Fawkes the Phoenix



Paula Yeomans-Hill


(click images to to enlarge)

Outline the story …

I have many favourite books to choose from for the competition this year but as 2020 and 2021 so far have been a time for our little family at home I wanted to reflect something of that. For the last few months. I have been reading the "Harry Potter" books by J.K. Rowling to my now nine year old and her enjoyment of them mirrors my own. We have reached the end of book four, "The Order of the Phoenix".
Fawkes is a Phoenix and one of my favourite characters in the series, his feathers make the cores of the wands of both Harry and Tom Riddle (Voldemort) linking the bird centrally to the story even though he is a small part of the action as a whole.

In "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", he uses his incredible strength to bring the sorting hat in which is hidden Godric Griffindor’s sword. Then he helps Harry by pecking the eyes of the Basilisk to stop it killing him with it's gaze. Fawkes' tears have healing properties with which he heals Harry wound after the fight.

My Fawkes is female and has been transfigured into a human. Retaining her colouring within the clothes that she wears, her tail feathers decorate a turn of the century style skirt. and her bird shape is echoed in the pigeon breasted style of the period. The embroidery on the belt shows her true form.

Outline the construction…

In much of my work I try recycle fabric and aim give it new life. I started with finding the shape, using a previous corset mock-up and 3 bustle pads. The corset reduces my waist by 3 inches and by adding extra inches in padding around the hips, the shape I was looking for was produced.

I then added a bust improver, corset cover and petticoat, these were all made from soft cotton bedsheets bought in a charity shop. I self drafted the patterns and they are majority machine sewn, with some hand finishing.

The skirt comprises of a dupion style curtain rescued from a charity shop for £1, which I draped over a padded stand. The full skirt is gathered into the waist and fastens at the centre back.

The feathers needed many experiments with fabric and wool but I found that denim appliqued with coloured fabric from my scrap bin, then deconstructed around the sides gave a much stronger shape.There are 28 feathers on the skirt and I have lost count of the hours it took to make them all. The edges are hand painted to finish.

The self draughted belt, is made from a velvet upholstery sample, with a cotton lining and contains plastic whalebone. The embroidery on the front shows Fawkes in bird form with the Sword of Gryffindor and the crossed wands of Harry and Voldemort. I’m self taught in embroidery and used freestyle stitching.




  1. Avatar bobbie NELSON on March 11, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Beautiful outfit. I love the embroidery. It inspires me to make my own Phoenix dress.

    • Avatar Paula Yeomans-Hill on March 13, 2021 at 4:37 pm

      Thank you, I look forward to seeing it if you do.

  2. Avatar Heather McGreal on March 11, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    I love humanized interpretation on non human creatures (does pheonix count as animal?) and you have executed it beautifully. The embroidery is amazing, the colours perfect, and the outfit reads the character so well. You look stunning. Great job.

    • Avatar Paula Yeomans-Hill on March 13, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you, I really enjoyed creating it.

  3. Kitty Mortensen Kitty Mortensen on March 12, 2021 at 9:30 am

    This is absolutely stunning! You did AMAZINGY! It’s perfection!

    • Avatar Paula Yeomans-Hill on March 13, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you so much!

  4. Avatar Mandy Pursley on March 14, 2021 at 2:40 am

    Beautiful! I really love the feathers going down the train, and the perfect little Phoenix embroidery!

  5. Avatar Claire on March 14, 2021 at 10:19 am

    Inventive, beautifully constructed and wearable. I love how you have captured Fawkes. The feathers are beautiful. Great range of skills showcased here and I absolutely love your ethos!
    Who knew bedsheets could look so good?! Fantastic use of recycled fabrics and I really hope it will inspire everyone else to think about how we use resources. Wonderfully imaginative interpretation creating a beautiful wearable piece with an important message. Really well done.

  6. Avatar Amanda on March 19, 2021 at 1:07 am

    I love the beautiful trim details, quite lovely!

  7. Avatar Carly Van Groeningen on March 19, 2021 at 10:41 am

    This is fantastic, I love the feathers!!!

  8. Avatar Maeri Certo on March 19, 2021 at 10:27 pm

    Great job! I love all your detail work. I can almost see this transforming back into a bird, the tail feathers shimmering and blazing with fire.

  9. Avatar Laura Ingalls Gunn on March 21, 2021 at 11:57 pm

    This entry simply takes my breath away! Both for its beauty and repurposing. Bravo!

  10. Avatar Stephanie Murison on March 24, 2021 at 3:10 pm

    I love the embroidery of Fawkes with the sword and wands of Harry and Voldemort! Such a perfect representation of the character, although the feathers are the icing on the cake for me. They look absolutely incredible and I would never have guessed they were made of denim! I am in awe of your creativity and ingenuousness for recycling materials!

  11. Avatar Sarah on March 29, 2021 at 6:24 am

    this is just stunning! phoenix’s are one of my favorite mythical creatures and I’m a huge Harry Potter nerd and you brought this design to life beautifully. the embroidery in particular is just exquisite!

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