Millinery class 2 & 3

Class #2

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

Alright, I have a BUNCH of scheduled posts lined up right now – so although I’m writing this first part on October 6 (and later parts of this post later in the month), it wont be posted for a while… BUT, I thought that I’d share some information about my second Millinery class.

Last Monday (that would be Monday October 3rd) we didn’t seem to DO much.  First off they moved the class to an entirely different building, and with LOUSY signage it took me about half an hour to FIND the classroom.  Since I’d given myself an extra half hour before class (to settle in, chat with others, unpack, etc) this meant that all the students who planned to be on time – also got lost, and were late. It basically meant that it seemed as though the class was shorter than it should have been.

While I was waiting, I flipped through some of the books that the instructor had.  She had one book I already own, and then a bunch that I’ve never even seen!

One of the millinery books the instructor owns. This one was all on how to make trims.

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

One of the millinery books the instructor owns.

Once we got started, we worked a bit more on our pillbox hats.  In the first class we measured and cut out our bands, and stitched them together… in this second class we used a blanket/buttonhole stitch to attach millinery wire to the top and bottom of the band, fit it to our heads, and then cut out our tips, and clip the curves.   I found that when I was attaching the wire that I just couldn’t keep the tension tight to apply the wire, so I ended up doing about four stitches, then a double stitch and did a quick knot on those threads.  This kept the tension nice and even, so the wire stayed in place.  At home we’ll need to attach single fold bias binding to the bottom edge (to soften the ridge of the wire as well as secure it), and then at our next class (which, because of Thanksgiving won’t be until October 17th) we’ll be adding the tips on apparently.

Sewing wire to the buckram edge with a blanket/buttonhole stitch. The untied end is secured with masking tape.

Needless to say, I’m feeling antsy and want to do MORE, so have already started thinking about how this one will be covered and decorated, as well as the two other pillbox hats that I am thinking of as well… hahaha

Our next hat will be another buckram form – though apparently it will be the wet method instead of the dry method – and will be a pillbox to start – and then we’ll add a brim.  I’m looking forward to it!

Luckily – we have a storage closet in our new classroom – so although it means going up half a flight, down half a flight, and then up another two flights of stairs… it also means that we can keep our headforms and buckram rolls at school.  Trying to carry everything is going to be hard enough with all of these stairs!

Between classes

Between class #2 and #3 we applied single fold bias tape to the edge, covering the wire.  This softens the edge so the wire wont show through as much with the fashion fabric.  Because this will be entirely covered with fabric, raw edges are fine, and the bias doesn’t have to be folded over at the beginning and end. I just used a long basting stitch to hold this on.

Class #3

Ok, so I’ve just come home from the third class, and we had another late start (waiting for someone who never came) which means we also ended up staying late.  I don’t mind so much, but it is a bit frustrating when there are other things to do. (Plus our instructor is flying off to Toronto for 10 days tomorrow morning, so I imagine she wasn’t any happier to be staying late!)

Pillbox hat

Today in class she showed us three different ways of adding the tip to our crown – one the way we’ll do on this version – where both ends of the crown are wired, and two more where the top edge is not wired and instead the tip is wired in a circle and the excess ‘tabs’ are tucked inside the crown rather than folded over the crown.  Adding the tip to the crown we’ll do at home, (we didn’t do any of it in class), buffering the edge where the tip and band meet with bias binding to soften the edges.

bias tape basted on to each edge of the pillbox band. The red is covering the wire on the bottom edge, and the white is softening the overlapped buckram from adding the tip. The stitch downwards marks the center front.

The instructor was trying to tell us what we could use for this edge, but couldn’t really come up with the right word. The best we could figure out was needlepunch batting, but that wasn’t really right either – and although I have some, it’s pretty bulky, and kind of inaccessible (with the never-ending home renovation….). She said that double fold bias tape would work as well for this treatment – basically just softening the line where the tip seam allowance goes over the band on the external part of the hat. Obviously with the other treatment methods where the seam allowance goes inside the hat, this wouldn’t be so important.  I probably should have ironed the bias tape before sewing it onto the buckram for though, but I was feeling lazy.

Covering the edge of the pillbox with extra-wide bias tape to soften the seam.

