Saturday, 21 February 2015

Steampunk Costume

Have I mentioned that I love making costumes?  I love making costumes!  In fact I love making costumes so much that,  I volunteered to make all the costumes for a school dance production last year.  Even after designing and making: eleven costumes three headpieces, five cardboard horse heads and a pair of wings (phew) I still love making costumes.
Once I had finished the very scary Broken Doll Halloween costume for Miss Loofie I still had a whole heap of ideas for more costumes. So what’s a gal to do but make more costumes?   

My first idea was a Steampunk outfit, I love the mixture of Victorian fashion and 19th century steam powered industrial design.  I also love a challenge.   

My starting point was some wonderful embroidery designs by Urban Threads and I really tried hard to make the embroidery the feature of the outfit.   All the embroidery designs are from Urban Threads I used designs from three different design packs plus one single design.
Next I needed to find a base pattern to use as a starting point. I would really like to develop some more pattern making skills but for the time being it is the frankenpattern (I love that term) technique for me. the patterns I used were:
 I want to break down the elements of this costume because together they can look daunting, but separately it might seem more manageable. 

The Top 

I altered the back of the pattern to have a princess seam and I decided against using a zip as per the pattern and went with a lace up back. 

I think you will have to agree that the real star of the show here is the embroidery; I used some of the gears from the Basic Gear design pack by Urban Threads and by combining, resizing and rotating the individual designs in my embroidery software I was able to achieve the effect I wanted. Once the top was finished I set the eyelets in the centre of come of the gears- I think this is my favourite element of the whole costume.

I didn't need to make as many alterations to the front of the top, I didn't bother with the belt and I altered the princess seams a little for a better fit. I used more embroidery designs by Urban Threads,
I have to say I love the detail in these designs

I mean look at that Steampunk butterfly, isn't it just beautiful?  I added some beading to the embroidery, which was a first for me, I also added some cogs gears to it, just because I could!  the bottom part of the top is covered in more embroidery: when your inspiration is Victorian era fashion more is more! I wish that I had found a way to the pointed area of the top lay flat against the body; unfortunately it kept riding and flipping up.

The Bolero

I used the pattern as is for the bolero, except that I added a tab with buttonholes to give it a bit of a military vibe.  I really love the colour of the fabric I used for both the bolero, it is almost TARDIS blue; I only wish that I bought more, but isn't that always the way? Miss Loofie Loved the chain and monocle on the bolero.

Once again I used the super awesome designs by Urban Threads. I added beading, cogs and gears to this design; I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the beading, it was relaxing and mindless enough to watch a film or TV at the same time. 
The wings are actually "free standing lace" made on my embroidery machine- if you need proof that machine embroidery is magic there it is!  I starched the wings to make them more stable, Used eyelets and ribbon to attach the wings to the bolero.

Skirt and Bustle

The skirt was a true frankenpattern, I cobbled together the bits from the top and the skirt and overskirt of McCall's 7036. I also made a bustle pad (think a cushion for your backside) to support the skirt and give a bustle era silhouette. Unfortunately we have a slight wardrobe malfunction after climbing on pipes and jumping around and one the ties holing the pad together broke so some of the later photos are er pad-less. 
I gave my ruffler attachment a workout making metres of pleated trim for both the bustle drapes and the skirt.

I did plan on an embroidered border all around the bottom of the skirt, but I gave up after the forth attempt; it should be noted that this is exactly the moment I started dreaming of either a multi needle embroidery machine or at least an embroidery machine with a larger hoop!

The Hat  


I love the hat! I have made a few hats but this was so much fun and actually a lot easier than it looks.  The hat is made from a buckram base with fleece and fabric glued on top, I reinforced the brim with some millinery wire. I used a big clip to attach it to Miss Loofie's head.

Taking the Victorian ear for inspiration I piled on the embellishments: a cameo,  ribbons, feathers and a birdcage veil (no idea if they had birdcage netting back then, but I love the way it looks!) 

Hats would have to be one of my favourite items to make, you take flat pieces of buckram and fabric and with a little hand sewing, a lot of glue and a bit of witchcraft you get a hat (well maybe the witchcraft isn't totally necessary.)  Oh and for the record I didn't torment my poor daughter with curling irons, or heater curlers or anything, I am afraid the beaut   

Some times is is hard to know just were to take photos of my creations, but in this case I knew exactly where to shoot this costume: Mundaring Weir. for those who are not from Perth;  Mundaring Weir is a dam in the Darling ranges that supplies water to the gold fields in Kalgoorlie and Coolgardie, it was completed in 1903. This was the perfect location for this costume.  

Miss Loofie had a great time modelling the costume (I might add that she also enjoyed her bribe )
I am really happy with the costume as a whole and I am looking forward to trying something new.

Thanks for reading   

P.S.  Miss Loofie says that she wants to be Emily from Corpse Bride for book week this year;  now that should be an interesting costume to make.

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