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Topic: Black, teal, and copper Steampunky Fun!  (Read 15357 times)
Tags for this thread: steampunk , costume , featured_project , craftster_best_of_2010  Add new tag
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« on: July 23, 2010 09:20:00 AM »

This is my first foray into Steampunk wear.  I dreamed up this costume last year.  I had received a great pair of boots as a gift 2 years ago, and the entire outfit is based on those boots.

First, the boots:

And my sketch

I had bought several yards of a great teal/copper taffeta for curtains that I never ended up using, so I decided to make that part of this outfit.  I loved the copper idea, so I added that as my accent, along with black as the other main color.  Over the next few months, I sniffed out sales and coupons to purchase the other fabrics for my costume.  I bought a heavy-weight taffeta for the skirt portion, and a lighter-weight taffeta for the bodice.  I found a white sheer that I tea-dyed to make off-white.  And, I began the search for fun copper accents.

I decided that I wanted this to be steampunk without gears and goggles.  Even though I love both of those things, I am a bit out there, so to speak.  So, the gears would be replaced by chains and the goggles, glasses.  My mother found a great pair of old bifocals that looked very copper, so I thought I could use those.  I wanted to tint them green, but discovered that Id have to replace the lenses, so I figured I could wait for that another time and wear them as-is.

My mother was very inspired by this project, so she said shed make me wristlets and a beaded bag to carry my glasses when I wasnt wearing them.  So, I requested that the wristlets be very fine and clean in an off-white and have a row of buttons on the side (to match the boots).  She came up with some beautiful wristlets that I just adore.

The beaded bag was a challenge, but very fun.  She asked for some ideas on design, so I suggested a nice swirl.  She went from there.  Shes an accomplished beader, but had never made her own pattern.  I was blown away.  Its very beautiful in person and feels really nice.

So, onto the actual outfit.  I had some Truly Victorian patterns on hand, so I used a few of those and purchased a few more to round out the outfit.  The first thing I made was the corset to create the base.  This is the Truly Victorian pattern 110.  I made it with white rose brocade and white twill with spring steel boning.  I was extremely happy with the pattern and with the corset itself.  I recommend the pattern to any sewer!

After that, I gave the shirt a try.  I had a Simplicity pattern (3684) that I thought I could alter.  I really liked view B, but decided to lengthen the sleeve bands a bit and pleat the front panels like a tux shirt.  So, I got to pleating and built the top.  But, as you can see, according to my sketch, I wanted the top to completely close up to the throat, and I failed to recognize that the pattern was not designed to do that.  So, after I had made it, I realized that there was no way it could possibly fit around my neck.  So, some altering had to happen, or I had to make it all over again.  I decided to try the altering.  I added two panels on each side of the front and lengthened the neck band.  After doing those two things, the shirt fit perfectly, so no re-do necessary.  I found some great buttons at JoAnns (of all places) and put a row of buttons down the front and a row of beads on the sleeves.

Next, the skirt and over skirt.  Now, just a side note, I wanted to make sure that my steampunk was not attached to any age or time period, so I wasnt too concerned with mixing eras.  So, my skirt and overskirt are miles apart in time period, but they work really well together in my head.  For the skirt, I used Truly Victorian pattern 291, the Walking Skirt pattern.  I knew I wanted the skirt to be shorter (to show off the boots), so I had to alter it only in that way.  The rest of the skirt is as the pattern says (except for the trim).  I lined it in copper taffeta for fun.  The pleated detail around the bottom was more experimental for me, but I think it turned out lovely and Im really pleased with how it looks.  The overskirt is Truly Victorian 303.  Can I just say right now how much I love this overskirt?  Im so happy I bought the pattern.  I was going to just wing it, but decided at the last minute to purchase it.  I think its one of the best things I did for myself.  Im in love with it and didnt alter the pattern one bit.

(in progress)

(in progress)

But, to make the skirt work, I needed a petticoat.  So, I took the same altered pattern I used for the skirt and, using that, devised a similar pattern for a petticoat.  I made miles of ruffles and attached one row at the hem and several rows at the back.  I had never done any ruffling before and was thankful for a suggestion by my mother to zigzag over a strong thread and use that to ruffle.  So, the petticoat was born.

The bodice was going to be the hard part.  I decided to use my corset pattern again and do the altering suggested on the TV forums to make it higher in front.  I deviated from my sketch a bit here to make the neckline a sweetheart to give the top a less severe look.  The top was lined in the same teal taffeta and with twill to make it stronger.

The bodice can be worn alone, as it is fully supported with spiral steel.  I did wear the white corset under this particular bodice so the ribbon lacing would not be too taxed.  I tried to find copper colored ribbon, but was disappointed in the colors offered.  So, I ended up settling for black, but will keep my eye out for properly colored ribbon.

