Millinery: Black felt Tricorn

Screenshot from The Brotherhood of the Wolf from the Costumer’s Guide. My inspiration photo for a full-size tricorn.

In the first millinery (hat making) class that I took, I totally fell in love with felts, and really wanted to make a full-size tricorn hat.  I already have two mini versions, and in the process of taking the class also made two 3/4 size versions (red spiderweb and teal).  When I got my hands on a lovely black felt hood, I knew that it was destined to be a lovely black wool felt tricorn.  (Especially since I had already designated the red felt hood for a lovely top hat, and already own a black top hat…)

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Cut! – Pirates – Jack

 Ok, the first costume that I’ll show off from the Cut! exhibit is from Pirates of the Caribbean – Jack Sparrow’s costume.  This costume includes a white shirt, blue vest, grey coat, tricorn hat, pants, boots, two belts, sword, holder and scarf.  I was kind of disappointed that they didn’t have any of the women’s costumes – though I suppose that Johnny Depp is a bigger draw than Keira Knightly any day.

I looked around, and didn’t find a lot of good, clear, full-body screen caps/promotional photos showing this costume, but the description ( you can click the image for a larger version) says that this costume was “based on Restoration fashion, as shown in the deep cuffs of the long frock coat and the deep cuffs of the boots.  Other indications of the period are the long sleeveless vest and the multiple oversized button holes.  The fabrics of the coat, shirt, and breeches are rough and distressed emphasizing the life of a pirate.”  The movie is “set in the 18th century” according to the poster.

Here is a full-length shot of the costume – with the interesting (relevant, but not distracting) background.  I really appreciated the backgrounds in this exhibit – they tied areas together nicely, but didn’t attempt to be the focal point – you could almost forget about them entirely which I liked – plus it makes a nicer shot than a plain white background.  LOL

There was a fair amount of distressing work done on the garments, which was interesting to see.  I don’t know how much of this really translates on screen, but perhaps it has as much to do with what the audience sees as how the actor feels?  Plus there are always those purists who freeze-frame every thing and look for details…. In this shot I can see that one of the button holes looks like it’s ripped out and been mended back.  I also found the two belts kind of interesting – and wanted a shot of the various textures of leather in the belt and diagonal sword belt.

Oddly enough, the belt carrier on the black belt has holes on it – as though it were made from a narrow black belt….?

More distressing on the brown leather belt, and more wear on the button holes (at the very bottom).  As with all of the pictures, to get a larger view, just click…

You can also see that only part of the buttonhole for the vest was actually cut open.  The stitching is long, but the hole itself is sized appropriately to fit the button itself.

More distressing on the jacket.

It also appears that none of the holes for the jacket’s buttons were ever cut.  I find this kind of interesting.  Obviously the exaggerated ‘button holes’ are purely decorative, but I find it interesting that even just the functionality is decorative as well.

Likewise, it appears that the buttonholes on the vest, near the top (where they would not be closed) are also uncut, and thus also just purely decorative.  (The buttonhole at the very top does not look like it was cut open.)

Onto the cuff… it looks like it has some structure (interfacing) behind it, making it a bit more substantial, compared to the fabric of the body of the jacket itself.  The white shirt peeks out here – as well as at the neckline, but that’s about it.  I do find it a bit curious that the cuff buttons appear to be larger in this photo than the jacket front buttons – but obviously that’s just a trick of the camera – in the next photo this is remedied.

  Another shot of the complete outfit (from the pants up… since the pants and boots were pretty boring to me..)  I looked a bit at other men’s Restoration fashion, and most show breeches to the knee worn with stockings – obviously that would be covered by the tall boots here, so i wonder if these are full (ankle-length) pants, or if they also stop just below the knee?

Most of the other illustrations of historical fashion are a bit more ‘fabulous’, and show more trim, fancier fabrics, and cutaways for either the vest or the jacket (both of the ones in this costume fall fairly straight).

This photo also shows the fringed scarf a bit more clearly – a black, gold and red scarf fringed on all four sides.

I wish that there had been a better display of the tricorn hat though… I don’t remember it being especially notable from the movies – but I know that there are people out there who have tried to recreate it for their own costumes, and it would have been nice to have a clearer view of it.

I for one, won’t ever be recreating this costume for anything… I am, however, tagging this with “airship pirate” as well, in case the pirate references help one of these days with a Steampunk pirate-influenced costume….

If anyone else is making a Jack Sparrow recreation costume though – please let me know in the posts below if my photos have helped you with your costume research!

