Steampunk – Garments (to make)

Steampunk – Garments

Full outfits

So, Victorian outfits (at least fancy dress) generally seem to be just that – outfits. Not the mix-and-match that we tend to wear now. Mix and match is actually pretty modern – up until the 40’s and 50’s, if you bought a dress, you bought the matching jacket – which was lined in the dress fabric…

However, I don’t really want to make a lot of duplicates, and would like an outfit to be transformable, so I was thinking about specific items that could be used in multiple outfits – things like underskirts, aprons, bustle supports, things like that come to mind. Additionally, I think it would be interesting to add some steampunk or steampunk-inspired garments to an overall daily outfit – like jeans, shirt, but a cute shrug over top, or a vest. Or a regular blouse with a long Victorian styled skirt.

So, in sort of a round-up fashion, in a potentially vain attempt to be organized and plan things well, here are some of the items I think that I might like to make at some point:


  • Sari-style bustled skirt – I made up the black one not too long ago, and I think I really like the separate bustle worn over the full skirt – so when I have the opportunity, I think that I’ll make up another in a similar style, using the purple sari-style fabric I have (if I have enough).  I like the ring-and-string method of bustling the skirt (it certainly made it easier to clean!) but I think that I’ll interline the fabric with tulle/netting, and line it as well with something fine, but with some body (perhaps taffeta?) to give the poufs a lot more body.  If I have enough, I’d love to make a matching front apron drape, but that’s less interesting to me at this point.  I would likely want to make the full skirt out of a coordinating fabric – perhaps the same as the lining?  I picked up some drapery rings a while ago, which should speed up the making of this – they’re mounted on horsehair instead of twill tape as well, which I think will help add “pouf” too.  Thinking more about this – the purple might not be the best choice, and I should see if I have enough in the green sari fabric instead (which would go better with the bronze gown fabric (below) or the green velvet (also below)) or the blue sari fabric (which would go better with the silver taffeta.  The red sari fabric would also go nicely with the black and white…
  • Tiered ruffle-back skirt –  in terms of historical accuracy, I’ve only ever seen this style as an undergarment, though I think made up in a simple fabric, it could be perfectly serviceable as a contemporary interpretation, and serve as an undergarment as well for additional fullness with other skirts.  I’m seeing this in plain black cotton with black lace trim.  It will be a LOT of black lace… Gallery Serpentine has an interesting interpretation HERE in red taffeta with black lace.
  • Waterfall gathered skirt – just for the drama of it, I think it would be interesting to do one of the gathered-and-flared skirts.  These usually were trained though, which adds a bit of additional fuss-and-muss, since there are even fewer places I can imagine going where a train wouldn’t be a huge problem.  This should probably go on the very bottom of my to-do list…
  • Blouses – Whenever I think of tops, I either get uninspired or bored.  However I am thinking of something that has some of the stylings of my ruffle-front tops (purchased) but with a rounded cut-out neck.  I can’t explain it.. but I’ve seen something similar in a Steampunk video, along with on one of the sellers specializing in Steamy wear.  This is probably something I should pay more attention to as time goes on.
  • Bronze taffeta – I originally bought this with the intention of making a gown similar to my silver taffeta one, however am now re-thinking that plan.  Ultimately though, it is assigned in my brain as a Victorian/Steampunk costume, so somewhere along the line I’ll have to decide what to make it up into.
  • Black with narrow white stripe – I’ll probably make a skirt out of this, similar to the black and white stripe with black and white stripe pleated trim.
  • Appliqued skirt or poncho like the recent Steampunk Couture line – tentacles/cogs.. oooh so lovely.  Like hers, I’m thinking grey/black, but probably reversed (grey on black rather than black on grey)
  • Steampunk EGL – I doubt that I would actually make this – but I love the idea of mixing the two ideas, like this cool dress from FanPlusFriend.

    Steampunk Elegand Gothic Lolita from FanPlusFriend


I know that I can’t just stick to one, but I really should prioritize!  (Especially since my Lupercalia corset still isn’t done.)  I would put this in the “basics” category, but there is more than one item to include, and I can’t do sub-bullets!  Some of the thoughts I’ve had… include:

  • A new basic-black underbust corset. I can use this for so many things – there have been so many times when I’ve worn the buckle-front one in lue of a basic-black one.
  • I also want a pinstripe corset – something with a vague masculine attitude, with a pocket for the pocketwatch.  Although colours would be interesting (brown, navy, etc) Black with white pinstripe would likely be more versatile.
  • The purple taffeta corset to match the long purple taffeta skirt that I made a few years ago.  Probably an overbust corset.
  • Brown leather corset – the start from the Lupercalia corset – though not completed, so it might be transformable.


