Steampunk Bustle

I suppose I should preface this entry by saying I have been invited to a steampunk wedding this fall. And there’s no way in hell I’m going to a steampunk wedding in ordinary clothes.

I decided early on that I was wearing two things. The first was a specific necklace that may or may not be the subject of a future post, but involved me transforming a bracelet into a necklace that features a cameo skeleton. The second was pants. Skirts are generally inconvenient things (except when you’re feeling too lazy to be bothered with finding and putting on pants) and so the times I wear them are limited to events of historical reenactment, times of extreme laziness, and responses to death threats from my parents (usually for a wedding or a funeral or something similar). Thus I knew, since neither of my parents were going to this particular wedding, that pants were the way to go.

Then I saw this bustle:

Here’s a picture for those who don’t want to be bothered with the link.

It seemed to me that this would be just the thing to make my outfit a little more formal while preventing me from doing an accidental Agatha Heterodine cosplay (though Agatha is a totally awesome character to cosplay). I was not, however, paying $85 for something I could make myself in a weekend. So a plan was hatched.

I went to the local thrift shop with every intention of finding a skirt I could manhandle into bustle. My only requirements were that it be long enough, full enough, and black or purple. I found none of the above. What I did find was a very large wine colored shirt made of faux velvet. I decided I would make it work. A quick trip to the store for trim later and I was ready to go.

Unfortunately I wasn’t thinking about a blog when I started this project, and so didn’t take pictures of the shirt in it’s original form. I’ll just tell you that it was very large and sack like.

After unpicking all of the seams, I decided exactly how I wanted to make it and laid out the fabric, pinned it together and called it a night. The next day I repinned everything and started sewing. I would say it was done 40% on the serger (all the major things that needed to be held together so they never come apart), 50% on a regular sewing machine (all the hemming and most of the trim), and 10% by hand (the last of the trim and some corrections). I’m rather pleased with the results

I’ve done a side shot so you can see the folds I have in back.

I even made a hand bag out of the scraps.

Remember, if you can’t write, making steampunk clothing is the second best option.


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