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Deconstructing Periwinkle: Tinker Bell's Secret of the Wings Costume Analysis
Periwinkle is a Disney fairy who first appears in their 4th Tinker Bell installment, "Secret of the Wings" (2012). As the film reveals, she is Tinker Bell's sister, born of the same laugh, and thus sporting many similarities to her warm-wooded sibling, including identical wings and an affinity for lost things and puff balls on her shoes.
This lens is designed as a costume analysis for Periwinkle. I'll take you through the details of her costume, along with pattern suggestions and other construction techniques. Please feel free to use these details and suggestions when creating your own costume for dress-up fun or cosplay.
All images used were captured from Disney's Secret of the Wings, released in 2012. I do not own nor pretend to own the rights to these images. They merely appear here for reference and remain the property of Walt Disney pictures.
I will break down my costume analysis for Periwinkle into 4 separate parts: her dress, the underlying feathers, the capri pants, and accessories like shoes and wings.
Periwinkle's dress is very unique, and I love it! It's a silvery-turquoise color, with leaf vein lines accented in white. While Tinker Bell's neckline dips down into a sweatheart formation, Peri's does the opposite, and points up, creating almost an inverted "v" shape and coming to a point at the center. The back is about the height of a bra strap, slightly curved so it's not an exactly straight line. Her dress is actually made up of two leaves, one on the back, and then the front leaf that overlaps around the sides. In all the screen shots, the two leaves connect seamlessly, whereas this is more difficult to implement in an actual costume. It would probably be best achieved by putting the side seam of the dress in the lining, but cutting the dress fabric into the leaf shape and extending that beyond the lining and side seam. You could then tack it down in a few places and it should stay put nicely. The two leaves are only adjoined at the sides and then each comes down to the hemline separately, which essentially gives two large slits at each side. These slits start at the hips and allow for the feathers to puff out.
Her dress is asymmetrical, so the "leaf" comes to a point at the bottom slightly to Peri's left side, usually about the middle of her left leg. The back ends at the same side (left leg). The hemline itself is fairly high, ending on the upper thigh. The main stem line of the leaf does not follow a straight line, but rather starts at the point in the neckline, curves slightly to the right side of the body, then ends in the middle of the point on the bottom at Peri's left side. Many veins come on either side of that stem line, slanting downward and towards the side of the body. The back leaf follows the same basic pattern. I'd suggest studying the screen shots closely to get it right before painting anything - it's easier to copy than to try to explain in text.
Underneath Peri's dress is sort of a petticoat of feathers. They are big and fluffy. From what I could tell, it looks like about 6 different large feathers are stuffed underneath Peri's skirt. Possibly more smaller ones in other screen shots, but the basic shape uses between 5-6 feathers. I count 3 on the back, then looks like one on the side and two in the front. Numbers don't matter, but just giving an overview of the look you'll be going for.
Periwinkle wears capri pants that come to just below the knee. There is a small slit on both sides of each leg. The slit begins just below the knee. This allows for the hem to come to a point, like a leaf. They also flare out slightly after the slit, kind of mimicking the way the two leaves come together on her dress and flare out at the hips. The leaf vein pattern is also visible on her pants. The straight stem line is on the outside of each leg, with the veins slanting downward and towards the inner leg. The pants are a darker shade of turquoise than the top dress.
Peri's shoes are basic flats with a pointed toe. It appears that the top of the shoe may also come to a point instead of the usual rounded design on most contemporary shoes, but that big puffball covers that area so it's hard to tell. The puff should cover almost the entire top part of the shoe. The shoes appear to be the same shade of turquoise as the pants.
This movie was the first to show the fairy wings in such detail. There was a lot of attention on the wings, since Periwinkle's wings are identical to Tinker Bell's, and they also light up when they get near each other. If you've ever wanted to do a costume with LED lights, here's a great opportunity. Check out the screen shots below. I used these to sketch out my life-size design.
I couldn't find a link on Amazon to my favorite pattern, but I don't think you'll find a closer match than Vogue 8900. It may look a little strange, but hear me out. Disregard the side slits, and look at the actual shape of the pattern pieces. A lot of the work making the bottom leaf shape of the skirt is already done for you just with the shaping of the front and back panels. The neckline also won't require too much work to divide it up into the dress and some sheer straps. I also love how the seams come around the back of the dress, since Periwinkle's dress also has the appearance of a leaf wrapping around to the back. Vogue is a little notorious for many many pattern pieces, and this one it no exception. However, with some clever planning (and probably a muslin mock-up) you can also piece them together and manage to cut only a few to reduce the visible seam lines.
