The second Steampunk jacket

Technically this is the third jacket I have made from a Steampunk pattern as Amanda’s wedding jacket a couple of years ago was from a Steampunk pattern but this is the second one for me.

I saw this pattern a while ago and thought it looked beautiful and it gives me a chance to wear more lovely lace! It is a McCalls Pattern M6770 and I bought it a while ago during one of the Jaycott’s pattern sales. Images from their web site.

McCalls Pattern 1

 

McCalls Pattern 2

My plan is to make the jacket out of some black crushed velvet that Ellie gave me a while ago. I already have one black jacket but it is a little too small over the bust so want something that does up as this will be used for events in November and Feb so it will be cold.

I met one of the Seamstress Squadron at Lincoln who had already made this and she was kind enough to let me take pictures and talk through the construction with me.

Steampunk event Costume 8

Steampunk event Costume 9

The bustle part is actually a separate piece that ties round the waist but I am planning to adapt the pattern to attach it to the jacket and make the front a little longer.I will also not have the corset fastenings on the back or the gathered part on the sleeves which will make construction easier.

I did the same sort of pattern hacking on the jacket I have just made and it worked out fine. I may not have enjoyed my school needlework lessons all those years ago due to a very stern teacher who shouted a lot but I did learn the basics of how patterns work and have the confidence to alter them.

I will then make the skirt out of some pink velvet that I bought many, many years ago for re-enactment, in time for the Feb event. I am planning to buy a red version of the purple skirt as illustrated below for the Nov event as I love it so much and it will go fabulously with my new hat.At some point I think I will also get the black one as well.

Steampunk red skirt

The plan is to cut this out next week before things get busy at work as the sizing is always the most difficult part. I have had a lot of inspiration and practical help from the Love to Sew podcast. They have an episode on tissue fitting which was really helpful so I am going to try doing that before cutting out.They also have a great one on pattern hacking if you want some ideas for adapting things.

Wish me luck as I hate sewing with velvet though I love the way it looks! It moves around so much when you sew it but am determined to use up stash rather than buying any new fabric in the spirit of sustainability and trying to use up the many yards in my sewing room before I relocate to Spain in a few years.

Will update you on the progress, take care and thanks for visiting.

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Bustles, blossoms and beats, the creativity of Steampunk

As always there were amazing costumes. I really love the fact that Steampunk gives people a chance to participate on any level, whether it be using things you have in your wardrobe and adding a top hat, or even adapting a wedding hat, re purposing charity shop finds, buying clothes ready made or tailoring/creating your own fantastic costumes.

This woman is a costume maker and her garments are always out of this world.I love the starry fabric of her dress.

Steampunk event Costume 4

Steampunk event Costume 7

This white one below is a great example of putting things together, the costume is all ready made items and then it is set off by this amazing head dress.

Steampunk event Costume 1
Steampunk event Costume 2

It is a very inclusive activity that can be done at any level, unlike re-enactment where there are unfortunately lots of authenticity rules, understandable but it does make it expensive even for a beginner.

For just a basic outfit you would need to spend about £100 even if you made all the garments yourself yet Steampunk can be done for next to nothing. My outfit this year, which was the most original I have done not using many things already in my wardrobe, only cost £67 to put together and that is including buying the skirt and hat that I have already worn to other events and to re-enactment lots of times .

I also love the fact that it is encouraging people to sew and to make, anything that does that is fantastic and every single one of the thousands of people who were there this weekend had done something creative which is so good for everybody.

There were some wonderful examples of this creativity, this woman’s costume was music themed. I really like her hat made of records and the bustle from sheet music!The attention to detail is wonderful, look at the music note fabric and the tiny piano on the back pack.

Steampunk event Costume 22

Steampunk event Costume 23

I think the most original re-purposing I saw all weekend was this great set of wings made from ties, an adult and a child version, how fantastic is this!

Steampunk event Costume 3

Although this top hat decorated with Lego people did come a close second.

Steampunk event Costume 12

We loved this gown and hat with so many ribbon roses, we spoke to the owner about how she had made it and they were all hand made then glued on to gown.

Steampunk event Costume 15

This was a fantastic Elizabeth 1st inspired neck piece, we loved all the detail on this.

