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Feather Repair

How to: Repair 'Unzipped' Feathers

As you may have noticed, we love a spot of D.I.Y millinery here at Barnett Lawson Trimmings, and this month we have been experimenting with feathers.

Feathers make a wonderful addition to many millinery creations, from hats and fascinators to headdresses and hair accessories.

Feathers can, of course, be used in their original state, but with such a wide range of colours, textures, patterns and sizes available, why limit yourself? As with any creative process, we may find ourselves wanting to adapt, change or experiment with our materials to create something more unusual or unique. The wonderful thing about feathers is that they are an extremely versatile material, and just like our own hair (both are made of keratin), they can be manipulated into hundreds of different styles – from curling, cutting and stripping to dying, burning and steaming.

We will be demonstrating a few of these techniques right here on the blog, as well as over on our Instagram, so make sure you have given us a ‘like’ in order to keep up to date with the latest demos. Click here to visit our instagram. If, however, feather manipulation doesn’t tickle your fancy, then we have many pre-dyed, cut, curled and stripped feathers available online and in our showroom. Click here to view our range of feathers.

First we will be demonstrating how to revive an ‘unzipped’ feather. This is when the interlocking barbs (soft strands either side of the central stem) come apart, making the feather look less neat. We have used a turkey broad feather as these are prone to coming ‘unzipped’.

There are a couple of methods you can try when faced with an untidy feather. Much of the time one of the following methods will be enough to bring your feather back to it’s original state:

1. Firmly holding the stem or spine of the feather, take the separated barbs firmly between your thumb and forefinger and carefully pull along the length of the barbs upwards at a slight angle towards the top of the feather. The idea is to realign the interlocking sections of the feather that have come apart so be sure to pull in the same direction as the other barbs.

(Click image to play video)

2. If the barbs are twisted, stuck, or just not cooperating, try wetting or steaming the feather before using your fingers to pull the barbs back in line. As you pull them into shape, the feather will begin to dry and most likely realign. 

(Click image to play video)

We will be sharing many more tutorials, so if you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow us on social media or sign up to our newsletter. Furthermore, if you try this, or have any requests for future tutorials, please do get in touch! We would love to hear from you.