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35 In Giveaway/ Sewing/ Sprout Patterns

“What’s Your Wing?” Giveaway

I have so much to celebrate here at Mainsail Studio.  Last week my Harley Dog Patterns joined the Vanessa Butterfly Wings as my second pattern release with Sprout Patterns. Today the Aaron Dragon Wings were released and I had my very first feature on Sew Mama Sew!  To celebrate, together with Sprout Patterns, I will be selecting one lucky reader to create their own child-sized Vanessa or Aaron Wings. The winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to Sprout Patterns where they will be able to choose from the hundreds of thousands of surface patterns in the Spoonflower library to design their “dream wings.”  The wings will be printed on a Sprout Patterns cut and sew fabric panel and shipped to the winner.  After the winner makes their wings, Sprout Patterns will feature their creation on the Sprout Patterns blog and other social media outlets!   Yes – that’s right!  You not only get a fabulous pair of wings designed by you – you will also have a chance at stardom!

To participate, just comment on this post on or before June 17th.  Write a few words telling me, if we give your imagination wings, what your dream wings would look like? Who would wear them?  Are they dragon or a butterfly? Or maybe a pterodactyl, bat or fairy?  Imagine the colors, patterns and texture…are you dark and scary or silly and cute – or none of the above?

One winner will get a ready-to-wear set of medium sized rainbow wings.

One winner will get a ready-to-wear set of medium sized rainbow wings.

If you don’t sew, that’s okay too, because  I have something for one of my non-sewing readers!  As part of your comment, mention that you’d be a “Rainbow Butterfly.”  I’ll randomly choose one reader to receive a ready-made set of my classic rainbow butterfly wings – size medium (these will fit a child about 3-8 years old)








For a little design inspiration, here are some examples of my favorite wing and surface design combinations:

Vanessa Butterfly Wings

whats your wing inspiration3

Aaron Dragon Wings

whats your wing dragon


So tell me, what’s your wing?

0 In Sewing

Design and Make Your Own Wings with Mainsail Studio and Sprout Patterns

The Vanessa Butterfly Wing size large. Shown here with Cherry Blossom fabric by Mainsail Studio. 

Pretty amazing right? This was how you made custom fabric wings in 1981. These were designed, quilted and painted by Kathy Garvey.

I am so proud to announce that my Vanessa Butterfly Wings patterns are now available from Sprout Patterns.   If you aren’t yet familiar with Sprout Patterns, you are in for a big treat!  Sprout Patterns eliminates the need for a paper pattern which means you get to the fun part – sewing – faster.   In 1981 when my mother first started making her giant butterfly costumes she spent days working on each pair.  Each set required intricate applique or painting to represent the different sections of a butterfly wing.  I love the artistry in my mother’s wings but when Sprout Patterns was created in 2015, I knew there was finally a way to share my mother’s wing-making legacy with others.  The joy of creating these beautiful wings is now achievable for people with limited time and are new to sewing.   Sprout Patterns technology allows you to choose three different fabric designs from the tens of thousands of designs in the Spoonflower fabric library for your wings, without any fancy applique, painting or other complicated techniques.  The design interface is easy enough for kids to use – try it – it’s free to test your ideas and save your butterfly designs to purchase later or just for fun.

design interface

The Vanessa Butterfly Wing design interface at Sprout Patterns.

You can even share online designs with members of the Sprout Community.   My daughter loves designing wings and clothes on Sprout Patterns.  She says it’s like a fashion design game only better – “because you can really make the stuff if you want to.”  Sprout Patterns has created a wonderful video explaining the design process – seen here:  How to Sprout


mainsail studio mail

Grace loves designing clothes with Sprout Patterns. She runs to the mailbox when her fabric arrives. Shown here – Brindille and Twig leggings with Mainsail Studio peacock fabric.

If you purchase a set of wings, Sprout Patterns will mail you a printed fabric panel, exactly the way you designed them.  While you wait for your fabric to arrive in the mail you can download and read the fully illustrated instructions and purchase your other supplies (interfacing, thread and elastic).  When the fabric arrives you will be ready to just cut and start sewing.   The instructions were written for an experienced beginner.  I’ve included all of my tips and tricks for making wings sewing fast and easy!  This includes a wonderful technique for easy sewing with plush minky fabric.  (Minky wings are so soft and snuggly!)  Within an hour or two you will have sewn your very own set of wings.

Since I am a “brand new” pattern designer, I’ve included here on my blog a sample of the Vanessa Butterfly Wing sewing pattern.  It includes just a few pages so that you will get a glimpse of the quality of my instructions. Vanessa Butterfly Wing instruction preview.

