Make Faux Feathers from Fabric and Wire
There has had a wonderful reader response to the article "Millinery Marvels" by John Koch in issue no. 153, February/March 2011. Quite a few readers e-mailed me to ask about tutorials for the embellishments on the hats featured in the article, and we've been offering a series of posts here on the Threads blog.
Previous posts in this series include "How to Make a Hat Base," "Try Your Hand at Hat Trimming: Bows Without Tails," and "Make a Bow With Tails - To Trim a Hat or Embellish a Garment."
This post covers how to create the elegant and intriguing feathers that John applies to some of his hats. They are made with fabric and flexible wire - these feathers are easy to curl and gently twist into interesting shapes. John paints his feathers to give them a very realistic look.
John says that you can use a variety of fabrics to make the feathers. He suggests muslin or silk, but says you could use just about any fabric as long as it's stiffened some way in order to prevent fraying. He sizes fabric with Aleene's Stiffen Quick.
In the past he has used fabrics like doe suede (which he also uses for gloves) and just about any fabric that happens to be in the hat. That way the "feather" matches the hat.
I hope you have fun with this project! Next week, the series will conclude with a post about the "Dresden Shepherdess," a bridal hat with a veil.
Form Faux Feathers
Stiffen and trim fabric strips to make fanciful or realistic feathers. A wire center means you can curl or straighten them to your style.
1 Cut fabric to desired feather length. (Plan on a 1½-inch width for each feather.) Spray fabric with fabric stiffener. Let dry, then apply a second stiffener coat. Dry again and press if necessary.
2 Cut the fabric into strips approximately 1½-inch wide. Fold each strip in half lengthwise.
3 To make a casing for millinery wire at the feather's center, machine-sew the strips lengthwise. Sew 3/16 inch from the fold, and taper stitching toward the fold starting 1 inch from one end. Backstitch or tie off the threads.