  • Shrug – possibly something frilly and feminine like that one Etsy seller? I’m thinking of something with a bit of stretch for comfort – perhaps that lovely stretch lycra velvet?  Trimmed with monochromatic slightly tattered chiffon flowers?
  • Shrug – from a t-shirt.  There’s a great tutorial/demo on Cut Out + Keep that got me thinking of it – and using that old brown t-shirt that I think I wore twice to make something that would work with a casual Steampunk costume.  (I still don’t think I’d wear it for every day… I never wear my black shrug, I always forget about it and want something longer – or perhaps that’s just because it’s winter!?)
  • Mantle – a loose jacket, trimmed in fringe or pompom fringe? Perhaps a wide band of contrasting velvet as trim?  This should be in something with a fairly stiff hand, like wool melton or corduroy.  (Mind you, I don’t want to work with corduroy…)   I’m thinking something with a fitted waist at the back, but lots of fullness over the hips to fit over a bustled skirt nicely.  Kind of like a peplum at the back.  Wide bell sleeves seem pretty common in the illustrations I’ve seen, though I also like the idea of a full pagoda style sleeve.
  • Capelette – Somehow this seems utterly impractical – and yet in that probably rests it’s appeal for me.  I’m thinking hip-length, possibly in the fold-back military-esque style I saw somewhere. . (Clockwork Couture maybe?)  Medium or charcoal grey, with large military-style buttons…  Alternately, something floaty and ruffled and utterly feminine would be beautiful too.  Something in line with the 1894 or 1899 illustrations on site.
  • Separate hood – I absolutely love this knitted hooded cowl from TheJaneVictoria on etsy – but of course I’m

    from TheJaneVictoria

    stuck in the whole “I don’t knit” conundrum.  However, I can totally see this in velvet or some other material that draps and flows (but also would be warm and cosy… )  I can see blending this with the capelette – a hooded capelette basically – something warm and cosy and just a little bit unusual….


  • Vest – perhaps one of those harness-style vests like Steampunk Couture does?  Probably something more like a classic waistcoat, in rich brocade or something.  I don’t really know that one of the harnesses would look good on me.  The harness-style suggests more of a military-inspired look, or something that would work with an airship pirate-style costume, while a classic brocade waistcoat would be more ultimately wearable for day-to-day wear.  If I go with something more classic, it should have a pocket watch pocket, and button up the front.
  • Bustle support – one of those cool collapsible cage supports. This would be done with a plain cotton back, that roll of wide white twill tape that I have, probably plastic boning for weight and cost, and possibly wide white lace – perhaps some of the stuff left over from mom’s dolls?   Alisa did a successful version in her Geisha costume, and an unsuccessful version in here black and white steampunk outfit.  (Just as a FYI when I’m looking to make my own…)  Obviously made to go with more of a fancy dress costume, since that’s where I’d be wearing the bustled skirt!
  • Teacup fascinator – perhaps with soft-sculpture tentacles spilling out?
  • Elder god toque – I have the wings done, and that’s about it at this point.  Darn basement renovations.
  • Fascinator with clock hands – I picked up a set of clock hands from the hobby shop a few weeks back, and am thinking of something using them instead of feathers/ribbons in a fascinator.
  • Neckwarmer – there is an amazing knitter on Etsy that was totally inspiring – however I don’t knit.  I tried to

    Like this, but different.

    teach myself how to crochet, but after undoing something and starting again, I’ve lost my inspiration. Ultimately I want something that has an overall hourglass shape (flaring up around the cheeks and down over the shoulders) that is fairly wide, probably a dark charcoal grey, and has five large buttons.  I haven’t decided yet if I want fancy buttons, or buttons that are incredibly plain to the point of obscurity.  I also haven’t decided if I want something fine or chunky.  Honestly, I should just keep an eye on her shop and buy one from her, vs thinking of learning to knit in order to make one for myself!