Steampunk accessories – raygun

So while thinking about raygun holsters, I really started wondering if the Nerf Maverick was really the best base to start with – if my persona was to even carry a gun at all…

Nite Finder - from the Toys R Us website

I took a look at the Toys R Us website just to start out, and there are a few different types of toy guns to start off with, and so I looked at the Nerf Sonic Nite Finder instead.  I haven’t seen it yet in person, but I like the idea of it having a light on it just for starters.  I’ll definitely have to take a look at it in person though, before knowing if it would actually work for what I could develop.

Sonic Reducer's Nite Finder

Since there were a lot of examples of what different folks have done with the Maverick, I thought that I would do a search and see if there were examples of what folks have done with the Nite Finder too.

To start out, here’s a simple paint job from a Deviant Artist called Sonic Reducer.  By looking at this, I would guess that he or she has removed parts of the toy – I imagine this would make it not usable to actually shoot the suction cup dart things, but it certainly makes it a sleeker, more simple-looking prop.  I kind of like the idea of keeping it functional though.

Idea Can paint job on a Nite Finder

Still though, the Sonic Reducer’s example is just a simple paint job – There’s a slightly more detailed version from a website called the idea can. Still though, looking at the original, it looks like it’s just a paint job, which after seeing some of the modifications on the Mavericks, starts to seem a little less impressive.  (Haha… kind of like the first gun I tried, which was just painted two-tone…)

On WalYou there is another mod – which again just seems to be a two-tone + grunge paint job and the glue-a-gear format that I’m not especially fond of.  That being said, I do like the use of colour, and it makes me think of using an absinthe green along with copper perhaps… hmmm maybe that might be interesting – especially using some of the resin features that I read about in one of the books I’ll be reviewing (soon! Promise!)

To avoid so much of the glue-a-gear format, I really do like these home-made gauges from The Steampunk Empire though – again, perhaps topping them off with absinthe green “glass” instead of clear? Hmmm I think I’m on a roll now….

Finally, more inspiration from Nerf Mods & Reviews – a bunch of different Nerf guns that have been modified – some with just paint jobs, some with more detail.  I really like the wood molding (I presume) on one of them, the cameo, the brass findings/etc… on some.  There are two modifications of the Nite Finder mixed in with Maverick mods as well (for instance: “Jules”)

I’m starting to feel as though too many of my posts are ‘inspiration’ posts though, rather than things I’m actually doing.  Blah this lack of crafty-time.  Also.. blah my lack of actually getting to Toys R Us to actually see what toy guns are out there and available!  Since the summer is now well gone, I have the sneaking suspicion that the inventory of toy guns (which seem to me at least to be a summertime thing – but I am hopefully wrong!) might be reduced.

So – what brands/names of toy guns are out there that you’ve seen modified well for Steampunk?  Let me know in the comments below!

Steampunk supportive skirts

I’ve seen this style a few places – no where historical yet (mind you, I haven’t looked there either), it seems like an interesting style, easy to accomplish, and gives some degree of decoration while still being somewhat transformative… (which I really like, because although I rarely ever transform things, I do love clothing that can do double-duty).

So first – the inspiration:

These first two are from a user on named GraveRobberGirl.

GraveRobberGirl's skirts

For the top – a brown semi-sheer striped skirt with golden grosgrain ribbon ‘supports’.  She has used sliders and suspender clips along with the ribbon to create the supports/suspenders/braces.

For the bottom photo, the first photo shows the tan pinstriped skirt with the brown (or black) straps, adn the second photo shows it with the straps tucked in, and not visible (for a more historical vs. steampunk fantasy look).  The second photo also shows more clearly how the pattern is designed – the front part of the apron-skirt is not just a long skirt that gets gathered up by the straps – instead it’s a semi-circle, (perhaps with the edges cut off to form the side seams) gathered on the curve to the waist (which looks like an elastic waist) to get those deep cowls.  I’m speculating that the skirt – since it’s made to be like an apron and worn over another garment (either tights, leggings, pants, or another skirt) – is open at the sides – which isn’t an issue since there is so much fabric anyways.  With this – the back part of the skirt would be one long panel – a rectangle with curved edges at the hem, then gathered up into the bustle-poofs.  It appears that the first tier goes from waist to poof and returns to the waist, while the second tier is longer but does the same, and the longest edge (the ‘tail’) also emerges from the waist.  To me this would create a lot of additional bulk at the back waist – since it’s also gathered with an elastic waistband by the looks of things.

I like this LOOK a lot – but I think that I would create the front in the same way, but do the back as a two-part back, so that the front side seams could match up with the back (longest panel) and then drape the bustle so it emerged only once from the waistband and then draped onto the ‘tail’ portion of the skirt.  This would result in only two layers of fabric at the back waist, rather than 5.  (And then doubled in all cases for the fold-over for the waist casing.)

Of course, this is just speculation – I don’t really know how she constructed these without seeing them in person… but – hurrah for people who post lots of good photos of things!

