I’ve been hard at work on this one, largely because I’m going to FaerieWorlds at the end of January.  I’ve been wanting to go for a while now, but the deciding factor was when they announced that my favorite band, Abney Park, was going to be playing the Bad Faeries Ball.  Faeries, steampunk, and Abney Park?  That’s a gotta see!

I could have simply worn the faerie outfit I made for Halloween, or one of my other costumes, but I can’t resist the desire to make something new…especially when I’ve got this new steampunk outfit started!  So, one week of semi-frantic sewing (interspaced with semi-frantic Christmas preparation) yields this:

The waistcoat you’ve seen before, in my blog.  Underneath it is a blouse and waist-cincher cut from pieces of a vintage skirt I’ve had in storage forever.  It had a few rips, and wasn’t really in good enough condition to wear as a skirt, but it was quite full, and I could salvage a lot of fabric. Also, I made a lace cravat! I’m still looking for the perfect elegant (yet steampunk-y) brooch to wear with it.  I’m thinking maybe a cameo of some sort?

The waist-cincher is still largely pinned together – only 1/2 is boned.

Here’s a close up of the sleeve, to show you the fabric. I love how the netting is interspersed with strips of cloth!  Everything except for the sleeves is lined, though.

Close up of the collar.

And here’s one of my newest pride-and-joy….my still unfinished new spats!

They’re very tall (they come up to my knee) and have lacing up the back, plus a hidden zipper for convenience under the pinned-together flap.  The pinned-together flap will eventually close with buttons, and the lacing will NOT be yellow.    Yellow, however, shows up well for photographs!  I also will use some of the black vintage shirt ruffles (as shown on the blouse sleeves) to trim around the top of the spats.  And possibly (this is an idea I had late last night when I was supposed to be sleeping) I will sew pockets into the inner leg side of the spats.  Nice long narrow ones, that could be used to hold a dagger, or a fan!  Oh, and the fabric?  That used to be a pair of pants I picked up at Value Village!

Still to make:

1) One black ruffly underskirt.  This is partly finished.

2) One bustle. Not even started.

3) One black and white striped skirt to wear over the bustle. This will be the tricky one, as I only have one oddly-shaped piece of the striped fabric left to work with, and can’t buy any more!  Heh.  We’ll see how that works out!

4) One side holster of pockets.  Not a good description, I know, but I can’t find the picture I originally found for inspiration. 

5)  Finish the hat.  I finally got around to ordering the veiling I want.

6) Make a short cape?  I’m not used to costuming for winter events, and while it will be warm enough inside the various venues, I will be traveling by bus to and from the hotel. I do have a largish chunk of lovely faux fur that would be lovely and warm as a liner…if there’s enough.  I don’t have a clue about the outside of the cape.  Velvet?  It does have to be black, since I want everything on this costume to be either white or black!  And I don’t want to spend much money, because this won’t be something I wear very often, I don’t imagine….

7) And the wings.  Since it IS a faerie festival, I’m going to attempt a pair of copper wire wings.  Just small ones.  Something like these:

Which means that my hair has to be very short, and/or pinned up, so that they won’t get tangled up in any wigs of glory!
This naturally leads into the next subject:

The Hair

While I do want every thing on the costume to be black or white, I think I’m going to add a big splash of color with my hair.  I love steampunk outfits where the costume is relatively “proper” Victorian, but the hair is ‘punk’!  Plus, I’m really, really lazy and inept when it comes to “updo” hairstyles.

I’m thinking this:

I think the vivid splash of color will look smashing with an all B&W costume, the ‘inverted bob’ style won’t mess with the wings, and it would look cute with the hat.

And these, THESE are my stockings!

12/27/2009: The Hat is Finished!

I came up with what *I* think is an unusual and interesting idea – I put a working clock in the crown!

This is the front.  You can just barely see the clock hands on the left….

Side view, left side.  The clock has a second hand, so it’s pretty cool to see the hand sweeping around!  I may add numbers; I have to find the numbers I bought so I can see if I like them on the hat.

Side of hat, from the right.  This is the “girly” side, all veil and ribbon and black roses!

