For Halloween I decided to break in my new-ish sewing machine and lose my typical cat costume. (Seriously, for at least ten years I've always been a cat, with the very occasional crayon or raver costume thrown in there.) I did a little research on Pinterest and found this, which led me to this (for the dress) and this (for the wings). I was sold... I had to be an owl!
The blogs I read suggested using scrap fabric for feathers, but since I haven't sewn much yet and tend to use every little piece of fabric when I do, I needed to purchase my material. I relied mostly on remnants and a few yards of discount fabric.
The solid colors were remnants on sale between $1-2. The prints (which I absolutely love!) were each on sale for $2/yard. I got a yard of each. I did purchase more than you see in the picture because I realized it wasn't quite enough. My grand total for the feather fabric was around $10 for about 3.5 yards. I had just enough to cover the costume.
The biggest expense for the project was the least exciting, but most necessary part: the plain black base fabric for the wings. I needed 4 yards, and at $4/yard, it cost $16 plus another $5 for bias tape for edging. I doubled the layers of the backing to cover up my stitching (I guessed it wouldn't be particularly pretty, I assumed correctly), so it looked good, but also helped keep me warm in the 40-degree weather!
To make my feathers I cut a paper sample, about 4"x4", like this:
I added a little point on my feathers. Then I got cutting. Initially I was being oh-so-careful about cutting the edges perfect and smooth, but when I realized how many feathers I'd need, I just started layering the fabric and chopping away three or four at a time. I cut them like a puzzle so I wouldn't waste any fabric:
After I cut them all (around 350 feathers), it was time to sew! I divided the feathers three ways, with a few extra for the dress, laid them out just to make sure I had enough. Then I started sewing in layers, beginning at the bottom of each piece. As you can see, the wings were quarter circles, long enough to reach my hands from the middle of my upper back. The dress was a bathing suit cover up I already had.
After all the sewing was complete, I added a tie around the neck with feathers and velcro wrist straps to hold my wings on. I also made a headpiece with felt, feathers, ribbon, and a wire hanger for shape.