Padded Fairy Wings

Fairy Wings

Fairy Wings on girl

These Fun and easy to make fairy wings are the perfect costume idea for Book Week 20 – 26th August. The theme this year is Australia. The fairy wings are inspired by the works of the Australian Illustrator Ida Rentoul Outhwaite, who was known as the Queen of Fairyland, the illustrator of many children’s books which mostly depicted fairies. I sewed this project on my Singer Talent 3323.

“Then clear on a flute of purest gold / A sweet little fairy played. / And wonderful fairy tales she told and marvelous music made.” – Ida Rentoul Outhwaite


Fairy wings with foam padding can be used for costumes such as angels, birds, butterflies, or other winged creatures. The wings are designed with a layer of foam between the layers of fabric. Wire may be stitched around the outer seam allowance to help support the shape of the wings.

Wings can be designed in any shape  or size to suit the needs of the costume, provided each wing is no wider than the width of the foam. Simply draw a pattern on paper for one wing, to the size and shape desired. For best results, plan to join the wings in a straight center seam, at least 6” (15cm) long.  Add a ½” (1.3cm) seam allowance to the entire outer edge of the pattern.

The wings can be worn in a variety of ways. They can be sewn directly to the back of a costume. Wings are made detachable, using an elastic harness that fits over the shoulders.

Shopping List

  1. Fabric for wings
  2. Contrasting fabric for applique
  3. foam 1/4″ (6mm) (Foam will help the wings stand up)
  4. Coordinating threads
  5. Tear Away
  6. Fusible Web for applique
  7. 19-gauge wire
  8. Elastic, 1/2″ (1.3cm) wide, for harness
  9. Optional: AccuQuilt GO! Fabric Cutter
  10. Optional: AccuQuilt GO! Bohemia #1 by Ricky Tims (AQ55368)
Diagram 1
Diagram 1

Drawing Wing Pattern

Wings appear in nature and fantasy in a wide range of shapes and sizes. Select a design to suit your costume, or draw a shape based on your costume choice. Refer to diagram 1 as an example.

What to cut

  • Cut four wing pieces, two for the front and two for the back.
  • Cut two wing pieces from the foam.
  • Optional: If creating applique pieces to embellish the wings:
    • First add the fusible web to the back of your applique fabric.
    • Draw and cut your shapes out of your prepared fabric. To make this step faster and easier, use an AccuQult GO! Fabric Cutter and the AccuQuilt die GO! Bohemia #1 by Ricky Tims (AQ55368). If using an AccuQuilt cutter you can cut up to 6 layers of fabric at once. Keep in mind the
      Fusible Web counts as half a layer.
Surface Decoration

    Construction:

        1. If you are appliqueing, you can either just iron on your pieces, as you have added Fusible Webbing to your applique fabric. For further decoration, stitch around your shapes using a zigzag stitch. Use Tear Away behind the applique before stitching. This will prevent the fabric from puckering.
        2. Pin wing back pieces, right sides together, along the center back and stitch a ½” (1.3cm) seam. Press seam allowances open. Repeat for wing front pieces, leaving 6” (15cm) opening for turning.
        3. Lay the foam on a flat surface, butting the center edges together. Place wing front over the wing back, right sides together; then place over the foam.
          Pin. Stitch ½” (1.3cm) from the outer edges.
    Wing Sandwich
        1. Set the machine for zigzag stitch with medium width and short stitch length. Place the wire just outside previous stitching; stitch over the wire around the entire outer edge in a continuous circle, using a 90/14 needle and a presser foot with a recessed bottom.
        2. Cut the wire, overlapping the ends about 2” (5cm). Zigzag over the overlapped ends, using closely spaced stitches to secure.
        3. Grade the seam allowances between ¼” (6mm) – ½” (1.3cm). Note: Ensure the foam is trimmed back to ¼”. Clip curves and trim the points. Turn wings right side out through center front seam opening. Push out points of wings,
          using a point turner. Press lightly and then hand-stitch
          the opening closed.
        4. Optional: Topstitch around the wings 1” (2.5cm) from the
          outer edges.

    How to Sew an Elastic Harness:

      Elastic Harness
          1. Wrap the elastic from the center back over one shoulder and return to the center back; pull the elastic comfortably snug. Mark the point of intersection.
          2. Cut the elastic twice the length of your measurement. Overlap the ends ½” (1.3cm), forming a circle. Stitch back and forth through both layers, using a wide zigzag stitch or three step zigzag stitch.
          3. 3. Pin the elastic perpendicular to the back center seam of the wings, with top of elastic circle at the top of seam and the bottom of circle 2” to 6” (5cm – 15cm) below, forming two loops of equal size. Sew across elastic several times to secure.

        Congratulations you have finished your Fairy Wings!