Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Tutorial - Parrot Wings

It was back to school yesterday after the half term holiday. I vaguely remember reading a newsletter before we headed off to Disneyland about Jacob needing to dress up as an animal during the first week back. I read the letter properly on Sunday and realised that a costume was needed not just a set of clothes in an animal colour. It had to be an animal from the African plains, the rainforest or the desert. 

I thought that the tiger tail and mask that I'd made for him when he was three would do but oh no, Jacob had decided that he wanted to be a parrot! I know I could have said "no, you will be a tiger" but he might not wear fancy dress I make him for much longer (when do boys grow out of that?) so I said "ok, I will make you some parrot wings" (Daddy's birthday present which is already a day late can wait one more day, sorry Chris).

I did a quick google image search and found this parrot...

...and a quick sketch and a measure of Jacob later and I had my plan. 

Here is how I made Jacob's Red and Green Macaw Wings!
I used:
Tape measure
Fabric in your parrot colours, I used Honeycomb Parc from Fabricland
125cm of bias binding in one of your parrot colours
Sewing machine or needle if you are hand stitching
Safety pin
Felt scraps
Two buttons

I wanted the wings to look like the parrot was in flight. So I got Jacob to stand with his arms out at the side and measured from wrist to wrist across his back, which was 91cm.

I made my pattern pieces using a large roll of paper (you could use a roll of brown paper or cheap gift wrap). I drew one half of the wings and placed the paper on the fold of the fabric to get a symmetrical pair of wings.

In total I had; one large blue piece, one green feather piece, one red feather piece, a blue piece for extra feathers at the bottom, four light blue single feathers, one large light blue feather piece and three single red feathers (not in the photo below).

I bought some honeycomb parc which comes in lots of bright colours, is really cheap and doesn't fray. I also like the way the honeycomb pattern in it gives a textured effect for the feathers.

I then cut out the paper pattern pieces using normal scissors. I folded the fabric and placed the centre edge of the pattern on the fold, pinned it to the fabric and cut them out using fabric scissors. 

Handy Hint
Don't use fabric scissors on anything other than fabric. I ruined my Mums pinking shears cutting paper with them when I was little!

Next I assembled the wings, layering each set of feathers and pinned them into place. 

After a quick tea break I set my sewing machine to zig zag and stitched all of the pieces together, leaving the dark blue feathers unstitched at the bottom to create movement.

To finish them off I took the bias binding and folded it over the top edge of the wings (leaving approx. 15cm at each end for Jacob to hold on to) and stitched it into place. I then tied the 15cm bits into loops to go over his thumb.

The wings looked great but the outfit was "missing" something. So, I made a parrot head bandana using a rectangle of the red parc, some felt for a beak and a couple of buttons.

First I made sure that the rectangle of red parc would fit round my head (as my model was at school). Using pieces of grey and cream felt I cut out two slightly curved triangles, one slightly bigger than the other and basted them together, I marked the centre of the bottom edge of the rectangle and stitched the felt into place. I cut out a couple of almond shapes for the eyes and stitched them on with a button in the centre of each.

One little Red and Green Macaw ready for school. Squawk!

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