Sunday, March 23, 2014

Simple fairy wings


Miss GB is in her second year of "pre-ballet" class. We've enjoyed pre-ballet very much. This fall, she'll be considered a regular ballet student and we're looking forward to that too. In pre-ballet, one of the things we've both enjoyed most is the use of props or simple costumes in class, depending on the exercise being taught; the props are incorporated into the dances and movements. The teachers rotate the props seasonally too; they have various items for summer, Christmastime, Valentine's Day and more. A few weeks ago, as spring began to set in, the children began using pretty "fairy wings" made from floaty chiffon fabric. The wings clipped onto the backs of their leotards; attached elastic bands held them in place at the wrists. The wings seemed to be made from a long strip of fabric with a little stitching for structure. They didn't look difficult to make. The GB loved them so much, I decided to make one to play with at home. It was quick and easy, maybe 30 minutes from start to finish, and really inexpensive to make. If you have basic sewing skills, you can make one too. My how-to is picture-heavy in order to help explain what I did.


You'll need just a few simple supplies:

One yard of flowy fabric (organza and chiffon are good options)
Thread to match the fabric
1/4-inch elastic (enough for two wrist bands)
Ric-rac or other fancy trim, if desired
Safety pin or other child-safe device for attaching wings for use

I used shimmery organza fabric from Hobby Lobby; it's normally $4.99 per yard, but I applied my weekly 40% coupon, which reduced the price to about $3.20. For the fancy trim, I used some metallic silver ric-rac, which I bought on sale at 50% off, making it $1 per spool (I used about six inches of ric-rac from a 3-yard spool). I already had the sewing thread and elastic (and big safety pin) in my sewing supplies. I chose to use a large safety pin for attaching the wings to the GB's shirt whenever she wants to wear them; I keep it pinned through the wings when they're not in use. She needs help putting them on and taking them off, but it's a simple and cheap solution. You could also use a metal clip or even a large paperclip, though you might need to add a little loop to the back of the wings to make a clip work.


To save money on fabric, and because I wanted the wings to be long end-to-end but relatively narrow top-to-bottom, I cut the organza along the fold line that it came with from being wrapped on the bolt. My organza was 44 inches wide. By cutting on the fold line, I had two 22-inch-wide pieces that were one yard long apiece. This allowed the wings to be nice and flowy.




After cutting all the way across on the fold, pin the pieces together at one of their shorter ends. Then sew a straight seam right down that edge. I sewed mine with a 1/2-inch seam, to help prevent unraveling. Alternatively, you could do a rolled hem here, or serge the very edge (or sew a zig-zag stitch if you don't have a serger). You could also hem the long sides before sewing the short ones together. I didn't bother to do anything to the edges, but it's certainly an option if you're concerned about unraveling.



When you've sewn your seam, it's time to do some folding. Do you remember folding paper to make a fan? You'd fold the paper in narrow segments "over and under" until the whole sheet was incorporated. I did the same thing with the fabric here. Then I spread the folds out a little bit until the fabric laid basically flat, giving it a shingled effect. Then I pinned the folds into place from top to bottom. It doesn't need to be perfect; you're just giving the wings a place to attach to your little fairy's back, and creating gathers for flowy-ness at the same time.



After your folds are pinned into place, stitch them down with a straight seam through the middle from top to bottom. I went over both ends several times to reinforce the seam there.



This step is purely optional but if you want to make that folded seam area look a little neater, while adding a bit of pizzazz, you can stitch something pretty right over it. I used metallic silver ric-rac (just a small piece, about six inches in length), but you could use a little bit of ribbon or lace here too. I pinned it on, then changed my stitch function to the widest zig-zag stitch setting and zipped right across the ric-rac. I used the same pink thread and it's nearly invisible in the metallic weave of the ric-rac. I like the look; it neatened up the wings' seam and added some sparkle.



Next, measure your fairy's wrists and cut two pieces of elastic to the desired length. I made mine about 5 1/2 inches long; this would allow about 1/2 inch for stitching the ends together securely. I used a zig-zag stitch to sew the ends together; this is the stitch I like best for attaching elastic to itself. Then I attached an elastic band to each end of the wings. To do this, I folded the upper corner of the organza over and around the band a few times, sort of encasing the band inside the fabric. Then I stitched it down with a zig-zag stitch to fasten it.


The last step was attaching the safety pin. I put it through the top of the folded center area (the top being the edge of the wings you've sewn your wristbands onto). I pinned the wings onto the back of the GB's shirt and she put the wristbands on.




Work it, Girl Bear.


We're both happy with her fairy wings. I made them over a week ago and she has played with them almost every day. She loves to dance and most days, she'll spend awhile just dancing around the room in her own way. She likes to put the wings on sometimes now that she has them. She's not a dress-up-mad kind of girl, but she does like her play tutu, as well as her tiara and magic wand. Sometimes she's a ballerina, other times she's a fairy. These fairy wings were a good addition to that costume and she also likes to wear the wings by themselves. I like them too; they were simple and fun to make. Sewing for her always makes me happy.

43 comments:

  1. Everybody should have a pair of fairy wings! They look so good and very easy to make. I might have to get some floaty stuff myself!

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  2. Great job, Jennifer! They are just adorable. I wish I had a pair for myself!

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  3. Just perfect for her. Perhaps we should all have a pair and just play more often

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  4. Gorgeous. My granddaughter loves dressing up and would definitely love those. She has some Tinkerbell wings which she loves to wear.

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  5. She will always remember that you made those for her you know, they are perfect. Jo x

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  6. Jennifer what a great idea. They look a lot of fun. My daughter is a ex dancer (she's 25 now). but I remember making props for most of her dance shows. And one year I volunteered to help with making dresses for a show and ended up making 25 dresses for 9/ 10 year old children...... Luckly when she was older her dance school had professional dress makers.......Enjoy they grow up too fast.
    Rosezeeta.

