Clothes · Projects

Yee Old Night Owl: The Construction

This is the second post about my Night Owl Medieval Hood. For information on how I came about my design and pattern click here.

After I finalized my design and tweeked my pattern, I set about actually CUTTING OUT THE FABRIC. At this point, I had been working on this project for approximately 7 months without cutting any fabric, and it was more than time to do so!

The first thing I cut out was my red middle fabric. This fabric would be sandwiched between the two layers (white on top and brown lining on the interior. Then I cut out some dagged pieces out of cotton to see how they would look when attached to the hood. I was dissapointed and did not like how long the hood was with the dags! So, I repositioned the white feathers until I was happy. (I was happy despite photographic evidence).

The first steps of constructing the hood!

At some point over the last 7 months of working on this project I purchased grey and black wool for the purpose of embroidering feathers on the dagged portions. I knew this would be a time intensive project so I set about cutting out the white wool dags and embroidering them. My cat Jon Snow helped with this portion of the project.

The dagged feather production!

The first step was marking each of the feathers with a water soluble marker. Then I stitched out feather shapes in charcoal crewel wool from the It took at least one season of Deadwood and the entirety of Bridgerton to finish this step (though I might have watched Bridgerton more than my needle). Then I cut out corresponding lining portions for the dags and sewed them together using a half inch seam allowance. I then trimmed the edges, turned them, and pressed the heck out of them. Some of the dags turned out a little more uniformally shaped than others, but not all feathers are round!

You might wonder why my feathers don’t look more feathery, well its because snow owls look like this:

Photo by Irina Babina Nature and Wildlife on

They are mostly white, with semi circular black tips on their feathers. The look more spotty than what you might think of as a feather.

Anyway, I digress … I was busy procrastinating sewing a hood. The next steps were to cut the hood out of the fancy wool fabric.

GAH. Now that that traumatic experience is past us, I had to CUT SLASHES INTO THE PRETTY EXPENSIVE WOOL. This too was traumatic but I persevered and I loved the affect it gave!

Slashing! I loved the slashing on the top of the head, but the slashes on the shoulders bothered me because they were wiggly! Until I added the feathers and gave them a good press!

At first I was a little worried that the slashes were wiggly. As you looked at the edges, they were not crisp. But, I pinned a few of the feathers on and the weight of them really pulled the slashes taught! And then, once I sewed them on and gave them a final press, the slashes behaved wonderfully. At some point during this process I lined the hood with brown wool. I finished the feather edge but turning the wool under and hand sewing it down where the feathers met the hood.

At this point, the hood was almost done. AND I CHANGED THE DESIGN. In the pictures above, the hood fits over the head, and I struggled with this a bit, so I decided that I would open the hood up, like many women’s hoods, and add buttons. But, my fabrics with their seam allowances were too thick for button holes, so I decided to add hooks and eyes. I slashed open the center seam on the front gore and cut the red lining in half (as I cut it on the fold), and then I whipped the edges closed with tiny hand stitches.

Then, I added fur. Addint fur is a decision that I always knew would be part of this hood. I purchased some white rabbit fur trim from Lyon Furs, but I was pretty disapointed with the quality, as you can see in the pictures below, some of the fur is longer than others at the joins. And I tried my best to deal with this issue when I sewed it in by pinching the fur until it covered how I liked.

In the first two images the fur is pinned in, and the bottom two it was sewn. Sewing the fur was simultaneously challenging and easy. I love hand sewing, so that part was fun, but poking the leather skin of the fur over and over was difficult, but definitely easier than I thought it would be.

Here I am, entirely too pleased that I have taken my final form: Owlliness

But, the hood was not done! I wanted buttons. And to tie the design together I chose Red buttons. After a brief panic because I thought they looked clowny, I sewed up a bunch of red buttons out of red wool. In the image below you can see me pinning the buttons on to gage how they looked. Then I sewed them down by hand!

OWLINESS COMPLETE (with buttons)

And some detail photos for you:

Details of the Hood buttons, embroidery, and hooks and eyes!

Look at those stitches. WAIT. YOU SEE NO STITCHES. They are there, I promise.

Overall I loved working on this project, and every part of it brought me joy, even the panicked moments when I wasn’t sure how to proceed or which direction to go. I hate that I procrastinated on this project as long as I did, because I would love to have worked on a whole dress to go with it… however, I think my medieval dress looks pretty good with it.

Stay tuned for more pictures of the finished project!


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