  • Muff – as mentioned in my post about a muff, I would like to make a muff as well.  I’m thinking of a fairly deep grey (faux) fur on the inside.  The outside I’m thinking of fabric on the inside, with piping, and then a small band of fur, to give the impression as though the fur was just spilling out of the muff. The vintage muffs I’ve seen have been fur on the outside with a satin lining, but that doesn’t really seem very cozy!  The old ones have also had chains, which I’m not loving, so I’ll have to think about that a bit.  This would be more for fancy dress, and just to add in to other outfits – but a low priority seeing as it’s unlikely I’ll be able to get to it before the end of winter.  (Though if I see some fur on sale I should pick it up!)
  • Collar – on the thought of a neckwarmer, I was remembering a very cool pleated collar that I would love to recreate.  Unfortunately, when I got to thinking about it (and making something similar) I realized how BAD I look with something like that – they make my neck look very short, and just aren’t attractive.  However over a plain white shirt buttoned up all the way it might work – so I’ll put the pleated collar in the ‘maybe’ pile.
  • Fingerless gloves – using the striped socks as a start.  Since I have the other pair of fingerless gloves – this would be a very low-priority project.
  • Brown leather gauntlets/cuffs – with cool holders for vials/test tubes and other ~stuff~  I started these for the Jabberwock costume, and never finished them.
  • Full sized tricorn hat – not sure what I want to do here.

I have a feeling this will be another one of those ‘work in progress’ posts, that gets added to now and again…

Steampunk – Crafting

Steampunk – Crafting

Tealight holder before (shown from the back)

A number of years ago my BFF gave me this super cute tealight candleholder.  We used to have several gift-giving themes when it came to Christmas and birthday gifts (since both of our birthdays are coughing distance from Xmas) and for a few years it was candles, including this one.  It’s very pretty, but after having it on my shelf for many years it has started to slip to the back of the bookshelf and isn’t nearly as appreciated as before.  I wanted to do something to it to refresh it, without ruining it in any way.

Basically the candle holder is a small frame attached to the tealight holder.  In the frame is a piece of etched glass with a Chinese character on it.  I don’t remember what it says anymore (and this photo is shown from the back, so you’re seeing the back of it if you do know Chinese…)  It probably says something like “peace” or “home” or something because I dont imagine too many mass-manufactured home decor items with “anteater” or “do your laundry” on them, do you?

Then I was looking at my raygun project materials, and realized that the brass and copper sheet that I had, was never going to be all used up by one or two guns…  Can you see where I’m going with this?

It was pretty easy to refresh this, and I can see the next iteration of the design as well.

So, the first step was just to remove the glass.  There’s a small black tab at the top keeping the glass in place, and although I dont think I’ll want to bend it up and down too many times (the paint is already flaking a bit) it was easy enough to move. The glass is held in channels, so once the tab was up, it just slid out with reasonable ease.

Step 2 – tracing the glass onto the copper sheet. I just used a ultra fine point Sharpie to trace the glass onto the sheet.  I

tools for tracing

picked up the copper sheeting at a hobby shop – in the model airplane section.  Not cheap, but not too expensive either.  I also picked up a perforated brass and a solid brass as well, but I like the warmth of copper a bit better myself. I had looked in a few craft and art supply stores, and only one art supply (the one just off 17th avenue in Calgary) had a TINY piece of brass, so I was glad that Sheena suggested PMS hobbycraft during a Facebook crowdsource question.

Step 3 – cutting out the copper.  It cuts really well with just regular scissors, though in the raygun instructions they mentioned several times wearing gloves to avoid cutting yourself with the edges of the metal.  I didn’t have a problem, but I was careful.

Step 4 – Since I didn’t want to throw out the glass, and if I put it anywhere else I’d end up losing it, I slid the copper into the slot and then carefully re-added the glass back in again.  The copper sheet is thin enought that it wasn’t tooo much

With the lights on

trouble.  I also had to smooth out the ‘roll’ of the copper before, and roughed it up a bit with the handle of my scissors, entirely for appearance sake.

Finished! So now instead of having the light shine through the glass, the copper is like a reflector – and the quality of the light is nice and warm.