I found that stitching it on the band first, and then the tip was better than trying to go back and forth between the two along the circumference of the hat. Because the seam allowance was 1″ wide, it meant I had to trim off the seam allowance as I went along.

Press and seal - a great smooth finish, but turned out really difficult to get off.

Draped hat

Next up in class we blocked buckram on a wooden form.  I thought that we would be doing blocked pillbox hats, but we all used domed blocks instead (apart from one student who couldn’t find one in her size so she used a flat-topped one instead).  We started by covering them with saran wrap (except one woman who did a beautiful job with press and seal – though in the end it was very, very difficult to remove, so probably not the best option after all…) and then used very warm/hot water in a spray bottle to moisten our buckram, and stretch the fabric over the form.  We rolled elastic (woven) down as far as we could, and pulled and stretched the fabric to get rid of the pleats and what not.  Then we used a blow dryer to dry them (since we didn’t have time to let them dry naturally) and used a piece of spring steel boning to wiggle the buckram off the form.

As an aside – after the one classmate had a hard time with press n seal, I had thought better than to use it, but then later on I found this blog post from aMuse – and press n seal is one of the products she uses to protect her blocks… so maybe it’s worth a try after all?

I was fortunate to have a small wooden block under my headform to raise the form up off the table a little bit – this was really great because it meant I could pull the buckram down further – the instructor had a small stand for hers for the same effect – I think that when/if I ever have a block for myself, I’ll need to get a stand like this as well.

Stretching the buckram over the wooden form, held down with woven elastic.

At home we’ll be trimming the hat form to shape, and wiring the edge like we did with the pillbox.  I also want to try out the other two methods of adding the tip – though I think that I’ll use my regular buckram instead of the one with the sizing in it – just because I don’t really need the sizing for the other two methods, and I don’t want to waste the sized buckram that is so hard to find!

We have some time to work on these things though – our instructor is off next week as well, so we have another two-week period between now and the next class.

After class #3

Covering the wire with bias tape, basted on.

Draped hat

At home, I started on the draped hat first, trimmed off the excess buckram, and put the hat on.  I then pencilled in the cutting line, and trimmed off the excess.  I’m not entirely thrilled with the result – although the hat form should be my size, I don’t really think that it is -because the buckram feels slightly tight.  I still need to add on the brim and lining fabric as well, so ultimately this might not actually fit. 😦

Still, I wired the edge all the same, using the same technique as before – a blanket/buttonhole stitch, which I double-stitched and knotted about every fourth stitch to maintain the tension holding on the wire.  Like the pillbox hat, I covered the wired edge with single fold bias tape as well.

Pillbox hat

After  I was done with the draped hat I returned to the Pillbox hat. In class the instructor didn’t really talk much about how to add the fashion fabric, so I just did it similar to the same way I did the tip of the buckram form.  I traced the tip onto interfacing, ironed it onto my fashion fabric, cut it out adding a seam allowance, and then draped the fabric over the form and stitching it down to the band.  I didn’t put the fabric on the bias, but I did secure it with few stitches at the 12, 6, 3, 9’oclock positions first, before securing down the remaining fabric with a stab stitch.

Basting the crown fabric onto the pillbox hat.

Next I measured the band and added some additional seam allowance to the short ends, and an inch on either side of the long edges for folding.  This I interfaced edge to edge so that the edge of the fold would be crisper.  I pulled the fabric around the buckram and basted the back seam, then pulled it off and hand-stitched the back seam .  I pulled the band fabric back onto the buckram form, tucking the top edge in, and used a slip of card to ensure that the tip fabric was smooth under the band.

I then (really carefully!) slip stitched the band fabric to the tip fabric.  None of the stitches are visible, as it secures the two together.  If I had better access to my sewing machine (it’s hidden behind a box, a Xmas tree, a painting, a box of dog food, a pair of curtains….. have I mentioned our home renovation project?) I would have thought of sewing these on the machine, but – well, I didn’t.  I think ultimately that I’m glad I didn’t construct this on the machine – I think that this method made the finished product a lot smoother.

I also ended up pulling the fashion fabric up over the edge and into the inside of the hat, securing it mostly to the bias tape inside the hat, with a few very small stitches to the buckram.