Lip Service skirt available through secret oktober

The overall look-and-feel isn’t too dissimilar  from Lip Service’s Newsprint skirt (above) or the “steampunk sally” Hallowe’en costume I saw at Dressew while in Vancouver (below), although they both have a more structured ‘suspender’ format – but also less transformable.  I saw the Newsprint skirt up at Sanctuary in Edmonton as well, and it has awesome little touches on it as well – that really can’t be seen in this tiny photo.  BUT… it’s also Lip Service – which doesn’t even begin to fit me in most cases.  It’s also not dissimilar to the goth skirts with all the straps that are out there (I think we used to call them ‘bondage skirts’).

Steampunk Sally available from Drac's Place halloween costumes

Also similar in theory is the clipped skirt idea -though it seems a bit more goth to me than steampunk/neovictorian.

clipped skirt from StyleHive

I quite like the look of the more structured supports though – almost something belt-like.  I think it would be really interesting as well as a separate garment – something that could move from one skirt to another perhaps – kind of like a garter belt, for skirts instead of stockings.  Of course, then we’re back to the additional bulk at the waist…   Hmmm I’m thinking of something with a lace-up (corset-like) front or back, with a big obvious buckle on the opposite side – suspenders hanging down just the front I think, though similar shaping in the back.  I don’t think I would want suspenders at the back – pain to sit on with the clips, and what’s the point if not the clips?

More on the Lip Service skirt – I took a few photos to share:

Lip Service skirt

Plus here’s a close up photo of the details.

Close up of the cog shaped rivets

Sorry that these are iPhone photos.

When I was fabric shopping later, I saw this fabric at Quilter’s Dream (I’ve also found it locally) that I thought would be a good reproduction if I was interested – which I was to start, but then decided against it.

Newspaper print fabric

So, just some ideas. Right now I seem to be more on a crafting bend (despite still living in reno-hell, or perhaps because of it…) rather than a sewing one though – so it might take me a while to actually try any of these ideas out!

Steampunk Costume inspiration: ‘paper’ dolls

Even as a child I never really played with paper dolls – I had lots of real dolls with lots of clothes for them, and I would make up my own little clothes for them as well (with varying levels of taste). However, the other day I was wandering on the internet and found a digital paper doll website – and there were a number of Steampunk dolls too!  I was excited to see how different things might work together, and so made up a few of the different dolls.

The first doll, just playing around

I started just playing around to see what the game would do – this game is called Victorian Butterfly, and it’s rather cute!

The second doll, when I started thinking about using it as an inspiration tool

Next up I actually thought about plugging in something I would actually make. Oddly enough, it’s not too far off from the first one! I tried different variations (with pants and other things) and still kept coming back to this kind of look.  I thought that the skirt (without the apron-thing) would be more flattering, though the leg-o-mutton sleeves aren’t really my thing.

The third doll - less transformable, but neat ideas

Then there was another game, called Clockwork Couture (isn’t there a clothing name called that?). (p.s. yeppers there is!)  You can also play this on Deviant Art if you’re so inclined – I had hoped that maybe there would be more items, but nope.  If you don’t want to play, just go for the game’s music… I had it playing on my computer for an hour or so, even though it’s on a loop.

The graphics are probably the best thing about this game – the selection of clothing is small compared to the other two, and you can’t change the colours – but they are so beautifully drawn!  My only challenge, is that although the individual pieces are great (both Steampunk and fashionable, without being overly costume-y), I found it  hard to find things that really went together well from my perspective.  Another cool thing though is how well-transformed the clothing is by some interesting accessories. An interesting dress goes from a party dress with the addition of stockings, boots, belts, bracers, a jacket, or a hat – to a cool Steampunk look.

BTW, the same artist has an awesome pirate one too, called Polkadot Pirate.  Hmmm it makes me wonder about an airship pirate look…



The fourth doll with beautiful artwork.

The third game is called Steampunk Costume Creator – which has nice artwork (not as amazing as the previous game, but certainly beautiful!)  The best part is that there are a LOT of different fashion items, so there is a wide variety of looks.  It’s all colour-coordinated too, since it’s all in shades of brown, taupe, white, and black (with the exception of one pair of red-pink stockings).  You can adjust the item though with the Dark, Medium, Light selector.  The only problem that I have with it, is that you HAVE to use a corset, and it ALWAYS goes over top of the shirt.  Unfortunately this  means that a lot of the super-cute vests and shirts aren’t really workable, since they are always working with the corset.  That being said, there are some super-cute pieces, and some great accessories.

Four alternate looks

Have you found any other digital ‘paper’ dolls that embrace the steampunk aesthetic?  Let me know in the comments below!