Week 25(ish) On holiday: Vacation Wear


*Please note: This post was written in May of last year, and I am only just now sharing it. Please enjoy!

20140530_155950The Facts

Fabric: men’s button down shirt

Pattern: inspired by Threadbanger video about how to make a pirate costume

Year: recent-ish

Notions: ribbon and scrap fabric

Time to complete: one morning

First worn: To Ye Olde Cabaret – May

Wear again? Possibly

Total Cost: No idea

This week’s sewing challenge was actually made last Saturday. For those of you who don’t know, my current job has me working crazy early in the morning, which causes me to wake up moderately early on the weekends. So crazy sleep schedule combined with pre-show jitters combined into the opportunity to make this shirt. In case you were unable to attend Ye Olde Yellow Cabaret – May, the show was amazing. There will be another one in August so you can see what I’m talking about.

I have a variety of men’s dress shirts that are too big on me and too small for my husband. I have been trying to figure out the best way to modify them for steampunk and costuming purposes. For this one, I decided to try out a modification that I have tried on a different shirt previously. Threadbanger had posted this (http://youtu.be/hvopk72Bx3Y) video awhile back and I was able to recreate the modification with pretty decent success. I say pretty decent because the neckline is uneven and kind of poorly done. I’m not sure that it is especially noticeable, but it bothers me because I know that it is wrong.

This time around I made sure to be more careful about how I cut out the neckline so it would not be so uneven from one side to the other. Then I went to turn the fabric down to create a channel for the ribbon to go through. Things were going pretty well until they  weren’t. I got a cup of coffee and thought things over. I then found some scrap fabric and created a long tube for the ribbon to go through. I sewed the tube down at the top and bottom so it would be secure. After that was finished I ran the ribbon through. Since I wasn’t sure if it would work or not, I just left the opening on one side and did not have a place for the ribbon to come through on both shoulders. Please note that I did not have to make a tube, I just needed to sew a long rectangle down. I guess the coffee had not kicked in yet.

Here is what the casing looks like on the inside:


Purple and green are the colors of my airship!

So there you have it. A shirt that I made from having watched an internet video over a year ago or more. There are a couple of videos where they show how to modify clothes to make them more steampunk, as well as multiple costume tutorials. I highly recommend them, as well as any other videos that they show. They are very crafty people.

Happy sewing!

Week 11: Green


The Facts

Fabric: Curtain from the thrift store

Pattern: From instructions from a panel done by Jessica of Ties that Bynde

Year: 2013

Notions: Safety pins and twill tape

Time to complete: About an hour

First worn: Not yet

Wear again? Hopefully

Total Cost: $10 – $5 for the curtain, $5 for the safety pins and twill tape at the panel.

Some time ago I attended a steampunk convention where Jessica of Ties that Bynde had a panel on how to create a bustle using a yard of fabric, some twill tape and some safety pins. Kits with or without fabric were for sale for anyone who wanted to learn how to create a simple bustle but did not bring materials with them. I picked up this curtain for the purpose of making something steampunk related. I love the light green color and how the fabric drapes. I also like that it is not meant to be a smooth fabric and I do not have to worry about ironing it. I do not like how reflective it is when a flash is used.


The creation of the bustle is very simple. Twill tape is pinned to a piece of fabric that is pleated to fit the wearer at the waist (or where you want the bustle to sit). More pleats mean less coverage but a fuller looking bustle, less pleats mean more coverage but the fabric will be stretched out more and it will be harder to make the bustle look as full. This first piece of twill tape is also serving as the waistband and needs to be long enough for this purpose.

To this first piece of twill tape, attach 3 more pieces of twill tape, going vertically. Then, play with draping. Pick a spot and pin the fabric of the bustle to the twill tape. Make it symmetrical. Make it asymetrical. Find what works for you. Since the fabric is being attached to the twill tape with safety pins it can be changed for future wearings. Personally, I am going to play around with the bustle draping a little bit more and then I am going to sew the fabric down to the twill tape to create a permanent bustle.

The pictures above show the bustle with a bustle pad. I also took picture without the bustle pad as I have not yet incorporated a bustle pad into my steampunk outfits. Here is what the bustle looks like without the bustle pad.

From the back:



From the side:



Happy sewing!

Week 10 – Art – Inspired by artwork



The Facts

Fabric: Lace from…various sources (yard sales, estate sales, other crafters’ stash-busting events)

Pattern: based on a thing that I saw on Pinterest (inspiration photo above)

Year: 2013

Notions: Lace, crochet, beads, baubles, scrapbook paper, vintage frames, new frames, found items, previous projects, etc.

Time to complete: Many hours of cleaning, searching, placing, fighting, rearranging, putting together, taking apart, and doing everything all over again. Still a work in progress.

Continue reading

Week 8 – Inspired by the Oscars




The Facts

Fabric: duct tape

Pattern: from http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/diy-duct-tape-steampunk-top-hat

Year: Timeless

Notions: tulle, feathers, hot glue, a gear

Time to complete: 2 – 3 hours

First worn: not yet

Wear again? if I line the inside with felt or fabric and maybe add to or fix the brim.

Total Cost: From stash

When I saw this on my list, I got super exited because I love looking at the red carpet fashion at all of the awards ceremonies. However, the Oscars fell later this year than what it had in the past, so I was thinking that in order to follow the sewing challenges in the order that I have them in, I should go from either a movie or a dress from a previous year.

