View Full Version : Feathers, Unitards, and Howl's Moving Castle

02-02-2005, 09:53 AM
*BTW - my costume is spoiler-ridden, so if you want to keep yourself in the dark until you are able to see the movie, please don't continue!*

Hi everyone!
I really have no expertise on the various ways of gluing, so I thought I'd better ask the community for advice ^^

I'm making a specific version of Howl from Howl's Moving Castle, namely *LAST CHANCE TO CLOSE YOUR EYES* his form during the air raid when he saves Sophie from the falling bomb.
This involves lots and lots of feathers. Wings and a harness too, but first things first XD I was planning on getting a full body black unitard, and covering the Whole Darn Thing with feathers. Now my question is...

What is the best way to apply these feathers to the unitard so they will never ever fall off, but they don't become so stiff that all I'll be able to do is move like a robot or something? My dream is to still retain full and complete mobility as just wearing the unitard itself would allow, but if those feathers fall off, I cry.

I originally thought sewing them all on might work, but I don't that would be secure enough *unless I am wrong, I tend to be that...all the time* Then I figured I'd glue them on, so what glue would be best? Hot glue? *I don't mind burning myself, ah, the pain one goes through for art!*

Thanks so much guys ^^

02-02-2005, 09:59 AM
Spray Glue, that's how I have attached feathers to cloth, and it stiffens it a little, but overall, it works great. Hope this helps.

Good Luck

Grencia Mars
02-02-2005, 11:31 AM
wow o_o that's gonna be quite a costume. Can't wait to see it. I'm doing Howl myself but nothing that fancy, just his gray/scarlet outfit.

As for the feathers on the body suit I would glue the feathers in place with hot glue (make sure you use low temp so you don't kill yourself o_o you really should consider just stuffing the body suit with rolled up towels or something instead of wearing it and gluing at the same time though) then go back and reinforce them with sewing. Either use the free arm on your sewing machine or hand sew it. It's a lot more work than using just glue or just sewing but on something like a body suit it's best to use both together so you don't leave a trail wherever you go.

02-02-2005, 12:49 PM
I forgot, another tip to repair and stop from leaving a trail is to have whatever glue you use at the con, and stop back by the room every so often to repair areas that are comming off and fix anything that has fallen. No matter what you do, some feathers will come off...

02-02-2005, 05:39 PM
Thanks so much for the advice guys ^^ Hehe, I'm glad I'm starting on it now, even though I'm not going to debut it until summer, I think it's going to take me that long just to finish it XD

02-02-2005, 05:49 PM
What you could do to make it more difficult for the feathers to fall off is first take the bodysuit inside-out and stretch a single thickness over a large embroidery circle. Poke the feathers through from the inside and then glue. When you put it on, you can use another bodysuit underneath so the feathers won't hurt you. You could also try trimming the feathers. Try a few different things with it, and see what works best.

02-02-2005, 06:25 PM
Fantastic! I'm doing that outfit too^_^ I look foreward to seeing yours~! How exciting. *waves Howl fangirl flag*

02-02-2005, 06:33 PM
Oh wow Hitori, I looked at your photo gallery, and you're *amazing*! I especially <3 your Nataku XD
I'll have to swoop over and squeal if we end up wearing our Howls at the same cons (I'm thinking Otakon for sure, but I might lose willpower and debut it before then at a smaller con if I finish it sooner...I'm so impatient XD)

02-02-2005, 06:35 PM
*blush* thank you! Mine is making it's debut at Wondercon this month. And I'll share all my tips when I'm done XD And tell you what I *should* have done. Right now, I was keeping the costume under wraps, but seeing that someone else is doing it prompted mi to "come out"

02-02-2005, 08:30 PM
I don't know if glue would be a good idea.
Perhaps if you tacked them on with a needle and thread? It would take longer, but it would be far more permanant.

