I spent about an hour sewing feathers onto fabric this morning, with the following result:
(do take a closer look; the thumbnail doesn’t do justice to the feathers)
I’m pleased, both with the feathers and the cloth-of-gold background. This is a metallic silk organza that is silk in one direction and gold-colored metal thread in the other. I do believe it’s actual wire (or something close), as it’s quite stiff, even for organza. I’ve stitched it down to a heavy bridal satin, though I’ll probably use a rayon/silk brocade for the final product. (I didn’t have enough of the brocade to do a swatch, so I substituted some bridal satin remnant I had lying around.) It’s hard to see in the photo, but the cloth-of-gold is gorgeous – glittery and iridescent, a perfect foil for the peacock feathers. It looks even better with the tail feathers, though I don’t have a photo of that. I will definitely be using it as the underlying fabric in the peacock-feather tutu.
The one thing I don’t know yet is whether the end product will be washable. The metallic organza is supposed to be neither dry-cleanable nor washable (“umm…just don’t get it dirty”, said the saleswoman in reply to my obvious inquiry), but I tried washing a swatch. It curled up terribly while wet, but was easy to straighten out when dry. I don’t know how bad it would be if stitched down to a heavier fabric, which is why I’m trying out this swatch. I figure there’s no dry cleaner on earth that would touch something this delicate/with this many feathers, so I’ll have to wash it myself.
(I realize that this is 99% likely something I will never wear again, but I just can’t bring myself to discard something that was so much work, and (is going to be) so beautiful. So I’m hoping I can wash out the sweat afterwards, repair the damage from cycling, and keep it in my closet should I, um, ever have a need for a feather-festooned, cloth-of-gold bodice again. Perhaps after I run away and join the circus…)
Finally, after stitching the swatch I have concluded that fine lines are just not possible with feathers. So I am leaning towards this sketch:
Sweet, simple, and no fine lines to contend with.