Sunday, October 2, 2011

Birds of a Feather Costume Tutorial, Part Four

With the wing bases ready and the many feathers cut out, we are now in the home stretch of this tutorial! Time to sew the feathers onto the wing bases!

Lay out your wing bases and begin by playing around with placing and layering your feathers. Do this without pinning the feathers down so that you have full freedom of movement to see what arrangement you like best. The placement of the feathers on the wing bases is completely up to your imagination, but I've put together a few tips in this tutorial that you can refer to.

The above diagram maps out my general approach to layering the feathers in my original costumes. The bottom most layer is along the curved edge (C) and is positioned to stick out over the edge so that you can see it peaking out from the other side of the wing.
The layers that follow slowly change from curved to straight since I wanted to finish with feathers running straight across the top edge (A). Also, on the top edge, I opened the double layered feathers up so that they would show on both sides of the wing.

Above is a view of the back of the wing. Notice the layer along curved edge (C) peaks over, and the layer along the top edge (A) is showing by opening feather sets and placing each layer on either side of the edge.

Also, the thread color should match your wing base color on this side so that your stitching isn't too noticeable.

Try staggering each row of feathers to make the layering more effective and interesting.

Remember that you don't have to use each set of feathers as a set of four. If you get to a spot that could only use two feathers, go ahead and cut a set in half to two feathers.

Leave some space between each row. These blank spaces are covered with well placed staggering.

Once you have figured out your general idea for layering, leave one wing base set up with the feathers in place as a guide, and begin sewing down feathers on the other wing base. Sew the feathers down row by row beginning along the curved edge (C).

Once all feathers are sewn down to your liking, sew on two loops of fabric to both wings, one on each end of the top edges (A).
The loop at the corner where the top edge (A) and the curved edge (C) meet is meant to help attach the wing to your wrist. I found it easiest to use old hair ties through these loops which slipped around my wrists easily when I was putting on the wings.
The loop at the corner where the top edge (A) and the side edge (B) meet is meant to help attach the wings to your neck. Pass a ribbon through these loops on each wing, as shown in the drawing, and tie the ribbon around your neck. If this is uncomfortable, use the loops to pin the wings to your clothing instead.

And there you have it! Two beautiful bird wings! So tie them on and start flapping!

Thanks for reading my first ever tutorial. I had a great time putting it together and I hope that it inspires some great costumes for Halloween this year. If you do find inspiration in this tutorial, let me know! I'd love to see some photos!


  1. I've seen all the work inspired by your original costumes, but have never been able to decipher how to make the wings. I've since bought all the materials and can't wait to give it a go. THANK YOU so much for breaking it down in dumb-dumb terms. This novice sew'er is grateful!

  2. Hi there! I have just been following these tutorials around the web and they have led me to you! I was trying to email you, but can't find a contact...anyway, I had contacted eri at Llevo el invierno about the wings and she'd given me permission to go ahead and sell a few sets. They were just put up on etsy for friends who liked my daughter's pair, but a couple of other people have bought them as well. Anyway, I just wanted to make sure that is cool with you, as I know how much work design takes.

  3. This costume is incredible! I think I'd even wear it on a daily basis... a feathered cape maybe? Found your blog through Tilly's crafty christmas club, and I look forward to keeping up with you! Love it!

  4. LOVE this!!!!!!!!

  5. I am so going to be the parrot for halloween :D

  6. This is one of the best written tutorials! I wish I had found it before I started... But it all worked out. GREAT tutorial, EXCELLENT first one, congrats!

  7. THANKS A LOT for this great tutorial... it's so kind of you to share with us, and what a marvellous idea for an Halloween party...! thanks again !

  8. Thank you, this is brilliant :D

  9. I just found this & hope to make wings for running the Dirty Dash on my 30th birthday...

  10. THANKS so very much for sharing this AMAZING tutorial! I appreciate your time & generosity.

  11. Thank you for sharing your idea and making the tutorial. Your wings are beautiful and I now have my own little rainbow butterfly flying around my house!

  12. That looks grate (:
    Thank you so much for sheering!!!
    I'm going to do it for my girl.....

  13. Thank you so much for the tutorial!! It helped me so much! I used hot glue instead because I don't own a sewing machine. I really like the hair accessories too. Did you make them? If so, what did you use and how did you do it? I'm trying to figure out what to do with my hair, and I was thinking I could make something, but I'm not sure how to go about it. I have leftover fabric and also some feathers. Any suggestions?