Dark Destiny Designs

Before A-Kon started, I ordered some gloves to go with my dress. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask for express shipping so that they would make it in time for the convention, so they did not arrive until after the convention was over. It was alright, though, I wound up wearing two pairs of white gloves that used to be my grandmothers, and they looked spectacular.

I’m very excited about my new gloves, however, and wanted to share them all with you:

These are spats inspired arm-warmers from Dark Destiny Designs. I got them from their Etsy site and I love them! They are just outstanding, and they fit me perfectly.

The only sad part about this entry is that Erin, the seamstress, has temporarily closed her shop. She’s due to have her baby soon (congrats to her) and thus has closed up shop for the immediate future. Fear not, however! Erin does intend to reopen her shop, and you can even sign up on her Etsy storefront to know when she’ll reopen for business.

If you like the look of these can would like to see some of her past work, you can visit the gallery on her main website, or her past purchases on her Etsy shop. I think you will like what you see, especially if you are into Dark Steam.

Silver Leaf Designs

Silver Leaf Designs is primarily a Renaissance and medieval clothier, but they’ve recently incorporated Steampunk into their repertory, and it was these products that were mostly on sale at A-Kon.

A lot of theirs stuff incorporates their primary genre, especially their skirts and chemises which have a certain medieval feel to them, but still could go with a Steampunk wardrobe if the correct accessories were employed. Which, by the way, they have covered because there is an excellent selection of goggles and leather top hats available at Silver Leaf’s Etsy store.

At their website, you can see more of the Renaissance side of their portfolio, as well as upcoming events that they are planning to attend. It’s kind of strange that A-Kon isn’t listed; perhaps they only list their Ren Faire events there. Again, for all my my readers in the DFW area, this is another locally owned and run shop, so if you like what they are selling, buy knowing you’re supporting the growing Steampunk community here in Dallas.

SteamCon II Couture

Ah! All this talk about conventions has gotten me incredibly excited for the next convention on my circuit, SteamCon II. I’ve already booked my flight and hotel for what will certainly be a thrilling week of Steampunk misadventure. In browsing through their site once again, I discovered that the Couture section of SteamCon’s website had been updated!

This year, there are going to be two teas and fashion shows. According to the website:

One tea will be a classic high tea with the fashion show focused on elegant evening wear and formal frocks. The other tea party will be more akin to the convention’s theme of The Weird, Weird West. This tea will be a leisurely and informal style. The accompanying fashion show will feature the rough and tumble edge of steampunk with a focus on men’s wear and utilitarian looks.

I’m more inclined to go to the high tea because 1) I don’t really care for American West Steampunk 2) I am not a man and 3) I’m always interested to see how people decide to enmesh the Steam and Punk aspects into formal wear. For me, Steampunk fashion is a combination of the two aspects, not just Steam, and not just Punk. Both are equally important to create our unique look and make us stand out from the Neo-Victorians. But that’s just me.

Anyway! The applications for both designers and models to be showcased in SteamCon II’s fashion shows are now online.

Designers, click here for your application. Models, click here. Please be sure to visit the Couture section of SteamCon’s website for the full listing of the their rules and expectations regarding your application and submissions. I do hope to see some of my reader’s and/or designs on the SteamCon II catwalk, so let me be the first to wish you all good luck!


In what is going to be an on-going series of tips, ideas, and merchants picked up while attending A-Kon, I’d like to introduce you all to Threadbanger, a do it yourself fashion and style website.

This is yet another great resource for constructing your own Steampunk wardrobe. It’s a very well built community of do-it-yourselfers who are dedicated to teaching others how to make and mod your own clothing. There are a TON of Steampunk projects one can indulge in, from goggles and spats to corsets. Personally, I prefer to buy a corset from someone who really knows what they are doing rather than make that particular article of clothing myself, but there certainly are tutorials at your disposal should you wish to undertake the project.

I’m in the process of gathering all of the required media for my post on A-Kon. It may be a while as I am working late three days this week, as well as the weekend (ugh, talk about welcome back to real life, Audelia). While all of the pieces of what I promise will be an exciting blog post are falling in to place, I’ll be highlighting some of the merchants I ran into who were running booths at the Kon.

Deconstructing Steampunk: Designing Your Own Costume

All of these Steampunk events at A-Kon is making me realize how much work I am going to have to do for SteamCon II this November. This is not to say that my current Steampunk attire is not impressive or sufficiently Steampunk. It’s just that A-Kon is not an explicitly Steampunk convention. I can get by with two great Steampunk outfits for the entire weekend. I won’t be able to do this for SteamCon. Between all the different events, I’m definitely going to have five or six costume changes to not have to wear the same thing twice.