And here’s the back:

I made the hat yesterday, as well as this faux leather half mask for my brother:

I took a purchased mask base, trimmed off one eye section, and covered the mask in the faux leather.  The inside is lined with felt for comfort.  The steampunky eye patch is a simple .97 sink strainer!  I spray painted it black, touched it up with a little gold rub ‘n buff, then snugged in into the eye hole.  Because the strainer has so many large-ish holes, vision in that eye is hardly impared.  It’s pretty cool, actually.

Today, I finished the waist cincher.  If you were to unbutton the buttons, you’d open a flap with a hidden zipper, the better to easily and quickly get out of costume.  Plus, with the zipper to take the strain of lacing, the button holes won’t get pulled out of shape.  At the last moment, I added a watch pocket.  Plus, at the bottom right, you can see the clasp I’m going to use as a skirt-raiser.

Here’s the back view.  I couldn’t be more pleased with how it fits (it looks so much better on me than the dummy).  When I lace it tight, it feels extremely comfortable!

One more view, showing the pocket watch peeking out of the pocket. I need to figure out something cool to hang from the fob.  Possibly a miniature hourglass?  I’m beginning to think I’m going to call myself the “Mistress of Time”, since I seem to be adding more and more clock elements.  I’ll be a Time Fairy after I make the wings!


1/09/10 – Moving Right Along…

I’d say this one is a good 85% finished.  It’s notably lacking the jacket, the wings, and a few small details.  But it’s time for more pictures!

The skirt is done.  It’s two layers, and I didn’t make the top one.  I was lucky enough to find it at the Goodwill!  I added an underskirt/petticoat with a layer of ruffles and lace at the bottom.  This poofs it out a bit, and I could also wear it with the skirt “lifted” to display the ruffles.  For this costume, though, I have decided I like it best left long.  I have a fan clipped to the “skirt lifter” hardware in this picture.  The little whitish fluffy thing hanging from the middle is my watch fob.  There’s a chain, then a raven bead, then a bit of fur.

Side view.  Note the bustle.  I will get a picture of the actual bustle itself later, but I’m not quite done with it.

Back.  I really love the suspenders.  I’ve always wanted an outfit with suspenders!

Side view of my “hip pockets.  It clips onto the waist cincher via two D rings.  This is basically a half circle shaped bit of fabric, with three pockets sewn on, and then all sorts of “time tools” attached.  I have my scissors to cut time, my lenses to study it, my measuring stick to measure time, my keys to unlock it (and most of the keys have time/dream/sleep related words on them), my mirror, another watch, and several glass bottles with corks that I will fill with the “sands of time”.  I’m immensely pleased with how this looks – it even has a nice jingle when I walk.

Also done are the spats.  Gah, spats are fiddly to do, lots of bias-taping and button-holing, and grommet-setting!  But they turned out excellently, and will look better yet without rolled-up blue jeans and a proper pair of stockings!!!

Here’s a shot of the “secret” zipper!

And I even sewed a little pocket into the top of each spat…just perfect to hold my lipstick or other small essential!  (I have a quizzing glass in it right now).

Still to make:

1) The wings.  I’m going to buy the copper wire tomorrow.

2) The jacket.  My design has evolved from a simple cape to a much less simple jacket.  I went to see Sherlock Holmes, and a realized when I started playing with fabric that Holmes must have gotten stuck in my imagination!   I also rummaged through my fabric boxes and found something I had completely forgotten I had: the leftover yardage from my black “leather” pirate coat.  It’s quite pretty stuff, thin and drape-able, and stamped with a subtle floral design.  Perfect, and there’s just enough.

3) A new detachable collar.  I was happy with mine, until I saw this Etsy seller’s collar.  Mine will not be like this one, but it’s given me an idea of my own….

4) A hair fascinator. I got to thinking that my hat, while fairly secure for normal wear, is likely to be slipping around and bothering me during the concerts.  I’d rather be completely comfortable and able to move, rather than fussing about correcting a hat whenever it misbehaves!  So during the day, I’ll wear the hat.  During the night, I’ll switch to something smaller, more secure, and yet made of gorgeousness.  Still have zero idea when it’s going to look like, other than it will involve feathers, I suspect, and possibly/probably another working clock.

5) A mask.  Just because I’m always making them for OTHER people, and I want one myself.  And it IS called a ‘masquerade’.  One on a stick, though, or a tie-on one?  Still undecided….  I think I’m going to write words on it though, possibly this line from a poem I recently read: “Foolish clocks, all time is broken….”