Very carefully, with tiny little hidden stitches, sewing together the fashion fabric of the band and tip.

Then I construct the lining out of red and gold brocade.  I measured the same way, but I should have considered the size difference between the internal and external though, as I made the circumference a bit too big, and the depth of the crown is a bit too big too. I ended up stitching these together by hand as well, and didn’t interface them. I was surprised how easy it was to fit the two together by hand, though I don’t know if I’ll ever be a big fan of hand-sewing.

I had pressed the edge of the lining , so slip stitched the edge inside the hat to secure it.  The instructor didn’t tell us how to handle the lining, so I have the sneaking feeling I might have done this differently than she imagined, but the only other way that I could think of to handle the edge would be to finish it with bias binding, and I didn’t really want that look – I wanted a smooth clean finish on the outside.  The only part I don’t have figured out is the hat band inside the hat – so hopefully we’ll be going over that in the fourth class.

To trim, I want to use this big bold red flower that I picked up at Michael’s, and I also have some red French veil material. I took the flower apart so it could lay flat (rather than come off the stem), and then put it on a pin back.  I pinned it to the hat and didn’t like how much it stuck out, so I removed the pin back and hopefully will sew it on.  I’ve decided (unless I get ambitions and don’t….) to hold off on applying the flower to the hat, in case I’ve totally done the lining incorrectly and need to undo parts of it.  I’m also hoping that the instructor might be able to give me some direction for the veil material – I haven’t quite decided if I want to use it or not.

This has been a really long post so far – but if you’ve made it all the way to the end – what do you think?

Beaded Bracelets

The other day I had the house to myself for a blissful day, and decided that I wasn’t feeling like sewing, but instead I felt like crafting – beading!  I picked up these gorgeous Art Deco-inspired metal, rhinestone and enamel (?) beads/spacers/whatever from Michael’s Bead Gallery a while ago, with some idea brewing in my mind – and finally got the chance to put something together after grabbing some elastic thread.

Starting with the beads....

The first bracelet is a double strand of jet black glass beads with a single silver-toned spacer with clear rhinestones and jet black glass cabochons. I thought that I had taken a photo – but apparently not….

The second is just the silver-toned spacers with the jet black glass beads between them.

Pretty spacers

The third is a gold-tone Art Deco-inspired metal and rhinestone slider, also with the jet black glass beads.

Even more elaborate spacers

I put off getting the elastic thread for a while – hoping to find clasps that would work instead – but no luck on that front.  I don’t really like most clasps for bracelets – they make them hard to put on.  Yet, I really don’t like elastic thread either – first off it doesn’t look very classy/professional, and secondly after seeing how the clear elastics that I use for dreadfalls tend to disintegrate after a while, I don’t have a lot of faith in the thread maintaining it’s stretch and resilience over time either… the idea of re-stringing a bracelet isn’t a huge deal… but the idea of a bracelet breaking when I’m out and about – spilling my beads all over the place doesn’t appeal to me either. Still, they certainly are a LOT easier to put on and take off with the elastic string instead of a fiddly clasp.

Has anyone used this thread for a while – how has it stood up to the test of time for you? Please let me know in the comments below!

Millinery wish-list

I’ve made these lists before, and here’s another one – though this one is specific to millinery!

I was making this list, remaking this list, and remaking it again… and thus far I’m organizing it by era represented… in a round-about way at least.  I imagine that this list might become a ‘work-in-progress’ even after I publish it, because I can imagine myself having more and more ideas as time goes by.

Georgian hats

Screenshot from The Brotherhood of the Wolf from the Costumer's Guide.

Tricorn hat

I made a few mini-tricorn facinator hats, but I would like to make a full-sized version as well.  I can’t quite figure if I want something highly decorated (like with a giant bird or a sailboat) or if I want to keep it fairly simple – just black with some trim or something.  I also can’t quite figure if I want it in wool (once we’re there with the class that is) or if I want one in fabric to go with a different outfit or something…

Obviously, this part of the wish list is not particularly well thought out yet. For the time being my reference photo is from a movie called The Brotherhood of the Wolf (which I’ve never actually seen as far as I know…)  which is a wool felt (I imagine) tricorn with red fringe-like trim on the brim edge and three metal decorations just on the left hand side.  (There’s another screenshot showing both sides, and it’s only on the left.)

