Oh my word. I have been so excited to share this costume with you guys!! But first, I apologize for not having it ready yesterday like I said I would in that quick post I put up over the weekend. I had everything ready to go, I just needed to finish the instructions…..but I have had some sick kiddos (who have stayed home from school) and have been needing some extra love. So thanks for understanding. :)
But, I’m now ready to share with you the winner of the Costume Vote from several weeks ago. There were so many good ideas…..I was so excited watching all the votes come in. And honest to goodness, I looked at the winner of the vote about a week after the voting and it was a BUTTERFLY COSTUME! And then in second place (I think), was Harry Potter and then maybe Star Wars?? But, I forgot to close the vote and since then……the actual winner has changed. Accckkk!!! So, if you go back and look at the results, you’ll see that Zootopia is the new winner! WHHAAA?!?! I had no idea it had changed until I looked at it over the weekend. Whoops! But too late—–I was already finished with the Butterfly Costumes….so we’re gonna go with it, mmmkay?? ;)
We also had different plans for my kiddos’ costumes this year (it was actually going to be Zootopia, which they LOVE…so how ironic that it ended up pulling ahead) but since I’ve been so sick and my kiddos are all taking turns missing school from being sick…..the girls are now happier than clams to wear these butterfly costumes! (Now I’ve got to figure out something for the boys!)
Anyway, there are butterfly costumes all over the place…..and you can definitely find all sorts of butterfly wings at the store, etc. So, I was actually kind of surprised that this costume won the vote. So, I was determined to do something a little more unique. And something more fun than the standard wire mesh wings for my 5 and 9 year old girls!
So I made EXTRA LARGE WING Butterfly Costumes….for both Elli and Chloe! :)
Eeeeeeh, these girls have been SO EXCITED!!! In fact, when I first started making these about a month ago, I told the girls these were the costumes that just won the vote on my blog and that we would be giving them away and I would be making them their real costumes later! They were fine with that at first. But once I actually finished them, they begged and begged to keep them! Ha! Well, looks like that was going to be the new plan anyway…because time has run out to make them any other costumes! Whew!……SO HAPPY they were thrilled with this change of plans! :)
So, here’s the deal. These aren’t your standard non-mobile wings that sit perched on your back and just look pretty. These huge wings FLAP!!! The girls can run around and expand their wings and flap around in nature, just like real butterflies!
There’s a wooden dowel partway along the top of each wing that extends out to the very tip of each wing, so they can grab it and extend outward, making their wings SO MUCH BIGGER than most costume wings!
And when not in use (and when they need to use their hands for something like trick-or-treating), they can drop the wings and just let them hang down their back. Still pretty and colorful……just resting!
There’s actually very little sewing involved with this costume. It’s mostly just acrylic paint (which is CHEAP)! And because of the thin flow-y fabric that I used, once you paint on one side, it soaks through to the other side…..so both sides of the wings are beautiful!!!!!
The wings are also attached to a base, that is then strapped onto the shoulders, with little elastic armhole loops…..so it’s worn like a back pack!
Surprisingly to me, I really had so much fun making this…..even though it was more painting than actual sewing! I’m not super talented in the painting department either but this was a very forgiving project and the more paint I added and blended, the more it kinda worked. YES!
But my goodness, look at the SPAN OF THOSE WINGS!!!
Elli told me when I was all finished, “I’ve always wanted a bird costume AND a butterfly costume, so I kinda feel like I can pretend to be both! (And yes, my 9 year old still really LOVES to dress up! She still orchestrates dress-up parties with her siblings on the weekends and LOVES pretending. I know she must almost be to the stage of outgrowing this…..but please let it last a little while longer!!!)
Oh, how I love these two girls! And am especially thrilled that they were more than happy to change costume ideas, among all the set backs of being sick, etc!
Sweet girls…..enjoy your younger years, for they are precious! :)
***Side Note: I didn’t include a tutorial for the headband and antenna. It was a last minute afterthought. But I’d be more than happy to share how I put it together…..if enough are interested!***
***Edited To Add: I created a tutorial for the Flower Antennae Headband —> HERE!!!
Okay, ready to see how these Butterfly Costumes were made??
Let’s do it!
- Light Black Fabric, a black jersey works best because the edges don’t fray (I bought “performance jersey”, a mix of polyester and spandex, but it was nice and flowy, more so than just a Tshirt type jersey…it was $10 a yard, on sale for 40% off…I bought 5 yards to use for both of my girls. But measure your subject first, then you’ll know for sure.)
- black felt
- black elastic
- acrylic paint (you’ll need several of the standard bottles of each color…but good news, it’s cheap paint!)
- 2 Wooden dowels, 1/2 inch diameter
- Fusible Interfacing (…)
- Sewing Supplies (here’s a list of my favorite sewing supplies, in case you need a few ideas)
***Check out my Sewing Terms 101 post, for additional help.
Before getting started, measure your subject. Start at the middle of the back, just below the neck, and stretch your measuring tape out past the arm, as far as you want the wing to spread.
Keeping one end of the measuring tape at the back below the neck, rotate your measuring tape down vertically to be sure the chosen length doesn’t hit the ground. You don’t want the wings dragging on the ground when they are hanging and not in use. (I made my vertically length reach just to my girls’ ankles….and my horizontal length as far out as I could, without hitting the ground….it pretty much ended up being a square.)
