Saturday, March 23, 2013

BODICE LINING: Component #4A for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

So, I was a lazy-butt this past week, and all I've gotten done in the crafting department was the bodice lining.(Although I did decorate a new pair of rain boots to match my rain coat, to replace this pair that I loved but got an irreparable -I did try to fix but no dice- crack in the back seam. I still need to decorate my new umbrella, since I lost my awesome one by leaving it at a bus stop-a sadly frequent occurrence with me and umbrellas.)

Anyway, I cheated, yet again. Examining the 1890 pattern draft, one determines that the 'Back', 'Side Back', and 'Front' pieces are in fact linings/underlays. The 'Upper Back' and 'Upper Front' are the outer shell of the bodice/overlay, and are large pieces fitted through multiple pleats. Whereas the under layer pieces are fitted by being contour-shaped and possessing darts. And who has a massive pattern collection from which to draw...?

Bingo, Simplicity had jumped on the Steampunk bandwagon a few years back, giving us (several different patterns now) 2207, with a 'jacket' in a fitted bodice sort of style with puff sleeves. Why would using a modern pattern appeal to me? Well, it cuts out a number of steps, including scaling up from the little draft drawing (which I actually enjoy doing), adjusting for my measurements, making a mock-up (waste of fabric when it can be avoided), adjusting yet again, and then finally having a usable pattern. And let's face it, I can be lazy. Here I have a pattern produced by a company whose sizing I'm already familiar with... A few alterations to the style of the pieces themselves is all that's necessary. Aligning the front pieces with the center front line on the fold for a single bodice front  piece, cutting the back as two separate pieces rather than a single back piece, and shortening all the pieces to the desired length. But no size adjustments necessary! Woo! I decided to stitch the seam allowance of the arm scythe to the bodice, because I think I will opt for the contrast puff of the under sleeve to show (by putting a slit in the top of the voile sleeve as per the 1890 pattern draft) and wanted the seam out of the way.

I have already cut out and started putting the voile bodice together, so hopefully...

Other Posts for this costume:
BODICE LINING: Component #4A for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume
BODICE: Component #4 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

Sunday, March 17, 2013

SKIRT: Component #3 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

I love me some plaid. And purple is my favourite colour. Throw in a sale price of $3.50/yd, and graverobbergirl's getting a new full Steampunk/Victorian dress.

Fall 1890 Pattern Draft
I did a boo-boo with this skirt (that's what I get for sewing at night after work, which with my commute by bus and walking, is a 12 hour day). Because I wanted a contrast band on the hem, I measured down from the front to get the width of the piece I wanted to cut for the main body of the skirt. In so doing, I neglected to refer back to my pattern draft and allow for the slope of the piece along the top down 2.5 inches at the center front, which effectively makes the back longer/a train. Now, this is done because the draft is designed for (at least going by the accompanying fashion plate), a fabric with a unique design, a border already laying along the hem (which would be destroyed by allowing for the train at the bottom of the skirt).

Almost aligned seam, addition of fabric
 Of course, I did not realize my mistake until the skirt was finished and I put it on my dress form, only to discover that the petticoat showed (thus meaning it was longer) in the back. And nothing is worse than a visible petticoat!

Okay, granted this is going to be steampunk in the end, so it will likely have much more scandalous (to proper Victorian societal standards) elements by the time I'm finished.

'Fixed' skirt back
At any rate, sewing OCD as I possess, I of course, had to fix this. But how? Add lace or a ruffle to the bottom? This would render it too long in the front, unless I sloped/eased it to the back. But this would be noticeable (to me, anyway). So, no. Not extra trim. Extra fabric, of course could not be added to the bottom, for the contrast band  is an even width all across, and with plaid, messing with this might create a visually wonky result. I woke up the next morning knowing what I had to do (even though I had tried to figure my way around it, because it was going to be a pain in the butt!).

But I did end up taking all of the super-gathered skirt back out of the waistband and adding several inches of fabric to the back, lining up the plaid as best I could. I think with the gathers, you can't tell the difference... maybe?

Other Posts for this costume:
SKIRT: Component #3 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

Saturday, March 16, 2013

PETTICOATS: Component #2 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

What makes your skirt look fuller and flouncier than one petticoat? 

Two petticoats, of course!