When I find a design that I like, I’ve considered doing a punched-hole-design in the copper instead – I remember an article about Victorian xmas tree ornaments done that way – though I’m thinking more of Cuthulu or an airship vs. holly and ivy!

with the lights off (not a great picture, I know)

Steampunk – accessories – jewelery

Steampunk – accessories – jewelery

One of the items I mentioned in my accessories round-up was a pocket-watch.  I have a few vintage watches, though they lack femininity.  I have seen a few small, ladies pocket-watches kicking around (largely on Etsy, but also at the recent Arts Market at my work) but they’ve seemed out of my price range or just not quite right…

I was over at the bead store in Northland Village shops (looking for flat-back bails, which I have looked for in a number of stores and only found one style at Michael’s) and saw watch components that were much more affordable than the ones I’ve seen at other shops.  Plus – they had lots of different styles and colours.  While some were pop-art inspired and entirely too modern for my use, they also had a few more traditional, or even ‘old-fashioned’ ones that were quite nice.

I ended up picking up a few things to make my own small version of a ladies pocket-watch…. (Oh, and they have a number of styles of flat-back bails too!)

What I picked up:

  • The watch face  – which is really just like what you’d put on a band and wear as is.  The idea is that you make your Watch face, chain, and bead goodiesown bead band, and then attach it, but this works for my purposes as-is!  I picked the round copper style, though they also had silver in round and both in square, and others that were attractive too.  I dont remember seeing brass coloured – but I’m not as attracted to brass.  The downside – because the pocketwatch dangles, the back might show, and it’s plain and boring.  I tried to think of putting a cog on the back (from that set at Michaels that comes in old brass, silver, and copper toned) but no such luck. Does anyone reading this have ideas?
  • Some copper chain
  • Some super-large copper-toned lobster clasps – I know this isn’t the period solution (since I have vintage and antique ones myself as reference) but I like the idea of it being somewhat more secure than a hook, but that it won’t damage the fabrics of my gowns like pins.  Plus, they look kind of industrial in feel, which is cool.
  • Some copper bead ends and beads. I didn’t use the beads.

I also had at home already

  • Copper metallic thread (from a different project – I think I got this from Fabricland, though it might have been from a sewing trade show… it was a while ago)
  • needle nose pliers and wire cutters
  • needle grabbers (kind of like forceps, because they lock, but they grab little round things like wires or needles better – you can get them at some specialty medical stores)
  • Rose/copper coloured beading wire (bought from Michael’s for another project)
  • Wire crimps – ideally I would have liked these in copper – which I’ve never seen – or black- which I’ve only seen once, and don’t own any of – but I have silver, and was able to GET AT silver (despite the continued basement bathroom renos)

To make this I

  1. First I opened up one of the links in the chain and slipped in the end of the lobster clasp. Nice thing about the sizes matching up, I didn’t need to use any separate jump rings (which I certainly don’t have in copper either).  This was more good luck than planning though!
  2. Then I measured out where I would want the ‘drape’ of the chain – the first clasp will go around a button, the next clasp will go where the pocket is.  I opened up a link and slipped this in as well.  (I did end up moving it over though later when the watch was complete.)
  3. I used the copper jump ring attached to the watch to attach it onto the end of the chain.  I would have loved to link the chain right into the watch, but the shape of the chain and the hole didn’t match up to hang correctly. I was thinking at this point of adding in some cogs to add decoration and cover the back of the watch  – but when I gave it a try, I really didn’t like the overall look of it, so I removed it.
  4. I wound the copper thread around a credit card (which was slightly larger than I wanted the tassel to be, so I could safely trim it) and then snipped the end.  My original thought was to pass the “tassel” through the ring on the watch, then slide the bead cap over all of the threads – however I underestimated the size of the hole in the bead cap – and that wasn’t going to work.. so instead I took two short pieces of the beading wire, divided the ‘tassel’ threads in half, and looped them, and then pulled the wires through instead of the threads.
  5. I slid a crimp over all four wires coming out of the top of the bead cap, then put them through one of the matching copper beads.
  6. Then I divided the wires again (because 8 wires was too much for one crimp) slid a crimp over each pair of wires, looped the wires around the jump ring on the watch, and then the wires went back down through the crimps and then the bead.  I used the needle grabber to hold on to one while doing the other so I wouldn’t loose my wires!  Then I used the needle grabber to pull the wires tight, and pinched down on the two crimps.
  7. Then of course I just clipped off the stray wire, and gave the tassel a fluff and a trim (over the garbage bag, of course!)


