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How to make your own bat wings. - Jen Gagne's art journal I keep a separate journal for personal stuff. Visit: [http://jengagne.livejournal.com/]

October 17th, 2006
08:19 pm
[jengagne]

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How to make your own bat wings.

In honor of Halloween and because someone emailed me to ask, here's how I made these batwings for my costume...

Click for larger views.
Bat costume, wings outstretched. Batwings, closed view.

Basic pattern.

I bought at least 6 yards of stretch velour fabric for the wings. I chose stretch velour since A) it doesn't really fray, B) it's soft and stretchy, C) it's fuzzy! Prewash and dry your fabric. Also get six thin three-foot dowel rods for the "bones", velcro to make wrist bracelets, and electrical tape to join the bones.

I folded the fabric in half, nice side inward, and drew my double-wing shape (as if the wings are outstretched) on that. I suggest making a full-size pattern of one wing to start, using the dowels to help you lay it out. I also suggest keeping the bones straight as shown in the sewing pattern above, not curved as they're usually drawn in cartoons...

I made sure the upper edge was the same length as my outstretched arms, wrist to wrist.

Once the outspread wing shape is drawn, pin it and then cut around the edge. You can sew it at this point, but cut a slit in the center as shown.

After sewing, you'll be able to turn it right side out again. Then you can put the wings on like a jacket.

At this point you should have big floppy bat wings! So far, so good!

Take them wings off again, leaving them right side out. Make two sets of three dowel rods, joining them at the top using the electrical tape.

Add velcro bracelets to each set of "bones" so they'll stay put by your wrists. Lay the wings out flat, front face up, and insert each set into the wings, and slide the "bones" into the points.

You may have to trim the dowels for length. You want the fabric to be just taut enough that the points don't flop around. Once you have them adjusted for length, temporarily remove the bones and use electrical tape to wrap the tips, so they'll be less likely to punch through the fabric.

Put the bones back inside, arranging them the way you expect they'll be... pin the fabric around them on both sides as shown by the dotted lines in diagram above.

Next, you sew... I found it easier to sew with the bones still inside the fabric. Sew up and down on both sides of the bones so they're in pockets. This keeps them in place. Be sure NOT to sew these pockets all the way up to the top, since you'll need room for your hands and arms. Also, a little leeway here will allow you to remove the bones later in case you'd like to launder your wings. :)

That's basically it! I hope this helps. If you try these directions, please let me know and send me a photo at jen@beware-of-art.com ... I'd appreciate it!

If I ever make this again, I'd sew in brown gloves for my hands so they'd be less obvious. I'd also experiment with making the innermost two bones on each side be jointed... it'd be a more natural look, and might make sitting easier.

(11 comments | Leave a comment)

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From:raigne
Date:October 18th, 2006 12:46 am (UTC)
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That's an awesome costume. I love the ears :) I may try this at some point. I'll let you know if I do.
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From:jengagne
Date:October 18th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
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Thanks! I'd love to see someone else's version of this!

The ears came out really nice, lots of inner folds that are hard to see in the photos... although people who don't know what bats really look like kept saying, "Are you a bunny?" One person asked if I was Bunnicula, so I said yes. :D

(Your LJ icon is particularly appropriate in this instance, hee hee...)
[User Picture]
From:raigne
Date:October 18th, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
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Hehehe. I would make myself an assortment, but I can't be bothered. This one took long enough because of the way I made it :)
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From:lirazel
Date:October 18th, 2006 03:05 am (UTC)
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That's an awesome mind inside the head of the woman wearing the costume!

If I may offer a suggestion... sailboats have these things called battens in the sales--thin, flat pieces of wood--that fit into batten pockets. To keep the battens from falling out mid-flap, as it were, the batten pockets are a little flared at the top, and the flared area (a small triangle shape, like a funnel) is sewn halfway shut. As the sailor bends the sail onto the stay that will hold it against the mast (ooo, sailor jargon, next I'll talk like a pirate!), she inserts the battens into the pockets and tucks the ends into the closed part of the funnel shape.

Just a thought.
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From:jengagne
Date:October 18th, 2006 03:48 am (UTC)
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After a few rereads and googling, I think I'm succeeding (barely) in picturing what you're talking about, but I'm not sure how to relate it to this.

Presumably you're talking about the bones in the wings... but why would you need to keep 'em lidded like that, if they're already lashed to your arm? Or do you mean to protect the wing tips?
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From:lirazel
Date:October 18th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)
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Well, it's not really clear from the instructions where the openings in the pockets for removing the bones are. And you don't want them slipping out and protruding, or falling with a clatter to the floor or anything. Battens and batten pockets is how it's done on sailboats.
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From:jengagne
Date:October 18th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC)
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Oh! You just put them in the same way you put your arms in. :) They're attached to your wrists at the top, and sit in the points at the bottom... They can't fall out or protrude. But it's good to know that that would work too.

Maybe I should be clearer that the wings are a double layer -- the pockets aren't sewn on separately, it's that you're sewing through the two layers and that causes pockets to exist.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 18th, 2006 04:01 am (UTC)

"battens" ha ha

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Wonderful instructions! Greatly appreciated!!! I chuckle at the very idea of using "battens" for the "bat" wings by the way...
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From:raigne
Date:October 19th, 2006 12:00 am (UTC)

Re: "battens" ha ha

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*snicker*
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From:jengagne
Date:October 21st, 2006 07:35 pm (UTC)

Re: "battens" ha ha

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I think they wear battens to keep their wings warm. ;)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:October 10th, 2009 10:38 pm (UTC)

bat wings

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i love the idea of doin that for Halloween i may try it for my costume
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