Ladies and Gentlemen, The 1795 Barn Owl Robe

Oct 28, 2009 19 comments
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 :-)


  1. Wow, what a project, what a gown! How do you feel now - empty? :D

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

    Lovely photos too.

  2. WOW Amazing! You are very talented, and it came out gorgeous! Share the ebay link when it's up!

  3. 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 :-)

  4. Yay! I do think you need a full on photo shoot before you sell it.

  5. 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.


  6. That's fab! I love love love the 'mask' this is so cool. Love it!

  7. It's absolutely awsome! I'venever seen anything like it!

  8. 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 :-)

  9. Wonderful!!! You look stunning. Just gorgeous. I love it!

  10. 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!).

  11. Thanks Other Lauren and Thief :-) Yeah, the latex was not unlike having your eyebrows waxed, hahaaha.

  12. Lauren, you are crazy! I'm bummed you're not going to wear this at the Vampire Ball!

  13. I totally love your blog, it is so avant-garde. I'm now following you via rss feed, I bet you'll love mine and follow me too!


  14. 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?

  15. She's done a bit of a write up, yeah. Yes, do tell us about your costume! :-)

  16. 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?

  17. Well, I find myself back here and still curious! I think it's a beautiful idea for a halloween costume. :)

  18. It is so pretty and I love it. It reminds me of a bird that has its first real feathers growing in.


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