Monday, October 24, 2011

Steampunk, a truly cool aesthetic

My husband's Halloween costume is finally finished! And by finished, I mean "for now". We have many things we'll be adding for future Halloweens, such as a proper Victorian shirt, a button vest, some long leather side button spats, and more. But for now, I think we have the most basic elements that he really wanted.
Right now, it's a bit of a fantasy/sci-fi version of Steampunk, since we had to make due with what we had in some places.
A LOT of work went into this costume, from both of us, and James is beyond thrilled to finally be Steampunked out. He has even been growing out his beard in a Franz Josef style to try and get a more Victorian look.
I have to say one thing, the costume (and his beard) look much better in person than in the pictures.

I really do have a total love/hate relationship with the coat pattern, though! Simplicity 2517 really makes a great coat (haha, a great coat, and a Greatcoat..get it?), but the trials getting to the finished product were very painful.
I have never worked with a pattern containing so many errors and misprints. In one place, I was at a complete loss at how to proceed, and if it wasn't for some great advice from my friend Sheila, I don't know what I would have done.
Sewing that thing took me 12 days of very hard work to make. But I don't want to be ALL negative about the coat. The pattern has great details; I love the pockets with the decorative welts, the hang of the capelet, the full lining, the fake sleeve placket (hidden by the bracers, sadly) is even a nice touch on a costume. I also think the yards of faux leather trim I added make it look much less costume-y. That fabric was expensive, and a bit of work to make into binding strips, but well worth the extra effort. It is like doeskin, so soft to the touch it almost feels trimmed in fur.
I have to share a picture of the details. The gorgeous paisley lining, soft leather trim, and cool brass buttons.

So the final product is excellent, much better than a cheap costume coat.
For more information on the details and construction of the coat, and more pictures of the coat from side and back, please see my PR Review.

Moving on. :D
My husband really took the coat I made for him and ran with it, making a ton of very cool accessories for his costume.

The cane was my idea in a general way, but it was James that really made it cool. Would you believe that copper tubing wrapped around it is copper spray painted old coax cable?
The green power source is a tabasco bottle filled with green food colored water, lit with a penlight from underneath.
The light on top is an old motion sensor we used to have in the hallway in our old house, but no longer need in the new place. It's also carefully painted, and decorated with nuts (the metal sort, not the edible kind!).

It looks really cool at night, when the green bottle gives off nice eerie glow, and the top light is bright bluish white.

On a side note, those are his old SCA leather bracers, previously serving for 1500's period looks, they work well for this anachronistic costume, too!

The goggles are purchased (only about $6), but much altered. Also painted with copper spray paint, and decorated by James. The movable (and completely functional) magnifying eyepiece is also his own addition, somewhat modeled after the eyepiece worn by Johnny Depp in The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
The hat is one of many he already owned, being a big hat collector. It is a very nice traditional fedora, felt with a leather band.

To add even MORE detail to the goggles, he also took some old wristwatch gears and glued them artfully on the sides, along with a few more nuts and bolts around the rims.
Overall, I think it's a really great costume, and lots of fun. It has the potential to be even cooler, as both of us plan on making additions to it over the years. I really like this style so much, I'm hoping to make my own steampunk costume next year, something I can also wear and build upon for years to come.

Well, Halloween is only 2 days away! I have cookies to bake and a pumpkin to carve, and a few other details to take care of.
I hope everyone has a VERY happy Halloween!!


  1. What a fantastic greatcoat! It is a fabulous look. What a lot of work went into all those great details.

  2. Drop Dead Fabulous!!! How awesome that your DH has such a rockin' style w/ the steampunk - love it!