I really wanted the quilted skirt to be padded, to give it depth and a sense of 3D, but I couldn't pad it evenly all the way through because that would make the top too thick, or the bottom too thin. Luckily I discovered that the wadding is made in layers, and you can effectively grade it just by tearing off layers to different points.
I traced the pattern of feathers I drew on the calico onto pattern paper, with a few little neatenings along the way, then traced it all back onto more calico for the toile.
To create the different layers of feathers was a bit of a puzzle. I didn't have enough of any one of the (very kindly donated) silks to cover the entire wing expanse, so I am using slightly different ones for each of the 3 layers, they are like 3 complicated patchwork pieces. I think the slightly varying tones will give it a nice effect as well.
As it was only the toile I tried out about 6 different ways of attaching the pieces together, find out how to do it, see which one looked best, and how long each would take.
Surprise, surprise, it was the by far the most time consuming had sewing that looked by far the best. But never mind, I enjoy hand sewing (luckily). After that I put the now complete pieces right sides together, sewed round the edges, and tacked the carefully cut and graded wadding onto one side.
Then it was just a question of turning the whole thing inside out, quilting on the feather shapes, and gathering the waist onto the stand. The above is what was produced from all this, with some sari fabric underneath to show where the netting train will sit.
I was pleased with the overall shape of the wing, and the way the wadding worked. But I was unhappy with the feather shapes, they were just too pointy and made me think of fire breathing dragons rather than elegant swans. So I did some cutting, pinning and tacking of extra bits into place to see how curves would look. I definitely prefer the outer edge, and the inner one is slightly better, but now its a bit too flattened. I think the best one will be somewhere between the two, so like the pointed ends, but with a rounded tip.