Ladies and Gentlemen, The 1795 Barn Owl Robe

The moment at least a handful of you have been waiting for!

Last weekend I wore The Owl to Gaskells. I had been planning, crafting, stitching, and wrangling my way toward this one night for the greater part of 2009.

It started with feverishly finishing the thing. I had gotten pretty darn sick of it, but I was rescued by my fantastically crafty mother, who swooped in and went to work stitching on feathers and making necessary tucks and tacks.

My crafty mother, at about 10 pm, “fixing” things.

With the thing somehow complete, we scurried down to San Jose for a dual-purpose weekend: packing my entire apartment for The Move, and also donning this costume for Gaskells on Saturday evening.

I started the makeup somewhere around 4:30, beginning with these insane feather eyelashes I’d picked up at a Halloween store, on a whim. They took some fenagling, but I got them to stick, then started on the feather “mask”. This involved painting on a dab of liquid latex, then sticking the feather into it and holding it in place. I used real barn owl feathers for this (courtesy of The Dreamstress), and layered them on up around the arch of my eyebrows, and under my cheekbones. After the latex was dry, I smeared on foundation to blend it, then some black eyeshadow on my eyelids, and that was it!

Feather face makeup, in progress – and the wig cap of awesome.

With all of it put together, it looked really quite cool! Nevermind those packing boxes in the background…

The dance was lovely. The Owl and the Fox were well-received, we had no major problems with dancing, tripping, or molting. I did lose one clump of feathers, but I count myself lucky, and there was no visible hole. I did have some trouble with the weight of the gown causing my shoulders to hurt. I found this to be true of this pattern despite the feathers, as there is no weight distribution throughout – it hangs off the shoulders, so all the weight is there.

Lovely photos by Justin Oliphant and others

At the end of the night, I had the joy of peeling latex off my face, which was akin to ripping band-aids off. Luckily, I didn’t wake anyone with my squeeks of pain, and there was no irritation from the latex, yay!

Jenny of Button N’ Bows, in her GORGEOUS “Mask of Zorro” gown.

The owl gown will not be worn again. It will be repaired, cleaned, and auctioned on eBay. More information on that later. Don’t cry, it’s o

And that’s it! A year’s worth of costuming done, worn, loved. Now on to other projects (all under $75 of course), and the continued pursuit of good craftsmanship, design, and beauty through clothing ๐Ÿ™‚


  • Madame Berg

    October 29, 2009 at 2:41 AM

    Wow, what a project, what a gown! How do you feel now – empty? ๐Ÿ˜€

    I hope you get a big bag of monies for it, much deserved.

    Lovely photos too.

  • Lauren Reeser

    October 29, 2009 at 4:17 AM

    I don't feel empty, Madame B, I feel relieved! I'm looking forward to working on something sensible!!

    I'll be sure to post about it when it goes up for auction. Here's hoping someone in the world wants the thing ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Lithia Black

    October 29, 2009 at 7:50 AM

    Oh, wow it's so pretty!And you look stunning in it!
    I can't believe your selling it after putting so much time and effort into it. I hope you get a lot of money out of it.


  • Duchesse Americana

    October 29, 2009 at 4:27 PM

    Dreamstress, I definitely agree, though I don't want to put all that makeup on my face again. I'll see if I can wrangle my photographer friend into doing it…

    Thanks Lithia, Abby, and Isis! There are some costumes I have a lot of attachment to, but for some reason this isn't one of them. Maybe it's because I've always planned to auction it. I like clothes that I can wear over and over again, but this thing I feel I can only wear once or twice. I guess it's couture…maybe someone else will love it to pieces ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Anonymous

    October 30, 2009 at 11:10 PM

    Wow – it came out beautifully! Congratulations on finishing it and good luck on the auction. Love the feathery facemask (and yay for the non-irritation!).

  • Fiona-Jane Brown

    November 3, 2009 at 11:05 PM

    The owl was a triumph, Lauren, you've just inspired me so much! I must blog about the Celtic costume somewhere soon! Has Maggie done a write-up about her foxy?

  • American Duchess

    September 21, 2010 at 2:25 AM

    Caitlin, no I never did. I think by the end of it I thought nobody would want it. Do you think I should put it on Etsy? Maybe someone will pick it up for Halloween?

  • CaitlinMElliott

    May 9, 2011 at 3:49 AM

    Well, I find myself back here and still curious! I think it's a beautiful idea for a halloween costume. ๐Ÿ™‚


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