Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bug Party - Butterfly Wings

I am very proud to say that these Butterfly Wings were an extremely successful stash-busting project. I didn't make a single new trip to the fabric store in order to make them! I am also very ashamed to say that all the fabric came from my stash because you now know how huge my fleece stash was. I mean, it was so huge that I had leftover fleece after the wings to make the flower pillows. And I still have a huge tub of fleece left. Why did I buy so much fleece? Answer: Halloween costumes. One buys them on sale in October in huge yardage to lay out circular skirts that one's children request in their costumes because they love twirling. And circular skirts leave all these large unwanted corner bits of fleece that are too big to throw out as scraps. So... hence... um...

I'm not doing a very good job of digging myself out of this hole, am I?

Well... enough about my stash. Let's talk about the Butterfly Wings!

I made eight, in three different sizes, because they had to fit girls whose ages ranged from 4 to 9.

Lots of different color combinations.

Q:  Is there any reason for my choosing fleece? 

A: Apart from my embarrassingly abundant stash that needed to go, you mean?

Yes. It doesn't fray, so I could avoid having a lining (lining = extra work and extra cost). Also, fleece is robust enough to flap nicely and not just collapse like knit or cotton might. Most importantly, fleece has a bit of a stretch, which makes for comfortable wearing. And, of course, I had a vast amount of it, as we established earlier. 

I had initial reservations about using fleece for a summer party, actually. I mean, fleece is warm. It would be like wearing a winter cape. But -guess what - completely out of our control, the party took place not on a sweltering 100-degree day but on a gorgeous, partly-cloudy, slightly breezy 72 degree afternoon sandwiched between days of pouring rain. So long-sleeved fleece wings turned out to be perfect. A fortuitous choice of fabric, it turned out. And, I further rationalized, maybe some of the kids could use it as a Halloween costume this fall. Just like they did with the Rapunzel dresses and wigs from years ago. 

Apart from fleece, I also used some felt scraps (didn't even bother with the wool felt; just used acrylic). These were for the antennae.

I debated for the longest time whether or not to add the hood. In general, when I mass-produce, I like to simplify designs, especially when I'm short on time (which is always). And omitting the hood = simplifying. But I eventually decided to include the hood because I felt it would support the wings and prevent sagging at the neck. And also so I could add antennae.

The wings themselves are just a big piece of butterfly-shaped fabric. But they have sleeves

to slip arms into

and that hug the shoulders like a shrug

and facilitate natural and easy flapping.

Based on size, we assigned one pair of wings to each guest (rather than let them pick their own at the party, which would have been asking for trouble).

I kept the wings deliberately simple, embellishment-wise: just two blobs of accent color per side.

The idea was for the guests to decorate their own wings. I bought felt sheets that were self-adhesive (we've learned that the less glue we use at parties, the better it is for everyone)

and cut some of them into shapes, leaving the rest whole for guests to cut their own shapes out of. The girls helped with the cutting.

I expected everyone to fight for the very last piece but it turned out that this (Jenna's, below) was the most decorated pair of wings there - most of the guests either loved theirs as is or stuck on a couple of patches at the most.


  1. Ok, you are officially my hero! These are awesome!

  2. I'm looking forward to the tutorial :) My Miss K would love a pair of these! Yours all turned out so lovely

  3. These are so awesome! I can't wait to see how you made them. I know my daughter would go crazy for a pair of these!

  4. I just finished making owl wings for my daughter's birthday party and made them out of acrylic felt. The whole time I kept wondering why you use fleece. I now know the answer, thank you! :)

  5. Great idea and so much work for the party. I'm looking forward to the tutorial, too. As I saw them in the birthday post, I was overwhelmed by the wings. My two girls would love them.

  6. You are simply amazing! Where do you find the time? Do you sleep ever? :)

  7. Brilliant, my daughter would love these!!

  8. Beautiful photos ! The embellishments are such a great idea, for the minimalist or not! Looking forward to the "how to"!

  9. As usual, I am in awe of your talent and creativity. I've written to you before; I'm a 56 yr old woman who doesn't sew or do crafts, I just follow you for your entertaining ideas and writing, both of which I completely enjoy. Thank you for always causing me to smile. Susan from Maryland

  10. These are so wonderful, and what a fantastic party idea! I can't wait until my 18 month old is old enough to have a butterfly party so I can do something similar.

  11. The hood and sleeves really make these outstanding. Great way to secure the antennae

  12. You are an amazing mom.I have to vote you" Mom of the Year" You are so talented and you come up with such original and wonderful costumes for your kids. I cannot wait for the tutorial for the wings, have to make one for my neice who is three, she would just love to be a butterfly. Thank you so much for sharing your talent.

  13. These are the cutest thing i have seen in my life !!!
    Can i have one in grown up size ?! LOL

  14. Gorgeous!

    I'm glad to hear that winter is finally gone and you're getting some warm weather!

  15. Love these! I love that you make everyone's party favors! One year I made all the kids dragon wings. And last year they all got handmade pirate hats and eye patches and sashes! Love seeing great party favors!


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.