Sewing Corner with Miss Kitty Sews: Girly Steampunk

For my birthday we decided to go to Port Townsend on the Washington state peninsula for the weekend. It turned out to be the Brass Screw’s Steampunk weekend, so we thought we should join in on the fun! Or more like, ‘What a great excuse to make a costume!’ I decided to make something very girly and that could potentially be used for things that were not just steampunk. So I set forth to make a skirt and blouse from the later 1890’s. I chose this period because it is kind of whimsy and circus feel that goes well with steampunk.

For the skirt I used a pattern I already had from Truly Victorian. (Pattern #291) I also used this pattern for the petticoat. For the petticoat I bought some rose pink cotton lawn fabric. This fabric I bought on eBay, which can be a great place to get a good deal on fabric but can be risky. I have a few fabrics in my stash from eBay which didn’t turn out as I had expected.  But this rose cotton lawn was wonderful! And was only four dollars a yard!

The petticoat on top, with a double ruffle hem.

The skirt pattern from Truly Victorian is really easy and I’ve made it up quite a few times. To turn it into a petticoat, I left an open slit in the back panels and made the waistband a tunnel for ribbon to thread through and tie in the back. I added two ruffles along the hem, one with some white lace (another eBay find) and the other plain as I didn’t have enough lace. (oops!) Along the top of the upper ruffle I sewed some white piping to help give the petticoat keeps its shape.

Pink Thai Silk!

I knew I wanted my outfit to my super girly, so I started shopping around for deals on silk taffeta. On eBay I found a great deal on some thin Thai silk that was a great light pink color, and was only 8 dollars a yard for pure silk. I’ve never used Thai silk before, so I was a little apprehensive. When the package arrived though, I was pleasantly surprised. The Thai silk had a great sheen to it, and a smooth texture. It was thinner than what I was used to, but as this event would be in 70 degree weather I was happy with it.  After cutting out the panels in the silk, I hand basted the silk onto a white cotton muslin for my underlining. This saves me the trouble of lining the skirt and helps gives the silk a little more body. Usually when I make up this skirt I cheat and used a zipper (gasp!) but this time I had bought some hook and eye tape and made the placket up like pattern. The skirt I also made a hem ruffle and then used some black and white striped cotton lawn as a stripe above the hem. I outlined it with double lace, which was a pain to get lined up correctly.  I also didn’t have enough of the striped fabric to cut on the bias, so I had to add some pleats to curve it along the skirt, which I’m hoping won’t be an eyesore.
Getting the double lace pattern lined up

The hook and eye tape for the placket closure

A better look at the inside of the placket

How it looks closed up! I thought it looked pretty good for my first try.

The top I went a bit rogue on, and used the Laughing Moon Pattern #103 as a base. I wanted it a little less blousy, so I cut the front pattern without the gathering and left some space open for a small gathered panel. Fitting a bodice is really difficult, and I had made two mock ups before cutting out my silk. I probably should have done some more mock ups. The top has some fabric bunching under the arms, which I figured was from the gathered back, but that was just wishful thinking. When I made up the top, it still had excess fabric at the sides.  I’m not sure if I will end up wearing the top for the event, we’ll see how I like it all put together.

Hand tacking the flatlining to the silk
All of the bodice pieces tacked onto the silk for more precise cutting.

Of course I can't leave out my greatest helper Kitten!

Thank you for joining me in the sewing corner! I’m still not a great costumer, but slowly I will get there. Very slowly. 

~Miss Kitty Sews

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