The finished result!

The finished result!


Steampunk – Linktastik

Steampunk – Linktastik

Once I figure out WordPress a bit better, I’ll hopefully be able to figure out how to get the blogroll on the side – but, until then, I’m keeping this list of interesting links.  Some are just eye candy, while others are inspirational/aspirational.  So, since I can’t always be on my laptop everywhere I go… and I thought it would be good to share with some of the Steamy folks I know, I thought I’d share my favorites list as far as Steampunk (inspiration, information, products) goes.

House and Home

The Steampunk Home
The Steampunk Home

The Steampunk Home – really interesting blog looking at home décor with a steamy vibe. I like the ideas brought up in this one – I spent hours reading a lot of it one night – and I like the idea of taking the ‘style’ into different areas. After reading it, I realized how many of the pieces I have in my own home that could be considered ‘steampunk’.

Brass Goggles thread – There are some nice photos of interior decorating – Steampunk style on this thread too.

Added Feb 2011Artforms of Nature – I found this via the Steampunk Home blog – but I think it deserves it’s own category.  As far as ‘botanical’ or scientific artwork is concerned, this is paydirt!

DIY & Dress Diaries not a real dress diary persay – but rather a lot of photos with some explainations of how she made things. I remember her from when I was doing Tudor research – such lovely costumes!

Dragonfly Designs by Alisa – Some seriously beautiful costumes and outfits – along with great photos of the finished product, and work in progress and inspiration photos. Once I figure out WordPress a bit more, hopefully I’ll be able to approach this!

How to make Spats – a step by step of how to make spats.

The Steam Wench’s Salon – someone just as new as I am to all of this – but some great photos of her projects-in-progress so far… I look forward to seeing where she goes with it!

Millinery (Hats)

Feb 2011 addition – Some seriously over-the-top Victorian hats at Emily Way Hats.

Rayguns – a step by step video how to make a raygun from brass sheet – including a link to the original instructions, and comments on where the originals need tweaking.


Feb 2011 addition – SteamBaby on Etsy – some beautiful, high-end goggles.  Out of my price range, but gorgeous and inspirational (aspirational!).

Products (aka things to buy)

Lovechild Boudoir –  I especially like the long bustle skirts.

Steampunk Couture – I started to love her work looking through Etsy – some great clothing, and beautiful models/styling.

Clockwork Couture – I LOVE that they do line drawings with their garments (most of the time) – so many designers photograph their clothing in all-black and you can’t see any of the details… this solves the problem so nicely!

Feb 2011 additionPinky Noodles – An Etsy supply seller – some great cameos and things. I have ordered once from her, and was happy with the purchase.  While there is nothing else I want to get from her right now (other than the item that was backordered) it’s a link to keep my eye on for when she has additional items added.

…yeah… this area will grow I’m sure over time!


Google ripper – like google search, but without the thumbnails…  Just type in the term you’re looking for (steampunk, bustle, neo Victorian, whatever…)

Vintage Printables

Vintage Printables

Vintage printable – not so much inspiration for garments themselves, but just interesting images to possibly do things with. I find the vintage botanical images the most intriguing.

Steampunk Flickr – more great images, though not really easy to go through since they’re not sub-categorised. is a bit better for my purposes. I really should put this on my laptop while working on my work computer or something, and put it to slideshow… or when I’m sick, or something!  Feb 2011 addition – Steampunk at Dragon*con flickr set:

Feb 2011 addition – Site seemingly focused on links and pictures from around the web – though it promises costumes – will have to go back and dig in further later…

The Steampunk Empire – every time I get to this site, I get somewhat overwhelmed by how much is here…and just end up looking at the pictures… so, instead of putting it in one of the other categories, it’s going into ‘inspiration’!

Blogs & publications

Totus Mel Wunderkammer – exploring the best and brightest of Etsy. The layout is great and easy to absorb… I actually really like the way the writer does the images, though I think it would be additional work… hmmm  Similar, there is an Etsy Roundup – however this author posts by etsy maker, vs theme, so it’s a bit less discovery, and a bit more shopping….

Steampunk Live Journal – I used to use LiveJournal groups a lot, but haven’t been on there in ages – however I check back to this group frequently.