The Vanessa Wing is a double-sided butterfly wing with an optional layer of fleece interfacing. The wings are worn “backpack style” with elastic shoulder and wrist straps. The Vanessa Wing is perfect for active kids who love imaginary play and creative adults who are young at heart.

These wings look adorable with a pair of jeans and casual tee or fancy them up with a tutu and accessories. They are perfect for tossing in the dress up box, the imaginary play center or for use as a Halloween costume. They also look adorable paired with flower girl dresses at your garden wedding.

Flower Fairy Costumes

Brindille and Twig t-shirt dresses and leggings with the Annabel Fairy Wing (fairy wings are coming soon) .

Sharing these patterns with the sewing community has been a dream of mine that started when I was teaching art and realized that hearing the excitement of kids saying “I made this!” was even more rewarding than selling my work and saying “I made this.”   Finding a way to share my patterns and techniques with people who may not have the graphic design skills to create their own custom wing fabrics became my mission.    From 2013-2015 I had to take a break from teaching and making to have a little fight with ovarian cancer (I’m fine now).  I had a lot of time to dream and plan for “someday” when these wings would be possible.  I even shopped around for an app-developer to create some technology for me.   It was one of the best days when I learned Sprout Patterns was “born” last October.   Their technology was exactly what I needed to make the dream happen.  I’m so proud to be a part of the Sprout Patterns collective.  I hope you enjoy your Vanessa Butterfly Wings.  My dragon wings and tails and fairy wings are coming soon.  Be sure to explore the patterns from the amazing Sprout Patterns Partners.  Using their clothing patterns you can create full-body costumes to coordinate with your wings.  Everything from dresses and skirts to hoodies and leggings.   One of my favorite combinations is the Brindille and Twig Tee Shirt Dress with the Brindille and Twig Leggings .
The See Kate Sew Viewfinder Tee with a handmade tutu would also be just precious for a little girl who loves a bit of dress-up glamour.

0 In Uncategorized

Dragon Skins and Scales Fabric

A collection of dragon skins and scales.

I’m so excited to release my Dragon Skins and Scales fabric designs.   I’ve been on a mission to create “realistic” yet still fantasy inspired fabrics for dragon wing making.  After pouring over books about mythological beasts, studying fantasy art, taking photos of reptile skins, I’ve created a series of four basic skin textures in a variety of colors.

“Dinosaur Skins”

These designs are a non-directional seamless repeat that is meant to simulate the look of a leathery dinosaur skin.   I’d love to hear suggestions for additional colors.


Yellow and Green Dinosaur Skin



Color variations now available.





“Snake Skins”

These designs are a non-directional seamless repeat that is meant to look like a snakeskin style scale.


Red snakeskin style scales.


Color variations now available.






“Dragon Scales”

These designs are a more traditional dragon scale design.  They have a set direction running from selvage to selvage.  I can convert them to a vertical layout by request.


Traditional style dragon scales.


Color variations now available.






“Lizard Skins”

These designs were designed to look like a dry desert style lizard skin.


Blue lizard skin.


Yellow lizard skin.

0 In Printables

Cherry Blossoms and Butterflies Mini Bunting Printable Sampler

An easy to make printable bunting for spring decorating.

cherry blosson bunting iamgeThe cherry blossoms are blooming!  This is my favorite week of the year.  Washington DC and Northern Virginia is so incredibly beautiful when the cherry blossoms are at peak bloom.  Nothing can compare to being here and experiencing it in person.   I’ve tried to share just a bit of this flowery magic in a collection of fabrics and paper designs inspired by the cherry blossom’s beauty.  These designs began as a watercolor painting – then transformed with the help of my Wacum and Photoshop into a series of soft florals, geometric shapes, scaly dragon skins and butterfly scales.

I hope you enjoy making your own Cherry Blossoms and Butterflies bunting.  The free PDF printable includes nine different flag designs and four butterfly designs.  These are super easy cut and fold bunting flags – no hole punching, sewing or tying required.  If you enjoy these designs you can find the collection of fabrics in my Spoonflower shop.


Printable Sampler Project:

Cherry Blossoms and Butterflies Mini Bunting

Basic Skills Necessary:

Print from PDF file






Color Printer

White Cardstock



Ribbon or Twine

0 In Sewing

Mainsail Studio Sewing Patterns

Mainsail Studio Blog

After years of protecting my patterns I’ve realized sharing and teaching are far more rewarding.  This Spring (2016) I’m humbly entering into the world of indie-sewing pattern designers.  While I wait for testing of my final versions of butterfly, fairy and dragon wing patterns to be completed, I’d like to share my story with you.  It started when I was seven years old…..