(wrong color!)

To make the strips across the front, I covered heavy fusible interfacing with my taffeta, then sewed the buttons through the strips onto the bodice.  They are held on by only the buttons, so they can stretch with the bodice if necessary.  The chaining is attached through the grommets in the back with jump rings and under each button with a jump ring.  The small copper purse is attached with a small strip of fabric to the back of the bodice.

My underclothes consisted of an altered tank top (top removed to make a tube top), purchased black patterned tights, and bloomers.  I used Colettes free mini bloomers pattern, making it with my teal taffeta and some of the copper ribbon.  I think theyre adorable, but my husband says theyre granny panties. 

I found a fun bowler hat on clearance ($4!) at Target and covered the black ribbon detail with my taffeta and a copper accent.  The feathers, I left intact.  I will probably get a different hat in the future, but it worked for the time being.

Finally, I needed someplace to keep my ID and money, so my mother dug up an old purse of my great-grandmothers.  I made a sheath for my belt with Velcro to hold the purse strap so I wouldnt damage the purse.  It sat at my hip.  My mothers beaded bag was tied to the belt with some of the copper ribbon I found.

(the purse itself)

So, I had a great time working on my steampunked outfit.  Here I am in my final project at the event I attended.

(taken by my friend, Bren ... lookit my undies!)

This is a trial run of the costume before leaving, and it shows my husband's creativity with the lacing.  It didn't work too hot, but it gives you an idea of the back:

All my costuming adventures have one goal in mind, to be made as cheaply as possible.  This one stretched the budget a bit, but I was able to keep it fairly low, considering.  Anyway, I had a fantastic time making it and wearing it.  The rest of my photos are in my flickr account.  Im not an expert seamstress for sure, but I can try to answer questions if there are any!

« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2010 09:35:35 AM »

Freaking AWESOME!!!  I'm with you on the "as-cheaply-as-possible" thing, I'm working on an Elizabethan Court gown and those can get pricey! 
Beautiful colors and fabrics.  It almost makes me want to delve into the world of steampunk next 9as if I don't have enough era-costuming that I'm interested in already)!!

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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2010 09:53:35 AM »

I love this!  The bloomers are perfect, the chains and buttons and taffeta are great too, but my favorite part is the boots.  They are adorable!  Especially with such a great outfit and amazing tights.  Smiley

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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2010 09:54:42 AM »

Oh. My. God. This is amazing!! I can't actually put into words how cool I think this is! Hit the this rocks button and wisted! Just Amazing! I wish I had your talent!!

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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2010 10:06:54 AM »

I love this!

I told my husband this week that rather than another sci-fi or renn faire costume I'm making the next one steampunk.

This is great inspiration, and thanks for posting the mini bloomers link. I'd use that anyway just because it's cute. I love things with a vintage feel.

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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2010 10:08:56 AM »

This outfit looks so beautiful! I absolutely love your color choices.
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2010 10:35:52 AM »

Your outfit is amazing! Cheesy

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« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2010 11:34:15 AM »

This so completely ROCKS!!! I love everything! Its all exactly perfect! I am impressed with your ability to make all those purchased patterns fit your sketch!  I would love to know where those boots came from, they are fantastic! hmm.. was that enough exclamation points... well here's some more for good measure!!!!!!

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« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2010 12:29:42 PM »

WOW!!!!!! I don't even know what else to say! Grin Cheesy Wink Smiley

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« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2010 01:05:48 PM »

Beautiful! You should be very proud.

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« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2010 02:49:57 PM »

Wow, thanks everyone!

shan-E-bear, the boots are from Miz Mooz.  They make some absolutely adorable shoes, but they can be a tiny bit pricey.  But, I'm in love with my boots and they are very comfortable, so I'm all for it!

It is just so stinkin' addictive!
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« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2010 03:03:47 PM »

This is just amazing and to think it started with just a pair of boots.

So many ideas so little time. Will I ever get them all done?
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« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2010 04:28:32 PM »

So beautiful!  I particularly love the overskirt...just gorgeous.  Rocks, rocks, ROCKS! 

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« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2010 04:32:44 PM »

That is so awesome! I'm just starting to get into the steampunk style. I'm am in awe of this dress. It's so gorgeous!

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« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2010 05:12:55 PM »

I like it a lot except I think the petticoat with ruffles should be the front part of the dress - it is far too nice to be concealed!  Besides, having more froufrou is more Victorian!


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« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2010 10:03:54 PM »

I spent about 10 minutes just looking over your post over and over! You did a fantastic job, and I enjoyed reading about it!

