måndag 1 april 2019

Steampunk Admiral

My latest make is a steampunk Admiral's uniform.
The Admiral stands on a cliff, having left the busy ship for a while to ponder her strategies in silence and enjoy the sea.
The inspiration for this costume comes from some different sources. The main inspiration was this, which I think is concept art for a character in an computer game, set in an alternative history 1880's. I also looked at 18th century coats, the gold-work embroidery on 19th century military uniforms, and some 1880’s does 1700’s ladies bodices. For those who use Pinterest, this is my inspiration board.
The coat is made in wool, with about 40 m of braiding hand stitched on collar, lapels, and cuffs. The wider trim is a vintage trim I found. The base pattern for the coat is actually from a Tudor dress, and then I constructed lapels, collar, and cuffs and added them. 

The hat is a 18th century bicorne, a model that was not uncommon for military wear during the 19th century.  I constructed the hat pattern based on a pattern I found on this blog, made it up in buckram and wire, and covered it with the same black wool as the gown. 
Steampunk Admiral - front detail

 The black wool is very easy to work with, as it drapes well, and the soft matte fabric efficiently hides stitches that would show on the right side in a more unforgiving fabric. That was important, as the lapels, collar, cuff, and the hat brim was finished separately and then hand stitched in place afterwards. The blouse and jabot is also made by me from my own pattern. The vest and leggings are from my modern wardrobe.
Steampunk Admiral - back view
An important part when designing this costume was to make it flexible in size – more specific, it has to be able to fit over a growing belly, as I am pregnant. This was quite a challenge, as I don’t know what size I will be much beforehand, and hopefully, I will go to an event in my late pregnancy. Thus, the design with an open coat, a blouse with lots of width, and a vest that will later be changed for a much larger one. 

The biggest challenge, except for finding a size-flexible design, was designing the braiding and the other trim. I wanted the braiding to resemble the oak leafs embroidered on collars on military uniforms, organic and flowing but still powerful. It was important to keep the coat looking like a coat, not becoming a dress. 
Details of the coat and hat:
Steampunk Admiral - braided lapel and button

Steampunk Admiral - braided lapel and cuff

Steampunk Admiral - decoration on the bicorne hat
As of yet, I have only worn the costume for a photo session, but I am very happy with how it turned out.

And as always, thank you Olof for the great photography!

The facts:

What the item is: A steampunk Admirals outfit, consisting of coat and hat (new), blouse and jabot (made for previous costumes), and modern leggings and vest.

Fabric: Black wool for hat and coat. Cotton for blouse and jabot. Scraps of silk for the cockade on the hat.

Pattern: Coat is a remade version of this 16th century English Tudor overdress, which is from the book The Tudor Tailor, but I have obviously modified it quite a lot, with collar, lapels and cuffs of my own construction. Blouse is the one I drafted and made for the Edwardian vampire.

Year: steampunk, inspired mostly by 18th century and 19th century uniforms.

Notions: old buttons from some type of civilian uniform, 4 m of vintage gold band and around 40 m of gold soutache braiding, a few very small clock gears for decoration on the hat.

Hours to complete: probably around 40 h for the coat, most of that spent hand sewing on all the gold trim, and at least 10 h for constructing and making the hat.

First worn: for photo shot at Femöre outside Oxelösund.

Cost: 500 kr, for the gold band and soutache braiding (not all of it used), as the rest was remakes, from stash, or from the wardrobe.

It was quite windy...

lördag 16 februari 2019

A 1895 inspired blouse

I got some random inspiration and had to make an 1895 inspired blouse, even while I am not planning to go to any event where I can wear it.

 For the photos, I styled the blouse in three different ways: plain with just a belt, with a lace guimpe, and "for work" with a stiff collar and black tie (a style which would not have been uncommon for women at this time). 

I do like it! The sleeves are crazy, but when I wear the blouse they feel crazy in a good way, and the wide skirt kind of balances it out. Also, it was nice for a change to be following a pattern (Truly Victorian as usual) and not having to figure out myself how to do things like the buttoning, and the right order to do things.

 The facts:

What the item is: A blouse inspired by 1895 blouse. Also in pictures, a 1880's-1890's skirt with soutache, a belt from my 1905 dress, stiff collar (bought), and a lace quimpe I made for the Steampunk White Rabbit.

Fabric:  cotton  (a quite stiff and thick cotton with flower print).

Pattern: I used a Truly Victorian pattern, TV494E - 1894 Shirtwaists E-Pattern, and it worked fine, as usual. I had to fiddle around quite a bit with the fit, but I blame that on my round upper back and sloping shoulderns, not the pattern.

Year: 1895

Notions: Thread and buttons, tuille for stiffening sleeve heads.

How historically accurate is it? To be more historically accurate, a cotton blouse of this kind would typically have been plain white, for all three ways I chose to style it. There are examples of blouses with flower patterns on, but mostly in silk from what I have seen, and more typically on entire gowns or coordinating outfits with blouse skirt and bolero, for example. Therefore, my version is more "inspired by" than correct. Also, I followed the sewing methods in the pattern, which I think is mostly modern if I compare them to the instructions in the period (1905 I think) book Authentic Victorian Sewing Tecniques.

Hours to complete: Almost 10 h, including several toiles to get the fit right, and 2 h taping the e-pattern togehter.

