Tuesday, September 26, 2017

How do you put together a Steampunk outfit using rescued, upcycled and purchased items?

This is a photo of a Steampunk outfit I put 
Model: https://www.facebook.com/ChaoticallyNeutralCosplay;
Photo: https://www.facebook.com/katie.b.shively
together for the Geek Fashion Show at 
SacAnime (9/2/17). I'll go through the
items I used to put this look together:

1.  First, a petticoat. You can't see it, but that's what makes the skirt billow out. Without the petticoat, the skirt would just hang limply. You can purchase petticoats online, or upcycle the underskirt/petticoat from a thrifted prom/quinceanera/bridal dress.

2. Next is the skirt in a pewter taffeta.  I upcycled this by adding gray venise trim  and black grosgrain ribbon at the bottom of the skirt.

3.  Then there is the tie-on bustle in a pewter pintucked taffeta with beaded trim and fringe.  No Steampunk outfit is complete without a bustle!  I make and sell these lavishly trimmed bustles in my Steamtorium shop on Etsy.

The model wore black heels with this outfit, but you could also wear ankle boots.  Just remember to put your shoes on before you put on your corset! (Bending over to put on your shoes in a corset is near impossible - or very painful at the least!)

4.  You can see the model's black overbust corset peeking out under the jacket - you could also wear a camisole, or a combination of underbust corset with a camisole or a blouse underneath.
Teacup Holster

5.  The unlined pewter jacket was upcyled by adding steampunk buttons from my stash.

6.  No Steampunk outfit would be complete without layers of accessories!  Choker and matching earrings, bracelet, long beaded necklace, studded belt, wrist cuff and teacup holster.  I make and sell the Teacup Holsters and Wrist Cuffs in my Steamtorium shop on Etsy.  I also sell patterns if you want to sew your own Teacup Holster in fabrics to match your favorite costume.

7.  Topping it all off is a mini top hat decorated with more of the venise trim and yards of netting.


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Steampunk Zombie Vampire Hunter Ray Gun!

Okay, here it is, my Steampunk Zombie Vampire Hunter Ray Gun!  Inspired by this Pinterest pin.

It lights up and makes a blaster sound too!

Made from a toy pirate gun and a dollar store space blaster light up gun, glue, tape, wire and other bits and pieces.

I cut the pirate gun in half, cut the nozzle part off the blue gun (leaving the light intact), and glued, taped and wired them together, then spray painted gold, with copper and silver details, and antiqued with black.  I used gold colored aluminum wire from the floral craft section - it's really easy to bend - for the coil details.

The wire, and the copper slug and snail tape (from garden section), are useful to reinforce glued parts and add a bit of metal gleam.

Clear plastic "party cups" (shot glass size) from the dollar store created the "thermo-conductor-ionizer" chamber.  I used two cups nested inside each other and glued together for added strength and durability.

I kept the trigger mechanism electronics and light from the dollar store blaster so my ray gun lights up and makes a blaster sound!  I used the outside ring from a plastic jar lid (with the center cut out and painted to match gun - you could use a hose clamp instead, but I didn't have one big enough) to secure the party cup/thermo-condutor-ionizer chamber to the blaster.  The wire is wrapped around the gun and the chamber to add stability.  An additional coil connects the chamber to the pressure gauge.

I spray painted a lid copper and then pasted in a picture of an antique pressure gauge I found on the internet.  A lens from a plastic toy was added to make the gauge, which was then glued to the side of the gun.  A cap from a pen makes the perfect tip for my ray gun.  Random holes were either filled with glue and then painted over, or I glued a rivet cap over the hole.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Upcyle a Suede Skirt into a Steampunk Corset:

I upcyled a thrifted genuine suede leather skirt to make the corset from Simplicity pattern # 1558.  There are a lot of pattern pieces to the corset, and a lot of steps to follow - I would recommend for an advanced or a confident intermediate sewist.  I bought a long suede skirt at the thrift store for $4.49 and used that for the outside fabric.  The skirt was really grubby but, after doing some research on the internet, I washed it in my washing machine!  I first pre-treated it with spray stain remover, threw it in the wash with regular detergent, ran it through several rinse cycles, threw it in the dryer with some towels until damp, and then let it hang until dry.  Washed skirt was not as smooth as before but was much, much cleaner.  After a light pressing on low (do not use a hot iron!) and a quick brushing, the suede skirt was ready to use.  Yes, you can wash suede!

