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…

2 comments on “Steampunk – Garments (to make)

  1. […] in thinking of all the different individual garments I would like to make  for a mini-steampunk wardrobe, it struck me that it might be a good idea to outline what I already […]

  2. I happened upon your post on google and check out a few of your early articles. Continue with the very good posts. Ill probably be by again to read more, thanks for the info!.

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