The first or 'under' (as I like to call it) petticoat is simply the mock-up of this skirt for my Mrs. Lovett costume, done in ugly fabric (that I also used here in my 70s Alice outfit) that I dyed 'black'. I knew it wouldn't turn out black-black, but this definitely is only a medium grey. I left the bottom raw, for this outfit will be getting the rough-ed up treatment after it's all constructed, for characterization.


This is the more formal petticoat, done in the same style (same pattern draft) as the skirt it's meant to accompany, only with an added ruffle to the bottom. Note, this is also a dark grey, although I was aiming for black for the petticoats. But at a $1.50/yd, guess what colour my petticoat was destined to be?!

Do you detect my cheater's (extremely unauthentic time-period wise) method? Yes, I simply put a casing equivalent to my hip measurement as the waistband, pop some elastic into it and bam, easy-on skirt! (Unfortunately, it does tend to add bulk to my waist, however.)

Other Posts for this costume:
PETTICOATS: Component #2 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

UNDERBUST: Component #1 for Plaid Voile Steampunk Costume

A new underbust corset, drafted myself, constructed using materials on hand (black-on-black medallion motif brocade, duck for interfacing, black cotton broadcloth for lining, remnant spiral steel for stays, rigilene poly boning, grommets, hem tape for lacing) and purchased metal ruler for the 'busk', as well as a packet of bias tape (because I was lazy.)

Friday, March 8, 2013


  • New Steampunk Outfit (this will probably take more than just March)
    • Underbust Corset
    • Dye Mock-Up to serve as messy under petticoat
    • Second Petticoat
    • Skirt
    • Bodice
      • Draft
      • Mock-up?
      • Finished Version
    • Harness Vest
      • Draft
      • Mock-up?
      • Finished Version
    • Style Wig
    • Hat
      • alter Vogue Pattern V7464
      • Make Hat & Veil
      • Trim with Flowers and cameo
    • Costume Prosthetic for leg
  • Casual Steampunk Dress
  • Another round of baby gifts :-)
  • listings for etsy

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Susie the Tinkerer (aka TinkerSue)

(the white flecks in this photo are snow...brrr!)
This was almost character drafting as much as clothing drafting, but she's not my primary steampunk character (which will be getting a new outfit next). I just liked the unity in producing a series of costume pieces based off from a character concept.
Not exact to original sketches, but...

Underdress in brown and white medium weight knit (which I definitely do not regret buying that one time when it was on sale... the last little bit I think is going to be a casual steampunk/everyday summer dress for ME!) The skirt has a lot of flare out to the sides, which at first I wasn't sure I liked, but really quite enjoy now. The waist is gathered by putting in four rows of casing and threading elastic through.
 Work Smock is made out of a dark brown bottomweight with an emboroidered floral motif in white. Laces up both sides through large brass grommets. Cargo pockets on front that close with ties threaded through grommets. Lined with brown twill. Neckline and hemline finished with dark brown bias tape. 

Utility Belt is brown twill with grommets, a pouch out of brown twill (with two loops on the bag to slide onto belt), and a simple tie through two grommets forms the loop to hold the wrench.

Wrench is a just a prop. Made the 'inauthentic' cheater's way (for those welding and soldering steampunk snobs). Cardboard base, craft foam veneer. Stuck together with hot glue. Spray painted with gold and then 'hammered' copper krylon. Finished with faux leather wrapping around handle.

Coveralls are a one-piece garment made of brown twill. Features cargo pockets on legs. Miniature pockets on right chest and right sleeve. Waist tie threaded through grommets. Asymmetrical double-breasted bodice, with grommets and ties for closure. Sleeves are detachable with grommets and lacing. Hood (of course!). Gear motif in gold acrylic painter's pens on back.

Perfect for tinkering in the bowels of steam engines. Or battling The Machine. 
Not going to lie. I was never much into playing dress-up as a child. I hated dresses throughout my childhood. (And jeans until I was about twelve... I wore leggings, but not the ubiquitous 90s style ones with those nasty stirrups...but that's neither here nor there).

At any rate, I seem to be more than making up for it now. I LOVE to dress up. Particularly in costume. It's the only situation in which I spend more than two minutes in front of a mirror. I wish I knew how to translate feeling so awesome in my clothes (and skin, for that matter) into my everyday. But I never have the energy to dress nice in the morning before work (plus the whole walking a mile to the bus stop and spending more than half an hour standing out in the elements total each day is prohibitive to my wardrobe). Well, guess I just have to play harder on the weekends...