Tutorial: Silk Scarf Butterfly Wings

by This is Carrie on November 19, 2009

Inspired by silk wings I saw in a catalog, these butterfly wings are a favorite item in the dress-up box.

These specific wings will fit most kids ages 2-8.  Here’s how to make them:

Gather your materials:

44″ square silk scarf (Dharma Trading Co), 36″ piece of elastic for straps, two 5 1/2″ pieces of elastic for wristbands, 10 1/2″ x 3 1/2″ piece of fabric.

Dye the scarf.

RIT dye, though not the best, is definitely the most readily available. You can check out Dharmatrading.com for more options.

For two-toned wing, gather scarf in the middle.

Fold in half and dip in color 1.

Then dip outside edge in color 2

Rinse and dry scarf as instructed on dye instructions.  Once dry, iron crease down center of scarf.

Sew gathering stitch down the crease line you just made- edge to edge

Add 2 more rows of gathering stitches on each side of original stitch.

If you have a fine machine needle, place stitch lines 3/4″ away from center. If you don’t, place stitches 1/2″ away from center (this is what I did).
Gather all three stitches.
Take piece of fabric and fold over raw edges to form “body”
Finished body should equal 10″ x 1 1/2″. You can also use a wide piece of heavy ribbon for the body, folding under each raw end.
Pin body to gathered center of wings.
Edge stitch body in place around the entire piece of fabric (or ribbon).
Sew 36″ piece of strap elastic together to form loop.
Pin flattened loop to top, center of wings.
Stitch straps in place following same stitch lines as “body”
Add wristloops to top corners of wings.
To do this, lay wristloop on right side, matching edges, rolling over top of wing. Pin in place.
Stitch wristloop in place on each top corner.
Pull loop to outside and see the nice clean finish!
Now you’re ready to fly away!

Tutorial also on Whrrl


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casserole November 19, 2009 at 11:18 pm

I love these!!! I bet somebody had a lot of fun posing for that photo!

I linked to your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


Sarah November 19, 2009 at 11:19 pm

Super cute. I'll have to give this one a try and make some wings for my little nieces. Thanks for the tutorial.

Kage November 20, 2009 at 12:29 am

these are really cool tutorials, I feel like maybe even I could do it !

pieface November 20, 2009 at 12:48 am

I can't wait to make this of my daughter's Christmas present (which is a dress-up bin). Any other great dress up ideas would be INCREDIBLY welcome. WAY too fun. Thanks!

Also – your ideas on your blog are great – it's inspiring me to be more creative. Thank you.

Sheila December 2, 2010 at 3:23 pm

I am planning to make the wings but I am not sure how wide the elastics should be. Could you please give me this infomation?

Wendy August 13, 2011 at 5:56 am

a big THANK YOU!!! I am not a sewer but managed to make these wings in about 2 hrs. Ok, so I haven’t yet sewn the elastic on but I DID IT!!!! Little Miss 4 is going to LOVE them. You never know, I might even knock some up for birthday/Christmas gifts. Thank you for motivating & inspiring me!!!

This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

So glad you experienced success!! Sewing can be frustrating at times. I made these wings years ago and they still get played with quite regularly in my house! Good luck finishing up the elastic!

zulema Reply:

Carrie….love your wings tutorial….I’m a retired prekinder teacher and I used a very similiar pattern for the classroom….I just recently opened an ETSY shop, it’s primarily crochet but I plan on including some other items….I was thinking of listing these wings….would this be OK with you…..just want to make sure……also, the shape stretchies, I have used for over 30 years, again, in the classroom……I’m thinking of selling these on ETSY too, but I call them shape shifters, we used them for math readiness and movement activities (and, I too used activity cards)…….I just don’t want you to think that I’m copying from you…..please email me at ….crochetoutofthebox@yahoo.com

Cate August 23, 2011 at 6:55 pm

This is exactly what I was looking for! Thanks so much for the excellent tutorial (so glad you also included dyeing tips).
Cheers from sunny Melbourne,

This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

I’m so glad you found the tutorial!

zulema October 20, 2011 at 3:41 pm

Carrie…I wrote a message two posts up….just want to make sure that you read it…..zulema ….thank you

Gwyneth November 17, 2011 at 12:16 pm

I love this tutorial, thanks! One question though, what is a gathering stitch? I can’t find it under any of my machines special stitch settings.

This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

For a gathering stitch you just need to lengthen you stitch length just a bit and make sure you do not start or end with a backstich. That way, you can pull on the bobbin threads and gather all up easily.

Amber December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm

Hi Carrie,

Thank you so much for the beautiful tutorial! I am making these with a friend for our daughters’ for Christmas. One thing, though, do you happen to know what the elastic that you have used for the wrists is called? It seems like a perfect choice but I cannot seem to find any anywhere.

This is Carrie
Twitter: thisiscarrie

I don’t know exactly. found it at a jobber in LA. I think it’s a type of cord elastic. You can always use regular 1/8″ elastic. If you want, you can dip it into some dye to change the color. Good luck!

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Polly January 21, 2014 at 2:57 pm

Soooooo cute. Thank you so much for the idea! Going to the craft store now!

Meghan October 20, 2014 at 10:56 pm

Beautiful! Your tutorial was so easy to follow, and the wings are so very pretty, my little girl is going to be thrilled when she sees them tomorrow morning!

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