I’ve been playing around more with Adobe Illustrator, learning how to use it mostly. It’s still much much quicker for me simply to sketch it out with pencil and paper, but Illustrator gives me finer control over colors and also allows me to cut and paste. (Besides, I wanted to learn how to use Illustrator anyway.)
Here is the sketch for my first idea. It was originally intended as a halter top, but then I realized that I could get the same effect with a “normal” top by cutting a diagonal off the shoulder. This works out better for cycling, especially if you wear a Camelbak like I do. The green portions will be the green”scale” body feathers, the blue sections the blue body feathers, and the eyes are of course tail feathers. The white oval in the center will be a large clear crystal brooch of some sort – I’ll buy one off eBay if I wind up going with this idea. The yellow side panels will be either gold or white silk covered with metallic gold organza. I may add some gold piping to give the feathered section a little more definition.
Getting the “lines” correct on this piece will require altering the pattern somewhat. I’m feeling more confident in changing patterns around to suit me – I mean beyond just fitting. Making changes to the design line. I will probably sew at least two muslins before I’m satisfied with this design, though. I’m actually tempted to see if I can draft it from scratch, but I don’t think I want to spend the extra time for a thought-experiment.