View Full Version : Steampunk

07-11-2009, 12:34 AM
I need help making a steampunk costume. The only ones I ever see are always people way older than me. I'm only 13 and so, I need help on making a steampunk costume of a 14 year old mechanic's assistant (my sister being the mechanic). I have never seen a teenage steampunk costume, believe me, I can't find any pictures. I just need some pictures or even tips.

07-11-2009, 12:58 AM
It will pretty much be the same no matter the age, unless someones like...5....when fashions were obviously different. Victorian or old west styles are something else to look up.

For a mechanic or assistant, torn/patched pants (not jeans) and a button up shirt is a good call. Or a knee length skirt (youth factor there) with an apron one can have tools/trinkets in/on, again with a button up shirt. Thinks like dirt marks or grease stains are excellent...just dirty up the clothes (sanitarily obviously.)

07-11-2009, 03:14 AM
Old west and Victorian clothing accented with gears and copper steam tech pieces is what you're looking for. The age is irrelevant unless you are under like 10. In the "Steampunk" type stories and art I've seen 13 year old are regularly pressed into service, think child miners. Just do a Google image search and get yourself some inspiration. Also check out Threadbangers.com they have some really good tut's on steampunk stuff, and brassgoggles.co.uk will have tons of inspirational stuff for you. Also a "aviator" style leather helmet, you can make one from an old purse from a thrift store, there is a tut somewhere. And don't forget the goggles and either a tool belt or leather/canvas apron full of pockets stuffed with "tools" (make em up, a thin brass tube with a strange coil of wire on top is a "quantum tuner" for a "crystal drive unit") the thing with steampunk is that unless you are following a specific guideline imagination is key. Oh and if you're a mechanics assistant a Giant monkey wrench is key.

07-11-2009, 09:58 AM


Don't just use gears to decorate, this is a horrible misconception that has arisen and isn't right...and often just looks awful. At MOST gears should be used as portions of jewelry, buttons, or cufflinks if not being used to simulate something in tech. And with tech it should look like the gear has a purpose not just glued on.

07-11-2009, 03:21 PM
Well, when you say 13 and mechanic - I think dirty (as in "grease" stains and whatnot) ragamuffin street child kind of look.

Bermuda "private school" shorts, cute socks, clunky boots or something (I think just brown Oxfords could work, or "saddle shoes"), some kind of appropriate shirt (think dress-shirt, but not too frilly), and big suspenders.

And some kind of floppy hat and crazy or pulled-up hair.

And some kind of gloves - be it knitted fingerless or giant ones.

Not the most original concept - but the colour choices, good craftsmanship and detailing will make it stand out.

But it really depends on YOUR take on the character. What do YOU want the character to be like ? What's your character's relation with the other people in the crew ?

Here are some ideas :


I realise these are all pretty young kids - but Steampunk's inspiration is primarily Victorian.

At the time, that's basically what you would have worn if you somehow managed to have such a job. The choice for girls YOUR age might realistically have been a long, frumpy plain dress if she had been poor - but Victorian's women wear isn't really utilitarian enough for a *mechanic*. You're looking at more boy's clothing, younger boys - since older for your position is, in my opinion, not as cute or interesting for *you* to work with.

Here's an actual photograph of a coal mine worker who could easily be about your age - a girl : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Wigan_pit_brow_lass.jpg


- Is it hot or cold where you work ?
- Do you get messy or are you phobic and panicky ?
- Are you well provided-for or not ?

Since you're a mechanic's assistant, a dress probably isn't the right route - but you could incorporate "found" girly items like a lacey tattered collar or fichu or something weird like a long lacey glove/s tied around your hat if you had a hat you could do that with.

07-12-2009, 11:05 AM
If you wear glasses, consider getting a clip on loupe. People used them before bifocals were invented (and are still used by jewelers and engravers).

Also, if you go to large antique flea markets you can usually find lots of unusual old tools that look nothing like modern tools (except for pipe wrenches, which have really not changed much in 150 years). I will say that tool wise, the socket head screw and the screwdriver did not exist until the 20th century; the first modern socketed screw was the Robertson screw, invented in 1908. So, no screwdrivers in your toolkit

Now direction wise.....

Well, you see, the 19th century was a really interesting time in that the differences between the haves and have nots was really pronounced. A person with a job, any job, any job at all, can afford slightly better then scrounged clothes (it's very important to note this, since unemployment was astronomically high). Those who had jobs, even lowly apprentices, would have interest in spending some of their money to dress upwards at all times, so as to keep their job and not wind up on the streets. In a society that would have been openly chauvinistic and rather quick to judge, trying to conceal your gender and being caught would be rather, well, bad.

A girl, serving in what would effectively be a boy's job, would really have two options... try to appear like a boy and hope nobody notices, or try to be both openly feminine and let people think what they will of what you do.

A good example of this would be Marie Curie, and before her, Ada Lovelace.

I would recommend going for a more neo-victorian children's look. Watch "Emma: A Victorian Romance" and pay attention to Vivi's day clothes. You would basically want a less-bright, more gritty version of that.

I've attached a picture of that below...

07-12-2009, 12:30 PM
^ Great advice.

However, as a note the OP - the "fantasy world" you've created is also important.

I've never seen steampunk that incorporates Victorian social reality to any great degree. It's a romanticises / idealised fantasy.

It's useful to know about - but I'm just saying, you have a lot of freedom with your costume. Some degree of historical accuracy can really improve your costume and make it more than, "lol, I put on a corset over some beige and brown clothing", but it's also STEAMPUNK - the Victorians definitely didn't have ray guns or airship pirates, either.

I misread that you were an airship mechanic - but if you're not, it doesn't really change that much. Though if you're in a "workshop" setting doing kind of "tinkering" - you might reasonably be much less dirty than if you're constantly running around below-deck.

07-12-2009, 02:09 PM
I've never seen steampunk that incorporates Victorian social reality to any great degree.

Steamboy did. Although it was inobtrusive.

It becomes apparent if you watch Steamboy and Emma back to back, and then read all of Kaoru Mori's notes.

07-12-2009, 02:33 PM
O, I would agree with that. *nod*

I was more thinking of "random steampunk costumes not connected to any defined work".

Where a "steampunk mechanic" fits into the social strata really depends on the personal fantasy of the person creating the character.

Is this character sitting inside making intricate clockwork maids for the gentry ?

Or are they modifying motorised bicycles for ruffians with scraps and bits ?

There's also a fair amount of liberty with the historical correctness of such costumes - which I don't necessarily see as a bad thing. Sure, I've seen horrible things created in the name of "this is my steampunk character" (I'm tired of "corsets as outerwear" for the most part) - but some really cool things, too.

I would really encourage a person to put a good deal of thought into the character they're creating.

Although, I admit, the amount of thought that went into the character design for my "Steampunk Plague Doctor" was fairly minimal, though a lot of the questions I would have others ask themselves were sort of pre-answered.