Using your vertical and horizontal dimensions, cut out your square/rectangle for one wing. Cut a piece of fusible interfacing that is the same length as you horizontal dimension and is 2 inches wide. Iron it in place, along the very top edge of your fabric (which is the horizontal measurement).
Here’s a closer look…
Fold the top edge over 1 inch (or just slightly more to cover up the white completely) and sew along the bottom edge, using a zig-zag stitch. Repeat the process again…..so that you have 2 wings this same size.
Slide your dowel in, to be sure it fits. (NOTE: I cut the dowel down shorter so that when fully extended it only came back in to the middle of the forearm. That way, there was still some flexibility in the wing and it could even be wrapped around the shoulders and body. The dowels are just needed to keep the wing extended out straight past the hand anyway.)
And sew one end closed so that the dowel can be pushed all the way to the wing tip. (Later we’ll sew on the other side of the dowel to keep it closed….but not yet.) Be sure that you sew the opposite end closed on the other wing….since the wings will be mirroring each other.
Take your dowels out for now, and set aside.
Now, it’s time to cut your wing shape. Using chalk, create a butterfly shape, trying to keep as much of the fabric as possible. (It won’t look exactly like a butterfly wing shape since the wings will generally be held straight out from the body….not all the way upward above the head, like a real butterfly would.)
Since the chalk line is a little hard to see……here’s a dotted line to help out! Also, Be sure that sewn edge for the dowel is laying towards the very outer edge of the wing. (The sewn closed edge is at the left side in the picture below. It will be opposite for the other wing)
Now, create the inner design of your wings, using chalk. Try and mirror the wing designs to each other, so that they’re symmetrical.
Now, it’s time to paint. You’re going to need quite a bit of acrylic paint it and you’ll need at least 2 coats (in some places 3 coats), letting it dry in between. It’s best to buy the same brand and make sure there are several bottles available for each color you’re wanting to use. (I used about 3 bottles of the yellow, 3 of orange, 3 of pink, and 1 white. They were 50 cents each….so the cost wasn’t so bad!)
I had to experiment a bit….and let me tell you what I learned. DON’T PLACE YOUR WING ON CARDBOARD AND PAINT ON TOP OF THAT! Once it dries, it will stick to the cardboard and will peel some of it up with it. However, TIN FOIL works great……and allows the color to soak through to the other side of the wing and helps create a nice glossy coat on the other side once its dry (you’ll see what I mean down below).
Start with your first color and apply a nice even coat, trying your best to completely cover your fabric. Once it starts to dry, it will fade a bit (because it soaks through the fabric fibers), but that’s okay. Let it dry.
While the yellow is drying (you can see it already fading in the picture below), start with your next color….I used orange. Apply the same amount of paint as the first color.
And then move onto the third color.
While letting your 3 main colors dry, begin adding your white accent shapes. You probably wont need more than one layer of white paint…at least I didn’t.
Now, it’s time to add your second layer of paint. Start with your first color and paint right on top of the first layer.
Repeat with your second layer, but where it meets with your first color above, slightly over-paint just a bit in lighter strokes, to give a look of blending.
Do the same thing with your third color, slightly overlapping the color above with lighter strokes.
Once that dried, I decided to use my yellow paint to very lightly outline the very bottom of the darker pink color, to help define it.
Once everything has completely dried……..start peeling up your fabric. See that nice glossy look? It will have a slightly different look than the other side and will even be a little brighter….but it’s kind of a cool contrast!
Once both wings are completely painted and dried…..slide the dowels back in, sliding them all the way to the outer most tip of each wing. The dowels won’t be as long as the wing and that’s okay. But you want it to stay all the way out to the end of each wing. So once it’s in place, sew another line of stitches on the other side of the dowel, to keep it in place.
Here’s a closer look…
Now, we’re going to create a felt base for the wings to be attached to. Measure across your subjects back slightly more narrow than the armpits and at least several inches tall (mine is about 5 inches tall).
Cut 4 pieces of felt at the dimension you determined above. Sew around all 4 edges, securing them together, creating 1 sturdy piece.
Now, cut 2 pieces of elastic and attach them to the felt in the corners, creating arm holes for the wing base. These should fit nice and snug to keep the wings in place.
Now, turn your felt rectangle over (so that the attached elastic is facing down) and grab the right wing and place it on top of the felt centering the left edge along the middle of the felt. Sew the wing to felt along the top and left edge, using a zig-zag stitch.
Here’s a closer look….
Now, repeat with the other wing, attaching it on the opposite side.
Now, sew a wide zig-zag stitch down the middle, grabbing the raw edges of each wing edge….to enclose it and make it look nice and finished.
And that’s it!!!
Your wings are ready for wearing. And flapping. And playing!!!
Oh, and like i mentioned above, I didn’t include a tutorial for the headband and antennae. It was a last minute afterthought that I thought would be fun to wear….so I glued it together really quick without taking a single picture. But I’d be more than happy to remake one and share how I put it together…..if enough are interested! (Just let me know in the comments below.)
***Edited To Add: I created a tutorial for the Flower Antennae Headband —> HERE!!!