Steampunk

Ideas for making a great Steampunk costume

(even if you’re just throwing it together)

 

steampunk trio 2

 

Holy crazy, batman! It’s been quite some time since I’ve delivered a post for you all. My apologies! To make it up to you all, I’m sharing a post about a topic I haven’t yet covered at all: Steampunk!

 

My soon-to-be-roommate and I decided to completely geek it up the other weekend and visit two awesome themed faire-type events:

  1. Hoggetowne Medieval Faire in Gainesville, Florida. I’ve been to a few of these, and I had even performed at this one last year for a weekend. It was great times. Perhaps I’ll do a Ren Faire post someday :)
  2. Steampunk Industrial Show in Mt Dora, Florida. I had never been to one, and have never attempted to make any Steampunk garb, but we were up for the challenge!  Special thanks to my friends from the awesome Celtic folk duo Jig to a Milestone for posting about it!

 

What in the world is Steampunk anyway?

 

According to Google:

steampunk definition google

 

According to Urban Dictionary:

steampunk definition urban dictionary

 

Or as US young fiction author Caitlin Kittredge put it:

“It’s sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans…”

 

When thinking about Steampunk fashion, where do I start?

 

Wikipedia give the following blurb about Steampunk fashion. I’m altering it to be a slightly easier to read list format for you all:

 

Steampunk fashion has no set guidelines but tends to synthesize modern styles with influences from the Victorian era. This may include:

  • bustles
  • corsets
  • gowns
  • petticoats
  • suits with waistcoats
  • coats
  • top hats
  • tailcoats
  • spats
  • military-inspired garments

Steampunk-influenced outfits are usually accented with several technological and “period” accessories:

  • timepieces
  • parasols
  • flying/driving goggles
  • ray guns.

Modern accessories like cell phones or music players can be found in steampunk outfits, after being modified to give them the appearance of Victorian-made objects.

Post-apocalyptic elements [can also be included], such as

  • gas masks
  • ragged clothing
  • tribal motifs

 

 

So then, effective Steampunk. Guidelines. Standby. and Go:

1. Choose a time-period

The easiest way to look like you’re really trying to do Steampunk is to give it some Victorian influences.

vintagedancer.com

The national garment cutter book of diagrams (1888) via sewinginwalden.blogspot.com

 

 

Ladies, choose a shirt with lace, a slightly ruffed collar, a big skirt, or add a bustle to your garb. I made one quite quickly using an old window covering I had, safety pins, and cool-looking buttons:

make a steampunk bustle

Make an easy bustle: This sun-bleached window covering was doubled over and pinned with the safety pins on the inside and a button on the outside. Gathered into 2 layers and using a standard belt to hold it to the body. No sewing needed!

steampunk garb fire faerie

 

Other victorian female costume inspirations:

 

rufflesandsteam.tumblr.com

lunafeles.deviantart.com

pinkythekinky.com

 

Gents- wear a waistcoat and a jacket, a coat with tails, or a top hat.

fatalfashion.tumblr.com

I cannot credit this, but would love to if you know the origin!

 

mannenwereld.nu

 

Steampunk need not be JUST for English-folk. Granted, it is most popular in the realms of British culture, but Steampunk characters can also be from plenty of other countries. The American Wild West is a popular alternative.  Visit this page for multicultural Steampunk ideas.

 

 

1. b. OR Choose a character

There are some great ideas for superheroes, disney princesses, fictional characters, and the like.

 

A friend of mine made a Steampunk Duffman (Simpsons) costume! It was pretty rad.

steampunk duffman

 

 

We had fun taking photos where Duffman was being useless but looking cool, and the ladies were “doing all the work” (err- driving the ship, and navigating… or something).

steampunk trio

 

Want some other inspiration for steampunk characters?

Steampunk Batman and Ivy raddad.tumblr.com

 

Star Wars steampunk! Source: Steampunk Fashion

 

Steampunk Abraham Lincoln vampire hunter costume-works.com

Steampunk Cyberman. Doctor Who via kyoob on etsy

polyvore.com/disney_steampunk

Steampunk Disney polyvore.com/disney_steampunk

 

It need not be a specific character, either!  Try brainstorming ideas for a steampunk pirate, ballerina, ringmaster, US president, playboy bunny, zombie … the options are endless!

 

Use one of these ideas or come up with your own! Use some of the ideas presented here and do a little bit of research if you need help brainstorming. Feel free to write me and I’ll help you out too! I’d love to see a steampunk version of Winnie the Pooh, Inspector Gadget, Madonna, or Captain Planet for example. Why not?