Status  – Early November – blocked buckram crown

Mini Tricorn

Although I’ve made the mini tricorn hats already, I still have them in mind – likely due to just finishing watching Marie Antoinette!  Like the ones in the movie I’m thinking candy colours, lots of trim…

Screenshot from Marie Antoinette

In the movie, the majority of the ones I saw are domed tops, with a few flat tops that I noticed as well.  Since I’m unlikely to find a block the right size for a domed top mini tricorn, a flat top one will likely have to do!  In terms of size itself, I was reading an article about mini hats, suggesting that 3/4 size is perhaps more flattering and interesting than the “doll” size that is common with the minis.  This means that 18″ crown would be ideal… which I might actually find in a domed block… We’ll have to see!

My reference photo is from Marie Antoinette – from the Costumer`s Guide website.   This hone has trim on the underside of the brim, and a rosette made out of loops of the same trim on the left side.  There`s also a golden braid on the crown band, with a small gold pin in the shape of a star in the centre front. There`s also a grey ostrich feather in the center back – which isn`t as visible in this screenshot, but is in the side shot.

Screenshot from Marie Antoinette

In this side shot, (also from The Costumer`s Guide) shows the ostrich feather a bit better, and more importantly, it shows the size, and proportion of the hat – along with how it`s worn, perched very far forward on the  head, with the lovely curls behind.   The hat from the Bright Pink Gown  from Marie Antoinette also seems to be a flat-top small tricorn as well.

Status – early November, blocked buckram crown, covered crown and crown lining, cut out brim.  Mid-November, completed hats, waiting for further embellishment.

Dinner plate

Promo Still from Marie Antoinette

Such a funny name, I know… but every time I look at this style of hat, all I can think of is a dinner plate!  The best guess I have for the real name is a porkpie, but I don`t think that`s really right either…

Once again I`m referencing Marie Antoinette – this shot from the Costumer`s Guide  as well.   In this shot the title character, as well as the woman in the background left are both wearing the style I have in mind. I think the one on the right is a bit different, but the basic idea is the same: a small hat worn very forward on the head, with a small flat-top crown with a very short band and a moderate brim.

Promo still from Marie Antoinette

Another shot from Marie Antoinette has more of these hats – though Marie Antoinette`s has a much taller brim – the one in the background (pink) is more like what I have in mind I think.

The Ball-Jointed Doll magazine online also has a tutorial for a ‘dinner plate’ style of hat, that they call a Marie Antoinette hat.  It is, of course, made of card and glue, but I found the tutorial really charming nonetheless! (And, btw… I found the article via a search for hats… not a search for doll things..hehe)

Mostly I want to make the hat for the `ship`hat below…
Status – Early November – Crown band and tip cut out of buckram and assembled.  Still need to cover, cut out brim, etc.  Mid-November, crown is mostly covered.  Kind of stagnating on this one.

Marie Antoinette ‘ship’ hat

Hat by Topsy Turvy designs

I have seen a few hats out there that have obviously been inspired by Marie Antoinette’s “ship” hat – Topsy turvy is one of them, and this one is based on the aforementioned `dinner plate`hat.

From the (terribly little) research I did – the woman who wore the `ship`was actually a contemporary of Marie Antoinette – not actually M.A. herself – but she was known for putting all sorts of crazy things in her wigs, so it`s not completely out of the realm of possibilities…

Hat from Paris Atelier's blog post about Modern Marie

Hey Sailor  also does some `ship`hats.  Hers are small tricorns as far as I can see, though I can’t see much detail in the fashion shots.There’s a fairly fabulous costume up on craftster worth a look too…  There actually seem to be a number of interpretations of this idea, which makes my interest kind of wane a little bit – although it certainly means there are probably more resources available!

Screenshot from the Sofia Coppola movie Marie Antoinette

From the Marie Antoinette movie, there’s a scene where she basically has the ship just perched into her wig – but I think I really want it to be on a hat instead… The movie had a LOT of mini-tricorn hats, tricorn hats, and ‘dinner-plate’ (porkpie?) hats.

