View Full Version : Help for a Steampunk newbie?

04-11-2012, 11:32 AM
Alright, so a bunch of my friends have been posting a lot of their steampunk creations on facebook and it's gotten me kind of interested in it. The only thing I know about it, however, is that the clothing is based a lot in the Victorian/Edwardian era and that goggles seem to be a really popular accessory.

Oh, and also gears.

I've been throwing some ideas around in my head for a bit for a costume. I don't have anything solid yet and so have been looking around for tutorials on corsets and hats and jewelry making and have found a few things that have caught my interest.

One of the things I found for corsets is this: http://browse.deviantart.com/resources/tutorials/artisancrafts/?qh=&section=&q=corset#/d18rjmu

I like this because I'm not particularly fond of making corsets, so I like the idea of being able to buy something modern looking and then customizing it to look how I want it to. My only concern is that I don't know how "steampunk" this is. If it's acceptable, then great, if not, then is there a way you would suggest for me to make it acceptable?

Also, are there any other tips you can give me? Techniques, things I should look for, do this- not that, good sources of reference (like movies) type stuff? Anything at all would help since I'm so new to this. :) I'm a blank slate, feel free to write on me!

04-11-2012, 12:55 PM
First off, my biggest tip is to not just throw on goggles and gears unless they have an actual purpose.

Onto the link you posted. I think it's pretty damned cool. If you were doing something like some sort of fighter, maybe making your own military character or the very common sky pirate, you could do that weaving out of leather (or vinyl) and use it as a leather breastplate armor piece. Then you could pair it with a good shirt and coat, pants with boots over them, utility or gun holster belts, gloves, maybe a hat, and actually goggles would work with that.

The great thing with steampunk is that it's an open field you can take liberties with.

04-11-2012, 01:17 PM
Thanks! I was actually thinking of doing something leather like for the weaving anyway, but now you've given me an actual character to think about. (I may go the sky pirate route, I know it's common, but pirates make me happy :) )That also gives me a direction to go with props as that's something I've been wanting to experiment with anyway.

04-11-2012, 05:59 PM
When it comes to steampunk the best way to start planning is to know what kind of character you are doing, so that's good now that you have a jumping off point. Without it, you just end up lost as to what to do and how to use props and accessories. Good luck on your costume.

04-11-2012, 07:39 PM
Thanks very much, it's starting to get exciting now. :)

04-12-2012, 12:20 AM
I think I have a good design started. Seems kind of plain to me right now, but I didn't draw on all of the accessories and everything because I just wanted to get the base clothing down first.


I know it could probably look more captain-y with a longer coat and boots as apposed to spat like boot covers... but the bolero style coat and the spats are something I really fell in love with when looking at resources and tutorials. If it throws off the captain look too much though I'm willing to change it. Just looking for opinions on this step so far.

(Also, I'm not set on those colors I used, not even thinking about colors right now, just wanted to make the sketch easier to read. If you have any ideas on good colors let me know. :) )

04-12-2012, 01:01 AM
That sketch so far is great! I love the colors too actually. As for the short bolero, I think it could still work for a captain. If they are out fighting, they wouldn't want a long coat that would get caught up in stuff anyway. And the spats are awesome. I love spats and think they are under-used in steampunk. Really your design is off to a good, and different, start. It's going to be really cool when you are done I think.

04-12-2012, 05:19 PM
Thanks much, glad to know I'm going in the right direction! ^^

04-12-2012, 08:00 PM
There are some people who are more hardcore set in what they think steampunk is than I am, so you might get some nay sayers, but I think you jumping off on the right foot. Especially the little jacket. I did that for my friend's steampunk costume (http://www.cosplay.com/photo/2988118/) I designed and made for her a few years back. She still wears it and even had the steampunk band Abney Park compliment her costume, so that was really cool.

04-13-2012, 04:27 PM
Wow, that concept is really cool actually!

Seconding the don't glue random gears xD; The problem with alot of the "popular" Steampunk outfit are they're a little random and awkward. Not everyone is going to even have a use for goggles, or at least not the standard tinted goggles. For example, my persona is an artisan. I'm planning on making goggles for her soon and I stopped and realized... she actually really needs clear lenses, not colored or tinted. Since she's an artist, she needs to see colors and shades as they are, not filtered :) I know it'll look totally "weird", that every Steampunk goggles every have tinted goggles but.. they just wouldn't make sense for her.

As for gears (a post I made earlier on):
Don't get me wrong: Gears look really cool. But if you think about it, back in the day (or the day that should have been ;) ), most people didn't have the luxury to put gears on random things. Gears were the heart, the insides, of alot of things. They're one of the main things that made things work. Technically, if someone needed a gear, they would have to take apart something working or broken, or find it. And I'm sure loose ones weren't easy to come by because EVERYONE was using them. xD And even if it was broken would you really take apart your cool clockwork hair machine, or someone's precious gadget to decorate something, instead of using those gears to fix it? Usually not
But hey, those are just my thoughts on it o.o

04-13-2012, 11:10 PM

You're right, of course, kittyandjam, I never really thought about it like that.

I never actually planned on covering my stuff with gears unless I could make them do something or it felt appropriate. XD One of my major goals for this costume is, like you said, NOT making my outfit appear random and awkwardly put together.

I'm going to try and make everything look as functional as possible and I'm hoping I can make most of my accessories look practical, as well as being aesthetically pleasing. Like a necklace that's also a watch, a bangle that has a compass built in, stuff like that.

Also, I think I found a good corset to use as the base that I'm going to weave the leather on to and it seems to be a good price. http://www.fredericks.com/Limited_Edition_Hollywood_Dream_C

(Also, judging by what is happening to the models' bust, I would say it's doing a quality job, but there is actually a store close by so I can go try it on to be sure it's going to do what I need it to.)

05-15-2012, 02:07 PM
Nice sketch!

To me, it's relatively hard to completely miss the boat on steampunk if you have at least a basic idea of the concept. It's Victorian science-fiction. From there, it can go in an infinite number of directions. The one thing that is important not to loose sight of is the "punk" part. Not punk as in "spiky hairs", punk as in home made (or at least artisanal). I often say on panels that the only way to completely fail is to buy something in a mass produced box that says steampunk and to wear it as is. From your posts, I don't think that's what you're going to do ;)

Yes gears and goggles are staples of steampunk but they are not required. Like was said before, gears are cooler when they seem useful. They can be used in jewels and things like that but with moderation. Yes they were the center of the technology of the time but today, you don't see everyone wearing microchips. Again, it must make sense. For example I made a brooch out of gears but it's supposed to represent the symbol of some engineering community so it makes sense.

The one advice I give to those who are beginning in steampunk is to start with their strengths. Create a costume that requires mostly the use of skills you master. You will pick up more skills as you go and you can upgrade it. Steampunks costumes usually contain a lot of layers and accessories so it's easy to have them evolve over time. But you seem to be well versed in costume making so you shouldn't have a problem on that side.

PS: Spats are awesome.

08-19-2012, 04:29 PM
Well, while logging in and browsing around on multiple tabs, somehow this site decided to add this to an existing thread instead of starting the new one I'd intended. Sorry about that.