1. c. OR Choose a mythological creature

My friend and I hinted at the fae with our costumes seeing as we both wore wings. Together we decided we were ice and fire, or sun and moon… or something like that… yeah….

steampunk wings

 

Let’s take a closer look at my wings (the brown owl-feather ones) :

steampunk wings and bustle close

Cool, eh? You may never suspect that I found these at Party City around halloween time, though you can shop their wings online year-round. I did absolutely nothing to them; that center diamon-jewel thing was part of them from the get-go! The only catch is that they aren’t too fantastically made, so the feathers fall out after a few uses, but that’s where I got the feather for my hat!

 

Pan, Unicorn, Merfolk, Centaurs, Faeries/Fairies, Narwhals… There are a lot of options. Why do the fae need technology when perhaps they can do it all with magic? Because it’s fun. And they’re Tesla fans. I don’t know. Go ask the good folk.

from scarlettgothica.com

 

steampunk-pics.com

steampunksteampunk.tumblr.com

 

coilhouse.net

The joy with being a mythological character is you can always say that something you’re wearing (or doing) is just, uh… magic! uh.. yeah- that’s it.  It gives a bit more freedom.

 

 

2. Add technology!

Ideally, one wouldn’t just glue gears to something and call it steampunk (not that I’m above that… check out my home-made mini top hat below).

steampunk hat

 

One of the coolest things about steampunk is the idea of technological innovation.

 

A friend of mine made these amazing wings below. Yes, they opened and unfurled as well. Pretty darn cool I must say! (though, he did say they got heavy after a while… The prices one pays to look awesome). He does this stuff professionally, so feel free to contact him for commissions.

steampunk working wings

 

 

You can go buy some of your own on Etsy (via someone I don’t know, but they sure look great):

TGTstudios on Etsy

 

Another gent at the event wore this backpack of gadgetry.

steampunk backpack

 

It’s quite popular to turn old nerf or play guns into Steampunk guns:

 

daz3d.com

 

There’s a pretty good tutorial on painting your own gun here

steamingenious.com

 

I made one too- you can see it hanging from my belt below:

steampunk girlies

 

mannenwereld.nu

 

weburbanist.com

 

When in doubt, just remember- What Would Tesla Do?

What would Tesla do

What would Tesla do? Yes, this is seriously a shirt you can buy from redbubble.net

 

 

3. Accessorize!

Pocket watches, jewelry, goggles, top hats, spats, collars… there are so many ways to accessorize!  Rather than write a whole lot of words and lists, I’m providing you an array of photographical inspiration:

junglegypsyfashion.com

 

The Ultimate Steampunk for Men Etsy

 

Yet another photo Im not able to credit. Please let me know if you can help give credit!

 

 

Steampunk costume and garb ideas. tree of life. jewelry. diy.

This is a tree of life pendant I made with standard jewelry wire and some gears I found at Michaels. The structure was made from a shower curtain ring!

 

 

via poppenkraal on etsy

 

kvodesign at etsy

 

offbeatbride.com

 

black steampunk top hat

I made this mini top hat out of foam! If I get requests for it, perhaps I’ll do a DIY post someday….

 

steampunk.wonderhowto.com

 

fiveanddiamond.com

 

DesignsByFriston on Etsy

 

 

 

4. …. But What about….?

 

Still have concerns? – Don’t worry- it’s all about having fun and making the attempt!

Don’t have the “right shoes”? – If you can, wear simple black heels, boots, or dress shoes.  If you can, make spats to go with them.  If you’re stuck with just tennis shoes/sneakers (depending on where you’re from), don’t let that keep you from trying on the rest of it! If anyone is judging you, they need better things to do with their life!

Not sure where to even start/this is overwhelming?  Take a breath, wear a buttoned shirt and pants, or a suit if you can. Add a waistcoat. Or a coat with tails. Get a long skirt and add safety pins to bustle it up a little.

**If you’re going to a steampunk event, there are usually vendors! Wear something simple and plan on adding to it throughout the day! Easy-peasy.**

But my friend says I NEED such-and-such to be steampunk!  No, you don’t “need” anything to be steampunk. Even what I’ve written is just a bunch of ideas to help inspire. The guidelines are very wibbly-wobbly, so don’t fret. Try it out! You may just surprise yourself.

But I don’t have anything ready/I cannot sew! My friend and I (below) are both seamstresses (ok, ok… *She* is a seamstress. I just sew things). And neither of us really planned our costumes. We didn’t buy patterns from Joann’s, we didn’t break out the sewing machines, we just used items we had and added pins and magic to help make it all come together:

steampunk girls inside

 

 

Need more inspiration?? Check out these films/books:

Jules Verne’s Around The World In 80 Days and 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Baron Munchausen

Alice In Wonderland

The League Of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Back to the Future III

Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters

Return to Oz

Wild Wild West

Sherlock Holmes

Stardust

Hugo

The Golden Compass

 

 

Also, I do a lot of research on things- do feel free to utilize the research I’ve already done!