Steampunk on a budget Live Journal – I only recently found this one, it doesn’t look nearly as interesting as the other one though… when I first started looking online at ‘steampunk’ this was one of the first sites that came up. I find it’s not as interesting to me as others, but still worth a look at – once in a while there is a gem here.

Ok.. it’s not a blog, but it’s darn close – the Facebook Steampunk group -the moderator (s?) post regular links to new and cool stuff, and there is the Steampunk Magazine – the website seems more blog than magazine, but another jumping off point… has a few interesting posts with some good pictures – some interesting things.

Feb 2011 addition – Another blogger working towards a costume by the looks of things – with lots of books in between.

Feb 2011 addition – Steampunk Magazine – I head back to this page every now and again, but the website is just there to support the magazine (which is available as a digital version) and the front page isn’t updated frequently.

Feb 2011 addition – LiveJournal Buy & Sell Steampunk Community. I wasn’t sure to put this under the “products” (aka shopping) category, or the blogs category (since it’s basically a blog about things to buy, but take a look none the less… LOL  I didn’t see anything in the first few pages that really jumped off the page for me (hmm well maybe one or two…) but since it’s a community, it’s always changing depending on the members posting.

Weddings, wedding cakes

(I’m mostly including this category because I have an acquaintance who is thinking of a steampunk wedding, but also because sometimes this illustrates ways of tying things together.) – several cakes, ideas. – not really a wedding cake, but instead a gingerbread house. Probably because of the Dickens association, but xmas (and hence, gingerbread houses) always seem Victorian to me. I’m putting this one here because I highly doubt I’ll have any other baking/cake/cooking links. Click “older entries” for even more.

Off-Beat-Bride – a blog entry about a Steampunk wedding – perhaps there will be more to follow? (n.b. Yeppers… see below)  More photos from the wedding are here:

Stacy & Eric’s wedding – amazingly good photos, and wonderful little touches on a themed wedding.


Feb 2011 addition – I haven’t actually been able to look at this one much yet – it looks like largely digital steamy artwork on first glance.

Feb 2011 addition – The artwork of Jessica Joslin – I caution, this artist has taken brass and merged it with bone, clockwork, leathers, etc.  It’s beautiful, but also morbid and grotesque.  I can’t entirely decide if the artwork is appealing or disturbing… so view at your own discretion.

Crafting – jewellery – image pendants


Some of the finished pendants

While browsing Etsy for crafting inspiration a few months ago, I really liked the glass tile pendants that seem to be all over the place over there. These are made with glass tiles and images, sealed on the back with a glaze. Funny enough, at the Arts & Crafts market we had at work before the holidays, there was one seller who had them, but none of them appealed to me. I spent some time looking in craft stores and the glass tiles that are finished and totally clear are nearly impossible to find. I found ONE package at the sewing trade show (back in October?) but they were way too tiny to make pendants with. I generally figured that supplies weren’t available in Calgary, and made a mental note to keep my eyes open when shopping in the USA next. (I hate shopping online.)

Another variation that I’ve seen are crafters taking old Scrabble tiles and making pendants from them – putting an image on the smooth side, adding that clear glaze over top, and then adding a bail to the back where the letters are. A similar variation uses old dominoes. Again, these seem really cute, but I’m not really going to flea market shop for old Scrabble sets or dominoes, nor raid my own games just for a pendant.

A third variation I’ve seen uses pre-made bezels, (or bottle cap alternatives) which I spent a lot of time looking at on the Fire Mountain Gem website. I really spent far too much time on that site actually. Good thing my purse wasn’t nearby when I was surfing, or it might have been a very expensive browse!

So, after finding that the different styles required supplies that I didn’t have readily available to me, I found another solution instead, in tools/supplies used for stained glass.

I made one pendant to start with – one side is a black and red brocade from my corset-making fabric stash, and the other is a 1920’s style collage.

Then since I had all of the supplies, I made a few others – including a few with a steampunk vibe.

What do you think?

finished pendants

Some of the finished pendants - steampunk lady, robot, cuthulu, octopus, lady in a boat with an octopus, absinthe advertisment, and more

finished pendants

Another view of some of the finished pendants.

Most of the finished pendants, in two sizes. Other images are Lawren Harris prints, Klimpt prints, and more of the cool collage images in blues and greens.