Below is a picture of me wearing my costume at the Oxnard Heritage Square Steampunk Festival, with fellow Steamer Colin on the left, me in the center, and my daughter Ardriel on the right.  Besides the suede corset, costume consists of a white blouse, blue skirt, a black  lace underskirt, a black overskirt - all purchased at thrift store.  The skirt was originally khaki and I dyed it blue, the overskirt is just a cotton miniskirt hiked up in the front with skirt lifters on the right and left, and with a ribbon loop in the center back fastened over a brass button sewn onto the waistband.  To make the skirt lifers, I used suspender clips and glued on a brass button (cut off shank on back first), then threaded onto ribbon.  I then just safety pinned the ribbons to the top of the waistband of the overskirt.  Belts were also from thrift store.  The small bag  (right side  of photo) I bought at a festival, but the bag on the left is a small purse I bought, again from thrift store, then cut and sewed handle to make two loops to slide over belt.  Goggles were upcycled from a pair of cheap plastic goggles from costume store (see previous post), and I replaced the hatband with one decorated with gears, keys and other steampunk elements.  Black lace-up boots complete the ensemble. Now all I need is a ray gun and holster and my steampunk traveling costume will be complete!

Monday, October 5, 2015

DIY Steampunk Goggles - Tutorial on how to upcylce a pair of costume store plastic goggles

Upcycle a cheap pair of costume store plastic goggles into a fantastic pair of Victorian-era Steampunk goggles.

I had most of the tools, and some of the supplies already, but if you don't - how about having a Steampunk Maker party and splitting the costs with a few of your friends?

I started with a pair of plastic goggles from the costume store - the kind with the screw-on lens holder caps (IMPORTANT - test these at the store to make sure both of them screw on and off easily).

The pair pictured is from Forum Novelties and cost me $9.99 at the costume store.

The finished upcycled goggles were painted with a metallic spray paint, have rivets around the lens holders, green lens inserts, stitched leather sides, and leather straps and a buckle.

Below are the supplies I used and the steps I took to make these goggles.

Tools and Supplies:

wire cutters
needle nose pliers
x-acto knife
wooden skewer (or toothpicks)
small binder clips
rotary cutter (optional + mat)
grommet pliers (also optional)

Glue - I used Fix-All Adhesive by Super Glue that I bought at the dollar store.  Look for a gel super glue type adhesive.

Transparent green plastic notebook divider (bought in a pack from the dollar store).

Old brass belt buckle from narrow belt bought at thrift store for $1.

Copper brads from an assorted package of decorative brads found in the scrapbooking section at Joann's for $2.99.  I used 16 copper brads.  Use your 40% off coupon to get them even cheaper!

Package of scrap leather from Joann's - was $9.99, but I used my 40% off coupon, so only cost me $6.  I used a soft, pliable leather for the sides, and a thicker and stiffer leather for the straps.

Rustoleum Metallic spray paint (Aged Copper $6)

Rustoleum Enamel paint (black $4)

Foam sanding block - fine or extra fine grit $4

Rubber gloves

Small foam paint brush


Consider doing all painting the day before and letting dry overnight.

1.  Unscrew lens holders and set aside - we'll come back to these later.

2.  Pop off the plastic covers from sides of the goggle frame. Remove elastic band and rubber piece between goggles that goes over the bridge of your nose. (You can save these pieces for another project or discard, either way you won't need them for this project.)

3. Lightly sand the two goggle frames to remove shine and so spray paint will stick. (No need to sand the lens holder caps.)

4.  In warm, dry, and well-ventilated area, follow instructions on can and spray paint the two goggle frame pieces with the Aged Copper spray paint.  (No need to paint the lens holder caps.) Let dry for at least 2 hours or more.

Side pieces removed
Spray painted goggle pieces
You can work on lens holder caps while the spray paint is drying on the goggle frame pieces.

5.  The goggles I purchased had two sets of clear plastic lenses with a rubber ring between them.  Use one of the clear plastic lenses as a template to cut out two circles from the green plastic divider.

6.  To make the "rivets," use the wire cutters to cut prongs off of the brads.  Use the needle nose pliers to gently squish the cut ends into the cap so the cap sits flush.  Do this for 16 brads.  Using a small amount of adhesive, glue 8 brad caps evenly around each lens holder. Use the tweezers to place the brad caps on the glue.  (I used a black marker to make a dot where I wanted to glue each brad cap.)  It's ok if the glue kind of blobs out around the sides of the brads, it'll be covered up with the black paint later.  Let glue dry at least 1 hour.

