Clara's Butterfly Wings

A month or so ago, Clara was lying on the changing table jabbering away and since I was quite occupied with her other business end, I wasn't paying any attention. Finally I realized that she had been calling "Mama!" with increasing impatience for some time. I looked at her and asked what she needed. She looked at me very seriously and said, "Buffuffy. Doot. Me." "Butterfly suit?" "Syes." "You want a butterfly suit?" "Syes." "You want to dress up like a butterfly?" "Syes." "OK!" (Huge grins on both faces at the success of having verbally communicated so well.)

So today I worked on part of Clara's Halloween costume. The wings. In the photos above, the wings appear quite swimsuit-like. They aren't. They are made quite simply (and a bit slapdash) from two rectangles of fabric and a bit of webbing and elastic. I have a white and green leaf print on one side and a white lace on the other. Both fabrics are terribly synthetic. The fabrics were purchased from my local fabric shop in the clearance section. The elastic and webbing are from my stash.

Here is a brief how-to:

Measure the person who intends to wear the costume from one wrist, along the arm, across the back, down the other arm, and to the other wrist. Have the person bend their elbows whilst measuring. Add an inch or so to this measurement for seam allowance. Now measure the future butterfly from the nape of the neck to the back of the knees and add another inch for seam allowances. Use those two measurements for the dimensions of the rectangles.

  • Sew the rectangles together around the edges leaving a space for turning inside out.
  • Trim the corners, turn, press the edges and topstitch all around.
  • Run two lines of long machine stitches up the middle and gather the fabric as much as possible.
  • Take a piece of firm cottony webbing and cut it about half an inch longer than the gathered section.
  • Turn the ends of the webbing under and zigzag.
  • Centre the webbing against the gathers and run two lines of stitching between the gather stitches to attach and achor the gathers.
  • Remove gathering stitches.
  • Cut two small lengths of elastic for the wristbands, fold in half and zigzag the ends together, making a teardrop shaped loop.
  • Sew the zigzagged edge of the elastic loops to the top corners of the wings.
  • Cut two longer lengths of thin black elastic for the shoulder straps.
  • Melt the ends and tie a firm knot near the ends.
  • Position the knotted ends against the webbing (on the side near the wing fabric) and zigzag over the elastic to attach.

I plan to embellish the wings with some sequins as well, but that (and the antennae headpiece) will have to wait for another day. When it is done I will post a picture of Clara wearing her butterfly suit.


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