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1  Black, teal, and copper Steampunky Fun! in Costumes: Completed Projects by violyns 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!
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2  Re: Show me your Christmas tree! in Winter Holidays by violyns on: December 10, 2009 07:39:02 PM
Gosh, everyone's trees are so great!  You even brought me out of lurkdom to post...

My living room is black, white, silver, and red, so I decided to match the tree to the room. 

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