If this is all a little daunting, I also included some simpler dress options below.
Sizes 6-12 and 14-20. Strapless and form-fitting make it a great starter pattern to adjust for Periwinkle.
Sizes 6-12 and 14-22. Another strapless option can be adapted for Periwinkle's neckline, but need to reduce flare on the skirt.
Sizes 6-12, and 14-20. I'd start with View "C", and make adjustments to the neckline as necessary. No excessive fabric at hips is also a plus.
Sizes 6-14, and 14-22. Nice options for a sheer neckline.
Sizes 6-12, and 12-20. Strapless dress (A and B) with options for adding straps. The picture here does not show all the views, so follow the link to see what I mean. Seam along the waist.
For children's patterns, you basically need to decide if you would rather create your own neckline, or trim down the flare from a skirt. For Periwinkle, you are going to have to create your own skirt shape anyway because hers in the in the shape of a leaf, but you do need to start with a straight skirt rather than flared. Simplicity's 2989 is hands down the closest neckline to Periwinkle, and a great place to start. You can make the straps out of a sheer white fabric, and it will honestly look really good with Peri's frost theme.
I spent quite a long time searching for fabrics before I found Michael Miller's Fairy Frost collection. It simply doesn't get more perfect than this. The fabric has a leaf design right on it, and shimmers with a silvery frost just like any winter fairy should. It's so great you may even decide not to paint the leaf veins on the dress. With this fabric, it will look good either way.
Sizes 1-3, 4-8. Neckline is the closest match you'll find to Periwinkle's. I like the added straps, which look nice in a sheer white fabric.
Sizes 3-8. Straight skirt is one nice aspect of this pattern. Neckline is easily changed to match Peri's.
Rarely is there a perfect fabric for a costume, but this just might break the rule. Leaf design on the fabric is perfectly subtle, but it's the silvery frost on the fabric that truly makes this stunning.
I combined 3 different costumes when I made my version of Periwinkle. Simplicity 3859, 2989, and 2237. I took the elastic back from 2237, the skirt from 3859, and the top from 3859. It was a bit confusing, but magically came together.
I changed the neckline on 2989 to be a bit more pointed, and used a delicate white chiffon for the shoulder straps, which were not only beautiful but soft too. For the skirt, 3859 was just about perfect, since I did want it to flare out ever so slightly, and most of it was going to get cut away to make the leaf shape. The leaf shape was easy on paper, but I ended up sketching it a few times with chalk on the actual fabric before I had the flow of the curve just right. I had a few printed screen shots from the movie right next to me as I did this.
Periwinkle's costume is almost like two leaves attached, front to back. The front part actually wraps around on top of the back, showing no visible seams. The best way to do this would be to attach the back pieces to the lining at the sides, and then leave the top free at the sides so you can create the rounded sides, and then hand sew it down into place. Tricky part is that for the patterns I used, it has a separate top bodice and skirt, so this would require doing this on both front pieces. I didn't plan on all that when I cut, and didn't feel like doing all that anyway, so I just stitched the side seams like normal, adding an extra rounded piece into the seam prior to stitching, then just tacking it down in a few places to keep it flat. Shortcut! But, if you want the real deal, keep that in mind when you cut your fabric, since you'll need to extend the front of the dress on the sides by quite a few inches.
The hardest thing about Periwinkle's costume was the feathers that line the underside of her dress. You could use real feathers or even manufactured craft feathers, but I needed something that I could wash, that wouldn't snap or break if you tried to sit in it, and that would also hold up to a child running around in it. I tested various feather boas, marabou boas, ostrich feathers, etc, exposing them to water to see how they dried, and laying them out under the dress to see which looked the best. The boas ended up looking just like that - a feather boa that was stuck under a dress, no matter how I cut or positioned the pieces. The ostrich feathers looked cool, but attaching them was a problem, and I would have needed a LOT to make it look right ($$). So, I decided to make my own. Here's my description, but see photos below and tutorial links at the bottom of this page for more details.
