Steampunk Knitting Patterns

Attention all Steampunk knitters! Today’s post will sure to inspire the happiest of dances among those of your wishing to add a bit of Steamy goodness to your knitting projects.

The Sanguine Gryphon recently did an entire series of Steampunk inspired pattens for all your knitting project needs. There’s everything here from parasols and socks to skirts and gloves.

Each pattern is only five for six dollars, making this an inexpensive indulgence for all you knitting Steampunks out there. Head over to their Fall 2010 line for their full offering of Steampunk inspired patterns, and while you are there, make sure to explore their other lines as well. Each season has a different and often retrofuturisitic theme, so there’s a good chance you’ll find a new project for the knitting needles. There’s even some free patterns, so be sure to check out the Sanguine Gryphon.

Russian Steampunk

As Steampunk continues to grow and  captivate people, it brings some amazing people and creativity into the subculture. Today, I found some amazing photographs of Steampunks from Russia (Стимпанк) that were posted by looka_net to the ru_steampunk community on LiveJournal. Take a look:

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Beautifully done. They’re still working on the project, so if I happen to hear any more regarding these photographs, I’ll be sure to let you know. And be sure to follow the ru_steampunk community on LiveJournal if you’d like to learn more about Steampunk in Russia. For more on the Steampunk community in Russia as a whole, be sure to drop by http://steampunker.ru/, the same people who brought you the awesome tutorial for a Steampunk CD player a few months ago.

And, as an extra for today…if all those photos has you interested in delving deeper into Russian Steampunk, you may find this collection of photos taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii between 1909 and 1912 during a photographic survey of the Russian Empire to be of interest. Though strictly historical, these photographs give us a colorful glimpse into what life in Russia was like as the steam driven era came to an end and the Russian revolution loomed just a few years into the future. The photos may provide some inspiration for a Russian inspired Steampunk ensemble as well, so be sure to check them out.

Slightly Steampunk: The Archaeology of a Dress

Back in the Victorian period, a lot more thought and effort went into the production of clothing and fashion than our modern world has the patience to tolerate. Some of the love for a well put together wardrobe has been resurrected in Steampunk, but I’ve yet to see anything quite to level of intricacy as the topic of today’s post.

Back in 1888, a actress by the name of Ellen Terry was captivating audiences with her evocative performances of stages’ most enduring characters. Her performance of Lady MacBeth in Shakespeare’s MacBeth was as celebrated as the dress she wore:

Adorned with a thousand  jewel beetle wings (which they shed naturally) the dress was and still is considered one of the greatest theater costumes ever created. It came to reside in Smallhythe Place, Terry’s former home and survived the passage of time and several alterations.

Conservation for this 120 year old masterpiece started two years ago and was only recently completed, requiring 1,300 hours of work to preserve an essential piece of Victorian theatrical history. To read more about this impressive undertaking, check out Past Horizon’s article, The Archaeology of a Dress. There, you can read more about the melding of science and art to preserve this dress for many years to come. Here is the dress after two years of painstaking work, returned to its former beauty and glory:

Steampunk Sewing Patterns

In my browsing adventures for Steampunk finery, I happened upon two wonderful Steampunk sewing patterns by Simplicity.These patterns are even labeled as “Steampunk” and, thankfully, it looks like they’ve got a good grasp of the idea.

These patterns are the foundation for some positively beautiful dresses. And, as is always the case when you make your own things, you can make sure the garment fits perfectly in all the right areas in the perfect fabric and colors to your taste. Add a little modification of the the original design to make something that is truly unique.

If you liked these patterns, you can find other historically influenced designs by Simplicity here, including some from the Victorian era. There’s even a few for the gentlemen, so do take a look.

Steampunk Corset Instructable

There’s some aspects of Steampunk fashion that I’m happy and able to make myself. Corsets, however, was one particular item that I always approached with some caution. There’s a lot of important internal organs being compressed as the corset laces are tightened. A poorly constructed corset would not only be uncomfortable, it could also be dangerous.

Corsets are, however, a staple to the feminine Steampunk wardrobe and knowing how to make them is a wonderful skill and knowledge to have. A recently published Instructable does a fantastic job of demonstrating how to construct your very own corset.

Written by lw119, this instructable provides great visual and textual steps for the creation of your own corset, which is fantastic because making your own corset means you can choose any fabric and color you desire. It even has video!

Constructing a corset according to this Instructable will run you an inexpensive 30 to 50 USD, though plan on more if you have to purchase the necessary tools to get the job done.

Overdone Steampunk Fashions at WWWC

As people are returning home from their adventures from the Wild Wild West Convention in Old Tuscon, the commentary about the event is starting to pour in. While most of the commentary on WWWC has been largely positive, there is something about it that has apparently offended Fashion writer Niki D’Andrea of the Phoenix New Times: our Steampunk sense of fashion.

It’s true. In her article, Seven Overdone Steampunk Fashions at Wild Wild West Con, Ms. D’Andrea expresses her passionate distaste for our top hats, stripey stockings, and goggles. We’re apparently an uncreative and lazy bunch according to her refined sense of fashion. Here’s what she had to say about our steamy top hats:

Abraham Lincoln would so not wear that.

Alas! All these years I’ve spent as a Steampunk, I’ve been striving to replicate Abraham Lincoln’s wardrobe. *dies from shock of failure*

Ms. D’Andrea seems to be under the impression that Steampunk needs historical accuracy and our inability to execute Steampunk in the way she imagined it means we are all failures. Our version of historical inaccuracy is, ironically, entirely inaccurate in her mind.

