Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Making Steampunk Stripes: Part 1

I have a minor problem: too much cloth! It's sitting on my shelves wrapped in plastic cases, waiting to be used (I sound like Eddie from Absolutely Fabulous: 'Battery clothes!').
So I'm trying to use it up rather than buying more material. I had quite a lot of striped material left over from making my Um of Umbridge costume, and wanted to use that. I really like Emilie Autumn, so when I found this photo of her, I wanted to try and emulate the dress she was wearing:

I also wanted to try making some steampunk clothing, since the only steampunk outfit that I own is up for sale. I did a bit of research, and found some nice striped steampunk outfits for inspiration:

I came up with a rough design, mostly based on Emilie Autumn's dress, with a fitted bodice and a voluminous skirt, though much shorter than Emilie's (knee length). 

The bodice is based on a Burdastyle wedding dress pattern from March 2011. It has a princess seam and a dip in the front. I made the neckline much lower, since it was too high and constrictive for me.
Cutting out the stripes so that they made a continuous pattern was difficult. I managed by using the pattern pieces and laying them over the cloth. I then marked where the stripes were, and arranged the paper pieces until I knew where I wanted to the stripes to be. I then laid the paper pattern pieces over the cloth so that my markings matched the stripes, and traced around my paper pieces.

Next came the skirt. I didn't have enough material to make a circle skirt, so I decided to make a gathered skirt. Gathered skirts are very easy: you just make one long rectangle, and gather it until it fits the waist of the bodice. Mine was a little more complicated because I wanted to add side pockets. I ended up cutting my material like so:
The pocket pieces were attached to the cloth pieces, and sewn together to make pockets. Once the pockets were done, I sewed up the sides, leaving the top of one side partially open so that I could attach the zip.
I then gathered the skirt by hand (my machine doesn't gathered very well), and sewed it to the bodice. I made sure that the stripes aligned nicely before I sewed everything.
Once skirt and bodice were sewn together, I attached some black lace to the hem of the skirt.

Since the striped fabric was slightly transparent, I made lining layer from thin white cotton for the bodice, skirt, and sleeves. The skirt lining is a half circle skirt, because having a gathered lining and gathered out material would create bulk at the waist.

Attaching the lining was slightly tricky. First I attached the invisible zip in the side of the dress. Next I put the lining inside the dress, so that the wrong sides of outer and inner layers were touching, and pinning everything in place. I hand sewed the lining layer to the zip. 

To make the sleeves, I took a normally sleeves pattern, and divided it in six. I cut it into six pieces. Next I cut out inch wide rectangles the same length as my sleeve. A rectangle piece was inserted between each piece of sleeve, to create a puff sleeves, like this: 
 The green pieces are the inch wide rectangles that I inserted into the sleeve pattern. I  gathered the sleeves (and the lining sleeves), sewed them to the bodice, and gathered the lower end of the sleeves. A band of black material was sewn around the gathered edge. I used it like bias tape to hide any raw edges.

To make the dress look more Victorian, I created a fake placket for buttons, then sewed some buttons on. The buttons are handmade from Polymer clay and paper clips. You basically create the shape of your button, twist a section of paper clip into a V shape, and stick it into the clay, then bake it.
Difficult to see them, but they're there.

So far, I really like this dress. It looks pretty, and has pockets! It also seems to fit very well. I need the lace trim I bought from ebay to arrive, so I can add it to the neckline. I'm also thinking about accessories. I have a hair band with rooster feathers and a pearl which might look like, but I don't know what to do with my hair. I was also thinking of making a choker and some arm warmers (Pink Absinthe's shop has some lovely pieces, though I can't afford them at the moment). I've got some nice tights and boots that would look nice with the dress.

Any thoughts on steampunk accessories?

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