I found some white crushed taffeta for a good price, and ended up using a good deal of the yard I purchased. I cut the taffeta into bias strips, roughly 2" - 21/2" wide. Then I lined up two strips, right sides together, matching the crinkle lines (when together, they will run the same direction; when stitched and spread out, they will meet in a V and look like a feather). I stitched the bias strips together on one side. Then I matched these sewn strips together in pairs, wrong sides together, making sure that the crinkle lines were running in the same direction. It's kind of like a double-layer fabric feather. I cut them in various lengths, and cut a piece of For the lining, I used a crinkle chiffon, just in case any showed under the feathers, I wanted it to look like it belonged. Make sure you have feathers of all different sizes, because you'll need variety to make it look realistic. I put the dress on a dress form, and spent a long time fiddling with pinning down the feathers so each one laid correctly. Oftentimes the addition of one feather affected another one I had already pinned, so this was a bit of a tedious chore, resulting in re-pinning the feathers many, many times. Then I tried it on the intended wearer, and tweaked some of the feathers again. Then stitched each one down the center in a zigzag over the cording, one by one, making sure I wasn't catching any pieces of lining or an adjacent feather in each stitch.
For the pants, the pattern Simplicity 2872-E was pretty straightforward, and only required me turning the straight hem into a pointed hem. I sketched out the white leaf lines with chalk before painting, following a few printouts I made from screen shots of the movie. I used a neat cotton I found at my local Joann Fabric's, a href=">/www.joann.com/legacy-studio-glitter-solid-quilt-fabric-turquoise/zprd_11898434a/">Legacy Studio Glitter Solid in Turquoise. It complimented the Michael Miller Frost Fairy fabric quite nicely.
I bought some big puff balls (pom poms) that I intended to just safety pin on to some sneakers, but then I read a great tutorial on covering shoes from Make It and Love It, and decided to give it a whirl. Went to a couple thrift stores, but the only shoes I found in the right size with decent walking support were moccasin boots. In retrospect I should have just spent a couple extra bucks and bought a good pair at Walmart, but at this point I wasn't even sure this would work. While the tutorial linked above talks about using Mod Podge, I think this works best with a solid surface shoes (plastic, leather or fake leather, or other relatively non-porous exterior). My preliminary tests with Mod Podge just didn't stick. I decided to try fabric glue, and it worked very well. It was messy, and found it best to work over a sheet of wax paper, and you can also use wax paper to help press the fabric onto the shoe. The glue will inevitably get all over your hands, and on my hands it felt like a mixture of Elmers and super glue (doesn't want to come off your hands at first, but keep scrubbing and then it peels off kind of like Elmers). Word of caution: this is fabric glue. Which means it is intended to stick to fabric permanently, and will leave a slight rough spot on clothes. Even though I was very careful, I ended up getting some on my pants, so take note and wear junk clothes. The moccasins were not ideal, and the stitched sides that are trademark for this kind of shoe made the finished product look lumpy. You can check out the shoes I made for Aleene's Fabric FusionTinkerbell using canvas Mary Janes - they turned out great! Periwinkles moccasin covers - not so much. But at least from far away they look good. I didn't bother taking my own pictures because the Make It and Love It Tutorial already captured and described it so well. Glued a large pom pom at the top of the shoe to finish it off.
No sense lying about it - the wings were a pain! I abandoned the project several times, but kept coming back with a new idea to try. I really wanted to avoid wire, since I knew it would either bend easily or be so stiff it would be uncomfortable to wear. I tried several different thicknesses of interfacing, and nothing held the wings upright. Perhaps a smaller wing, or a wing with a rounded edge might work, but not Periwinkle's pointed wings. So, then I moved on to wire. Tried a couple different sizes, I think the thickest was 16 gauge, but even that proved too flimsy, bent too easily, and wings just looked shoddy. I dug around in my husband's workshop until I found some really thick wire (bought at a hardware store) leftover from Little Shop of Horrors plant construction, and it proved to be just right. Still able to maneuver with my hands, but used pliers to get the tips and some of the rest of the shape just right. Most of the online wing tutorials call for using hot glue to secure the wire on to the fabric. This would probably have worked out better, and added some stability to a thinner wire. But I had already stitched the wings together trying to make it work without wire, and I really wanted something I could feed into the wing casing. Once I had the wire in place, I stitched down very close to the wire to form a very narrow casing - really no room for movement, but I also broke several needles in the process getting too close to the wire. The hot glue method was looking better every minute, but I was too far in now.
Now that the wings were complete, it was time for the finishing touches. I sketched out the wing pattern based on a screen shot I had captured, and traced it on to wax paper with a Sharpie. I then stuck the wax paper in between the layers of organza, and carefully followed the lines with a silver glitter fabric paint. Now the wings were practically identical to those in the movie, and they matched! A definite necessity since I was also making Tinker Bell wings, and they have to be identical.
To attach, I opted for elastic instead of a series of snaps attaching the wings to the dress. I knew my daughter wouldn't be wearing the wings all day, and I just didn't like how the snaps looked on the dress when the wings were detached.