Butterfly Costume Made From A Sheet

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wingsWhen you think of supplies for last minute Halloween costume, what comes to mind?  A sheet of course!  You could be a ghost, wear a toga, etc.  The possibilities are kind of endless.  Sheets make the best basis for a last minute costume because of their readily-availabilitiness (that’s not a word, but I’m going with it).

I love Halloween, but I’ve been really busy planning a big event for work that took place last weekend, and have been pretty strapped for cash as well.  Buying a costume is not an option.  I wanted something that was not time consuming to make, but that was still elaborate and fun.

I had this idea for a monarch dress, something that would make me a butterfly but without huge wings that would make it impossible to walk through doors (I have parties to go to which will cause me to need to get into a cab and/or public transportation, so not  being able to fit into doors might be a problem).  I remembered this dress I saw in Europe in a boutique once that I fell in love with, and considered making something like it out of an old sheet and some old T-shirts (which I still might do some day).  Then, while searching the internet to see if I could find something similar, I ran across this tutorial by Chelsey over at Buggy and Buddy for her daughter’s adorable felt butterfly costume.  The wings act more like a cape than anything else, and I LOVED that about it.  I decided that was what I was going to make, except lifesize, because, unfortunately, I am not as tiny and adorable as Chelsey’s daughter.  I also decided I wasn’t going to spend extra money on this costume, and was only going to use an old sheet and t-shirts.  I’m still stunned it turned out as well as it did, but I couldn’t be more thrilled.


Here is what you need:

1 twin size or bigger black sheet

black, orange, and white thread

a white tshirt

an orange tshirt


sewing machine (you could also hand stitch this, though it would take a long time, or use iron ons or fabric glue)





First, fold the black sheet in quarters, and then trace your design in chalk (chalk easily wipes off of the fabric).  I free handed it, but below are the measurements to give you an idea.  Put two of the pieces aside, and focus on only the other two.  One is going to be your left, the other is going to be your right (this is a mistake I made, I first made two left wings…ooops!)  Face them opposite each other.


wing size


Cut out the rest of your shapes from the orange and white T-shirt.  You will need ten white dots for each wing, so 20 total.  Always double your fabric so you get the same sizes for both wings.  Note the measurements for the largest and smallest dots here.  Make the rest in between these two sizes.  For  the orange parts, you are going to be cutting out tear drops.  Here are the measurements for mine, but yours might need to be different.  Always cut bigger and then you can trim later while lining up all of the pieces.


pieces measurements


When you are done cutting out the pieces, place them on the wings opposite each other and arrange them as mirror images.  If you need to trim a piece on one, trim it on both.  I looked up lots of pictures of monarchs and monarch drawings and tried to use them as a guide for the teardrop placements.  The circles should start at the top with the larger ones, and move their way down to the smaller ones.  When both sides look right, you can begin to pin, and then to sew.  Don’t worry about the stitching showing through on the other side of the black sheet.  That is why we cut out four pieces of sheet instead of two.


When all of your stitching is done, lay each wing face down on one of the other two pieces of wing you cut out previously.  Stitch the two sides you want facing outward together facing one another, so that they are outwards when you reverse them and hide the seam (like a pillow case).  For  the middle part, use a piece of sheet that you have left to attach them together.  I made mine 10″ wide.  Don’t make the body rise too high above the wings, because this will be resting on your neck.  Next, attach the elastic like Chelsey lays out in her tutorial.  If you don’t have elastic, you could always use two hair scrunchies for the wrist attachments, and make a tie using your leftover sheet material to attach to the back so you can tie it like a cape.


Please excuse my horrible pictures, but my mom is borrowing my camera this week.  Also, I’m sorry I don’t have any really good pictures of me in the costume, but other than trying it on quickly, I haven’t gotten a chance to take any.  It looks great, though, and cost me almost nothing.  Even Pickles likes the wings!






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