The wings story…


My mothers larger-than-life reverse applique wings. October 1981.


My sisters with a set of satin applique wings and a set of hand-painted watercolor wings. October 1981

In 1981 my mother designed butterfly wings for my sisters and I to wear at Halloween.  The memory of these wings stand out as a highlight of my childhood.  I remember standing still with my arms spread as she held the brown paper against my back to make sure her self drafted pattern would work.  As she was sewing, I watched and wondered how a yellow layer of fabric sandwiched between two black layers would turn into a butterfly.  Seeing the yellow reappear as she snipped away sections of black fabric was amazing to me.  I learned about reverse appliqué by watching her.  It was such intricate work.  The wings were a work of art. When she was finished I put on the wings and I was transformed.  I could twirl, I could soar, I felt like I was floating out of my Buster Brown shoes, I was flying.   I was a butterfly.

Growing up in a creative home had a big impact on me.   I learned that if there was ever anything I needed to make or anything I needed to do, I could. All that was required was imagination, patience and creativity.

2010 Mainsail Studio wing prototype

My early prototypes were self-standing.  2010  

Fast forward to today – now I’m a mother with four children ages 21-5.  When my daughter was 4 she had this pair of wire and nylon fairy wings that she loved, but they were constantly bending and snagging.  They were a mess.  I reflected on the beautiful wings my mother had made when I was little girl and set out to recreate that magic, in my own style, for my daughter.  By merging my sewing and graphic design skills  and the new availability of print on demand fabric – I was able to create boldly colored wings that did not need complicated construction methods like reverse applique.



black dragon wings cape

This is a 2015 prototype of the “Aaron Dragon Wing”. These wings are definitely “flappable”. When it comes to imaginary play – this feature is very very important!

I’ve spent the past five years simplifying and perfecting my patterns and selling the finished butterfly, fairy and dragon wings.  This past October I was so busy, I struggled to keep up with the demand.  I wasn’t sure what to do.  I looked into manufacturing, but that took away the special handmade quality of the wings.

After spending a year teaching art to children, I realized that I got more joy hearing a little one proudly say “I made this!” than I did in selling MY own creations.  This realization was my AHA! moment.  The natural next step was to start sharing my wing patterns with others.  I’m so proud to start this journey.  By merging my wing patterns with some amazing technology, you can soon create your own amazing fabric wings without the trouble of intricate quilting, painting or applique.   My patterns come with fully illustrated instructions and are designed for use by an experienced beginner.  To be among the first to learn when the patterns are released, please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Instagram.

0 In Printables

Peg Doll Fairies

This project comes with a fully illustrated step-by-step instruction booklet. Also included is a photo tutorial for visual learners. The 5 page pattern file contains four full-color variations of fairy shirts, wings and skirts. You will also get a bonus coloring page with blank pattern pieces.

If you prefer using head beads for your peg dolls, you can sill use my paper patterns for beautiful skirts and wings. Just omit the first page of fairy faces and print pages 3,4 for the skirts and wings.

I originally created this pattern for party activity stations and at children’s crafting tables. They are always a big hit. Children love seeing the “fairy bar” set up. Selecting the perfect outfits, coloring the faces – it’s so much fun! To create your own “fairy bar” activity table just print and pre-cut multiple copies of each pattern piece. Organize the pattern pieces on pretty platters surrounded by jars of glue sticks, wooden clothespins and baskets of markers or crayons. You can even add stickers, gemstones, glitter and other fun stuff to glam it up! I like to have nearby empty table ready to hold fairies after they are made and then tuck them into goody bags.  Real fabric fairy outfits are available in my Spoonflower shop.

Basic Skills Necessary:

Printable Pattern Variations:


  • scissors
  • printer
  • white card stock (best) or white paper (not as sturdy but will work)
  • adhesive of your choice
  • round wooden clothespin
0 In Printables

Anna’s Garden Journal Cards and Tags

This collection of surface pattern designs was inspired by my Granny’s former gardens in La Plata, Maryland. Nothing can capture the beauty of being there in real life, but I’ve tried to put my memories on fabric with this surface design – called “Anna’s Garden” in honor of her.

This free printable includes a set of journal card size swatches and tags that can be used for your handmade greeting cards, scrapbooks, gift-wrapping or journaling. They’d also work great for decoupage.

