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.

Jewelry Making 101

Have you ever admired someone’s Steampunk finery and thought to yourself, “I could never make something like that!” So much of Steampunk’s beauty is in the minute details, and to those who have had no previous jewelry making experience, it can be daunting to start making steamy jewelry.

Fortunately, there’s a great tutorial to get you started making your own ooh, shinys,  and it’s even a video so you can actually see how some of this is done. Below is just one technique in many for creating new goodies.

Many thanks to B’sue Boutiques for showing us how to do brass stamping! If you liked the tutorial, be sure to head to her channel where she has lots of neat tutorials for those hoping to learn more about jewelry making in general. You can also check out her website where you can shop for brass stampings, jewelry findings, French charms, rhinestones, vintage components and beads, unique tools, artist papers and scrapbooking supplies for Altered Art.