Steampunk event Costume 21

There was also a large contingent of Votes for Women themed participants, celebrating the centenary of the 1918  Representation of the People Act which gave some women the right to vote.

This lovely woman was one of the many who stopped and complimented me on my jacket, having seen the pictures on the Seamstress Squadron page which was so kind of them.

Steampunk event Costume 13

There were some fabulous gowns as well such as these lovely ladies and the gentlemen with the matching waistcoat. We all especially loved the princess outfit in pale blue at the bottom.

Steampunk event Costume 17

Steampunk event Costume 20

Steampunk event Costume 6

Steampunk event Costume 5

Steampunk event Costume 14

Steampunk event Costume 10

And so much colour, I love purple and these women looked fantastic as did the one who was wearing peacock themed colours and the other very bright Marie Antoinette dress.

Steampunk event Costume 19

Steampunk event Costume 27

Steampunk event Costume 18

I have already decided that next year’s Lincoln outfit will be purple and turquoise, using the skirt and top hat I already have.

I had actually decided on this colourway before the event as I was doing some some hand stitching and brought down some threads in those colours and thought how wonderful they looked together. Not quite sure what the theme will be but will work on that.

It was not only the costumes that were marvelously creative but also the machines. From the cogged bustle which actually moved, the ever inventive backpacks, through the  mobility carts and wheelchairs to bikes there were some amazing adaptations, another reason why Steampunk is so inclusive.

Steampunk event Costume 16

Steampunk event Costume 11

We are really looking forward to our next event, Steampunks in Space in November, and I have a Sci-Fi theme for that to go with my new hat. I had some money from Ellie and Jake for my birthday and I bought a dressage hat, similar to a top hat but shorter.

Then we will have Whitby in February where we are going for an overnight stay so can do two days! I will show you the jacket I am planning as my next make soon as I am allowing myself plenty of time for fitting issues!

It is a very dull and grey day here, not at all August weather and the leaves have started to fall from the trees so I suspect that summer is sadly over. I do love autumn as a season but have enjoyed the lack of rain!

Hope that you are having a nice week where you are, take care and thanks for visiting.

A tablecloth, some curtains and another mad hatter

My lovely daughter Ellie is actually named Ellen Scarlett Rose, the middle of these names being after one of my fictional heroines, Scarlett O’Hara. So it was very apt that Ellie’s outfit for this steampunk event was indeed made out of a pair of curtains.

If you have never seen Gone with the Wind you may not have seen the part where, short of fabric after the war, Scarlett makes a dress out of some green velvet curtains, inspiring seamstresses and steampunks everywhere. Photos below from Google.

Scarlett O'Hara dress 2

 

 

Scarlett O'Hara dress 1

Ellie also made the whole outfit in a couple of days which is very impressive, re-purposing a charity shop wedding dress, a piece of lace and an old net curtain as well as lots of flowers from various sources.

Steampunk event Ellie and Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 1

Steampunk event Ellie 5

Steampunk event Ellie 6

Steampunk event Ellie 2

Steampunk event Ellie 3

Steampunk event Ellie 4

The parasol was mine. I had bought it to go with my outfit but it looked so good with hers she kept it all day and I have loaned it to her for future outings. I did get it back for my photo shoot.

Steampunk event Alison and Ellie 1jpg

Steampunk event Alison 8

 

Steampunk event Alison 1

Steampunk event Alison 2

Steampunk event Alison 3

Steampunk event Alison 4

Steampunk event Alison 5

Steampunk event Alison 7

Kerry was wearing her gorgeous black coat, I love this and if she ever wants to get rid of it I am first in line!

Steampunk event Kerrie 1

Steampunk event Kerrie 2

I was very pleased with my ensemble and really touched that so may people who had seen it on the Seamstress Squadron Facebook page stopped to say hello and tell me how much they loved it. They are such lovely people and very inspiring.

I have another post for you with lots more outfits but just wanted to show you the wonderful dancers from The Belly Fusion Dance Collective who we saw perform twice. They all wore tea themed costumes with fantastic head dresses, I think my favourite one was the cake stand one below but they were all amazing.

