that they looked after I had made all those changes. However, what I didn’t show you was the wings that I also made to match:
I made them from the same pattern – Simplicity – 2872.
The template provided with the pattern has a really nice shape – just like Tinkerbell’s wings. So, I used the template that was provided with the pattern, but from there I pretty much made it my own way – mainly because I didn’t want to go and buy any specialty fabrics or notions.
Starting with Mathilda’s wings, I didn’t have any of the lavender or purple satin dress fabric left – I used every last scrap of that when cutting out the petals for the skirt – I even had to use other coloured scraps to make enough. The satin fabric was left over from when I made a Rapunzel dress for Mathilda for her 4th birthday, and fortunately there was some crystal organza leftover from making Rapunzel’s overskirt. I layered the organza with some stiff, dark pink tulle (for structure). For the finished wings, the tulle is on the inside with the two layers of organza on the outside.
For Veronica’s wings, I used the same printed silk that I used for the bodice and petals for her dress. I layered the silk with some stiff, pale pink tulle (again, for structure). For these wings I put the tulle on the outside, the effect of the printed floral pattern peeking through the tulle is subtle and delicate.
To make the wings, I pinned all the way around the outside edges, and stitched about 1cm from the edge.
Then I trimmed the excess, all these fabrics were quite slippery and difficult to work with, from cutting out, to pinning, to stitching – there was a bit of slippage!
Next, I turned them the right side out.
And I stop stitched close to the outside edge, all the way around.
Somehow, I managed to find a thread colour that worked for both pairs of wings – from memory it was a pale pink colour.
Next, I actually followed the pattern here and used pipe cleaners in order to get the wings to hold their shape. I had managed to find a packet of coloured pipe cleaners in the sale section at Spotlight for this. I used white for Veronica’s wings and a dark pink colour for Mathilda’s wings.
I stitched the design as per the template, but the wings were still quite wobbly, so I also put some more pipecleaners all the way around the outside edges. The pipecleaners are simply attached with a wide zigzag stitch in matching thread. The 3D effect is quite pretty.
The organza was particularly difficult to sew with – it did not behave at all, and as a result, the wings look kind of wobbly – the fabric is constantly pulling in all different directions, and the pipe cleaner wires are not strong enough to hold their shape.
Modified – no surprise there!
The pattern has the wings attach by velcro to either side of the centre back opening of the dress, but because I wanted the dresses to be able to be worn by themselves, just as party dresses, I didn’t want to have velcro strips permanently there, so I constructed a centre panel for the wings to attach some elastic straps. This was just a recatangular shape with some thick interfacing sandwiched in between fabric that matched each of the wings.
This looked a little bit too plain, and meant that I needed to put something decorative there, so I used some pieces of ribbon and lace, and a couple of decorative vintage metal shank buttons that I got from my grandmother.
I’m pretty sure that this purple ribbon is also leftover from the Rapunzel dress – I used to buy a significant amount over the requirements as stated in the pattern instructions in my earlier sewing days, mainly as insurance against mistakes – both from my own errors and also in case of errors in the pattern itself – I’ve been burned by that before. These days, as my confidence improves I tend to stick a lot closer to the recommendations.
The wings certainly do look very pretty when lying flat on the table.
Unfortunately, they didn’t hold up very well on the day. I had the same problems that I had for the previous wings that I made for Veronica’s Yelllow Butterfly Ballerina outfit, in that the wire is still too soft and can’t hold the shape, so the wings sag to the side when worn. On the day of the party I used the highly technical “safety pin” method of keeping them in place. That worked for the day, but won’t work for the long term.
I have been seeing some really beautiful makes on Facebook and Pinterest and currently have my eye on a different style of butterfly wing, which I hope to make soon, so keep an eye out for that.
Thanks for reading.