Tag Archives: Steampunk

Newbie Spot

by Tracie Fullerton

Finally! I have things to write about.

I’m going to kick off with the loads of learning experiences from my Christmas Steampunk jacket.

So, what I had decided on was red and green velvet, with white fur trim and something resembling the Stewart dress plaid for lining (it’s only right as it’s my Scottish clan). I planned on using the Simplicity 2172 pattern. While I know it’s the current favorite, I love the jacket and it’s fairly easy to make. What I plotted to be a nice walk in the park, turned out to be…an adventure? Sure…we’ll call it that.

First off, I used Panne Crushed Velvet and learned it’s a B***kitty to work with! I love the look, but what a pest (should I mention I want to work with brocade next…I either like challenges, or I’m bloody nuts!).

But before I even got to cutting the fabric, there were a series of unfortunate events. The culprit?

…my cat…

She in her spare time (when not begging for food, eating food and being apathetic that is) chewed apart most of my pattern pieces. After a few words, I’m not allowed to say around my students or mother, I learned a fast lesson in pattern drafting. Newspaper is my new best friend ever.

So, I get my patterns figured out and get to work. Yeah, the velvet was nice and stretchy and oh so deceptive (really, it felt like an abusive relationship), but eventually, we got along. Yeah, anyone new to this world of costuming, should definitely do a few trial runs with it. I may even make a couple pieces smaller due to the stretch factor because it was a bit big on me.

Also, this was my first time doing a lining and admittedly I cheated a bit because I got fed up with it and had a couple projects I had to finish for others. So for the lining I wound up “hemming into” the shell, in other words, I hemmed around the lining. It was easier for me but someday I’ll do it the right way. This definitely worked for me in a pinch though.

Speaking of pinches; the biggest lesson I learned in all this was sewing through your finger HURTS! Yep, I did it. As I was threading the needle and trying to get my bobbin thread through (it was a really fine silver thread I used for the fur fabric), my foot accidentally hit the foot pedal and sent the needle straight through the nail all the way through the finger. I would say, if this happens, I suggest calmly back it out, but really, there’s no way to calmly do that! I’m sure my neighbors think I’m psychotic as I was screaming while Spongebob played in the background (Spongebob…makes me productive…don’t ask). The downside; my sewing machine has had a taste for blood ever since and hasn’t been behaving the same. I’m a bit worried. That or it’s just old and being crotchety with me.

Anyway, I wound up instead of using buttons for the front, I used small leather straps and buckles to hold it together. This was done on a whim, and after working on various projects, found objects are the best way to craft in my opinion. I had this leather cuff sitting around that I never wore and cut the straps and buckles off, glued them onto the jacket and ta-da! Steampunk-y fabulousness. I will be re-enforcing them this week and hand sewing them as well as re-gluing. The front placket pattern piece mysteriously went missing and was one I had to re-draft….and I drafted it slightly too wide. I intend to re-size it this week before the Sherlock event. I also plan to cut the arm hole for my brass arm a bit bigger and I need to remember to always size any garments I wear with it to the arm. So that was my little adventure with new fabrics, linings and sewing machines on a quest for world domination. More next month!


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What are you doing this Dec. 3rd? Come join us!

Come join MNSOC in celebrating the holidays, Steampunk style!

Event:  A Steampunk Christmas Carol/Fezziwig’s Party!
Date:  Dec. 3, 2011
Time:  6-10pm
Location:  The Outing Lodge

Every movable was packed off, as if it were dismissed from public life for evermore; the floor was swept and watered, the lamps were trimmed, fuel was heaped upon the fire; and the warehouse was as snug, and warm, and dry, and bright a ball-room, as you would desire to see upon a winter’s night…  There were more dances, and there were forfeits, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was toddy, and there was a great piece of Cold Roast, and there was a great piece of Cold Boiled, and there were mince-pies, and plenty of beer… When the clock struck eleven, this domestic ball broke up. Mr and Mrs Fezziwig took their stations, one on either side of the door, and shaking hands with every person individually as he or she went out, wished him or her a Merry Christmas.“

                                                -Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol.”

Hosts:  Mr. and Mrs. Fezziwig request your presence at their annual Holiday Party!

Attire:  Your best Victorian, Steampunk, Lolita, Gothic, Air Pirate, etc. clothing is admired but not required.

Need some inspiration? We have a few previous blog posts to help you get inspired:

Food and Drink:  Hors d’ouevres, dessert and punch will be provided.  Other drinks available for purchase.