7.  After painted goggle frame pieces are dry, and glue on the lens holder caps is dry, antique the pieces.  Using black enamel paint and foam brush, lightly dab pieces with black paint and quickly wipe off with paper towels or soft rag, allowing some of the black paint to remain in crevices and around brad/rivet details.  (I know the pictures show that I antiqued the piece after I added the leather straps, but it's really better to do this before.)

8.  Leather side pieces.  Using soft flexible leather, cut out pieces to fit sides of goggle frames and glue in place.  If your goggles don't have removable sides, then glue the leather over the sides.  Use the skewer or the chopstick to dab on glue or as a stiletto to push pieces into place.  

I tried to indicate stitching lines with a metallic marker, but that didn't look so good. Since I had already glued the side pieces on, I did a row of triple-stitching down the center of a 1/2" wide piece of leather.  I cut off the leather on either side of the stitching, leaving the stitching centered on a narrow strip which I then glued around the edge of the side pieces to make them look like they had been stitched on.  You could also just stitch around the edges of the leather pieces before gluing, but I didn't think of that until after I had already glued them on. But I think that extra strip of stitching really adds a nice dimensional detail.

If you don't have a sewing machine, you could do some hand stitching along the edges.  Or try spacing dots around the edges with a metallic marker to make it look like small rivets.

For the straps, I used a thicker, sturdier leather.

9.  For the nose piece, I cut a strip of the thicker leather that is 3/8" wide by 2 1/2" long.  Thread ends of leather through slots on both sides of frame pieces and bring ends to meet on underside.  Adjust for fit, trimming shorter if necessary, and glue ends to back side of leather strip. Use binder clip to hold strap while the glue dries. I also did a little stitching in the center of the strap, but it wasn't easy. You could also affix with rivets, but I didn't have any at the time.  I tried to use grommets, but that didn't work as the leather was too thick.

10.  For the straps you can use an old belt if you have one that will fit.  If you want to make your own strap like I did, use the thicker leather and the buckle from an old belt.  Cut two strips of leather 1/2" wide by 10" to 12" long. For the buckle side of the strap, fold one end down 1 1/4" and cut a small notch from the fold for the buckle prong (look at one of your belts to see how it's put together). For the strap loop, I cut a piece 3/8" wide by 1 1/2" long and glued it to under side of strap.  I inserted the buckle and folded the end to the back side, over the glued ends of the loop, and then stitched the ends on either side of the loop.  If you don't have a sewing machine, you can hand stitch, or attach with rivets.

Use an awl, grommet pliers, or a rivet punch to punch holes in the other strap end, starting about 1 1/2" from the end and spacing holes every 5/8" or so.  Buckle the straps together and feed the ends through the slots on the goggle frames.  Adjust for fit, allowing about 1" to overlap on back side of strap.  Machine or hand stitch ends, or affix with rivets.  I suppose you could glue instead, but I don't know how well that would hold up in the long term.

I trimmed a shallow curve on all cut ends of the straps that would be showing for a more finished look.

Insert the lenses (clear circle, green circle, rubber ring, clear circle) into the lens holder caps and screw onto goggle pieces.  Finished!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Here's another one of my crochet patterns - Chunky Floral Lace Crochet Scarf. You can download this FREE pattern from my Ravelry store. Though this scarf looks like it's made from motifs, it's actually made all in one piece in rounds, so no sewing anything together! Quick and easy to make using a chunky weight yarn.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shell Lace Fitted Fingerles Gloves Pattern

I wanted to crochet some fingerless gloves that looked kinda goth, kinda biker chick, but couldn't find a quick and easy pattern - so I wrote my own! You can find this FREE downloadable crochet pattern in my Ravelry store. (You can join Ravelry for free.) The pattern includes both written directions and charts. Enjoy!

I made these for all my girls for Christmas.

Pacific Ambitions

I was born and raised in Southern California and my husband was born and raised on the small island of Lana'i in Hawai'i. We live in Ventura County Southern California, but our ambition is to be by the beach on the Pacific Ocean - preferably the Hawai'i side of the Pacific Ocean! I enjoy many crafts but mostly Crochet and Quilting. I've begun designing and writing my own crochet and quilt patterns and hope to use this blog to share my patterns and information about both quilting and crochet, and occasional other crafts as they creep in....and they do. You should see my craft room! (On second thought, maybe not!)

Aloha, Sherry R