Sunday, October 21, 2012
Steampunk Halloween - in 5 Days: PART I
A friend has enticed me out to play the weekend before Halloween. The Bay area has a lot of fun dress up parties, and San Francisco becomes one big costume party regardless of what party you are going to.
So how do I do something new in less than a week. I started by trying to dye a thrift store steampunk shirt. It was one of those great super-cheap super-perfect tops. It also fit without having to tailor it.
I washed and dried it then sank it into a strong tea bath. The white turned a nice ivory, the blue/black stripes really didn't change....and the "oh geez" moment came when I realized that the unseen discolouration in the armpit areas took the tea more than anywhere else...so I had tea-armpit stains. It only got worse when I tried to bleach the shirt out. Apparently there was a pair of pink yoga pants in the wash unbeknownst to me. I could do nothing except watch the pink tinged water slosh around.
In the end I picked up a bag of terracota-brown dye which worked perfectly. I then added some metal look buttons (sorry for the crummy photos)....and presto! for $6 I have a perfect steampunk shirt....
Of course I can't stop with just a thrift store shirt. I needed a corselet -- so I thought I'd sew one. An easy peasy one from Simplicity's steampunk line. I picked up some .99cent patterns and thought it would be a good base, boy was I wrong. I'm not sure why but I cut the pattern based on the "after tightening" measurement and it came out way way too big. You can seen the pattern piece below (this includes the seam allowance) and the pink marker where the new seam lines are:
So what I thought would be a no-brainer project turned into a couple of hours of fitting, mocking up, and fitting again. I am also short waisted so I had to take that into account as well.
I used pleather to get what I hoped would be a cool steampunk look. Of course I didn't have the appropriate busk laying around so I fiddled up a closure with hook and eye tape, and maybe at some other point I'll add a real corset closure. It just needs to get me through the weekend festivities.
The most important new thing I had was a teflon sewing foot (bargain on ebay) this allowed me to sew the pleather easily, something I didn't have when I made a costume a few years ago and vowed never to sew with the stuff again.