I spent a long time googling how to make fake feathers with no useful results – there are loads of pages on how to make them out of foam, paper, card or ribbon, which is great but none of these options allow the feathers to move like real ones. I can hear you thinking “well why not just buy feathers?” and that’d be because the ones Warlord wears are roughly a metre long (and look nothing like peacock feathers in case you thought that’d be an option). So after much thought, I came up with this idea.
I needed a fabric that wouldn’t fray, but which has a decent weight so it’ll move like a feather. This was pretty tricky, so I went to the only decent haberdashery nearby (and by nearby I mean almost an hour away) and had a hunt round. I found this, which if you can’t tell from the picture is an almost net fabric, but it’s super soft and the netting is very small. Found it in with the fabrics aimed at making dance costumes.
Back home, I made a template out of paper and pinned it to the fabric. I cut out all ten of the feathers that I needed and started to create the “spine” of the “feather”. I tried a few different ways of doing this, but settled on using a doubled up length of clear nylon thread (fishing line works just as well) and sewing it all the way down the middle of the length of the “feather”. There was a certain amount of swearing going on whilst trying to do this as working with nylon thread at this length means it’s constantly fighting back. Anyway, got there in the end. I folded each feather in half length-wise, pinned it and encased the nylon thread spine in a French seam on my sewing machine.
After I finished all the spines, I needed to cut the fabric to make it look like feathers (hence the need for the fabric that doesn’t fray) – I took a small pair of sewing scissors and made diagonal cuts down either side of the spine of each feather. The feathers hang down both of Warlord’s arms, so I sewed together a strip of thick elastic to make an arm band and sewed five of the feathers to it and then repeated this so I had two arm bands.
The finished product looks pretty cool. I think a stiffer fabric would have given me a slightly better effect, but I’m limited by what fabric I could find that fitted my specification. I find it a bit tricky to find fabrics online when you’re hunting for something non-specific, so I’ll probably end up kicking myself when I find something that works better.