Just days to go until the Make Believe Festival, exciting times! This weekend I finally got around to finishing a project which I’ve been planning for some time, a gloriously gothic feathered headpiece.
The idea came to me as I was pinning bits and bobs of inspiration to my Goblin King mood board on Pinterest, I found some incredible images of couture created with whole bird wings. Brighton based designer and conceptual artist Jess Eaton of EatonNott in particular has created some beautiful and sculptural garments and hats in her ‘Roadkill Couture’ collection. I was inspired to try and create my own. I couldn’t find any tutorials online about making a fascinator using a whole wing so I wanted to share my methodIt is worth noting, before anyone gets really offended by the use of an animal carcass, that I was careful to source wings that are from a regulated supplier who adheres to the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. EatonNott have a ‘very strong ethical code’ and never harm an animal, instead using feathers, fur and bones from animals which have been killed and eaten as food, killed on the road, died of natural causes or culled as a pest.
I am going vaguely for a magpie fairy vibe for my Goblin King’s Ball costume, so naturally I chose magpie wings as the star of my headpiece. I found some on eBay that were already dried, you can dry them yourself but it takes up to a month and can be quite fiddly. I was lucky enough to get a pair for £5; I’ve seen some go for up to £30! Bear in mind you will need to buy them in an open (flight) position if that is the effect you’re after as they are stiff once dried.
Materials for this project!
Pair of dried bird wings, sourced from an ethical supplier (mine were £5.10 on eBay)
Good quality black felt
Two small metal fascinator combs (£1.98 on eBay)
Two black lace applique pieces, about 2 inches across (mine were £4.50 on eBay)
Black lace edging or ribbon (I had leftovers from my steampunk skirt , £1 per metre)
Needle & Thread
Hot glue gun (careful kids! Don’t burn yourselves!)
1) Cut two circles of felt just wider than the fascinator combs and small enough to be completely concealed by the wing. Cut two circles of card to match.
2) Whip stich the fascinator combs to each of the felt circles, then stick a card circle to the underside of each. Put these aside for now while you work on the wings.
3) Make sure your wings are clean and free from dust and dirt. If they have been properly died they should be stiff and not have any smell. Pull away any excess fluffy white feathers from the base of the wing where your applique will go.
4) Arrange the lace or ribbon in a curve around the section which will be covered by your applique as a kind of edge detail and stick down with hot glue. I folded and stuck mine every half cm or so to get a ruffled effect. Stick each edge to the underside of the wing as you start and finish.
5) Attach the applique over the base of the wing in the gap left by your edging, using hot glue.
6) Turn the wing over, pull in and neaten any edges of the lace if you need to, then stick the circle with the fascinator comb to the back of the wing with hot glue covering the lace edges. There will be a natural curve it should fit into. Be sure to stick it so the comb is facing the right way to place it in your hair!
7) Repeat for the other wing, and voila!
I plan on wearing both wings, on on either side of my head and accessorised with a wicked deep green wig and this amazing cast crow skull necklace from CrimsonRichDesire on eBay, doesn’t it look perfect nestling between the wings?! You could always wear just one fascinator for a less dramatic look!I’m re-using so of my old costume bits, a green velvet corset, and black lace bolero and feather collar. I’m going to be brave and MAKE my skirt on the day, from black bin liners and duct tape! I promise a post on how that works out next week!
That’s all folks! If you’re inspired to make a feathered fascinator please leave a comment and let me know how it turns out