I’ve gotten several questions about the process of making the wings that I wore along with my Neo-Queen Serenity costume, so I wanted to come out with a tutorial on how to get the look. It was one of my favorites, and the wings were a super simple part of the project! They’re fun not just for this costume, but any costume that has large, floating style wings. I used the same structure for my wings that went along with Flutterina, too.
12 gauge steel wire
Garment wings will go with
Start out with designing the size and shape of wing that you want. Serenity has a sort of softly rounded traditional open wing shape, but butterfly, fairy wings, or teardrop shapes will work, too. This won’t work as well for shapes with a lot of small offshoots; all of the support is coming from the top, so a solid shape is best.
Once you have your wing shape, cut your fabric according to your pattern and finish the edges. I’ve finished the edges of mine using the rolled hem on my serger, but you can use a blanket stitch or another finishing method. Now, cut a section of wire twice as long as the top edges of your wing (or the span of both wings) PLUS about a 18-20 inches. Starting at the tip of one wing, create a general shape for the wire – it doesn’t have to be exact – of your wing. Before you move on to the second one, create an upside-down U shape; basically, two prongs pointing down:
Next, install some channels on the back of your garment. Important note: the garment pretty much needs to be fitted close and structured, like a boned bodice or corset. If you can wear a structured garment underneath somewhere, that will still work, more on that in a moment. There are two ways to go about this. The Easy Way is to simply install the channels the same distance apart as the prongs on your wing frame on the outside back of the garment. The Slightly Less Easy Way is to install the channels on the inside of the garment – effectively hiding them – and create buttonhole openings through the garment so you still have access to them. Referring back to having your structured garment underneath, this works the same way: add your channels to the structured garment, and put buttonholes on the outside garment to provide access to the channels. Make these channels about 4-5 inches long running vertically, and leave the tops open:
Finally, take the double sided tape and run it along the length of the wire, from the base of the U to the tip (don’t cover any of the part that goes into the channels). Then, just carefully apply the very upper edge of your wings to the wire frame, slightly wrapping the top hem around the wire and tape. Insert the base into the channels and ta-da, you’re done! Your wings are fully adjustable at this point, if you want them to stick out to the sides or straight to the back, just bend your wire accordingly. For safety, apply just a little dab of hot glue to the tips to keep the sharp wire from poking anything.
You can add additional touches to your wings if you like; for example, with the Flutterina wings, I used Wonder Under to add some colored spots to the butterfly style wings. Just don’t add anything too heavy! Enjoy!