Friday, November 11, 2016

Steampunk Pirate Evolution

CONvergence, 2014
When Nathan and I started work on our Steampunk Pirate costumes, we knew that they were going to be long term projects. Well-done steampunk requires so many layers and details, that to some extent, it can always be improved. This isn't a bad thing, because it means we can keep wearing them over and over again without getting bored, since each incarnation is slightly different.

2nd Wedding Reception, Late Summer, 2016

Halloween, 2014
That said, between 2014 and 2016, although we wore the costumes several times, we didn't change much about them. Part of this was due to my looming health problems, which made sewing nearly impossible for a long time.

This summer and fall I have ventured back (cautiously) into a few costuming projects. One goal of mine was to add a few new things to our Steampunk Pirate costumes, so that we could have a 'fresh' look for Halloween. I decided to start with making myself a proper petticoat.

I didn't have enough of any one cream fabric to make the entire petticoat of the same material, so I decided to make each tier a different texture. Thankfully, this is very much a part of the Steampunk aesthetic, so it worked well.

I made a deep, semi-fitted waistband...

...with a bit of elastic in front for comfort and stretch on those inevitable 'bloated' days most women deal with.

Then it was time to add the tiers!

This tier is of cream satin. I had several squares and rectangles left over from making my wedding centerpieces, so I stitched them together for one of the middle tiers.

Of course, all of those seams didn't look very pretty, but I'd already decided to add as much lace as possible to the petticoat, so I just sewed a strip down over each seam!

I also sewed various lace and ribbon over the gathers of each tier. I've been saving up cream lace for a LONG time!

The final tier is some lace I ordered from Greece awhile back. Although the petticoat overall isn't historically accurate, the bottom tier can work as a peeping out layer on a more historical project.

I also really wanted to add something new to Nathan's outfit, so I utilized all my years of making vests and pulled together the fastest vest I could manage! To my surprise, I had enough energy and knowledge to  finish a vest in three hours - and it turned out better than I expected!

Part of what helped was having all of the materials on hand already, AND having Nathan nearby for frequent fittings. But vests are also just plain forgiving, especially if you have lacing in the back, as I did! (I didn't bother to put gromments in. I just folded over the edge of a piece of leather to stabilize it, and then punched out holes for the lacing. Easiest method ever! Might not last the longest, but it'll do the trick for the infrequent wearings this piece will have).

I added a few new pieces to my own costume as well. I'd picked up the hat at a thrift store in 2015, and then I added some scarves and jewelry from my extensive collections.

It was just warm enough for my mother-in-law to snap some photos...and we took some selfies too.

It was super fun to get dressed up. I'd gone into cosplay withdrawal!

Here I am holding Nathan's compass, which is one of the very first Christmas gifts I ever gave him.

One of my favorite parts about the vest is the high collar! I used buckram and interfacing to get it as stiff as possible. We've been watching a LOT of "Once Upon a Time" and after seeing so many of the awesome collars on that show, I really wanted to try making one myself!

The bodice I'm wearing here is a temporary piece. I couldn't locate my waist corset that I wore originally, alas! But I have plans to sew something awesome eventually...just determining the exact design! There are SO many options.

Here you can see Nathan's loooooong hair. Normally he wears it in a ponytail or manbun, but we thought it looked best down for this cosplay!

Ironically, after all that, we didn't get a single trick or treater! But we had fun dressing up and watching "Once Upon a Time" with Nathan's mom. (And candy. I ate candy. I haven't had much over the past year, so that was awesome.)

Want more Steampunk Pirate? Check out this commission I made for a client before I got sick!

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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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