Fortunately, Steampunks aren’t ones to need approval from anyone to dress as we wish. Each of Ms. D’Andrea’s Overdone Fashion Points are all popular aspects of Steampunk fashion. Saying too many Steampunks wear top hats is like saying too many punk rockers sport mohawks. It shows an apparent ignorance of the subculture and its aesthetics.

Ms. D’Andrea’s snobbery is far more unfashionable than anything anyone could have worn at WWWC.

Ascot Instructable

The ascot is one of those details of mens wear that goes largely disregarded by today’s fashion sensibilities, making an occasional appearance for a morning wedding or semi-formal event.

Ascots are an excellent accessory for Steampunks, however, and today I’ve found for you an Instructable on how to make your very own. Now you can have that perfectly colored ascot to finish off your latest Steampunk ensemble.

This Instructable is written by furtographer and features plans for your ascot to be reversible so you can wear the same ascot with a variety of different emsebles.

After you’ve made you ascot, learn how to tie it by visiting the Cravat Company’s instructional and visit Wikipedia for an interesting summary on the history of the cravat. To keep that ascot in place, consider making your own tie tack or purchasing one from the very talented Daniel Proulx of Catherinette Rings.

Mini Top Hat Tutorial

I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of mini top hats. Not because they aren’t cute or attractive, mind you, but because I feel they call too much attention to the fact that I’m tiny to begin with.

But for some (probably most) people, mini top hats are absolutely adorable. There’s plenty of people who are able to wear them with far more grace than myself. And for those people, I give you today’s tutorial for making mini top hats.

This tutorial featured on the Offbeat Bride blog is awesome because it features step by step instructions for making your own hat. The hats are really inexpensive to make, affording you the chance to make many hats for every possible outfit you desire, and decorate said hats in precisely your style of Steampunk.

Offbeat Bride gets lots of good points in my book, especially for their section dedicated to DIY projects for your wedding. So, if you happen to be planning for your big day, be sure to pay them a visit. And even if you aren’t, many of you will still be interested in some of their DIY projects like how to make a sewing pattern out of existing clothing or this one on how to make beaded flowers.

Alt.Kilt

It goes without saying that kilts are more than simply acceptable fashion when it comes to the Steampunk wardrobe. And a while back, I featured Seattle kilt makers Utilikilt who do a splendid job of proclaiming the manliness of kilts.

So, you’ve finally decided that you’re manly enough for a kilt? Congratulations! It’s important for any Steampunk gentleman looking to purchase a kilt to know that while Utilikilts are, without a doubt awesome, for those looking for a garment with a bit more unique flair, Alt.Kilts is a great place to explore when doing your kilt shopping.

Stainless Steel Armored Kilt: Black heavy cotton kilt with silver contrast stitching, a dual cargo pocket with silver box latches and featuring recycled stainless steel panels with the Alt.Kilt logo.

Alt.Kilt was created by Regina Davan and has been making handmade, custom kilts for 5 years now for all sorts of occasions. She even makes Steampunk kilts and fashions for women as well, so there’s something neat for everyone here. Be sure to check them out!

Field Trip: Ponder Boots

Yesterday, I spent some time at the Fort Worth Stockyards. The Steampunk Illumination Society had planned an outing to the Stockyards for some point in late 2010, but when logistics failed on multiple occasions, the trip was canceled. I determined that I would visit the stockyards for myself just to have a quick look-see, as the last time I was there, I was too young to remember anything of any consequence.

So off I went to the Stockyards, and much of it was just as I expected it to be: a tourist trap filled with lots of Fort Worth and southwestern branded junk people will likely buy and forget about. But among the unremarkable and the mass produced, there are a few master craftsmen still practicing their art in the Stockyards. For those interested in the Weird/Wild West flavor of Steampunk, it’s places like this that are truly not to be missed.


Tucked away off the main drag in the Stockyards is a little shop called the Ponder Boot Company. When you walk into this place, you become distinctly aware that you have entered someone’s workshop, rather than their store. There’s skins of all variety of creature hanging, folded, rolled, and scattered about the floor of the shop awaiting their transformation into a custom leather item.

As referenced in their name, custom boots are their specialty. I was able to meet Mr. Jose de la luz Ramirez, a Master Bootmaker who told me he’s been making boots for, “Fifty… uh… something years.” And by leafing through their portfolios and observing dresser drawers stuffed with photographs of past creations, it became quite clear that there isn’t something that Mr. Ramirez can’t do with leather.

What’s truly unique about Ponder Boots is that I was able to personally meet the maker of all the items that were produced by the store. This wasn’t something where Mr. Ramirez took the measurements and then they were shipped out to Mexico or El Salvador for someone else to make a custom boot. These are hand crafted by Mr. Ramirez himself, a true local artisan, to the exact specifications of his customer in the Fort Worth Stockyards. I watched him take measurements and draw up the design for a pair of alligator boots for my father:

That's Jose and my dad in the mirror

So, needless to say, if you find yourself in Fort Worth and in need of a pair of real, custom made boots created right in the place you were measured for them, Ponder Boots is a really unique experience for top of the line, hand crafted boots that will go perfectly with any Steampunk wardrobe.

To see the shop, head down to 2358 N. Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76106 or visit their website.