Mini Monarch Costume Tutorial
I’ve always wanted to make a mini version of my photorealistic butterfly wings and finally got to it this year. I design the fabric from high resolution macro photographs taken of butterfly specimens, formatting it into something that can be sewn.
It only take a fat quarter of fabric to make these mini monarch costume wings, check out my Etsy shop for fabric!
• Transparent thread Coats transparent works well
• Neutral colored thread I’m using black for the mini monarch wings
• Fabric (check out my etsy shop) I have 11 species of butterflies and moths, some are offered in the oversized version too! I’m using the basic cotton ultra for this tutorial.
Find my fabric here!
• Felt for body(1/8 yard)
• Printed body template make sure you print it at 100%
>>> Body Template Here <<<
• Elastic one yard long around 3/8 wide
• Wire vinyl coated steel wire will work, you can find it at ACE (18 gauge). Use thicker wire for bigger wings.
• Stuffing or fiberfill
• Small piece of canvas enough to cut one butterfly body
• Fabric glue Fabritac works well
• Tweezers for turning small stubborn parts inside out
• Iron and ironing board
• Glue stick
1. Preparation! I don’t prewash the fabric because shrinkage can distort the shapes. Iron fabric on the wrong side to avoid making shiny spots on the design. Use a glue stick and glue canvas piece to one felt piece, leaving room at the edges. Allow to dry.
3. Place right side of wing pieces together and baste or pin carefully. Don’t be shy with the pins! I use a lot. Make sure to leave a gap for turning the wings right side out. Don’t sew between the red dots.
4. Carefully sew around the edge of the design. Remember to leave that gap!
5. Trim excess fabric from edge, clipping curves as shown. If you don’t clip sometimes the fabric will bunch and look distorted when turned inside out. Check for stray threads/hair/lint etc before turning inside out. Debris stuck inside the wing will sometimes show through.
6. Turn inside out and press.
7. Sew a seam 3/8” away from the edge of the wing with the clear thread. This will be your channel for inserting wire. Repeat for all remaining wings.
8. Arrange wings onto body piece, pin and sew. Be careful not to sew over the channels!
10. Insert wire. I don’t pre-cut the wire pieces. It makes it easier to fold over the end of the wire some so it slides through the channel. Thread wire through channels and shape as desired. Leave about 3-4 inches at the end. More is better than less.
11. Twist together wire ends. Use some electrical tape or duct tape over the twisted wire to prevent sharp ends from poking out. My electrical tape is still MIA so I used duct tape.
12. At first I did this part with a sewing machine but I broke so many needles accidentally hitting the wire and had a lot of fail in general. Find your second piece of felt, apply a line of glue around 1/4” from the edge leaving a small gap to insert fiberfill with later. Carefully place down on your wings. I use a lot of pins to make sure the wings are adjusted in the right place. Wait for the glue to dry. Enjoy your monarch costume! They look excellent paired with a black dress or leotard.
Be sure to check out my other styles here.