18th c Barn Owl Costume Madness : Progress at Last

Despite my unexpected interstate move from California to Nevada, I have managed to get a little work done on the barn owl costume that I am to wear in, oh, a week or so, to Halloween Gaskells in Oakland.

This is the “fun” part, which really means the most challenging and creative part: blending the golden goose feathers up into the pleats of the robe, and making it all somehow work.

I am happy to report the the back pleats, where the rooster feathers emerge, look fantastic, just as I had hoped. Now I am meticulously stitching in the goose feathers, which involves punching holes along the quill with a hammer and small nail, since they are so thick and tough that the needle doesn’t want to go through.

The goose feathers blending into the pleats. This is unfinished, but you get the idea.

The goose feathers curve one way or the other depending on which wing they came from. Luckily I have enough of both left-curving and right-curving to make it work on both sides of the robe. The effect will hopefully be something like wings swooping back over the hips and down the back of the gown (depending on how many feathers I have and how patient I am with sewing them on).

The effect of the gold “wings” emerging from the pleats. More will cascade down from nearer the cross piece at the bust.

While some problems have been fixed – shortening the brown taffeta hem guard to remove the train – other problems have cropped up, such as my forgetting in California the extra cream taffeta to make the cap sleeves from. The robe will have to be sleeveless. Not the end of the world, but not exactly as I’d wanted it. I must then finish the armholes with bias tape…at some point here in the next two weeks!


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