02-21-2005, 01:56 PM
Okay Umister, I wore it! Due to various things, I was not able to wear all that I had, but yeah, check out the gallery and bombard mi w/ questions, I'm more than willing to answer^_^

02-23-2005, 11:46 PM
I'm back on this thread, so ha! Now the whole world can see me squeal over your cosplaying skills of Super..umm..ness...
but! Bombard I shall >:D

I've gotten pretty much all my materials at this point, and am *just* starting to put some stuff together. Sooo...my base is a full body *including covered hands and feet* unitard, so I'm planning on wearing the harness underneath and cutting holes in the back of the 'tard to stick the wings into it...if I sew bias tape round the cut holes, will the unitard..um...not shred apart and die?
*>_> that's a terrible description, but it makes sense in my head, promise. ...unfortunately, my head tends to not agree with reality so much, did you come up with a better way?*

and also, feathers! I'll repeat the question for people here: I'm sewing each feather on individually by sticking the needle through the quill part *HA remembered it's name*. Is that what you did too, or is there a better way?

02-23-2005, 11:51 PM
firstly, I didn't use a unitard, but rather leggings and a shirt. I try to stay far away from unitards, for bathrooms sake.
My wings are on a backpack like harness, thus I have to put them on before the shirt, so holes totally didn't work in my case. I put seperrating zippers under each arm, stuck my arms through the sleeves, head through the hole, flipped the back over the harness, zipped up, and then there were tiny flaps on top that snap around the rest of the wing harness that shows. So... being that my method was so different, I don't know if it'd be applicable to you.

As far as the feathers... I'm not actually sure if you can do that @.@ Because I zigzag stitched them all on in rows (with my machine). And I don't know if that would be possible with a unitard, I know it would be awkward.

02-24-2005, 12:00 AM
Ahaha, yeah, I don't know how to work a sewing machine >_> Well, I did in 7th grade, but that's...7 years ago. XD
Actually, I usually just handsew my costumes, but I don't think zigzag stitching would work on stretchy material as easily...
however, the concept of just sewing over the feather entirely can still apply though, right? I can hand-zigzag them on, add in some overlapping fun, and they'll stay secure? :D

02-24-2005, 12:16 AM
Oh, but the stretch is why I zigzagged. Think about a zigzag, and think about a straight stitch, the zigzag will stretch.
When I handsewed my gloves, I did a sort of spiral like stitch, because I didn't want to go through the shaft and possibly bend the feathers.

Dude. I love handsewing like mad, but handsewing all of that is going to be hard~!

02-24-2005, 09:42 AM
I think the only solution is to kidnap someone and make them show me how to work that darn machine of sewing XD If I actually learn how, zigzagging does sound like it'd work perfectly, thanks ^^

02-24-2005, 10:11 AM
Oh god! Feather covered bodysuitd! Terror! Ignore my feet! (http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v151/Gren1618/Cosplay/0Eaty.jpg)

An important thing to find out is the size of the feathers you are using. For example, Hitori's costume looks like it uses ruffs, or a similar body feather. They are short, lightweight feathers with a thin, pliable spine, and a littl puffball at the base, and will be the easiest to use ( albeit somewhat fluffy) When I made my Trance Kuja costume, I made it entirely from wing rounds, large flat feathers with a VERY stiff spine, and little to no fluff at the base. They're excellent for getting to lie flat, and have a largem impressive appearance, but working with them is the most royal of pains.

02-24-2005, 11:13 AM
Thanks Gren for pointing that(different types of feathers) out, when I handsewed, the feathers lay really flat, because of restricted space, the feathers fluffed like mad when I machine sewed. I was able to flatten them but like I previously mentioned (or maybe that was at the HMC comm...) I was late for the masq, I wasn't able to smooth myself out. Plus, it had been stuffed in a suitcase, adding to the fluff ball effect -_-

On the zigzag note, be generous! I molted, partly a few feathers just didn't get stitched down, partly the suitcase was not a good idea (Which I know, but hey, whatcha gonna do? ^.^;;). But in the sewing, I guessed some feathers wouldn't stay down, so was generous...

*blink* Did that all make any sense?

02-24-2005, 02:47 PM
Thanks guys for all your help ^^
Gren - you rock so much for doing Trance Kuja XD
I ordered mostly the same type of feathers that Hitori used, I believe they're called wing flats? Although I could be entirely wrong, ha. I am going to use wing rounds for the ends of the little tail thing he has, plus I'll go crazy-nuts with them for the wings, but since I wanted to retain some mobility/flexibility, I'm using the flats on the actual bodysuit.