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« Reply #16 on: July 24, 2010 01:50:46 AM »

So jealous
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« Reply #17 on: July 24, 2010 04:01:53 AM »

wow!!.. sooo beautiful!!.. Shocked
"this rocks"..
« Reply #18 on: July 24, 2010 12:33:52 PM »

so incredibly awesome!
i love mixing time periods, future/retro:)
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2010 10:11:04 AM »

My god, the whole thing is gorgeous (especially the lighter blue-green fabric), but I absolutely adore that overskirt! Amazing job.

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« Reply #20 on: July 26, 2010 10:24:20 AM »

This is exceptionally well done dear!  Your stitching looks great, expert or not.  I wish my students put half as much care into their stitching for pay, as you did for fun. 
And on a side note, your great-grandmother's purse is fabulous!  It is clearly very old, and it appears to be leather,so I thought I'd mention that you may wish to treat it with a leather cleaner to clean it up a bit, and then a leather oil/conditioner to keep it nice and supple so you can use it for years to come.  You can find those products at a *good* shoe store (not like Payless), or from a cobbler.  Or from somewhere like Manhattan Wardrobe Supply. 
Again, wonderful job my steampunky friend!

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« Reply #21 on: July 27, 2010 10:36:58 AM »

Great work! And you wore TWO corsets Shocked  were you able to move at all? Cheesy

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« Reply #22 on: August 06, 2010 01:04:20 AM »

So Awesome! I love the steam punk clothing. What an awesome outfit! Great colors.
« Reply #23 on: August 06, 2010 07:31:10 AM »

This is amazing, I love it!
« Reply #24 on: August 06, 2010 02:11:28 PM »

Absolutely incredible.  I love it!

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« Reply #25 on: August 06, 2010 04:07:44 PM »

OMG, I'm in the featured...thanks! Smiley

@jennieingram, thanks for the advice!  I did look into getting the purse cleaned up and will take your suggestions and use them very soon! Smiley

@zowiewoahie - yes, I was able to move, surprisingly well, actually!  Well, I probably couldn't pick up anything off the floor... Smiley

Again, I'd like to say that I really really enjoyed doing this costume and am so glad I did it.  Thanks for all your wonderful comments.

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« Reply #26 on: August 11, 2010 10:02:38 AM »

Wow!!!  What an amazing outfit!  I would never think to take on such a large project.  Yours is fabulous, and inspiring, and maybe someday I'll make an outfit with so many pieces!  Wow.

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« Reply #27 on: August 11, 2010 07:32:46 PM »

This is absolutely stunning. All your work is very detailed and it makes all the difference. I hope there are more events you can wear this to. 
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« Reply #28 on: August 13, 2010 09:19:20 AM »

this is *goregeous*!!!!!!  such details and incredible workmanship!  ...and dear gods, i fell in love with those boots  Shocked

« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2010 07:37:33 PM »

Awesome! When I saw that white corset I honestly was expecting you to say you bought it--excellent work!

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« Reply #30 on: August 15, 2010 09:19:45 AM »

DUDE!  If you're not an expert seamstress, then who is??  Those pleats on the shirt outta that sheer fabric look painfully annoying to do, an anyone who does teeny tiny knife pleats around the hem of a skirt has got mad skillz!    The attention to detail & fine-ness of the work is so impressive. You may be self-taught, or unpaid for your work, but by no means inexpert.  Kudos!
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« Reply #31 on: August 16, 2010 05:08:55 AM »

that would be the time for you to quit your day job!
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« Reply #32 on: August 17, 2010 07:27:01 AM »

@she goes la  HA!  I actually love my day job.  I'm a freelance violinist and teacher.  Who couldn't love doing that? Sewing's just a hobby. 

@toomuchstuff  yes, the pleats on the shirt were crazy hard.  I don't know what the heck I was thinking.  I tend to do that...I get an idea in my head and think, "that won't be too hard!" and then end up knee deep in fabric.  But, a lot of the time, it's a good thing because if I thought it was hard, I would never do it. 

@embercostumer Thank you!  But, I have to give full credit to the corset pattern.  Seriously, it's awesome.

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« Reply #33 on: August 17, 2010 11:55:52 AM »

"Im not an expert seamstress for sure, but I can try to answer questions if there are any!"

Well, I think you ARE an expert, as this project took some major skill!  I'm so impressed - I love every piece.  Congrats on a job well done!
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« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2010 03:22:27 PM »

Nothing wrong with vintage underware I say! Thanks for all the pattern links.  I see myself falling down a slippery slope of slopers and pattern drafting!
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« Reply #35 on: January 21, 2011 04:32:51 PM »


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« Reply #36 on: January 23, 2011 12:07:10 PM »

Thanks so much!  I really had a great time working on this project.  Thanks everyone for your support and love.

« Reply #37 on: January 24, 2011 06:07:10 PM »

Love your take on steampunk! I wasn't all that keen on the gears and goggles theme for my potential upcoming costume requirement--thank you for your insight into potential ways around the cliched gears and gadgets!
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