Beautiful "ghost ship" facinator hat from Professor Maelstromme's Steam Lab

I’ve already picked up the lightweight clay to make the hull of the ship though, and I’m thinking of white silk for the sails.  I just need to think a little more about the masts and other elements.  I’m still kind of half-hoping to find something in a toy or model store (that isn’t hundreds of dollars like the models I’ve already seen!) to help me avoid the bulk of the work….

Status – Nothing so far

Regency-inspired hats

The Regency era was a very short period of time after the Georgian period but before  the Victorian era.  From Beau Brummel .com the Regency period  came “after the Georgian time of powdered wigs and gaudy satins, but before the Victorian  time of dull, straitlaced staidness. Some say that when Victoria took the throne, she was fed up with the loose  morals and hedonistic behavior which had characterized the Regency. The Regency Era, generally c1790-1820, was  indeed a time of undiluted pleasure-seeking and over-indulgence.”  In 1811  King George III (the “mad” king) was deemed unfit to rule England and his son ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent until 1820.

Straw bonnet

Straw bonnets existed in both the Regency and Victorian eras, however I was reading a website that suggested that the Regency ones were a little smaller and more restrained.  I have yet to do the research to back this up… but it felt appropriate to put this hat style in here all the same…

Bonnet from Lily of the Valley designs - gorgeous!

I first thought about making this style because of one of mum’s doll books – there’s a pattern for one in one of the books, and of all the other hats, it somehow appealed to me.  I also love the Elegant Gothic Lolita/etc fashions using the bonnets (albeit often in velvet rather than straw) and I then found a little tutorial on the Lily of the Valley blog (a Mori (forest) – girl/EGL/etc designer) for a straw Spoon Bonnet.

This bonnet has basically a pillbox frame for the crown, and then a shaped straw brim, which is possibly the nicest version of this that I’ve seen.  This was obviously a LOT more work than just taking a straw hat and cutting it apart and gluing on some trim, and I really respect the work she’s put into it.

Bonnet from the EGL hat competition.

In her post, she also refers to the contest she entered this hat into, and that led me to this hat from the EGL LiveJournal group.  I don’t love the colours, but I love the method of trimming this hat – both inside and outside of the brim.  I would really like to do something similar to this with a bonnet (although I really do prefer it lined with the white lace rather than the self-fabric.

Stovepipe bonnet from the Oregon Regency Society

I also really like the stovepipe bonnets shown on the Oregon Regency Society page – there are some beautiful versions – though I think that the stovepipe might be a bit TOO tall for me – a bit too costume for my liking.  (Not that I have ANY problem with costume… but I’m thinking I want something a bit more wearable…)

So.. really the biggest question here is if I want it to be a straw hat… or if I want it to be a buckram hat, covered in fabric.   Since we do have a straw portion of our class coming up, and I don’t really have any other ideas for straws, it might be really nice to try this in straw….

There is also the soft-poke bonnet, where the crown is replaced/covered with a puffy pillow of poofy fabric – but I’m not as attracted to this style right now….

Status – nothing so far

Victorian style hats

Of course, with my desire for more things Steampunk, and my love of Victorian and Neo-Victorian fashion.. I can’t ignore Victorian-influenced hats in my wish list!

Mini Victorian Riding Hat

Victorian mini riding hat from Ms. Purdy's

Along with the mini (almost 3/4) Tricorn, I think that the same form would make for a really nice mini riding hat as well.  Basically I think it will take on a Derby shape, but I foresee it being highly embellished.  I found a photo of something similar to what I have in mind on the Ms Purdy hat site, in green.  However, the photo isn’t really good for showing how the hat is constructed, so there’s also this brown version worth taking a look at just to see how the actual hat looks beneath all of the decoration.

Brown version from Ms Purdy's. Click for larger version

Status – buckram blocked

Curved riding top hat

Another style I’m interested in is a top hat with a very high “curve”.  I’ve seen this style repeatedly from one of the milliners I follow, and an example can be seen here.  That being said, I am not putting this style at the top of my list at all.

