Saturday, July 17, 2010

Confessions of a Steam Punk dreamer


From Dictionary.com; Steampunk - a genre of science fiction set in Victorian times when steam was the main source of machine power.

I must admit I've fallen in love with steampunk fashion. I must also admit this post is a few weeks old, and I still haven't gotten around to finishing it.
A few weeks ago a doll board I lurk on had Steampunk as it's weekly theme. The people there posted the most amazing doll photos of their dolls wearing the most wonderful Victorian garb with science fiction elements. I know it's cliche, but it just looks so modern, this woebegone fantasy era. Falling in love with this, is not an easy relationship. Steampunk is hard to make, it's incredibly detail orientated, which is generally beyond my skill level. So off to the internet I went, trying to find a picture to emulate. I usually work best with something part of a picture I'm trying to "capture". Looking though I decided I wanted to go against the bustle and long train look. I like the look, but the day jacket and long skirt is just a little much. It's pretty, but I wouldn't use it a lot. I found myself drawn to the Lolita look. I know, again? But once again I like the cute girly type.
Making a quick sketch I set out. I figured that since I have to draft most of my own patterns that I should make one thing per day, setting a goal too high would result in pretty quick failure. Also if I forced myself to make too much each piece would get less time and would probably look terrible. First thing up was a cape. I made it out of a black linen cloth, that once again, I got when I had no idea the qualities of the fabrics were, so I don't use it often. It frays a lot. So I figured a cape would be simple, easy, and use a good chunk of it. And I was right, for the most part it came out pretty easy. It's a a tad cumbersome, but overall it works. It closes with a hook and eye at the neck. I tried it out on Vintage Ken and it fits him too, haven't tried it on any other dolls with a larger neck. But it came out okay.
Unfortunately that would be the end of my success. The next thing I tried to make was a pair of bloomers. I figured that I could make Barbie pants, hike them up and add elastic at the knee. Boy was I wrong. The way the pattern was drafted there was no way to pull those pants up any higher, and I never figured out how to add elastic. I ended up scrapping the idea of bloomers, and just made them into simple black Barbie slacks. I actually added the darts the pattern called for and they fit like a dream. Not sure what I'm going to do with them, they are a little masculine, but at least something came out of my sewing.
The next thing I tried was a corset, this was something that I did my own total draft pattern of. And it came out decent in the test sewing. But when I tried to make it for real it never worked. It was always too long, or just would not fit. So that ended up in the scrap pile, lesson learned.
So for the most part I've learned that what I was doing wasn't going to work out. Cutting my losses, I'm trying another "inspirational" photo, one that I may be able to replicate with a more favorable outcome. Yesterday I made two parts, it's still a secret, but you'll see it in time. The worst part is however that I don't have any fabric that I want to use for part of it. Hopefully Hobby Lobby will have good sales this week, and I'll find what I'm looking for. All I know is what I don't want, and what I don't want is any of the fabric that I already have.
Today's picture is once again the Fashion Queen, (She's still on my desk, so I tend to grab what's handy.) she's wearing the Pants and the Cape that I mentioned. The shirt is a small jacket thing I made yesterday. It doesn't match, and I don't like it, but she needed something for modesty.

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