I was mostly thinking that I would go with last year’s Oscar ceremony and nominations, but I kept getting sidetracked with other things that I needed to work on and I didn’t do enough research early enough to figure out what I was going to make. It finally happened that I was able to watch some of the Oscars from this year for this challenge. I wasn’t able to watch much before having to go to bed so I could get up super early for work on Monday, as I currently do every week.

So here is a thing that I made before I saw the Oscar fashions for 2014, that can be referred to as inspired by the animated short film “Mr. Hublot” merely because it is steampunk, not because it actually has anything to do with anything in the film, but because I love steampunk.

I am a member of the Airship Passepartout Steampunk group here in Ohio. Recently, there was a hat and mask build day to prepare for the upcoming Voodoo Carnival (which I ended up not going to). Everyone who could, brought some crafting supplies to share and we all got to play at creating and embellishing a hat or mask or whatever project they were currently working on at the time. I was really looking forward to decorating a mask, but could not think of how I wanted it to look.

I am a Pinterest addict. There is so many inspiring ideas and links for how-to make a large majority of those ideas. While preparing for the build day, I found that I had a link to a tutorial on how to make a top hat out of duct tape. (http://www.cutoutandkeep.net/projects/diy-duct-tape-steampunk-top-hat) I thought that was a brilliant idea and knew that there would be a hat that I could use as my template, as well as plenty of duct tape to use to make the hat. Unfortunately, I did not think to confirm that I was following the instructions as I was making the hat, so there are some problems with the hat as it currently is.  One of them being the sticky duct tape that pulls my hair in the inside of the hat. If I had followed the directions, there would be more layers of tape and the tape would be sealed in itself. Or, if I had done more research I could have used some of the tips on using duct tape found in this Instructable here (http://www.instructables.com/id/Duct-Tape-Top-Hat/). As you may be able to tell from the pictures, I have not painted the hat, nor have I added the hot glue rivets and other accents. I figure that I can do that after I figure out how to fix this top hat so that I can wear it comfortably.

Since there was so many craft supplies to choose from, I could not just stop at a mostly finished hat. There was a Steampunk crafting book available for inspirations and I really liked the idea of a cockade added to my hat. So, I made something that looks nothing like a cockade. I gathered some tulle, hot glued some feathers on top, and glued a gear on top. Then, I used a corsage pin to attach it to the hat temporarily. Sorry for the poor picture quality. I hope you can see enough that you can get the idea of what it looks like.  My apartment interior is very dark and cave-like, no matter how many lights we use.


Week 1 – Favorite outfit made from the previous year


The Facts

Fabric: Navy blue cotton sheet set from the thrift store for jacket and lining, sleeves are lined with satin fabric from stash

Pattern: Simplicity 2172

Year: Recent

Notions: 4 buttons from stash (got from a friend who wanted to pare down their stash) and some ribbon for the back from stash, ribbon trim for the sleeves and collar from stash

Time to complete: Unknown

First worn: at a steampunk convention 2013

Wear again? Yes 

Total Cost: Since the buttons, ribbon for lacing and trim were from stash, and the fabric was less than $5, the whole jacket probably cost me less than $10 in materials.


I made this jacket with one of the Steampunk patterns that I have seen at every Steampunk convention that I have been to. I modified it a bit. The sleeves seemed a bit short to me, so I added some length. I originally wanted to make the sleeves removable like they are shown here: http://www.pattern-file.com/archives-2011/pattern-reviews/thar-she-be-pirate-bridesmaid-costume-from-simplicity-2172/ , but I decided against it as this was my first time with this pattern. 

I did decide to do a different collar since I do not really want the version that they show on the envelope. The versions that I have seen with the ruffle do look nice, but I don’t think that it is really for me.  I used the collar pattern from the men’s costume pattern Simplicity 4923 and modified it to where I thought it would work. It didn’t really turn out like I expected it to. I really thought that it would stand up, or lay flat, but it folds over. I hand stitched the ribbon trim around the collar and sleeves. I then used ribbon for the back laces in colors that matched the trim to pull the details together. I’m pretty pleased with this overall. Eventually I would like to make the bodice included in this pattern, but I doubt that I will ever make the skirt as shown on the envelope. I do not want to bother with all of those pleats.

Speaking of skirts, the skirt that I am wearing is one that I made. When I saw this sheet (yes, I have a lot of thrifted sheets that I will be using for sewing) I thought that the color stripe would make a really neat design detail at the bottom of a skirt. I used some pattern pieces that I had used previously as templates and guessed at the width that I would need at the waist. I ended up with 4 gores (from a 6 gore skirt) because the fabric was not wide enough to have 6 with the stripe. I considered making it 6 gores and have 3 with the stripe and 3 without, but I decided against it. My goal was really to have a solid design detail at the bottom of the skirt. I botched the waistband and the zipper horribly, but once I pair this with a corset and the Simplicity 2172 jacket, both are covered and no one can tell, except for me. Sorry, but I don’t have any good pictures that show the skirt bottom. 




Look, I have pockets! I wish they were bigger on the inside…



Detail of the lacing in the back. This was the first time that I worked with a pattern that added laces. I am rather proud of how they turned out. Sorry about all of the wrinkles. I didn’t iron this after it was washed. I should probably do that before my next convention. 


Happy sewing!