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By Terra on 10/09/2019

Bird wings costume

How to Make Fabric Bird Wings Costume for Kids

Simple DIY tutorial for bird wings costume

These fabric bird wings costume for kids look amazing and can be made in an afternoon. It’s the perfect project to use up all those fabric scraps you’ve been collecting too. It’s easy to customize the look by using different color combinations and patterns which works well for boys and girls. Let’s get started.

You will need:

  • Fabric
  • Elastic
  • Paper or card
  • A measuring tape
  • name labels with text & symbol

First, take some measurements from whoever will be wearing the wings. Measure from their shoulder to their wrist – we’ll call this length A. Now, measure from their shoulder to the point where you want the wings to stop (around the waist or a little below is a good guideline) – this is length B. Lastly, measure the distance between your costume-wearer’s shoulders and note it down as length C.

Shoulder to wrist

Shoulder to waist

Between shoulders

Choose your fabrics – you can pick a specific bird to model your costume on or invent a bird of your own design. You could keep the feathers all one colour or use a variety of fabrics.

Next, cut the backing fabric. Draw a line of length A, and another one perpendicular to it of length B (see image). Now draw a curved line to join the two end points of these lines. Cut along the lines to make your first wing shape. Repeat to create the other wing – don’t forget to mirror it so you have both a left wing and a right one.

Draw wings

Cut wings

Right & left wing

Attach elastic loops to both top corners of each wing, a little way in from the raw edge. Check against your costume-wearer’s upper arm and wrist to make sure the wings will be comfortable to wear. We cut the shoulder elastic at 22 cm (8.5 in) and the wrist elastic at 15 cm (6 in) for a 7-year-old.

Attach elastic loops

Loops in top corners

Now make yourself a feather template from a piece of paper. Cut it in half lengthways, then fold one half into four equal sections (see image), accordion-style. Draw a feather shape, making sure to leave the sections attached at the top, and cut through all four layers of paper. Unfold the paper. If you like, you could trace round the paper template onto card to create a sturdier template.

Feather template: Step 1

Feather template: Step 2

Feather template: Step 3

Use your template to cut out feathers from your fabric. The size of your wings determines how many feathers you will need – as you cut, lay the feathers out on the wings to see how many more are required. Don’t forget you’ll need to cover both wings! You might need to cut individual feathers off to fill all the gaps – try staggering the feathers between rows.

Cut out feathers

Stagger the feathers

When all the feathers are cut and arranged to your liking, it’s time to sew. Sew the feathers onto one wing at a time, leaving the other one to compare feather placement. Begin sewing with the layer of feathers closest to the outside edge of the wing – this layer should overlap the raw curved edge to hide it. Then build up the wing, layer by layer, sewing along the top of each set of feathers and finishing with a straight line of feathers across the top of the wing.

Sew feathers on

Build up the wing

Turn the wings over and trim off any overhanging pieces of feathers along the straight edges. Don’t trim along the curved edge!

Trim overhanging fabric

Trimmed wing

The last stage is to finish the straight edges. Cut two fabric strips 7.5cm (3in) wide and the same length as the vertical edges of the wings (this should be length B). Fold in half lengthways and press. Unfold, fold the raw edges to the centre line and press again. Sew these strips to the vertical edges of the wings.

Cut two fabric strips

Fold & press strips

Sew onto wings

Cut a piece of elastic to join the wings together – it needs to be as long as the distance between your costume-wearer’s shoulders (length C). Sew this elastic on close to the inner corners of the wings at the top.

Elastic to join wings

Joined wings

Cut two more 7.5in fabric strips – these should each be as long as the top of your wings (length A). Fold and press it as above. Sew the binding to the tops of the wings.

Binding at top of wings

Finished binding

Don’t forget to add your own personalized woven labels with text & symbol* Locate a spot along the top edge of the wings costume and stitch the label into place. Iron-on labels are also an easy option!

Custom label on wing

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