Thrift to Fashion – Steampunk

Written by Laura Ulak

Earlier this year we did a Steampunk Thrift to Fashion review of a Steampunk fashion show that the Wench Posse did.  As we draw closer to the Steampunk Christmas Carol Event we have happening on Dec. 3rd (read more about it HERE), I thought it might be worthwhile to do another posting on finding Steampunk items in your closet or the local thrift store.  Many items can be used as is, or with simple modifications.  Most outfits usually are a mix of found and made/modified items.

This outfit uses a mix of items.  The leather jacket and blouse were thrifted, as was the Brownie camera which Chelsey here is using as a purse.  The skirt was made using this tutorial from Katafalk.  The corset was made using the 2966 Simplicity pattern.  The hat was based off of a tutorial on Threadbangers.  All of the jewelry (to include the eyebrow piercing!) were made using items found at Ax-Man.

Both of these outfits also use a mix of techniques.  Ellen’s outfit on the left includes a thrifted blouse, a borrowed scarf, bag and boots, and her own motorcycle gloves and wrench.  The bloomers were made using a self-drafted pattern, and the hat was also made from scratch.  Renee’s outfit consists of a borrowed fez, a modified Boy Scout shirt that she found at the thrift store, bloomers she made, and her own boots.  She made gauntlets from leftover leather scraps, as well as a leather waist cincher.  All jewelry was either made or thrifted.

Carol is wearing an outfit of almost completely thrifted and modded items.  Her hat was given to her and she made the hat band and flower piece using leftover items she already had.  The shirt and vest were thrifted, as were the two skirts.  The first skirt was modified to have drawstring gathers to ruche it upwards.  The second skirt was split open and turned into a bustle by eyeballing gathers along the back and securing them first with safety pins, and then with stitches.  It pinned to her waist.  All other accessories were her own or thrifted except for the tights, which are from

Theresa wins the prize for oldest item in use.  Her green frock coat and prairie style boots were purchased for her by her mother back when she was in high school.  The rest of the items she is wearing were thrifted or borrowed, except for the belt which was purchased at Target:

The blouse and overskirt in this outfit were thrifted, but the skirt was modified to have ruching in front.  The corset originally belonged to a friend and when washed the black dye had stained the white casing, which gave it a weathered effect and works great for Steampunk.  Lynn made the hat from a felt hat form from Michaels and various bits she had around her house.  The underskirt was an old skirt that she had had when she used to work the Renaissance Festival back in high school and was modified to go underneath the black skirt.  All other accessory pieces were thrifted or purchased;

This outfit is different in that it was almost exclusively sewn.  The blouse and bag were thrifted, as were the boots.  But the corset was made using fabric and leather and an out of print pattern similar to the 2953 Simplicity pattern.  The skirt was made of two layers of linen using Katafalk’s “How to sew a Victorian skirt” tutorial.

And finally we come to Nell, who is also wearing a mix of items.  The pants are a split skirt that was made using this pattern from Laughing Moon.  The blouse was thrifted, as were the shoes.  The necklace was purchased online.  The bolero jacket was thrifted as a Blazer, and modified to look like a Bolero.

Hopefully these examples will help you to look at the items in your closet (and at the thrift store) with an eye to using them for costuming.  There are many retro-Victorian pieces from the late 70’s through the early 90’s out there, as well as some from vendors today.  Keep your eye out for true vintage as well.  Also use online resources like Threadbangers, Katafalk’s blog and You Tube for tutorials on how to modify things you own or find.

So stop looking in your closet with frustration and start looking in there with inspiration!  We hope to see you attired in your finest Steampunk garments at the Steampunk Christmas Carol on Dec. 3rd!

Please post in the comments with any additional tips and tricks!


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