Steampunk event Costume 31

I also bumped into another sewing enthusiast who had the most brilliant sewing themed hat and she very kindly stopped for lots of photos.As well as all the very creative use of tape measures she had fantastic walking stick made of cotton reels.

Steampunk sewing hat 5

It was all so lovely and inspiring and we also had a great re-enactment show, very wet on Sunday and my tent blew over so everything got very wet but my lovely friends helped out putting it back up and it was not damaged which was a relief.

We had a great day on Monday, doing our usual walk around the area and photo shoots and lots of tournaments and then my angel of a friend Kerry drove me all the way home as I was not walking well after so much time out in the damp.

I have a fairly quiet couple of weeks ahead before term starts again and then I am working every weekend until the end of Oct, just on Saturday but that is going to cut down the creative time somewhat.

I have a new outfit planned for Steampunks in Space at the end of November so I will at least get that cut out before term starts so I have it ready for sewing.

I will be back soon with more costume loveliness, meanwhile take care and thanks for visiting.

 

My vintage tablecloth Steampunk jacket

I first blogged about this jacket in September last year when I cut out the pieces. I was intending to make the jacket earlier in the year but life got in the way as usual and at least I have finished it with 3 days to go before the event and am not going to be hemming anything on the train!

Steampunk linen jacket finished 1

Steampunk linen jacket finished 2

Steampunk linen jacket finished 3

I am so pleased with how it turned out, it is quite different to the original pattern as shown in the photos below but that is deliberate.

Steampunk butterick-pattern-1

Steampunk butterick-pattern-2

 

The pattern is the Butterick B6305 Victorian Top and drape front skirt and despite it being categorised as very difficult it wasn’t and I would make it again and am possibly going to make a skirt as well in the future.

I ended up not lining it as I didn’t need to and also decided to keep it open rather than doing buttons or any fastening.

 

This is partly as I am very bad at buttonholes and didn’t want to spoil it and also as a fitted jacket does not really suit my shape so I am wearing it open over a blouse that I have.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 5

I also had a little bit of an issue with the sleeves as they were way too big, I cut them down and them they were too small so I had to insert a piece which curves round the sleeve for some reason. I am calling this a design feature 😉

Steampunk linen jacket finished 4

Steampunk linen jacket finished 8

I am so pleased with how it fits and the way that the embroidery shows on all of the pieces. This was three tablecloths originally, one became the front of the jacket, another the back and the sleeves and collar were cut from a third one.

Steampunk linen jacket finished 6

 

Steampunk linen jacket finished 7

Not bad for £12 worth of Ebay tablecloths and a £5 pattern. I actually like it so much that I might wear it outside Steampunk events, I think it would be great for festivals.

I will show you the hat I am wearing with it a later post.I am so pleased to be able to go to the event this year with something really unique and totally me. Last year’s outfit was very much adapted from charity shop finds and things I already had and although I liked it I wanted something more unusual.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

Steampunks in Space

We absolutely loved Steampunks in Space last weekend. Not only did I have a great weekend with Ellie and got to spend some time with her work friends at one of their Christmas dos in a lovely restaurant in Worksop where there was far more tapas than 10 people could ever eat, we also saw some more amazing costumes.

I forgot to take any pictures of the completed hat in good light before we left so at the moment we only have a few from the ones that we took and from the Steampunks in Space Facebook page.

I am very pleased with it, it has a treasure map and compass on the back, some doubloons one one side, (found some fab coin buttons in my stash), and a key for when I find the treasure chest.Excuse the slightly fuzzy pic and the very tired me!

Steampunks in Space 6

The light was quite dim so many of my pictures did not come out but there were so many lovely outfits. It was great to see a very different set of themes as there were some fab steampunked Sci-Fi versions. Here is Ellie in her new hat and a Steampunk version of Boba Fett known as Boba Von Fett.

Steampunks in Space 3

 

Steampunks in Space 2

One of my favourite groups were the Mars Expeditionary Force, picture from the Facebook page.

Steampunks in Space 10

I also loved the ingenuity of this group, these are two hanging basket cages joined to make a helmet, picture from the Facebook page.

Steampunks in Space 9

These are amazing rocket backpacks as well, picture from the Facebook page. Such clever people!