Lots of pictures.

So I finished this costume right in the nick of time; I was still sewing the day before I was set to leave!  The jacket, alas, never did get finished, but it was just warm enough that it didn’t matter.  The only other fail was me losing my stockings.  I remember trying them on a few days before I needed to pack, but on the day I was packing?  No stockings ANYWHERE.  I still can’t find them.  Gah!  I just hope they’ll turn up by Steamcon, because I really, really do not want to shell out another $12 for another pair, and I don’t really like any of my “back-up stockings” with this outfit.  Where oh where could they have vanished to?????

But on to the pictures.

First, because this is a win/fail sort of situation, I’ll show you the bustle.

Since I made it using whatever I had at hand, and in a hurry (it was meant as more a test bustle than the real thing) it doesn’t look too bad, right?  It’s flexible and comfortable, able to compress to fit into taxis without a quibble.  Well, after the trip, it seems it’s a bit too flexible!  Here’s a pic from the back to show the damage:

Ye-up, several taxis later, that’s one squished bustle!  When I re-make it, I’ll have to put just a little less flex into it!  But I still love the basic design….  I may build some pockets/storage into it as well, because I’m always looking for clever ways to hide all the crap I have to lug around.  Why have empty air inside that thing, when you could have a place to hide your SHOPPING????

The collar.  Now this I couldn’t be more pleased with.  Total win.  First off, I removed the neck ruffle from the shirt, and added two buttons to the chest.

Second step, making the separate collar:

Back/side view:

And putting it together; the collar buttons onto the shirt’s buttons, like so:

The front panel of the collar then swings around and buttons in place:

And with the cravat in place:

I like how the lace band of the cravat tucks just underneath the top buttons!

And here’s a few pictures of the wings.  Can you believe they’re made with copper wire (the thick wire for the frame comes from Home Depot, it comes in several thicknesses), Mod Podge, and paper towels?  I made the wire frame, then made a “wing shape” and wove very thin copper wire inside the shape like veins.  Then I took two layers of paper towels, cut them to fit inside the frame, coated them with Mod Podge and stuck them together like a sandwich with the wire ‘veins’ on the inside.  I then coated the outside of the paper towels as well with Mod Podge.  Wet, they’re gloppy and not attactive.  Once they’re hung to dry, they turn into this gorgeous translucent effect.  You could give them a coating of sealant and leave them as-is, but I chose to paint them with a very thin metalic copper paint, touching up the ‘veins’ with a little black, silver, and gold paint for texture.  Once the paint dried, I sprayed them with sealant, and added some gears, chains, and some dangly bits.  They were a HUGE hit when I wore them; probably the most sucessessful accessories I’ve ever made!  And except for the mess of the Mod Podge, they were easy! I’m thinking of making a pair to put up on Etsy….

The Hair Fascinator:

I’m so friggin’ glad I made this; the hat (as I suspected) was fine for daywear, but while dancing at the concert?  Not so much; it would have been sliding all over and being a pain.  The Fascinator, on the other hand, stayed perfectly in place throughout 5 hours of dancing!

Front view.  Notice the clock hands.

Back view.  I love these keyholes that I found in the scrapbooking section of Michaels!

And to show you the size:

This was FUN to make – I’m definitely making more!


And that’s it for the picture catch-up; later this week, I’ll post pics from the event itself, including video of me in full dress.

Me Wearing It.

I didn’t post these pictures as quickly as I wanted, because I was waiting for a video of me wearing it.  My brother took the video with my camera, and I didn’t realize he’d held it the wrong way until too late: now I have a video that needs to be rotated, and no way of rotating it.  He put me off for weeks, saying he could rotate it, but when he finally got around to checking his computer, it seems he doesn’t have a program to rotate video either.  He says he can get the program from a friend, but I have no doubt at all he won’t get around to asking his friend for months, if ever.   😦   So I’m posting the stills, and hopefully someday I’ll have video too – if I either re-film it, or find someone willing to rotate the flipped video for me!

And lastly, here’s a link to my Bad Faeries Ball write-up, including pictures of people other than me, and some awesome Abney Park action!

Here’s one video at least….

I forgot I’d taken this; it’s another of my quick little “costume tours”.