Fortunately, there’s resources to help. Aside from purchasing at Etsy (which I am eternally in love with), there is the option of creating some of my costume by myself. This is something of a daunting task: I’m a working professional trying to simultaneously hold down a full time job, write a novel, apply to grad school, and command a guild in my MMO. Needless to say, I’m a busy gal.

But there are some resources for me to consult, the first of which that comes to mind is an article on MyDisguises.com, Deconstructing Steampunk: Designing Your Own Costume. I like how this article breaks down Steampunk fashion by first explaining the core ideas influencing Steampunk. You can’t understand Steampunk without knowing where our influences come from, I think.

The only problem that I have with this article is that it assumes that Steampunk is only a costume. If I worked at a place where they were a bit more lax on the dress code, I would happily wear Steampunk clothing every day.   It is not the sort of thing I would wear only at conventions were I so allowed. It is not cosplay. It is an integral part of my life, the fashion of a genuine subculture to which I belong.

Anyway, tomorrow, I’ll see if I can’t find you all some more fashion links. Preferably, ones that don’t think that Steampunk fashion is a “costume.” *sigh*

Gypsy Lady Hats

If you have been reading Trial By Steam for any period of time, you are likely aware of how much I love Etsy and all the triumphs of artistry that it makes available to the discerning buyer. I’d like to share another marvelous experience that I had when I decided to order this:

That, my friends, is a top hat by the brilliantly talented Gypsy Lady Hats on Etsy. It’s made from brown crushed velvet and satin, with a coppery taffeta for the hat band and bow. It’s stunningly Steampunk and just enough over the top to embrace both the Steam and Punk aspects of our subculture.

I had a wonderful experience with the ladies at Gypsy Lady Hats, who took the time to consider all of the details and specifics of my particular case regarding concerns about my goggles. I was concerned about the weight of my goggles distorting or damaging the brim of the hat when I placed them there, but I was assured that the hats are very sturdily made, and that goggles weighing a pound would not be a problem. Now that I have the hat in hand, I have no doubts that it will be just fine. I would like to warn you all about one thing, however. The booming popularity of these finely made hats has made quite a waiting list, so do not expect that your hat will arrive soon after you purchase it. Mine took just over a month to arrive, but oh, was it worth the wait…

If you are looking for a top hat to put the finishing touches on your latest Steampunk attire, I highly recommend Gypsy Lady Hats as a great place to purchase it. Please, just do not buy it from Hot Topic. The Hot Topic brand has ripped off many of Gypsy Lady Hats’ designs and called it their own. Observe the evils of the corporate and the theft of an artistic design from an independent artist!

Gypsy Lady Hats' Top Hat

Hot Topic's Top Hat Rip-Off

This is precisely why I keep telling you all to buy from places like Etsy. Corporate America is just dying to get in on this new thing they’ve heard of called Steampunk, and would like to treat it like many of the other subcultures that they’ve entrapped through their mass produced but easily accessible garbage. If you can’t make and mod your own Steampunk clothes, do the right (and Steampunk) thing and buy from an independent artist who can.

If you want to learn more about Hot Topic’s theft of Gypsy Lady Hats’ designs, you can check out many of their other designs stolen by Hot Topic and read more about the situation on their Facebook page here.

Steampunk Fashion Ball at Panoptikon

In an effort to highlight the occasional Steampunk event in my current location of Dallas, TX, I’d like to bring your attention today to a “Steampunk Fashion Ball” at Panoptikon in Deep Ellum on Friday, May 7th at 9PM. The House of Mob will be presenting their latest line of Steampunk fashion for the viewing delight of all Dallas Steampunks. Best of all, the event is free; there is no cover or entrance fees to witness this exciting event.

House of Mob has a five page spread in Twisted South Magazine that came out on May 1st at Barnes and Noble, Borders, Book World and Waldenbooks across the USA, Puerto Rico and the UK with some stores carrying the magazine in France and Spain. It is a limited edition magazine, so if you like what you have seen on House of Mob’s website, consider picking up a copy, and be quick about it!

This is a excellent opportunity to meet some local Steampunks in a town where Steampunk seems scattered and a bit disorganized. I’d like to be able to say that I will with all certainty be at this event, but with the way my work is, I can make no certain guarantees to my presence. If you decide to go, let me know how it was!

Where you will be able to see me, with all certainty, is at A-Kon in June, specifically, at the Abney Park concert. I have no idea as to why Abney Park is playing at A-Kon. The connection between Steampunk and anime is feeble at best, but the fact remains that Abney Park will be in Dallas, and I therefore, must be there, and I hope you will be as well. Early registration for A-Kon is closed, but you can still buy tickets at the door when the Kon starts.