The Victorian Trading Co

There’s a website I recently discovered that is sure to be of interest for Steampunks looking to outfit their abodes with a Victorian flair.  The Victorian Trading Company has all manner of goods inspired by Victoiriana.

The Victorian Trading Co was started in 1987 by Melissa and Randy Rolston in Dallas, Texas and now operates as a small company based out of Lenexa, Kansas outside of Kansas City.

From antique reproductions and fashion to outdoor living and accessories, The Victorian Trading Company is a great resource for finding items to match your Steampunk decor.  They even have free e-cards for you Steampunks wanting to send a message to your equally steamy friends. You can check them out here.

An Abney Park Show in Seattle and AP Swimsuits

Tickets went on sale today for Abney Park’s latest show in Seattle, the Seattle Steampunk Soiree taking place on July 9th at Studio Seven. This is an all ages show, and tickets for those 20 years and younger are able to purchase tickets for just a dollar! 21 and over is $15, which is still a great price!

Make sure to pick up your tickets soon, as tickets to Abney Park shows in Seattle sell quickly and you don’t want to miss out!

And, just in time for swimsuit season, Abney Park is teaming up with  The Gentlemen’s Emporium to bring you Victorian bathing suits featuring the band’s Jolly Rodger across the front. Observe!

There’s an interesting story behind the creation of these swimsuits. Here it is, according to Captain Robert:

The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition
This steampunk event is being held in a hotel with a water parkJake Von Slatt wrote to me with the idea of making Abney Park Jolly Rodger Victorian Swimsuits for fans to wear to the water park. So, to pull this off I partnered with The Gentlemen’s Emporium, who are having these manufactured specifically for us.

These swimsuits are on sale for only two short weeks starting today, and will never be available again after the pre-ordering period is done, so if you want one, you need to get order soon! And for those of you wanting to wear your suits at the The Great New England Steampunk Exhibition, never fear… the Captain assures you the suits will arrive in time for the Exhibition.

Steam Powered Heart

After what has been an apparently miserable April in Seattle, Spring is (more or less) here, and with it comes shorter hemlines and that irresistible draw to the outdoors. Being well dressed but simultaneously well prepared for adventures can be something of a challenge for the Steampunk who wants to flaunt their steamy sensibilities and remain unburdened by cumbersome layers or a hefty dry cleaning bill.

Fortunately, Wondermark has your answer in the form of a new Steampunk t-shirt, The Steam Powered Heart.

The Steam Powered Heart T-Shirt comes in both mens and womens cuts and is one item in a very nice line of shirts, prints, and books created by Wondermark. Click here to see the full offering of goodies for sale by Wondermark at TopatoCo. 

If you find yourself enjoying the humor and wit of Wondermark, do be sure to drop by their main website for a multitude of entertaining comics for your reading pleasure. 

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, 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.