First worn: for photo shot in late January.

söndag 4 november 2018

Edwardian Vampire

I was invited to a "haunted board-game night", which gave me the opportunity to do a costume I have been wanting for a long time: a white lace ca 1905 dress, here used for a vampire. Those dresses are fabulous, but a bit daunting - to source and sew on all that lace in a decently historically accurate way seems expensive in both time and money. So, I made a "quick and dirty"  version!

The skirt is my 1905 underskirt, and the overskirt is a lace curtain pinned in place. The belt is a new, as is the blouse. I used the pattern I made for the 1905 blouse, and lengthened a bit in the waist. The sleeve got a pouf at the wrist(as typical for the time) and I cheated with the cuff - it is just wide enough for me to get my hand through without buttons (remember, this was supposed to be a quick make - fastenings takes a lot of time at least for me). As I happened to make the blouse too wide over the shoulders, I put three pin tucks on each shoulder - much easier than ripping off the sleeves and re-cut the bodice, decorative, and also historically plausible. There is only one hook and bar at the neck, and then the collar is pinned. I also omitted all kind of finishing fabric edges. The cotton I used is not too fraying, and I don't expect to use this more than one or a few times.

The facts:

What is it? An vampire dress inspired by 1900-1910 lace dresses.

Material: cotton ( bed sheet for skirt, duvet cover for blouse), silk/hemp fabric for the belt, dead dino (a k a some random synthetic fabric) lace curtain, cotton embroidered lace.

Pattern: skirt from Truly Victorian, belt and blouse drafted by me.

How historically accurate is it? Not much!  The skirt is good in construction for an underskirt, but would typically have been silk, and obviously not seen. Overskirt is not even following the shape of the skirt. Blouse have the right shape and the pin tucks are ok, but the lace placement is not. Also, is way too sloppy and in too cheap materials for a dress of this kind. Good it was never intended to be historically accurate, or even to be worn in good light conditions!

Hours to complete: about 2-3 h for the new parts, that is, the blouse and belt.

First worn: at a haunted board-game night with some friends.

Total cost: 0, as everything was remnants of other projects, from my stash (and the lace curtain is still usable as curtain!). 129 sek if I add the cost of the red lipstick...

Finally: this is the kind of dress I was inspired by.  You can see why a proper one is not something that one makes without quite a commitment!

lördag 1 september 2018

Steampunk at Jädersbruk Fair

I was invited to join a small group of Steampunks for Jädersbruk Fair near Arboga, Sweden. The fair is a lot about old vehicles, but this year the theme was "old and new", which goes well with steampunk. We was mingling, enjoying beautiful and weird cars and other vehicles, and got to explain what steampunk is quite a few times. Also met some other very nice steampunks. I wore my new hat for the first time.

Daughter and parents.

I found a Scania V8 engine and an old truck, and after all, I am a decently proud Scania employee nowadays.

The proud inventor of the vocal teleport, the slightly mad ghost detector box inventor, and the certainly not a spy technical attache of the French embassy.

Intense discussion of the two inventors.

torsdag 30 augusti 2018

The crown of the First Speaker

A very short story.

Over 30 years ago, long before First Speaker Amantha had managed to rise to her present office, she and her mother were visited by a stranded Time Lady. The Time Lady soon got involved in an intense romantic relationship with Amantha's mother. Eventually, the Time Lady left. The small family was left with tales of the possible and imossible things in the universe, and a knowledge of the Gallifreyan alphabet. Since then Amantha has been obsessed by the thought of time travel.

Eventually she rose to the title of First Speaker, through a combination of manipulation and actual skill. Since her election, the Council has put a considerable amount of its money into research on time travel. So far no progress has been made on the actual problem, but the country has become leading in both navigation and clockwork mechanics - a fact that does nothing to attenuate the First Speaker's fervent search.

(This is the story of the persona of my latest steampunk costume, that I am making for SilwerSteam. There will be lots of more pictures of the full costume later, after I have finished it.) 

torsdag 9 augusti 2018

Steampunk White Rabbit

A while ago, I was invited to a Alice in Wonderland themed party.  I decided to make a steampunk version of the White Rabbit. The coat is based on a 1890 walking dress that I made earlier, but never really liked. The fit was a bit odd, and as historical wear, it was painfully apparent that I bought polyester fabric with a slight stretch, in the vain hope that it would work anyway if I flat-lined it. (it did not, really)

Here, I shortened it and wore as a coat. With the fake leather parts of the tights, it almost looks like high boots in this picture. I wish...

Under the coat, I wore a vest and shirt, and a Victorian-ish high
collar, Steampunkishly combined with a 18th century inspired stock. Two watches, for the poor hurried Rabbit.

The hat is a very cheap one I bought from a shop with party accessories. The ears I made myself from fake fur, fabric, sturdy metal wire, and lots and lots of hot glue. I then added some gears to make it clearly recognizable as steampunk.

All in all, I am very happy with the result. It was comfortable to wear (except for being a bit hot since I was so covered up), and I have wanted a menswear steampunk costume for a while. And it feels good to give the coat this second life!

måndag 2 juli 2018

Jacket for work

I made a jacket for work. It is based on my most commonly used pattern: Truly Victorian 460, 1885 bodice. By now, I have adapted that pattern to fit me, so I did not want to redo all that work that for pattern for a fitted modern jacket. I just made it smaller in the low back, where the bustle normally is.

On the back, I made a griffin using hand braided soutache braid. Some of you might recognize the logo of the truck company Scania. Yes, I do like my new work...

It took some time to sew: since I wanted as sleek and minimalistic look as possible, I made most of the finishing by hand, to avoid visible seams.

Now I look forward to wearing it for work tomorrow!