Purple Files:Steampunkish Victorian (diary)
Recreated by La Signora Onorata Katerina da Brescia.

Well, I wanted to learn how a Victorian dress/ outfit was constructed (for something different) and also wanted a Steampunk. I also wanted something not Renaissance or SCA for this years CGA Ball in August. Recently I have been watching "League of Extraordinary Gentleman" and saw a doco on Jules Verne.... hmmm.... Steampunk beckoned!

Left and Right are some of the pictures taken on the night of the ball.

This is almost entirely made from material stash, as money was a little tight and this was essentially a practice. So much of the design and pattern was based on how much of what types of materials I had in boxes.

Under Layers and Patterns:
Another excuse for steampunk: I made a bustle about 10 years or more ago, when Back to the Future III  came out, for the purple dress (the one where she hangs off the train- Right). 
 I wanted to learn some sewing  and construction techniques for Victorian clothing. Looking at extant items and using Janet Arnolds  Patterns of Fashion. So, though this is an "speculative future outfit", I wanted to try to use fairly accurate methods in making each actual 'victorian' piece. (cos that is the way I am). You could say it is an experimental/practice outfit.
To go under the outfit, I finished off a corset and petticoat (Left). This project was 'on a budget' so I could not afford metal boning for this first 'draught'.
Luckily, I had won a metal busk, at the Costumers' Guild Trivia night.... While I was assured that the 'plastic' boning  'more closely resembled' whaleboning, and does support quite well, for a larger lady it does bend and is not satisfactory at the back, waist level. Eventually, I will remake the corset with metal boning.
The upper layers:
The next layers were the skirt and bodice. I used patterns from Janet Arnold, for a linen walking outfit. p . I used flat pleating  for the back to go over the bustle and cartridge pleated petticoat. Yep, that is a Victorian back end!
The closure was 'edged' with bias binding and hidden at the left of the folds of the skirt with hooks and eyes.
I added hook and eyes on the band (which attatch to the bodice tapes) as this is evident on many extant bodices and skirts.
Petersham is used for the bands (yep, I had a heap of it!)

This was an entirely new area for me. I have not  seriously attempted a Victorian bodice before.  Things that were different from the construction I am used to (Italian Renaissance) were:
  • pattern pieces/shapes and darts (I made a toile)
  • this was not lined, the seams are visible (internally) and whipstitched down in place.
  • waistband tape with eyelets to attatch the skirt.
Similar construction methods to what I am used to:
  • herringbone stitching layers of linen to stiffen the collar
I used some handmade buttons inherited from my grandmother.

Steampunk is not really Steampunk without accessories. These were 'on the cheap' unfortunately and we did not have enough time to
use several bits and bobs, in the shed which I already had plans for!! . We are amassing a 'box of stuff' to make better guns etc down the track....
so far:
  • 'manish tie, as per the fashion.
  • fingerless gloves
  • goggles and bowler (made from a booklight, ends of piping and leather)... yeah for spraypaint!
  • an old pair of Rx sunnies with side shields
  • clockwork pocketwatch, 
  • Explorer's beltpouch - spanner, glasscutter, nibpen, journal, keys, candles (or dynamite....)
  • plans (actually of 'steampunk' K-9, Tardis and dalek, actually...) he, he

Dave's outfit included leather gators with press studs and a first version of his gun.... lots of buckles, top hat, pocketwatch with visible workings...

On the day/ The Final Outfit:
We won a Hall Costume award on the night too! :)


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©(c) K Carlisle. , 2007