Steampunks in Space 12

When you went in you were each given a coin to give to the person who had the best costume and I was thrilled to be given two!

Steampunks in Space 5

That really made my day. I love the new skirt I have bought from this Ebay supplier, I am planning to wear this on New Year’s Eve as it is very pretty and really comfortable to wear.It also comes in red, black and a light green and I am tempted to buy other colours for future outfits.

Steampunks in Space 4

The blouse I have had for years and I wore the same black velvet jacket. As you can tell I like the colour purple 🙂 I also bought some new lace gloves in purple at the event which go wonderfully with my outfit, much better than the lime green event wristband does!

We had a chat to a lovely lady who had found her dress on Ebay and adapted it, it was originally a wedding dress and she had made the train into a bustle. Ellie gave her the costume coin.

Steampunks in Space 1

We also took part in a felting workshop and had our pic taken while we were doing that, have plans to make a brooch with mine and Ellie made a Christmas tree, picture from the Facebook page.

Steampunks in Space 7

There was a costume competition and one of my favourite outfits, Raspberry Ripley, (a play on Ellen Ripley from Aliens who Ellie is named after), won the female competition.

I love the two solar system cage skirts that the other two competitors wore as well. Boba Von Fett was runner up in the male costume one, picture from the Facebook page.

Steampunks in Space 8

A brilliant day out and we can go back to the Space Centre again for as many visits as we want with the event ticket. We didn’t get chance to see many of the exhibits so will definitely visit again and they have other Sci-Fi events throughout the year as well, picture from the Facebook page.

Steampunks in Space 11

I am having a quiet weekend at home, catching up on household things, Jake is going to be doing some painting for me tomorrow to get things ready before the tree goes up next weekend. Still hard at work on cross stitch but lack of time and still poorly arm and hand are meaning it is very slow progress this year!

Hope you are all enjoying your weekends and are tucked up somewhere nice and warm, it has been so cold here I am really glad I do not have to venture out until Monday.

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

 

My new obsession

Since joining the Seamstress Squadron page and starting to look at other costuming blogs I have been spending many happy hours looking at other people’s creations and the information available.

I am amazed, both with the dedication of the sewers and their beautiful creations but also at the level of detail and help available and just didn’t realise there was all this out there. I have also found some people who have used the same pattern as me and made wonderful things.

Look at this beautiful outfit below, I have forgotten which forum it came from but it is using this Butterick pattern that I have and they have altered the shape of the jacket and used the edge of the fabric in such a beautiful way. Isn’t it just stunning!

Butterick pattern 1Butterick pattern 2

Burda jacket pattern adapted - small

This level of information doesn’t really exist in the same way for the medieval re-enactment costumes, there are some people who we use as sources who are very good such as this history of fashion blog but there are some significant differences between what you can find out.

One of course is that there are still lots of Victorian clothes around in museums and even available for people to buy, books, patterns written at the time and lots of wonderful fashion plates from magazines and adverts, especially about the miracles of corsetry. There are even photos as well and Wearing History blog has a fantastic selection of these under her ‘What real people wore’, posts.

Victorian corset ad

 

The Delineator magazine, founded by Butterick in 1869 is mentioned a lot and this site has some scans of these magazines. Aren’t these gorgeous covers?

Delineator magazine 1

Delineator magazine 2

 

Another great blog is Historical Sewing, what this women doesn’t know about making 19th century garments probably isn’t worth knowing anyway.

The most we get for medieval is paintings and manuscripts, beautiful though they are it does leave you wondering how they made the garments and what they are made from. I use the Web Gallery of Art as a primary source.

The other  is of course the authenticity, since we work for English Heritage a lot we have to have a very high level of authenticity whereas many people who make costume do it for fun and for events such as balls and Steampunk so they are sharing their interpretations of things.

The other thing that I realised is that since I have such a wide circle of friends who make costume for re-enactment I have tended to go them for advice rather than the miracles of the internet. When I first started re-enacting I made a lot of kit and did do some research but that was a long time ago, 14 years, pre-blogging and pre- Facebook 😉 and there was not so much info out there so I have really stopped looking and use the same sources that I have come to trust.