Edwardian Hat

Screenshot from the movie Titanic

Portrait/cartweel brimmed hat

Basically a hat with a huge brim.  The instructor said that everyone will probably want to do something with a large brim, so she’s ready for us… haha.  She mentioned that these large brims often require a wire framework as well – that often just buckram can’t support the weight/shape of a wide brim.  Unfortunately, we haven’t gotten there yet to get more information about how wide is ‘wide’ and how to create that wire framework.

I’m thinking of something along the lines of the hat Rose wore while boarding the Titanic (erm.. in the movie…) or photos I’ve seen of Audrey Hepburn from My Fair Lady (as Eliza Doolittle). (Another movie I’ve never seen…)

I’m also thinking of this with a very ‘poofy’ crown as well, though I haven’t really seen much that speaks to me yet as an example.
Status: Mid November –  I’ve made the base of the crown, and have wired the brim so far.

1920’s hat


Angelina Jolie in a cute cloche

One of the hats we’ll be making in class (remember, this is a scheduled post!) is a cloche, presumably in felt.  I wasn’t too thrilled about making a cloche, since again, I don’t know if it will be something that’s flattering to my face.  To the left is a shot of Angelina Jolie from the movie The Changeling. The shot is from the Beauty Cent website.   I don’t know if I have ever actually worn a cloche – they seem very fitted, and it’s possible that any I’ve ever tried have been too small…

So, when our instructor said that we would be doing a cloche, I was somewhat uninspired – but that was until I wandered onto the BJD Magazine blog.  (Ball Jointed Doll)  I don’t even remember how I found myself on the website, but there was a tutorial for a cloche for dolls – but really it’s the shape that I love, and the embellishment!  I am not entirely sure how I can translate some of these embellishments to human-size, but I’m a lot more inspired now!  I love the oversized look of the cloche too – much less form-fitting – and thus I like the shape a lot better.

Ball-Jointed Doll in a cloche

Another cloche example

Even the traditional cloche shapes, embellished in the same way, I really like!  I think the really large flow-y bell would also be much more flattering than the typical head-hugging style.

There are also a few examples of nice cloches on the Victorian Trading company website.

Status – haven’t started in any way yet.

Glamourous 1940s asymmetrical hat
Vogue photo from The Fedora Lounge

Years ago Vogue patterns came out with patterns for 1940’s style hats, and I loved them.  Unfortunately, without access (at that time) to real wool felt, nor the skill to steam and shape them – I pretty much gave up on the idea.  Hopefully throughout the class though I’ll be able to create something in this vein… really though at this point I have no ideas.

Status: nothing so far

1950’s Pillbox hats

I’m not actually a huge fan of pillbox hats, but since this is the first style we’ve explored in class, I’ve begun thinking of ways to adapt the style that would work for me. I’ve also thought about how the basic construction could be adapted for different styles.

Pillbox Facinator
mini pillbox from Kaboodle

I think it would be interesting to make a mini-pillbox facinator like this one.  I really like the buttons/buttonholes on this one too!

Another cool style is from Topsy Turvy Designs.

This Next also has a mini pillbox, but it’s been titled incorrectly.

Status: I have a pre-made hat form that I might use for this instead of making my own, though I haven’t gone much further.

Shaped Pillbox

It might not be really a pillbox when I’m done with it – but the basic construction is what I have in mind rather than the shape.

I can’t find any photos of what I have in mind yet, but it’s more of a facinator than a hat (it will need a clip or a comb to stay in place I think) but I have something in my head and the best description I can think of is “shaped pillbox”… for now.

Status: Mid-November… DONE! whoohoo!  I’ll have posts soon!

Modern interpretations

Feminine Top Hat

Bridal top hat from Suite 101

Another style that interests me is doing a modern, feminine interpretation of the classic top hat.  I have a few mini-top hat facinators (one I made, two I bought) but all are black.  Black is very wearable of course, but I keep thinking that something more colourful might be interesting as well.  I also have one (possibly vintage – I purchased it in a vintage clothing shop) men’s top hat. (Also in classic black.)  However, while going through the web, I found this photo to the left of a white top hat with netting/veiling, lots of flowers, and an asymmetrically shaped brim.  Lovely!