My grandmother created the most beautiful designs in her flower beds. At first glance you’d see just see myriad of colors and textures. On closer inspection you could see the artistry. It was as if she was creating art in her yard and flowers were the paint, soil was the canvas. It was a living floral landscape. I used to squint my eyes while staring into the beds and watch them transform into an impressionist painting, like a Monet. Last year she moved to Florida and she continues to garden, only now with more tropical and exotic plants. I miss sitting in La Plata, Maryland under her fig tree, smelling the green moss and memorizing the shape of the flower petals. If you like this collection of designs, they are available on fabric, wallpaper and gift wrap in my Spoonflower shop.

Sizing / Finished Measurements:

  • Journal cards 3×4″


0 In Printables

Bunny’s Mint Garden Bunting

This is a sweet little mini bunting featuring the surface designs in my Bunny’s Mint Garden fabric collection. I’ve created this free sampler to introduce you to the designs that can be found on fabric and paper in my Spoonflower shop. Just print, cut, glue, fold for an adorable little bunting for Easter decorating. If you enjoy these designs, hop over to my Spoonflower shop and explore all the great fabrics available there.

Printable Sampler Project:


  • Color Printer
  • White Cardstock
  • Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Ribbon or Twine


0 In Printables

Bunny’s Mint Garden Treatboxes

Easter is just a few weeks away and it’s time to start decorating! I’ve created this printable file of treatboxes and gift tags to pretty up your Easter baskets. This free sampler introduces you to my fabric collection “Bunny’s Mint Garden”. The designs are available now as fabrics, wallpaper and gift wrap in my Spoonflower shop. Enjoy these printables, then if you love them, hop over to my Spoonflower shop and check out my fabrics. Happy Easter.

Basic Skills Necessary:


  • White cardstock
  • Scissors
  • Adhesive
  • Color Printer
  • Scoring tool (bone folder, dull stylus, dull butter knife…)
0 In Sewing

How Potty Humor and Spoonflower Took Over My Winter

The contest guru at Spoonflower doesn’t know this yet, but she/he created a softie maniac. It started with their “Mythological Creature” plushie contest. The challenge was to design a cut and sew pattern for a plush toy based on a mythological creature (as the title suggests).

Inspired by my young children who think it’s hilarious to debate if unicorns fart rainbows – I thought wouldn’t it be fun (for my children) if my unicorn had a secret pocket near it’s bottom that would hold a little rainbow. I fantasized about winning and getting to say “It took me four years and a farting unicorn to win a Spoonflower contest.” (yes, I’ve been entering the weekly Spoonflower contest regularly for the past 4 years and never broke into the top 10) Knowing me, I came up with this idea at around 2am. When I’m exhausted, every idea is awesome. It was going to be fantastic. My kids would think it was funny and I’d be cool for about 5 minutes, for sure. That’s a guaranteed win, right?

Well, to make a very long story less long, here is what happened:

I did it! I created a cut and sew pattern for a unicorn with a rainbow fart tucked into a little pocket. Here was my very amateur first attempt at a cut-and-sew softie pattern:


However, since I’m on a budget, I did not purchase a yard of the printed design to test, instead I recreated the design using what I had on hand – at first it was a horribly awful Crayola Marker drawing on muslin.

How Potty Humor and Spoonflower Took Over My Winter_html_m28cf398d

Then I used the muslin to create another with some white “Soft N’ Fluffy” fabric, felt, black stretch knit, turquoise feather trim, and some plastic eyeballs. How Potty Humor and Spoonflower Took Over My Winter_html_2cd6f150

The result? Huge hit. My kids loved it. My youngest Adam enjoyed carrying it around and would ask family members “Are you having a bad day?? Well, farting unicorn is here to save the day! Pull her finger!” Then my little boy would take the rainbow out of the unicorn’s pocket and hand it to the person in need of cheering up. His intentions were so sweet and the unicorns “magic” worked! Everybody he asked to pull the unicorns “finger” had a good laugh.

What I learned was through this process was –

  1. I’m not too old for potty humor
  2. The unicorn was a hit
  3. I love making softies
  4. Most important – my unicorn would have lost her character as a cut-and-sew pattern printed on fabric. The heart of the unicorn, the character and her special connection were achieved through the handwork, the textures, the embroidery, the hours spent on the details….

I never entered the Spoonflower contest with the cut-and-sew pattern. Instead I began a softie-making craze that has brought me so much joy over the past couple of months.

Here are some photos and notes from my softie-making journey:

How Potty Humor and Spoonflower Took Over My Winter_html_mdbe40c1