I decided I’ll give you a tutorial to make the fairy dress I showed off a few weeks ago… (https://obsigarden.wordpress.com/2009/12/05/fairy-dress/)
Which I personally think is a great idea 😀 if I do say so myself….
It’s a dress (or you could make it into a top with skirt/pants) that has detachable wings. The wings attach to the top shoulder seams with a snap….. So the dress can be a fairy/princess/whatever dress without the wings snapped on, and you could even have several dress/wing combinations for greater variety in dressups.
You can make the wing not snap on if you prefer… by making it attach to a necklace or collar instead, so the necklace holds up the back, and it attaches at the wrist. You can bead the necklace part, make a fabric or ribbon collar with elastic back (or a snap/button) or just use clear elastic if you want it to be invisible (which might be great for a boys costume). Here the necklace is quite loose, because I didn’t want the child to choke, and the elastic I was using (beading elastic) wasn’t stretchy enough to get over the head if it was any smaller. I’m assured that the weight of the wings doesn’t choke the wearer… but if you don’t like the idea of a small child being garotted by a wing costume bit, then feel free to attach the wing to the top instead… or you could use one of those magnetic clasps you can buy for necklaces, and have that attached as a failsafe – so if the wing is pulled on/caught in something, the force should open the magnetic clasp and the wing will fall off – rather than strangling the child. I take no responsibility for any children being beheaded as a result of this tutorial 😀
There is also another wing tutorial here, which uses a slightly different method of making a neck attachment
The dress can be made as a long sleeved dress (for winter-time fairy play, which means no more begging small girls to “put something warm on, you’ll catch your death” when they want to play fairies)… Or you could make the same idea into a top and pants/skirt…… a top for boys could be made if you used boyish colours and a more boyish wing (you could do a cape instead)
I’ve made them in panne velvet because it’s shiny and pretty, but you could make a lighter-weight summery one if you like. The sleeveless velvet ones are a bit of middle ground though, cool enough for not-too-hot summer days, and warm enough you might be able to convince the fairy to put a long sleeved top on under it for winter.
As a side note…. I have found that adult legwarmers can make long arm warmers/sleeves (covers from armpit to wrist!) or thigh-high leg warmers for my 5-6 year old …. so she has some of those to wear when the weather is colder and she wants to wear sleeveless short costumes. So that is an option to go with these.
I’ve made them with split sides, because I like that look and I find it makes for more comfortable play (sitting cross legged etc.), and is a bit cooler (ventilation lol) but means it needs something underneath, be that shorts, leggins, a skirt…. whatever… and the extra work of hemming those side seams, so you can make a proper skirt if you like.
So…. to make it…. I don’t know how much panne velvet you’ll need…. maybe half a metre should do one…? (you’d have to measure how much you need for the size you’re making) You’ll want the stretch of the fabric to go around the body, and because the front and back are in one piece, it’s not too noticeable if your fabric runs one way on the front and the other way on the back. But…. cut out your dress in the panne…. if you don’t have a pattern you can use, or you can’t just design one yourself, maybe find a tank top in your child’s wardrobe and use that as a guide.
Now, I find hemming panne velvet to be a royal pain… but since it won’t fray, I’ve come across a quicker and much easier way to deal with it that I think looks great. If you have some form of slightly fancy stitch on your machine, use that, with some gold thread. I use the silky rayon “Gutermann” one, which looks metallic, but is just like normal thread…. as I find the actual metallic threads just shred and are incredibly annoying to sew with.
So, I use this stitch on my machine
and I just fold the edge of the fabric over, and sew along it – on the wrong side…. on the right side, the stitch looks almost the same (and of course the bobbin is threaded in the same gold thread), so I think it makes a pretty fancy looking edging/hem, and it’s dead easy to do!
As I have splits in the sides of the ones I make… I start hemming the bottom, and work my way around, so that the split sides are done in one go…. folding over where the end of that sewn side isn’t quite as neat as it probably should be (and you should sew over that bit a few times to reinforce it), but it looks ok on the outside (my second pic was blurry, sorry about that)
So you end up with something like this:
Now…. the wings…
Measure from wrist to wrist of the child, and add…hmm…. about 10cm for room to move. I use the fabric width (110cm) on a 5-7 year old type size…… You’ll want about half a metre for the wing length……. or somewhere around the measurement from shoulder to hip… A too-long wing will just droop a bit down… but a too tight wing will stop the child being able to extend their arms out fully, so longer is better!
Fold your fabric in half and cut out the wing shape. You want the full width of the wing at the centre back, tapering down to a point at the wrist. If you’re using the selvedge as the top of the wing like I am, you may want to trim it, if it’s not a neat edge.
Then if you have an overlocker, roll hem the edges. if not, use a small zig zag. The Chiffon tends to go wavy which I think adds to the effect, some will do this more than others, and I think if you pull it tighter as you go, it’ll curl more.
To attach the wrist ends of the wing, you can sew on a loop of clear elastic, elastic with beads, fancy elastic…… or anything you like.
In the pink rainbow-wing dress at the top of the page, I used plain clear elastic with separate arm bands to wear over the top…I’ve also done a beaded bracelet version (below) which is quite pretty
In the purple one I’ve used stretchy sequined trim, cut that into sections and sewed it together to make wrist bands. I used the thickest one they had because I thought it looked nice, but at nearly $20 a metre, it’s significantly cheaper to just use clear elastic 🙂 or go for one of the narrower sequined trims. If you do use the sequin stuff, be careful sewing it…. go slowly and I find it best to zigzag the 2 ends together. If the machine tries to sew through multiple sequins, it will have a tanty…I broke 2 needles making these, one of those snapped and a shard hit me in the lip… so you’ve been warned! 😀
Now…. adding the snaps to the wings……. Fold the dress in half, and the wing in half, and pin them together on the folds…. then find the point at which you’d want to snap the wing onto the shoulder seams of the dress – allowing a bit of slack. put a pin there to mark it. Or you can put the dress on the child and mark it when it’s worn… infact it’s probably a good idea to pin it, then try it on the child to make sure it’s right…. as I can tell you it’s a PITA to have to remove the snaps if you’ve not got them in the right spot… *cough*
Put a snap into the centre shoulder seams, and then put one on the wing in the point you marked…. obviously you’re wanting to snap the two together, so make sure you make it so they snap together
and you’re done.
Funnily enough, I think she looks almost Roman toga-like, and she thinks she looks like a belly dancer, so it’s not just a “fairy dress” .. it has multiple possibilities 🙂