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!