While I don’t think I want anything so bridal…I really do love the shape, the size, the adornments… everything except the colour! I can really see this in a wine or burgundy… maybe even a navy blue…

From the Victorian Trading company;

Status: nothing so far

Elegant Gothic Lolita mini-crown

MIni Crowns from the Enfant de Peche blog.

It’s been on my wish list for a while, but I’d also really like to make a mini-crown.  I don’t know who made these ones, but I found them on the Enfant de Peche blog. I don’t know if I can really even count these as hats… but let’s just roll with it anyways!

I love these ones in leather, and I saw one on Style Hive with fur trim at the bottom that I liked as well (the fur trim, not necessarily the whole crown).

Funny enough, I saw some REALLY similar as Xmas ornaments not too long ago.. (But I didn’t get them, because they were made really cheaply, and were a bit too small.)

Status: nothing so far

British eras

Georgian era c.1714-1830
Regency era c.1811-1820
Victorian era c.1837-1901
Edwardian era c.1901-1910
WW I 1914-1918
Interwar period 1918-1939
World War II 1939-1945

Yep… sometimes the eras overlap…

Steampunk: Sources for gears

Gears (or cogs) are a pretty iconic element of Steampunk crafting, but finding gears is a bit hard.  There are the Tim Holtz sprocket gears (I think that Michael’s sells them for about $7 for a set of 12) and you can order sets from eBay or Etsy too. Apparently you can find them from hardware stores – but I haven’t ever seen them in any of my local hardware stores.

So, I was really excited to hit one of the Halloween costume/party stores that pop up seasonally and finding a “bag of gears” from Forum Novelties in the Steampunk costume section.

the 'bag of gears'

The ‘Steampunk costume section’ was less than half a shelf, and included some cheaply made spats, aviator hat, some plastic rings and a few other inexpensive things, but I picked up a hat (a little back sinamay facinator) and the bag of gears.  I really like the wide variety of gears in the bag – lots of sizes and materials. This was about $4.

Close up of the gears

The next source I wanted to share is again from Michael’s – there are 90 pieces in this package – a few different designs in a few different colours.

gears from Michael's Bead Landing line

Although right now I’m not working on any gear-needing projects, I ended up picking up 4 packages of these – just because they were on 40% + 25% off, and I figure that it’s better to have too many than too few if I start in on a project.

Steampunk: Simplicity 2172

The other day (ok, a while ago actually,before Hallowe’en, this is a scheduled post!) I was in Fabricland and one of the garments on display was made from Simplicity 2172.  I have seen this pattern reviewed elsewhere, and while there are aspects of it that are neat, it’s never called out to me to purchase it.  Still, I was excited to see that someone had made it up, and thought I’d share some quick iPhone snapshots with you.

Brown jacket with purple bustier, brown and black striped skirt.

The garment is a brown underbust cut coat, with a brown skirt, and a purple bustier.  The maker also did a set of goggles, and a bunch of accessories to style the outfit.  Very ambitious!

Shot of the pattern, with the pocket trim for the coat.

Simplicity doesn’t have linkable photos, so here’s a photograph instead.  Sorry for the iPhone quality!

The 'coat' bodice front with fantastic 'gear' 'buttons. The coat is brown, the bustier under it is the bright blue -it's really more of a purple.

The feature that really caught my eye were the ‘buttons’ though on the coat. When I looked at them I thought that they were a slotted button with a brass-toned ring around the outside.  I knew they looked familiar, but I just couldn’t place them.  I started by looking at the buttons, but nothing looked correct.  Then I went back to the garment and looked again, and realized that the centers weren’t buttons, but extra large snaps.  I looked at the snaps – still no luck.  None of them were big enough, and they were all silver-tone or black.  When I worked at Fabricland years and years ago, we were supposed to use as much of their stock as possible for our display projects – so I wondered about these ‘buttons’ – and then finally while looking at the cloak clasps – I saw them!

Extra-large snaps - two shown with the internal (male and female) pieces, and one snapped to the card.

I was really impressed with this sewer’s creativity!  These really do look like cogs, and make big, impressive ‘buttons’.  Of course, there is no shank on them, so there’s likely snaps or something behind the fake buttons – but still really creative!

I bought some for the stash of ideas and parts.  If you have seen similar ideas (normal items seen in unique ways for Steampunk goodness), share them in the comments below!