An Angel for Christmas

by - 07:25

A little while ago, Twig and Tale released three dress-up wings patterns. They were amazing. My little girl kept glimpsing them over my shoulder whilst I was scrolling through Facebook. Her reaction was always to ask me when I was going to make her some, like with many other things she sees over my shoulder!

Christmas Tree farm

I resisted, I had a lot going on and couldn't really spare the time for dress-up, as the kids need (and still need) actual functional clothes, as do I, for winter.

But then Lisa asked if I'd like to test out some Angel wings. I think I nearly died. I didn't even ask Layla, I wanted to make some, and just hoped she'd want to dress up.

White feathery angel wings

It was a challenge, it wasn't cheap, and it took many, many hours. But I managed probably my greatest ever sewing achievement! These wings are amazing.

Gold and feathers

Whenever I think of Angels, its two extremes, either the film, City of Angels, or the white fluffy ornament that goes on top of a Christmas Tree. I wanted the wings to be flamboyant, and special, and shiny, and tinkly; everything I imagined Christmas Angel wings to be.

Angel dressing up costume

I had some gold crepe backed satin from several years ago when I was toying with making a dress range for sale. I found it buried amongst many other treasures (more on that probably in the future!). And when I retrieved it, found I didn't have enough for both sides of the wings. So I had to improvise. I decided on the gold satin for the back and found some pale cream, or ivory cotton lawn that seemed to ask to be appliquéd for the front. I also knew I wanted to use lace, but I wasn't sure how. I had several lace remnants from a bridal designer who was selling off her stock, along with silk and satin. The lace is beautiful, but it didn't really hold much attention with the wings, it just didn't have the opportunity to shine. So I went for some coloured, glitter dot tulle, black lace and scraps of the gold satin to make the feather appliqués.

Girl in white lace dress with wings

Before I could even set about sewing the wings I needed the required interfacing, in both fusible and sew-in. This is the biggest sticking point. The designer is based in New Zealand, so a world away from me in the UK. There were another couple of testers based in the UK in the group, but they had used interfacing that I couldn't seem to lay my hands on in the shop near me. So I had to take a gamble.

Girl wearing headband in costume

Against advice, I used a stiff linen buckram as my sew-in interfacing, and a weird rubbery type fusible one for the back wings, called Decovil Light. I then used what was sold as a heavy fusible interfacing (the normal stuff) for the front wings, which seemed to do precisely nothing to add stiffness. At the same time, we went looking for trims. I wanted feathers ideally, but the shop only had big feather boas in wild colours, which would not fit in with my desired pale/gold look! After much searching and deliberating (there is only so much a 7 and 9 year old will put up with), we came away with a feather trim, a small one with feathers attached to a bias strip, and some tinkly bells on a silver trim. Layla and I wanted the wings to tinkle and be musically festive.

Feather wings and white dress

I couldn't figure out how to add the bells in the end, but the feather strip I added to the outside seam of the main wing, to end up as a feathery halo around the sides.

Feathery Angel wings

So I sewed the wings up and then realised exactly why linen buckram wasn't recommended. Turning the wings out with that stiff fabric almost made me quit entirely. It took me a LONG time. But I got there in the end, only to cry that all the pulling and pushing had made the satin fray at all the feather joins and popped the seams. I was really, really, really careful not to snip too far in, so can only assume that the combination of fraying fabric and a too stiff lining played a part in popping the seams. So after throwing them on the floor in utter frustration, I picked them back up and handstitched all the popped seams apart. If you look closely, you can see, but I'm hoping no-one does.

Lace sleeved white dress

Then I went on to sewing the appliquéd feathers. I think this part took me about 4 hours. Now don't get me wrong, I am not a fast machinist, and I like to get things right, so I take my time. But when I came out of my sewing binge my neck was aching and I was bleary eyed...

Angel costume near Christmas Trees

All in all, I estimate that these wings took me between 10 and 15 hours to make from start to finish. They are fiddly, they are time consuming, they are expensive, but just look at the finished result! These are wings to be treasured, to be played with, and to be passed down from child to child, and generation to generation.

White Angel and green trees

So with every set of wings must come a costume to go with them, right? Layla needed an Angel dress. Well, actually, what she wanted was a dress-up wedding dress. Something she's been asking for nearly a year. About 6 months ago I found a couple of ivory remnants in Truro Fabrics which we bought together with the intention of making her a gown. This set of wings has pushed me to actually get on with it, and make an angel come wedding dress for her!

Girl dressed up as Christmas Angel

I used the Driftwood Dress pattern, with the free A-line add-on to make her gown. I lengthened the dress simply by putting the paper pattern up against her, and adding length down to her ankles. I then added this to the bottom of the paper pattern. An a-line dress is very simple to make.

Christmas Angel dress-up

I made the long sleeves without adding a cuff or elastic, for a bell shaped look. I used some of the bridal lace off-cuts, so managed to have enough to do a scalloped lace sleeve to go with the knit fabric of the body. The Driftwood is designed for woven fabric, and as such, has a keyhole opening in the front or back to allow the fabric to go over the head. Because I used a knit fabric, I didn't really need this. So I opted to keep the neckline closed, and used the neck binding piece at 85% to make a small band, similar to a t-shirt. I added two belt loops to either side and made a long gold satin belt to add a bit of detail to break up the plain dress.

White lace sleeves

Layla then requested I add the tinkly bells to the dress, but we didn't exactly know how. It was a suggestion of one of the other testers to make the hem high-low, to give the idea of train at the back. So I put the dress back on Layla, and pinned the front hem up a bit to her mid shin level, then took the scissors to it. I added the bells to the front higher hem, so when she takes a step, she tinkles. She is totally in love with the whole outfit. Forgive the bin, and all the clutter, and the leggings underneath, just concentrate on the happy smile, the happy dance and the happy girl!

These wings will be on offer during the once a year site-wide sale using the code ALLBLACK for 20% off. There is a super special mega bundle deal on these new style wings which brings the price down to just $18.80, a massive saving from $52.50 when using the code ALLBLACK.

Fly Agaric mushrooms near Angel

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*Disclaimer: Some of the links in the post are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission (the price stays the same for you) which will help me in the future to buy more patterns to share them with you!*

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