Learn how to care for ostrich feathers to extend the life of your ostrich boas and ostrich feather fans. Tips below!
My favorite part of being a showgirl is the feathers. The world of burlesque is covered in glitter, rhinestones and feathers. Every type—ostrich, turkey, rooster, vulture, etc. And if you invest in these glorious accessories, learning how to care for ostrich feathers is a must!!
Once you invest in feathers
Jo Boobs once told me that her favorite ostrich boa completely molted after five years of use. She used it in a show one night, woke up the next morning to put it away and it completely fell apart. I was horrified! I hope that never happens to me!
During my time at Jubilee! I witnessed the various techniques the dressers used to maintain our gorgeous costumes. It was always a crazy day onstage when the red fans costumes, designed by Bob Mackie, were steamed, those red feather strips were extra fluffy and appeared brand new.
I have a close friendship with the former Head of Feathers at Jubilee and have asked him all sorts of questions on the best ways to store and care for ostrich feathers as well as others, which I will share with you now!
Ostrich feather care tips
- Steam the feathers after they have been packed away for awhile. This will open up the feathers.
- Use a Hair Dryer to open up ostrich plumes to appear fuller.
- Store your completed feather pieces (hats, boas, backpacks, etc.) hanging in a dry, dark place. (Even fluorescent lighting will fade or yellow feathers.)
- Cover them in a loose cotton sheet, if you can, to prevent them collecting dust (they are natural dust collectors!)
- Above all, protect them while traveling by placing them in cotton pillowcases or wrapping loosely in sheets.
Sometimes, feathers will have run their course. No amount of steam or hot air will be able to revive them. Time to discard!
That was the case for several costumes in Jubilee! For example, over the course of the show’s run, my friend had rebuilt every single costume from scratch at least twice! He’d save the good feathers, after that he’d to trash the rest.
Have you been able to save your feathers or repurpose them to save them from the landfill? Comment below with your experiences!
Athena, aka Gazella