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  7. Wonderful fairy wings, well done! I sew 16 ballet dresses for Annie's class every year. They wear them for the annual show. Luckily the dresses are simple to make, a bit like your fairy wings and it doesn't take all that long. I'll be getting the fabric for this year's rainbow dance next Thursday. Happy dancing, ballet is just perfect for a little girl (and big girls, too). Cx

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  8. Oh how sweet. It's nice to have a momma that sews. My momma sewed EVERYTHING for all us girls when we were growing up. Very creative of you. She looks happy with them!

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  9. She looks so cute with her fairy wings, how lovely to have a little princess to sew for, I used to love sewing things for my daughter when she was small and for her barbie dolls too. :)

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  10. Wow, that brought back memories. I went to ballet classes as a child and remember my mother making me some wings, minus the silver ric rak, and dancing around the garden. Your photos have captured that feeling again for me.
    S xx

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  11. OH how I love those pretty pink fluffy floaty fairy wings, and GB obviously does too! What a sweet light-hearted post, thank you Jennifer! xo Joy

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  12. That is so cute! I love the addition of the silver ric-rac. Thanks for all the pictures too!

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  13. Hi Jennifer! Thanks so much for leaving me some lovely words... They actually led me to you in return! My daughter will simply adore these wings! She's growing out of her store bought ones so I'm going to give these ones a go while she's at school this week :)

    Sophie xo

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  14. Your daughter is so lucky to have such a crafty mom. Thanks for the awesome tutorial on how to make.

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  15. Brilliant, Jennifer! Thanks so much for posting the how to. I am going to ask my oldest daughter to read this.....I think the Grand Girls would love to have wings like these! xx

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  16. This is just AWESOME Jennifer! I love it! You know I think I may be able to do this as I have been practicing on my machine and with your tutorial being so detailed and wonderfully visual I have a bit of confidence! Her ballet class sounds fantastic! I really like that they incorporate props by season! She looks so cute with her wings...a job well done mama! Nicole xoxo

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  17. This makes me want to have a little girl around again. Maybe I'll have to make one for my little grand-daughter Miss Piper. She would love it.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  18. All right-minded girls like pink organza and silver rickrack.... This is a lovely project! And I adore photo-heavy tutorials. :)

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  19. How absolutely gorgeous, Jennifer. Sewing for little girls is such a delight. Here's to many more cute projects!

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  20. You're so lucky to have a girl to do these fun fairy princess things for! We're all bugs and dirt and knock down drag out here. lol! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  21. Wonderful. I can see why she loves them, I would have loved a pair of fairy wings when I was little. I'd quite like a pair now actually. Every so often I like to pirouette across the room. It keeps everyone on their toes.

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  22. Every girl (big and small) should have something made from pink organza and silver ric rac! Those wings are just gorgeous... I would have loved some when I was small. Julie x

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  23. As if I didn't want a little princess of my own already! This is so gorgeous. Such gorgeous little wings and memories being made. So pretty and girly...I want a pink one. Frills just don't fly with little men, they run away and hurl abuse when you try and put bows in their hair ;(

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  24. Love this Jennifer, so pretty and girly. The GB looks as if she is having lots of fun with them.
    Marianne x

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  25. Such lovely simple fun - and great sewing by Mom too! xx

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  26. Girl Bear is such a beautiful fairy ballerina!

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  27. What beautiful wings! She looks very pretty and sure she will enjoy dancing in them x

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  28. Perfect. Such a simple make but so effective.

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  29. Very nice. Well done.

    Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

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  30. Those wings are gorgeous, I wish my little girl would still year fairy wings - maybe I should make some for myself!

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  31. The fairy wings are brilliant.I would have had to have these as a child x

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  32. Those have to be some of the best play wings ever! I used to love making costumes for my girls when they did ballet ... somewhere I still have a box with bear, rabbit, and assorted flower fairy costumes, I wonder where it is?

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    1. Oops, I didn't mean to add a question mark, it's not as if you'd know.

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  33. that is so cute.. oh to have girls in the house.

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  34. How adorable and creative! There's nothing more wonderful than seeing a child use their imagination for play.

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  35. Such a pretty fairy with adorable wings. Nicely done!

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  36. Thank you for sharing this, they are fabulous. Since Bella has recently started ballet and tap lessons, I suspect I'll be needing to make something like this in the future... The GB looks adorable. x

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  37. Hey Jennifer,

    Alas I shall never know the joy of fairy wings and ballet. I am currently under fire (quite literally) with nerf guns, Transforners and brothers wrestling around the living room. It is a very boisterous house these days. I love the shot of her pouting. Gorgeous.

    Leanne xx

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  38. Thank you for this Jennifer. BigR loves her ballet (such as it is at 3 and 4 years) class and also dressing up. I'll be adding these to my list of things to make as I'm sure they'll go down a storm! x

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  39. How very lovely. I bought the exact same fabric with a view to do exactly what you did a few years back for little E's birthday, but for some reason she insisted she DIDNT want wings, so it is all still in my sewing stash. xoxo

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  40. How adorable is little Miss! love the wings.
    Meredith

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  41. You did a lovely job on those wings and I'm appreciative of the tutorial. I have set some standards for myself in the time I spend with my grandchildren. Quick, easy, inexpensive ideas like this one, that are sure to fascinate, are hard to come by! I have seen gossamer fairy wings at the dollar store, but they don't have the ethereal arms that you've applied - the best part for any little girl!

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Thank you for leaving a comment. It's so good to hear from you! I don't always have time to reply but I try to answer questions when I can.

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