Activity:  Dancing will commence at 7pm with music from our Time Traveling DJ.  A Caricature Artist will be available to draw your likeness.  Mr. Fezziwig’s personal photographer Mr. Jim Jordan will be on hand to document the party, and is available for individual posed photos for a fee.  Mr. Fezziwig will be judging the Costume Contest at the end of the evening with his lovely wife, and the winner will receive a free ticket to the next event.  If the weather cooperates, we will also have sleigh rides!

Lodging:  Rooms at the Outing Lodge have all been booked for the night, but we have found other places in the area if you need some where to stay for the night.

  1. Water Street Inn
  2. AmericInn Lodge and Suites
  3. America’s Best Value Inn
  4. Stillwater Super 8
  5. Lexington Inn & Suites
  6. Crossings by GrandStay Inn & Suites
  7. Lowell Inn

Tickets:  Admission to this grand event is $35.00 for paid members of MNSOC and $40.00 for non-paid members of MNSOC.  You may purchase tickets here.


Directions to the Lodge from the Twin Cities Metro Area can be found here.

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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 sockdreams.com

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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Steampunk Fashion Show!

Written by Laura Ulak
Photos by Jenna Halek

Members of MNSOC recently participated in a Steampunk Fashion Show held in Minneapolis.  The show was for a local crafting group to help them better understand what Steampunk was all about, and how Steampunk can be done on a budget.  The following outfits were displayed:


Character:  Circus Ringleader
Blouse:  Thrifted (Savers)
Hat:  Vintage (hat band made by Chelsey)
Underbust corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, 1890’s Victorian Corselets pattern by Truly Victorian
Overskirt:  Silk from Joann Fabrics, pattern by Chelsey
Petticoat:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, pattern from Sugardale, made by Jenna Halek
Tights: Hot Topic (clearanced) – Another place you can find striped tights is at Sock Dreams
Shoes:  Thrifted
Jewelry:  Borrowed



Character: Steampunk Spy
Leather jacket:  Thrifted
Skirt: Forever 21
Blouse:  Thrifted and then dyed by Erin Schneider
Corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, made by Chelsey Barnes, Simplicity pattern 2966 (Go Green Collection)
Shoes and necklace:  Her own
Weapon:  Modded by Erin Schneider



Character:  Steampunk Ragamuffin
Hat, blouse and boots:  Thrifted
Hat décor and hand warmers:  Designed by Carol Strand
Purse:  Purchased at CONVERGENCE
Jewelry:  Thrifted and personally owned
Underbust corset:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, made by Carol Strand, Truly Victorian pattern
Bustled skirt:  Fabric from Joann Fabrics, designed and made by Laura Ulak



Character:  Steampunk Monster Fighter, recently returned from Asia
Kimono:  Estate Sale
Corset:  Charlotte Russe
Tights:  Target
Boots:  Borrowed
Jewelry:  Thrifted, purchased at Minnesota Renaissance Festival, made by Ashley Walton



Character: Alchemist, Mustache Elixir Creator, Black Widow
Goggles:  Military Surplus store
Blouse and skirt:  Borrowed (originally purchased and gifted)
Belt:  Thrifted
Boots:  Borrowed (originally thrifted)
Accessories:  Antique store finds
Vest:  Zoe from Firefly Vest made by Rae, The Dreamstitcher.  Bought at Rae’s costume sale.



Character:  Ginny the Pilot, on vacation
Jewelry:  Thrifted and purchased
Dress:  Vintage wedding dress, thrifted for $1.00.  Dyed with Rit dye and bustled in place.
Boots:  Skechers



Character:  Eve the Assassin and Finishing School Graduate
Hat:  Claire’s
Hat Décor:  Designed by Erin Schneider
Gloves:  Vintage
Pants:  Thrifted full length pants turned into knickers by Erin Schneider
Shoes:  Borrowed
Belt:  Target
Jewelry:  Thrifted or purchased
Gun pack:  Designed and made by Erin Schneider
Weapons:  Purchased at local stores and modded by Erin Schneider
Dress:  Thrifted and then dyed with Rit dye by Erin Schneider



Character:  Laura the Explorer
Hat:  Royal Canadian Mountie Summer Campaign Hat
Hat décor:  Designed by Laura Ulak, supplies from Joann Fabrics and Ax-Man
Blouse:  Lane Bryant
Underbust corset:  Purchased at Teslacon
Vest:  Thrifted jacket modified by Laura Ulak
Leather gauntlets:  Designed and made by Jen Sather, supplies from Ax-Man and Tandy Leather
Jewelry:  Thrifted and personally owned
Accessories:  Thrifted, Antique Store Finds, TJ Maxx
Pants:  Thrifted and modified by Laura Ulak
Boots:  Ragstock


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