The Prince is Giving a Ball: Feather Hairpieces

When costuming a large chorus scene, I like to provide some  unifying details if possible.  In “Grease” all of the girls who went to the Dance had wrist corsages.  I like petticoats for that same reason.  In “Cinderella” all of the girls at the Ball had hair pieces.  I had a wonderful Freshman who created the 35+ hairpieces that we needed for the chorus.  The ones for Madame were done by the cast members sister.  I  only had to do the ones for Charlotte and Gabrielle.

The feathers that were purchased for them were larger ones that I found at Hobby Lobby.  They were $3.99 each (no sale the week I was there).  I did warn everyone with larger feathers that they needed to be careful with them . . . if they were broken there was no replacement.  Having seen some of the rehearsals, I knew that they did some pretty vigorous dancing and so the hairpieces needed to be made in such a way that they were pinned securely, yet, they also were part of a quick change so they couldn’t require 20 bobby pins.

I decided to try using some silicon-backed elastic as the base to help prevent slippage in their hair.  I happened to have a piece of wide elastic and that worked perfectly for the base.

silicon backed elastic

To help keep them from sliding out, I lined alligator clips with velvet ribbon.  Lining headbands, the front of hoods, clips etc with velour, velvet, or something silicon backed is a good way to help keep them from slipping.  The wider ribbon also gives a larger, flexible base for the glue to attach, so they are less prone to peel off.

clips backed with velvet ribbon, attached at an angle to silicon backed elastic

This combination worked really well to keep the hairpieces in.  They were a little tricky to get out with the slanted clips, however, the cast members could quickly put them in and dance around & bouncy like crazy and they stayed put.  Whether either of these options would work as well individually, I don’t know.

For Gabrielle I picked tall feathers.  I also added some swarovski gems to the front and back of the feathers and they did successfully glitter.  I trimmed hers with tulle that matched her dress.  The sequin loops were remanants from a previous project.  They are string sequins that had been sewn to the edge of a strip of tulle.  They were for a dance costume and the person I was helping didn’t like them, so I had cut them off.   They do curl very nicely and worked well for this purpose.

Gabrielles Ball Gown

Charlotte had a very similar headpiece.  The cast member did eventually cut the loops of sequins off because they were catching in her curls and causing issues.  Hers was made with the same sequin fabric as her sleeves.

The wedding ones were made with smaller (less expensive) feathers.  I purchased a pack of 10 for $17.99 from BBcrafts.  I used the feathers for the Madame, Gabrielle &  Charlotte, and single plumes for Jean-Michael, Sebasitian and Lord Pinkerton.   They are each a little different and match the dresses that they are wearing.  I am not sure it showed onstage, but I knew.  I did like the way the looping pearls looked.

back view of wedding wear

I made a similar “something” for Charlotte to wear with her Banquet dress.  The feathers sort of blended in with her hair, unfortunately.

Charlottes Banquet Dress

Other than the feathers, these were all made with bits and pieces and scraps of things.  They were pretty quick to make–and fun!

One thought on “The Prince is Giving a Ball: Feather Hairpieces

  1. Pingback: Dressing “Gabrielle” (Cinderella): Ball Gown | costumecrazed

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