This links in well to my doctoral research as I am looking at how people gain the skills and knowledge they need to make things for re-enactment so it is useful to reflect on myself as a beginning costume maker for a different era.

Ellie and I are thinking of taking some classes to help us adjust patterns. For our medieval garments we either have tried and trusted patterns or use existing garments as patterns so we have not much experience of fitting the more complex Victorian shapes.

I have been rapidly adding things to my new Steampunk Pinterest pages such as these amazing outfits below. I love the lilac dress in the background here.

Victorian outfit 1
Victorian outfit 2

And since I already have a black velvet jacket wouldn’t this skirt be lovely with it? Of course none of this may ever see the light of day as actual garments but it is fun researching!

I am off to Ellie’s tomorrow on the first leg of the journey to Caldicot Castle, please pray for fine weather for us as we really want the event to be a success!

I will be back next time with hopefully some more progress on the jacket, even if it is only a post about how hard the fitting is and am planning to devote the weekend to putting it together. Wish me luck!

Take care and thanks for visiting.

 

 

 

Plus difficile? Pattern matching with a difference

So today I made a start on the Steampunk jacket. My intention was just to iron the pattern, a top tip from the Seamstress Squadron forum,  then cut the pieces out and have a little think about how I might lay them out.

However I have ended up with a jacket all cut out and so far I am very pleased 🙂

I was a little daunted when I opened the pattern, I hadn’t looked too carefully at it when I bought it as it was late at night and it was on sale and well… there may have been wine involved 😉 I just thought, ‘ooh how pretty’ , and clicked.

The back of the packet did not inspire confidence with its, ‘plus difficile’, rating and when I looked at the instructions it felt a bit complicated. But I managed to make the wedding jacket for Amanda from a similarly complicated pattern, with a lining, so as I sorted the pieces and worked out how it all goes together I felt a bit more confident.

I am intending to alter the pattern a bit though, what I did not realise was that the front panel which is in the contrast dark blue on the illustration is cut like a facing then folded back and stitched onto the main front.

I am also not making the back longer and there will not be a bow. And I wanted to use these three tablecloths to make it, kindly held up by Jake, excuse the lack of light it, it has been raining here all day.

Steampunk linen jacket 5 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 6 tablecloth

Steampunk linen jacket 7 tablecloth

Add to that the fact that I am a bit spatially challenged anyway when it comes to layouts and what could possibly go wrong!

I tried all of the pattern pieces on all of the table cloths and eventually decided on a layout that I liked.

I could have left it there, it took me about two hours to pluck up the courage to cut into Amanda’s fabric but that was £40 a metre silk and the end of the roll and this was three tablecloths costing £12 in total so just thought why not go for it so I did.

Steampunk linen jacket 14 cut frontjpg

I am very pleased with the way it has turned out, there was plenty of fabric and I have managed to match motifs easily to the pieces. To my surprise the smallest tablecloth had enough for both front pieces.I will have to lose some of the design at the bottom though as it is too long at the moment but love the shoulder pieces.

Steampunk linen jacket 13 cut back

I am especially pleased with the back and the way I have been able to stagger the stitched motifs. Below is one of the sleeves, front and back piece. I like the trailing design for the arms.

Steampunk linen jacket 12 cut sleeves

I also love the way the three different designs go together, they have all been stitched with the same palette of threads and I think they work very well.

Steampunk linen jacket 15 cut layout

I was expecting less cohesion which would have been fine.

Steampunk linen jacket 16 cut layout closeup

The look I am going for is slightly bizarre anyway as this jacket will probably be accessorised with stitching charms etc and worn with the purple top hat but I think it is splendid so far.

Steampunk linen jacket 17 cut layout closeup 2

I will have to do some serious fitting though as had to cut out a size 24 to accommodate my generous bosom, luckily having made clothes from scratch before I know how strange the sizings can be and will have to do lots of cutting down of sleeves etc.

Will be a few days before I can do any more work on it and I need to underline it, have lots of cotton in my stash that I will use for that, some old curtains will do nicely!

I do really love the, ‘make do and mend’ attitude of the Seamstress Squadron, so many people making wonderful things out of old curtains and adapting charity shop clothes, it is perfect!

Until then take care and thanks for visiting.