When I was a wee tike I was selected as part of the Royal Ballet Help the Poor South London Kiddies Scheme. It meant being bustled off each week to a cold, scary big hall and leaping from corner to corner and getting told off for not leaping gracefully enough by older ballerinas. I didn’t really like it much (what an ungrateful Beneficiary of Good Will!) and didn’t last very long. But before I had my last tussle with Mum about whether I could give up this opportunity I did get to perform in the Royal Opera House dressed as a giant chicken.
Despite being a rubbish, ungrateful ballerina I can remember being so proud on that stage, and feeling so full of fancy, so unlike my clumsy self, I felt that even my leaping met the grade, as a flapped my way from stage left to stage right. I think I was probably the last child out of my suit.
There is something about wings, even those wings of the inelegant chicken, that makes a child’s imagination soar.
After seeing some images of a child in wings on the internet a few times, I decided I had to give this craft a crack and discovered just how irresistibly easy it is and what delight they provoke in children!
It was such a simple craft, anyone could manage it with just some scraps of fabric and a sewing machine. It did take a while cutting out all those reams of looping feathers, and it is fairly monotonous sewing the lines – but I am sure you all have a much higher boredom threshold than me! I used up some upholstery samples, so I had fantastic, bold colours but really just too heavy for tiny arms to happily flap for hours.
- You need a base that reflect the arm length of the child. I did 30 cm x 30 cm (for a 1-2 year old, would fit up to 3) and cut a loose curve between them.
- I then cut lots of loopy strands, beginning at 36 cm and getting smaller as you sew up into the corner.
- My strands were around 5 cm wide, but these could be any width- wider if you are lazier than me and want less strands or much less wide if you would like lots and lots of feathery layers.
- Best to leave a loop hanging off each end and then cut the loop smaller once you are all done.
- I just sewed straight along the top of each strand from corner to corner, wriggling and doing tiny tucks as I went to accommodate the curve for the first one or two longer strands. For the short strands you can zip straight along.
- I then laid them out to make a half circle and so I could easily imagine where the ribbon needed to go.
- I then attached a long piece ribbon to the pointy corner of each wing, with a few centimetres between them, so that could go around the neck with a nice bow.
- I left the bottom corner to just hang, and tied a smaller bit of ribbon on the far end corners to tie around the ribbon.
- Hope that all makes sense!
As you can see, I didn’t use the ideal fabric and my cuts are wonky but it still turned out okay! Such a forgiving craft, my absolute favourite kind.
I made two pairs to send to my two toddler nephews in New Zealand. It is hard finding crafty present ideas for toddlers and children so I was REALLY happy when my sister-in-law sent a video of her darling boy having a major giggle, flapping about and dancing to Adele. These are now my present of choice for every child!!