Not all feathers are created equal. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true. You go to the craft store, looking to feather your cap with some amazing, lush plumage, and you find yourself confronted with an array of vacuum sealed ostrich plumes straight out of Flatland. So, what can you do?
Reverse applique is the process of sewing two layers of material together with the stitches forming some sort of design, then cutting away the positive areas of the top piece of the material. This creates a nice, strong design. Reverse applique using leather is seen in at least one surviving suit of men’s clothes from 1615-20 (Arnold, Patterns of Fashion, pgs 30, 90-2).
In case there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, I love working
with leather. I think it can add a very sophisticated touch to a costume, and,
let’s face it, the number of people who do leather work is limited. I’ve been
wanting to try the reverse applique leatherwork technique shown in Patterns
of Fashion (in one of the men’s doublets – the one with the gillyflowers – I
forget whose that is) for several years now.