The Wings Story

Mainsail Studio Blog

I’m so proud to announce that this spring I’ll be launching my Wings sewing patterns with the help of the Sprout Patterns Collective.   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…

1981_wendy

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

1981_threebutterflies

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 by Sprout Patterns, 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.