How to Make a Monarch Butterfly Costume

One shoulder butterfly dress

Sometimes, I get an idea in my head and it won’t leave me alone until I create it! Hopefully, that’s normal and I’m not just some crazy person with ideas running constantly through my head! So here I am thinking of making a butterfly costume/dress.

I debated between a blue one and a monarch, but finally decided I liked the bold colors of a monarch butterfly more.

*This costume was made a couple of years ago. I’ll do my best to explain my process, but if I miss anything and you have questions, please ask. I’m happy to help!

The skirt is a little tricky since I really wanted it to look like wings.

After quite a bit of Googling pics of monarch butterfly wings, I had a pretty good idea of the shape I wanted. I pulled out my trusty banner paper and drew the design I wanted. I did have to redraw it a few times to get the exact shape and size I wanted, but in the end, it was worth it.

Now that I have the outer shape I want, I need to figure out the colored pieces on the inside. Really I just drew those freehand as well and redrew until I got it just how I wanted it.

I colored in all the pieces so I could trace them better.

I laid my banner paper over the top and traced each of the pieces onto it. I did number them on my large wing and then number the individual pieces so I could make sure to get the placement right.

I found a bright orange blender fabric at Joann’s and applied Heat n Bond Ultra to the back side of it.

Then I cut out four of each of these shapes. I had a yellow in my stash already so I used that for some of the circles.

I cut eight wings out of the black Kona cotton.

Four were my skirt pieces and four were to line them. I then placed the orange pieces on and ironed in place. I added the yellow and ironed as well. I wanted to have some white dots around the outer edge and bought some white fabric paint and just dabbed it on here and there. I did heat set this too.

Once the paint was dry and set, I placed a solid black wing over the top, right sides together and sewed around the outside edge, leaving the top straight line open.

Clip all curves and turn right side out. Iron to smooth everything. Set this aside for now.

For the bodice on mine, I used the Stella pattern from Violette Field threads, which sadly has been retired. The pattern calls for shoulder ties which I didn’t want so I just ended up sewing the one should seam together. I didn’t alter it because I would have used the same seam allowance sewing in the tie. I cut this out of black Kona cotton and sewed the shoulder seams together. Repeat for the lining.

I took my pattern piece and drew how I wanted my wing design to look on it, just like I did for the skirt pieces.

I cut out the shapes and then cut them out of the orange and yellow fabric with the Heat n Bond already applied and ironed in place. Then I added the white dots and heat set.

Once the paint was dry, I attached the lining by sewing along the neckline and armscye.

Clip curves and pull lining out through the outer bodice. Iron to smooth. Sew along the side seam with the armscye to close. I folded the opposite side in 1/2″ and ironed flat, leaving it open to install the zipper.

I went back to the skirt pieces and overlapped them about 1/3 onto each other.

I really just liked the way this looked the best.

This pattern calls for a side zipper, so once I arranged the four skirt pieces how I wanted them, I added a placket into a black section of one skirt wing piece. I then gathered the skirt and attached to the bodice, and added the zipper.

One last step on the dress was to add a fuzzy boa.

I hand sewed this around the top of the bodice and along the waist.

Like the mask? It’s a freestanding lace embroidery design I got from Urban Threads Embroidery.

There you have it! A beautiful monarch butterfly dress!

Stunning one shoulder monarch butterfly dress

Beautiful one shoulder monarch butterfly costume

Stunning one shoulder butterlfy dress

One shoulder butterfly costume dress

I’d love to hear your thoughts on my costume!  Drop your comments below.

Like what you read?  If you’d like to keep up to date with my sewing journey, sign up for my newsletter.  I promise not to spam you with a bunch of unwanted emails. 😉

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *