This past week, the signs of the season have been strong. The trees are beginning, ever so slightly, to change color, the breeze is crisp and cool and the migratory birds are warming up for their journeys. With autumn really in the air, I couldn't help beginning to think about all the fall activities and festivities, from pumpkin picking, to pie baking and...
... costume making. So, with a few strips of scrap fabric an a spare hour I made a pair of wings...
... and a beak mask sewed to cotton muslin ties.
With backpack style ties for the shoulders and elastic bands sewn to the top corners for the wrists...
... these wings will float through the clouds and glide through the trees in no time at all.
Quick Bird Costume:
- 2-3 different types of scrap fabric cut into 8" wide strips and the length of the "wingspan" of your little bird (the measurement from wrist to wrist across the shoulders)
- Ribbon for the straps and the mask (you could also use strips of cotton muslin for the mask like I did).
- elastic (I actually used two large, somewhat stretched out, hair elastics)
- Small piece of yellow, orange or brown felt for the beak
- sewing machine (you could also do this by hand, but it would take longer)
With your fabric scrap strips cut, zig-zags out of the bottom edge making sure to leave 3-4" untouched at the top edge of the fabric, meaning your cuts should not go much past the halfway point as you cut out the successive triangles (see top photo). If you layer your fabrics and cut a few strips out at the same time, this is very fast.
Once you've got all the zig-zags cut, layer your second piece on top of the first piece so that the points just overlap the top of the zig-zags (see first photo) and sew it down to the first layer. You can shift the layers back an forth a bit so that the don't line up exactly, giving them a little more movement. Repeat this process until you have the length of wings you would like. This goes fairly quickly.
With your feather fabric made, you can begin to cut our your wing shapes. I just did this free hand starting from the bottom layer and moving up so that each layer on top would cover my cuts. I kept the shape to simple triangles, but you could make them as complicated or straightforward as you like.
When you have the shape cut out, you can tack down any edges you'd like to finish with a needle and thread or sewing machine. I think the fraying fabric actually adds to the illusion of feathers, so I only sewed the edges that would affect durability. Mainly, the top line and the ends where the wrist elastics would go.
For the backpack straps you can either measure the length you need and sew down the ends to the inside of the costume so that the straps are fixed, or, you can leave some length on the ends so you can tie them on and adjust their lengths. To secure elastic to the top corners, simply sew over them back and forth a few times.
Now, all that's left is the beak! Cut a shape like the one pictured above in the composite shot. then make a small tuck (see photo) on ether side of the top curved line and sew them down. This gives it a better beak shape. Once this is complete, sew your ribbon or cotton muslin strips to either side of the top line and tie it on to your little bird.
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* Last time in Crafts and Activities: Slipping into September