Tutorial: Birdie Wings


I cannot remember how I stumbled on Ari's blog, Llevo el Invierno. She lives in Mexico and her blog is written in Spanish, which I don't speak at all, but some things are universal. Like crafts. I saw these amazing wings and fell in love.  Ari has very minimal instructions on her blog post, so I had to figure a few things out, but I got her permission to write a step-by-step tutorial and post it here.  repeat: this is not my original idea.

I made a few changes (to see Ari's origianl project click here). Ari had ribbons attached as thumb loops and around the neck to attach the wings to the child. I knew my kids could not tie those themselves, so I made my thumb loops from elastic and put Velcro on the neck sash so my little birdie could get winged herself.  Let's get started!

- 1/2 yd white fabric (for size 4T or smaller)
- scraps of different colors of fabric
- 6 inches of 1/4" white elastic
- velcro
- 12" coordinating ribbon
- feather template (click here to download)

1. Lay out your white fabric, folded with right sides (if there are right sides) together.
2. Lay a long sleeve shirt that your child currently wears on the fabric.  Measure from the end of the sleeve to the folded center of the shirt.  Mine was 18.5" (my daughter wears a size 4T).

3. Mark your measurement on your fabric. Next take a piece of string (non-stretchy) and tie one end to a pencil. (Yeah, I said non-stretchy and you are looking at brown yarn...stretchy right? Right.  I learned the hard way not to use it).

4. Tack down the other end of the string. Stretch the pencil end until it reaches your marked point.

5. Use the pencil to mark a arch on your fabric by keeping your string taught.

6. Cut along your penciled arch.

7. Cut out the fathers template.

8. Lay your fabric out in the order you want to sew it in rows.  I tried to arrange it in contrasting colors, making sure to have areas of light fabrics contrasting with dark fabrics.

9. Cut out enough templates of your first color to cover the bottom hem of both wings.  Don't worry about the unfinished edges. If they fray...more feather-like!  Pin where wings join.  Sew with white thread.

10. Continue adding rows, trying to overlap the feather scallops slightly.  Pin and sew.

11. Continue until you get within 4-5 inches of the top point.

12. Take a piece of your red fabric and line up the right angle. Sew on and trim along the curve. Then sew a final row of red scalloped feathers on top of your top red piece.

13. Now, we're going to add the neck sash.  Lay your wings together at the inner edges, feather side down.  Fold over your ribbon to add additional stability to the neck and pin in place.  Sew down to edges of folds.

14. Take your child and place the wings on them, bring the edges of the ribbon around their neck and marking where the ribbon meets.  Add 1 inch to each edge of the ribbon length. Then turn back extra inch and sew (or use adhesive backed) velcro onto ribbon's wrong side.

15. Add velcro to other ribbon edge onto ribbon's right side.

16. Next add the thumb loops by cutting 3 inches of 1/4" elastic and folding it in half.

17. Lift the feathers from the 2nd to bottom row of your wings and pin the loops onto the wrong side, making sure to only sew over the bottom row of feathers.  This will make the stitches used to sew on the elastic loops invisible.

Now fly, baby, fly!

And when you're done, curl up for a birdie nap.

HUGE THANKS to Ari from Llevo el Invierno for coming up with this genius idea and allowing me to share a thorough tutorial here on my blog.


Jess said...

love this! KNew it was you, and i voted for it!

TooManyHats said...

Great tutorial and wonderful pictures! I love this idea :)

Kathryn Michelle Jenkins said...

I love love love this! that is so darling. what a cute idea.


Suz said...

Wow, what a creation! Love the last pic:)

Rachel said...

Incredible! I would have gone crazy over these as a kid :-) Beautiful work!

Rachel @ Maybe Matilda

Sarah said...

Just came across this! What a wonderful idea to make up for my girls to run around the backyard with. THANK YOU for the details.

Kelli said...

Now you know what I'll be doing this afternoon...making wings. What a fabulous idea! Thank you for sharing.

Dee said...

this may be a silly question...but how do you line up the two wings? Is it point to point? I'm not seeing how where they were joined. I'm also new at this sewing thing.

Crystal Swicegood said...

This is a great idea! I am going to modify it for an adult and use it for Halloween using darker colors with black, shiny fabrics, contrasted with some grays and browns, and other owl colors. Maybe sew add some feathers, apply the concept to a black strapless dress, owl makeup/face paint, rad hair (feather hair piece), vola! Owl costume. Thanks for this inspiration!

Erika said...

They are beautiful! Your little bird clearly enjoys them very much!!

After seeing Dee's comment, I'd be interested in how you lined up the rows too. In Step 9, you mention pinning where the wings join. I just assumed you made 2 totally separate wings and then joined them up with the ribbon/neck sash at the end.

Emilie said...

Sorry DEE! I didn't see your question until Erika restated it.

Yes. I made two separate wings and then joined them at the top with a ribbon that became the neck tie.