Friday Tip

Dear Constant Reader,

Here it is, Friday again and I have once again failed to fill your week with delightful missives. For that I am terribly sorry. May has been a busy month indeed!

I’m teaching my last installment of Fantastic Fan Dancing tomorrow with “Fan Dance Uncovered”, a history of the art. I’m very excited to teach this brand new class and a little nervous, since it will be my first hybrid class, taught simultaneously at the American Burlesque Collection and on Zoom. Tickets to the in-person class are very limited and include museum admission and a guided tour of the “Fantasy of the Fan Dancer” exhibit. I hope you will join me!

May also celebrates 4 years on Patron and 500 tips right here! You have until Monday to subscribe to my Patreon at the Advisory Committee tier ($5/month) and download my Very Little Book of Costuming Tips, which contains 25 helpful hints to improve your costume-making!

And now for your tip!

You can wash ostrich feathers.

I know it seems terrifying, it can be done! You can wash loose feathers or ones attached to washable clothing. Feathers on fans or headdresses and antique or fragile fragile get a different treatment, which perhaps will become another tip.

Note: if your feathers have been dyed, there is the possibility you’ll get some bleeding. Test a small spot first.

  • Fill a basin (sink, tub, etc.) with tepid water and a little mild soap. Dawn is my go-to.
  • Gently swish the feathers or feather-trimmed garment through the soapy water. Don’t rub or scrub.
  • To rinse, swish through clean cool water. Repeat with new changes of water until the water is clear.
  • You are going to be horrified at how your feathers look. Don’t panic!
  • Lay your feathers on a fluffy towel to dry, preferably on a drying rack. Don’t try to wring out the moisture.
  • The feathers will fluff up a bit as they dry, but after they are completely dry, steam them for maximum fluff.

(I was really sure I’d given you a tip about steaming in the past… I guess it’s a future tip!)

M2These writings and other creative projects are supported by my 14 Patrons. Thank you so much! To become a Patron, go to my Patreon page. Or you can just tip me if you liked this.