Introduction: Peacock Costume

Supplies needed for peacock skirt:

50-100 peacock feathers
1.5 yards blue chiffon fabric
.5 yards blue velvet fabric
needle & blue thread
thin blueish ribbon 
2 buttons
sewing machine

I have a friend who has peacocks on her farm.  She has tons of feathers because the peacocks just drop them all over the place.  I was able to get a large quantity of feathers from her for this project.  If you don't have a friend with peacocks on their farm, this project might be really expensive to make (I saw feathers for $1.99 ea. at the craft store).

Once you acquire a large amount of feathers, organize feathers into piles by length.

Hem the edges of your blue sheer fabric.

Step 1: Sew Feathers Onto Fabric

Start with your longest feathers first.  Lay all of the longest feathers out evenly on the sheer blue fabric. (with the rough edge of the hem facing up.  the feathers will cover it)

Then begin stitching each feather on.  3-4 loops around the stem, 3-4 times along the length of the stem.  Continue stitching all of the largest feathers onto your fabric.

This is a very time consuming step, but it is important that your feathers are well secured so don't slack!  Once you get the first layer of feathers stitched, the following layers of feathers will go much more quickly because your fabric doesn't slide around so much.

Step 2: More Feathers

Take the next tallest bunch of feathers and lay them out evenly over your fabric piece.  
Stitch them into place.

Continue with the next sizes of feathers and stitch into place.  

When stitching, don't worry about being tidy with your thread.  i just let the thread strings hang because they blend in with all of the feather strings.

Step 3: Shaping & Trimming Feathers

Gather the stem ends together to get an idea of how your peacock fan will be shaped.    I realized that I was going to need more room at the end of the fabric to attach the fan to the rest of the costume, so i decided to trim off about 8 " of the stem ends.

Use a seam ripper to remove the excess stems.  

You may need to re-stitch some of the feathers if the removal of the bottom of the stem loosens up the feather too much.

This step could maybe be avoided if you trim the feathers before step one.  I wasn't sure how I was going to make this costume when I first started out...  
But it may be better to trim the stems now, because you can be assured that all of the stems will meet at the same point.  

Step 4: Make Skirt

Take your piece of blue velvet fabric and fit it to your body.  You may need to trim the fabric a little bit, but I just folded over the fabric until it was at the right length and then hemmed the edges.
 I also put a couple of pleats in the back of the skirt to give it a little more shape.

Next cut a 6" slit in the back end of the skirt. (make sure it is centered between your pleats if you've got 'em)  This is where we will attach the feather fan.

Pull the sheer fabric through the slit in your skirt. I just tried to pleat the sheer fabric a little bit and pin it evenly in the whole of the skirt.  Then stitch the sheer fabric into place.  

Step 5: Finishing Skirt

First, make sure that none of your feather ends are sticking out.  Stitch down any parts that are sticking out.

Then, get our your blue ribbon and make large loops that hang down about half of the length of your feathers.  Stitch the ribbon onto the skirt just above the slit in the velvet.  

The main reason I added the ribbon was to cover up any of my sloppy stitch-work  and the stems  of the feathers.

Then, fold over the remaining sheer fabric and stitch in place with another clump of ribbon streamers.

The next thing you need to do is attach some buttons or some sort of fasteners to your skirt.  I just used what I could find around the house... some ribbon and 2 old buttons off of a coat.  The plan is to tie the ribbon to the buttons to hold the skirt on.

Step 6: Put the Outfit Together

what you need:
-a peacock colored dress
-gaudy peacock accessories: beaded necklaces in blues & greens, earrings, cute shoes, headband with peacock feathers affixed
-purple tights (or whatever color you like)
-blueish makeup for eyes
-lots of blue, purple & green!
-your freshly made peacock feathered skirt

put everything on and bust out to your party!  

The peacock feather skirt is an awesome costume piece.  It hangs down behind you when you are just walking around the party... but your friends will be amazed when you lift the feather bundle behind your tush and present your fan of feathers.  It works just like a REAL peacocks feathers would work...
I'm very please with the functionality of this costume.  I love that the feathers are not sticking up all the time, so I won't whack anyone in the face with feathers at the party.. and I also love that the feathers are attached to a skirt separate from the rest of the costume, because I can just spin the skirt to the side if I want to sit down. 

Step 7: Make a Peacock Friend

We were hoping to make a "peacock trainer" of sorts.. a character reminiscent of Zidler in Moulin Rouge... but we were unable to find a good top hat or suit that would be fitting for such a character..

We had been planning to make a cape out of peacock feathers, in the same fashion as the peacock skirt, but longer and with a collar.   To make the cape, follow steps 1-3 but start with the feathers sticking out about 3 ft. from the bottom of the fabric (I used a heavy satin-type fabric).  This will take a lot more feathers... at least 75-100.
I made the collar by covering a piece of thick interfacing (cut in a trapezoid shape, with the small end fitting 3/4 around the neck) with my blue fabric.  Pleat the top of your cape and pin it to the collar piece, then stitch in place with the sewing machine.
Then I used a mixture of sewing and gluing to attach feathers around the collar.  Most of the feathers around the top part of the cape are glued on, and I used most of the glued pieces to cover up my work or ugly feather ends. (I like to use OASIS floral glue, it's awesome and elasticy, but you have to get it at a florist.)  I used ribbon, a button and some blue pony-tail holders to attach the cape around the neck.
To finish this costume off, we went with some bird feet, purple tights, a sequined blue top with a blue feather boa attached to make birdy chest hair, and a bobby hat (don't ask me why, it just seemed to fit).

Sorry that my pictures are sideways... I just couldn't get them to save with the right side up... but you get the idea..

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