A Stitch in Time . . .

As my Steampunk wardrobe has unfolded, I’ve been a staunch supporter of thrift-store steaming. I’ve written elsewhere about my incompetence with a needle; to date, that’s been handiest excuse for not picking one up.

But this week, I did the unthinkable. I finally became  seamstress.

Does it sound more impressive when I add that I hand-sewed a costume piece, without a pattern, by candlelight, whilst camping in upper New York? (Please say “yes!”) When it was all said and done, it was great fun. I might even do it again.

So drumroll, please, for my first sewn project: A bustle pad—of all things—to fill out those beautiful bustles I purchased at TeslaCon last fall. They’re my best Victorian wardrobe pieces so far. When I wear them for my Steampunk 101 class at Realm Makers today, I think they’ll look even better with this pad underneath!

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I started out with a basic pattern from Wipsterwhich I had to recreate from memory because our campsite didn’t have wifi. I took my measurements, then plotted the general shape on a piece of fabric and cut it out, including about an inch on all sides for the seam. (Apologies for photo quality; I took it in a tent, after all!)

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Then I sewed the cut pieces inside out. This took about two hours of handwork, which then allowed me to turn it right-side out and stuff it. At the last minute, I decided to add a couple rows of ruffles, which I cut with loose measurements, pinned into pleats, and stitched across, bottom to top for a little extra poof.

IMG_4169After that, it was time to add the grosgrain ribbon I’d bought for the ties. I also had left the top corners free of stuffing and sewed them down for a more tapered fit. This turned out to make for much easier and more sturdy attachment of the ties.

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A few more stitches later, voila! My very own bustle pad. I tried it on today; it seems to work great with my two bustles. Here’s a preliminary picture with one of them. (Again, apologies for the low light. I’m on location at Realm Makers, held this year at Villanova University.)

BustleRoll-Finished

 

Watch for photos of the final effect in my Realm Makers wrap-up blog next week. In the mean time . . . why not try a new creative technique for your costume this week? You never know what you might discover.

Huzzah for hand-sewing! And happy steampunking, wherever you may be.

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What about you? What was your first DIY sewing project? Or, if you haven’t done one yet, what would you like to try?

 

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