Thursday, April 2, 2015

Steampunk Renaissance Pirate Costume - Part 1

Remember when I posted a tutorial for turning a water pistol into a steampunk gun? Well, that was only part of a much larger commission. Steampunk Renaissance PIRATE!

Way back last summer I purchased part of the stock of a costumer who was going out of the business. I posted a photo of some of the trims and offered to reserve them for anyone who wanted to commission something from me. A previous client of mine placed dibs on the gold and multi-colored medieval trim above, and later asked me to design a steampunk pirate with a renaissance flair around it.

I was pretty excited because this would be the first time anyone would every pay me to design them a unique costume. I've designed plenty before, but for personal use or gifts, not for commission! I really loved getting to play around and explore everything I could do with this unique concept! The initial sketch went through a few changes during the process, but overall it stayed pretty close to the original design.

I usually create multi-piece costumes starting with the inmost layer, so that I can accommodate the growing layers of fabric. For this costume, I started with the shift. I used a very thin cotton voile, cut into basic body and sleeve pieces. It's a very forgiving design, because it's supposed to be very billowy.

I sewed the seams together and stitched a narrow hem on all of the open edges. Then I drew guidelines for placing...

..bias tape! The bias tape formed a channel for...

...narrow elastic, which I drew through using a really pretty medieval inspired bodkin. (Hey Mom! Remember when you got those bodkins for me a decade ago? I still have all of them and use them! Now that's a good gift...)

Look at that lovely gathered sleeve!

Look at that lovely gathered neckline! The nice thing about an elastic neckline like this is that it can be worn over the shoulder or down. My client lives in a very warm climate, so I wanted to make the costume as breathable and cool as possible under the design constraints.

Because steampunk fashion originated in the Victorian era, one common feature you see in it's themed garments are lots and lots of ruffles. Even though this costume is meant to be more Renaissance Faire style, I still wanted to bring some of those Victorian features over. So I added a ruffle along the hem that would peek out from under the overskirt.

Simple and comfy! Shown here with a belt so you can get an idea of a shape - shifts just look like billows of fabric without anything over them.

Next up? Pattern making and bodice detailing in Part 2!

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Welcome to the discussion! Please note that due to chronic illness, I am no longer taking commissions of any kind.

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