I was fortunate enough to host the costume workshop at G2k. There a I gave a quick course in how to make costume gargoyle wings. Afterwards I got word that the people who didn't make it wanted to know my technique. So here you go!!
This way of making wings was taught to me by the VERY talented Erika Hanson. She does incredible work!!
First thing you do is pic the fabric out that you want. Typically there are three colors. (1 color for the webbing, 1 color for the back ,and 1 color for the ribs and base of the wings) The amount you buy depends on how big you want your wings, but a good default number is 3 yards for the webbing and back and 2 yards for the ribbing. You Can find this at any local Fabric store or Craft store. Keep in mind these 3 things:
1. The texture of the wings
2. The Weight of the fabric (remember, you'll be wearing this on your back)
3.How easy it is to work with (If you're a beginner at sewing, I suggest cotton. Its light and easy)
Another thing you'll need is wire. you can get this at any hardware store. The strength of the wire depends on how heavy your fabric is. I myself made my wings out of very light weight fabric so my wire was on the thinner side. the best way to see if the wire will be strong enough is to take out a piece and see if it bends under its own weight. If it does, chances are its too weak to use. t(he wire I used was 12 gage). the wire also has to be bendable enough that it can be shaped into the wing frame.
Okay..so you got your stuff and you're ready to roll. First thing I suggest is you have a big space to work in. I used my Family room floor (Thank god for big rooms!) A backyard is also a good place to work too.:)
Figure out how big you want your wings. I had a wing span of 4 feet end to end (I wanted to get through doors easily) But the length is completely up to you. Measure out your desired length in the wire and cut it.
Now you'll be making the basic frame work for your wings. Bend the wire into a basic M shape.
The rounded middle of the M will be the part resting on your back. the arches of the M is the ends of the wings, or the first rib.
Then You're going to make 2 more M.s Each one smaller that the one before it. These will be the ribbing on the wings. (you can make more than two if you want).
Wing Ribbing gets smaller the closer it gets to the body. I myself did the other pieces at an estimated shortness, then I cut the wire to the desired length.