Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cordial and Costuming

Hello!  I just wanted to do you all the courtesy of letting you know that I will likely be quiet over the next two weeks, as I frantically ramp up my costuming efforts for an upcoming general sci-fi / fantasy convention (and then attend said convention).  Once I am back home and settled in with a cup of invigorating cordial, I will recommence my writing.  

Thank you all for stopping by my salon, and I shall be back at the end of the month.


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Quick and Dirty: Plain Hat to Steampunk'd Lid

Welcome, good people.  Today's piece is on a relatively quick and dirty modification of a plain hat to a steampunked lid.

With luck, when out thrifting one day, I stumbled upon a somewhat louche velvet hat which fit my small head like a glove (rare) and had rather the look of having been sat upon at one point in its past.  Below is that hat.
While I loved it's appealingly slightly crumpled and abused air, it needed some livening up.  I purchased some white lace trim, which I added on top of the black grosgrain ribbon, ending at the bow.  I really loved the crumpled grosgrain bow, and decided to leave it as it was.  (You can see in the rear view picture how the hat sort of crumples to the side a bit.
Next, the hat needed serious adornment.  Fortunately, a couple of years before I was able to actually start my steampunk costuming, I had gone browsing online for old pocketwatch broken bits and parts, and was able to find some relatively cheap (compared to trying to find the same things now!) and had bought several batches.  With some of the pocketwatch pieces, a freshwater pearl and a tumbled garnet raided from my beading supplies, and some nice clockhands from Lee Valley, and with considerable amounts of Gorilla Super Glue, I made a clockwork decoration for my hat.  Warning: I got that glue on my fingers (cause I seem to lack fine motor control) and it took sandpaper to remove it - along with a bit of skin.

I firmly attached the ornament to the hat by sewing it on, using the holes that were in the various clock parts.  Below are two views of ornament and hat.
I'm not as sure that this qualifies as quite as Quick and Dirty as some of the others.  However, the hat was cheap (and I am happy it's not the usual mini-hat), the lace was cheap, the clockwork bits and gears had been cheap when I got them.  And the mod was relatively easy, with the most complicated bit being the creation of the ornament.  

However, it is proof that even a sad sat-upon hat can be turned into decadent little accessory.
Hamming it up in my louche little lid.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick and Dirty: Steampunking a Vest Bustier

Okay, here's another how-I-did-it piece on quick and dirty steampunk costuming.

Because sometimes, you want it fast and you want it to be easy.

Hmm ... hrm ... ahem.

So, I wanted a vest I could throw on with a skirt and blouse to jazz it up a bit.  Again, this was part of a 2-week costuming bender I went on right before a Con.  So I hit the thrift stores, and came up with this:
What I really liked about this black heavy-weight cotton vest was its fit - very snug, and very firm fabric, so it provided good support and close to corset-like shaping.  However, it definitely needed some quick jazzing-up.  Using a scrap of black leather the sewing machine could handle, and a silver clip, I made a keyfob which I stitched directly to the vest.
I had some silverish wind-up and skeleton keys, so I added them to the built-in keyfob.   I added a silver pocketwatch. 
I played with a few other ideas, tricking it out with a old medal I'd found (which I planned to mod) and a  silver kilt pin with a cluster of silver safety pins at one end and a sewing chatelaine on the other end (thimble case, needle case, seam ripper).
I wasn't so happy with it, but it suited for one convention.  
I have now removed the medal and the kiltpin chatelaine, and have replaced them with an ornament I made with a silver kiltpin and a teapot charm. 
Not sure where this will go from here, but I don't want to give up on the vest.  

Anyone have suggestions for tricking this simple and very convenient vest into a more steampunk realm?  Or is it sufficient as it is?