Saturday, January 19, 2013

Steampunk Valentine's Day Prep!

The Steampunk Society of Nebraska has their annual Valentine's Day shindig next month, and this is going to be an all-day event: a steampunk swap meet, tea party, gaming time, dance lesson, and a re-dedication ceremony of two of our key members. What could be more romantic than renewing your wedding vows during a Valentine's Day event surrounded by steampunks in their finest? Needless to say, these festivities require an awesome steampunk costume, and I have been hard at work at something appropriate. My enthusiasm has been severely curtailed by the fact that I am a virtual pauper and my first paycheck from my new job is going entirely to the mortgage and bills. This has required some creativity on my part, not to mention a thorough scouring of the house for items that can be pressed into service as part of my costume.

Last time I posted pictures, I had this lovely ensemble going on:

Expert Basset Hound fashion criticism gives it one tail wag. Erasmus is rather persnickety with clothing: the other day, my brother popped into my office all spiffed up in a new outfit and asked, "How do I look?" Erasmus immediately gave out a loud groan of disapproval, so clearly Seth and I both have a better fashion sense to develop. Since then, I have made some modifications to the costume.

Attending a 1920's party left me with a long strand of pearls that seemed apropos for Valentine's Day and while not exactly steampunk, the effect with the red jacket (which I shortened into a bolero) was quite nice. This self-same 1920's party left me with some material I had intended to work into a flapper costume. Alas, my sewing machine declined to cooperate, and I was left without a flapper costume but with a very nice length of black fringe that I decided to put on my corset.

I handsewed a layer of fringe to the bottom part of the corset using a loose running stitch for easy removal later. The overall effect with the red bolero was vaguely reminiscent of 19th century brothel/dancing girl style, which seemed to fit into a Valentine's Day theme. I didn't have quite enough to line the entire top of the corset, so I put fringe just on the front (where it would show) and left the back without fringe benefits.

Liking what I had so far, I cast my eye around my steampunk work room/crafting area/disaster zone and spotted a roll of red ribbon. I needed to do some bustling/tucking of the skirt as it was a tad too long, so I decided to make some silk roses. First, I cut a length of ribbon, ironed it to make a crease, and cut it in half lengthwise. 

I then rolled the ribbon up, making some tucks and bends to replicate a rose.

When it was vaguely rose-shaped, I ran some red thread through the ends to secure everything and form it into a round shape.

The next part was a lot of eyeballing (I tend to be gleefully imprecise when crafting/sewing). I simply pinched a section of the skirt, shoved the rose in the middle, and sewed it from the inside to hold it in place. This slightly bustled the skirt to raise the hemline up a bit (it was too long to begin with) and added some nice visual effects to what is a very dark, rather plain skirt.

Liking this, I placed several roses around the front of the skirt in a random pattern.

The back seemed to call for something different, so I made two roses out of a full piece of ribbon and put a little bustle at the back. The whole effect put the skirt at a good height for walking, just enough to show a bit of stocking. I intend to track down a pair of striped stockings to wear under the dress.

I may add a few mini roses to the back, but I think this might mess up the hemline some, so I believe I will leave it as is.

So far, so good! I have a lovely pair of embroidered white gloves to wear, and my next order of business is making a teardrop hat. I will use the red silk I took off the bottom of the jacket and a bit more black fringe. Pictures forthcoming!

But first, I must hurry off to the nearest print store to obtain all 299 pages (10.5 point, 1.5 space) of Draft 2 in print form and start reading it over. A dear friend of mine and my mother are currently in possession of Draft 2 in order to offer their feedback. However, my dear mother does not get steampunk. She tries for my sake, but her logical, rational mind is not predisposed towards fantasy, glamour, and the improbable. Therefore, I wholly expect she will dutifully read my draft and try to find some enjoyment out of it. If she honestly tells me that she likes it a lot, I will know that I have likely crafted a novel that even non-steampunks will enjoy.

Oh dear red pen, prepare yourself. You have some editing to do.


  1. I love the little roses all over the front. It nicely goes with the bolero, too.

  2. a Valentine's steampunk party! How lovely! I wish there was one where I live!

    It is so cute that you have a dog fashion critic! My "steamparakeet" Isambard does not have much of a love for fashion, because when he sees me dress up in steampunk outfits, he knows I am going out and he can't play with me all day!

    1. Isn't it funny how pets know that different outfits mean different activities? Erasmus knows the difference between "work clothes" and "stay at home" clothes and he always sighs sadly when I am putting the work clothes on!