I barely have any sewing skills, so please know that this costume is great for a beginner DIYer! The bulk of this costume's efforts comes with patience and being careful with a hot glue gun. I used fabrics and materials I had at home, and just spent $16 in feathers and a boa. The mask was $1 from the dollar shop, and I spruced it up a bit. One of my dear friends sat patiently with me as my arm model through this procedure that he ended up dubbing this "the birdgery" as an ode to a bird-surgery. So punny! If you're going to use a kind soul like I did, make sure you use their arm as a guiding point, and pull their arm out of the glove when you apply any hot glue.
Step 1: Gather Your Materials
You will need:
- 1 thin black boa
- hot glue gun with glue
- long black gloves
- black thread
- 200 natural black feathers (goose, rooster)
- 2 yards black fabric
- cheap black bird mask
Step 2: The Boa
Cut your boa in half. Add a dab of hot glue to the cut ends so the cord doesn't unravel.
Hook the loop end of your boa around the pinky finger of the glove and sew into place.
Sew the boa all the way up the bottom seam of the glove. Leave the excess hanging off the end of the glove.
Step 3: Wing Feathers: First Row
Lay out your feathers in piles by size, biggest to smallest. I also made a pile of wispy feathers and irregular feathers.
Take a medium length feather and fit it into the loop around the pinky. When you like how it's sitting, add a tiny dab of hot glue on the base of the feather on top, and glue it up under the boa loop.
Add another medium length feather next to it and glue. Work your way across the boa. You will only need a tiny dab of glue because feathers are... as light as feathers. ;) I started using short feathers when I got towards the end of the glove to give it a tapered look.
Step 4: Wing Feathers: Second Row
When you're done with the first row, add glue to a longer feather, from the base a couple inches up. Gently attach it between two feathers at the start of row one. It will cling on just like a magnet.
Keep working your way across, angling and panning the longer feathers out.
Step 5: Wing Feathers: Third Row and Finishing Touches
Take the longest feathers for your third row and make sure you fill in any gaps.
To give a beautiful fanned out look, glue some long feathers onto the outside of the pinky and ring finger on the glove. If some areas seem a bit heavy, go to the seam of where the boa meets the feathers and sew them into place. I had a few areas I sewed.
Turn the wing over so you can see what they look like from the back. If you see any bits of quill popping out, you can trim them. I covered some areas up with loose bits from the boa, but overall the wings looked near perfect.
Step 6: The Tail
The tail part will just be tucked into your trousers, skirt, underwear, or whatever you're wearing on the bottom. Cut out a piece of black fabric so it's a little wider than your backside, from your waist to just above your knees. Leaving an inch or two free at the top, glue medium length feathers onto each side, pointing diagonally downwards.
Add a second layer of longer ones onto the first row.
Do a mirror check. Tuck it into your [whatever you're wearing on the bottom while you make this costume] and check if you can see the feathers fanning out from behind you. If not, add a third row. I was good with two.
Trim the bottom wherever you'd like your tail to end, then continue adding feathers to the outside.
Step 7: The Neck and Shoulders
For the neck and shoulders shawl, you'll need two 1" strips about 2 yards long. Glue the more wispy feathers onto one strip on both sides of the edges. Sew the second long strip of fabric on top. If you have rooster feathers, they will flare nicely on this.
Step 8: The Mask
My dollar store bird mask was super rugged, to no surprise. Trim off any loose strings and materials hanging around.
Add tiny dabs of hot glue to short feathers and apply to the mask above the eyes, fanning them out.
Step 9: How to Wear Your Costume
First, put on all your main bits of clothing: bottoms, shoes, top. Tuck the raven's tail into the back of whatever you're wearing on the bottom. I tucked mine into my skirt, then put my corset on to keep it locked in.
Put the neck and shoulder shawl on. Find the very middle and make sure that's the point that meets the back of your neck. Wrap forward over your shoulders, then tie behind you above your waist.
Put the mask on your head.
The wings go on last. They won't be as dainty as you think, but be very gentle with them. Gather the inside of the glove where there are no feathers attached and stick your fingers in, being extra careful with the pinky and ring finger as they have feathers attached. Pull the gloves up. The excess boa dangling can either be wrapped up your arms and tucked into your top, or tied behind you. I went with the latter.