Check out (or follow) my Pinterest Steampunk folder

Or just check me out on Pinterest (there’s plenty more things than steampunk on there! Most recently- viking research!)

 

 

 

I truly hope this post has given you some insight on where to start when coming up with your own steampunk garb/persona. Please comment below and share your own makings!

steampunk girls


 

Want to check out more geeky things?

 

Click here to see ideas for throwing a thor’s giving (instead of thanksgiving)

thorsgiving instead of thanksgiving

 

Click here to check out our Geeky British Party and get ideas for throwing your own!

Sir Francis BACON!!!  tee hee!

Sir Francis BACON!!!
tee hee!


 

  • Have you made any cool steampunk garb? Share it below!
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Hobbitses

Throw a Hobbit party!!

or at least get in the Hobbity spirit!

 

 

 

The final Hobbit movie is out today!!!! To celebrate, I wanted to share some inspiration and ideas for creating your own Hobbit and Middle Earth festivities!

 

how to throw a hobbit party. LOTR party ideas. Lord of the Rings

image given by the Hobbit films!

 

 

I actually threw a hobbit/LOTR themed birthday party (yeah, for adults.) a few years back. It was right around Hobbit day, September 22nd, which is the birthday of both Bilbo and Frodo.

 

So if you don’t have time to throw a party right now for the final film, just bookmark this page so you can throw a party for Hobbit day next year!

 

The Shire Sign

 

 

Without further ado, here are some suggestions for Hobbit shenanigans (Hobbit-nanigans? Hobnigans?) :

 

 

MUSIC

 

  • Listen to the music from the films! Howard Shore did a fantastic job creating the aural world of middle earth. Give him (and your elf ears) some love by listening to the soundtracks.
  • Are you in a symphonic band? Did you know that there was a Lord of the Rings symphonic suite written in the 1980s? Check it out! It was composed by Johan de Meij.
  • Check out this video of my roommate and I performing “Concerning Hobbits”
  • Want to play the music from Bilbo’s Birthday party? I transcribed it once for a friend. Check it out here:

 

  • That music (Which I decided to title “Shire shindig”) comes from the scene below:

 

 

 

FOOD and DRYNK

 

  • Make some food that one would find in Middle Earth:
    • Though I don’t believe they’re ever mentioned in the books, eating cherry tomatoes in a very sloppy manner would be fantastic, and remind me of one of my favourite scenes in the LOTR trilogy:

  • Cows were never mentioned. So no beef. But Fish, Pigs, and poultry are all game. Rashers of bacon are always appreciated.
  • Berries, mushrooms, pastries, breads, cheese, pickles.
  • POY-TAY-TOES

tumblr

  • Special items from middle earth: lembas bread, honey-cakes, cram.
  • Or just make something that LOOKS fitting or is cleverly titled:
    • A friend brought over a “yorkSHIRE pudding” for my party as well. It was fantastic!
    • I made this “one ring” cake (using a bundt pan. It fit exactly half of the inscription from the ring)

one cake to rule them all

 

  • Beverages are important of course!
    • Ale, wine, and mead all are quite fitting for middle earth:
      • “you can drink your fancy ales, you can drink them by the flagon, but the only brew for the brave and truuuuuuueeeeeee….. COMES FROM THE GREEN DRAGON!” (sung by Merry and Pippin whilst drinking and dancing on the table)

     

    • Ent-draught (an invigorating brew from the Ents)
    • Mirovor (a clear cordial from the elves)
    • Coffee, tea, and juice are viable alternatives for those not partaking in the alcohol.

     

     

    GAMES

    • There are plenty of LOTR-based games that exist (I’ve not played them. Feel free to leave comments about any of them if you have!)
      • Video: Various ones were made from companies such as Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment; Turbine, Inc; and Electronic Arts.
      • RPG (Role Playing Games): Middle-Earth Role Playing, Lord of the Rings Adventure Game
      • Tabletop: Other than there being a “Lord of the Rings” boardgame, there are also LOTR versions of Risk, Stratego, Monopoly, and Chess amongst others.
    • I was actually geeky enough to write a LOTR/Hobbit based fluxx game.
      • Since it’s an ACTUAL game written by a company, I will not share the game here as I’m pretty sure that’s against some copyright. But if you’re my friend and you want to play it, let me know! It’s actually pretty cool- and well-written if I do say so myself (I made a spreadsheet and everything).
    • You could write yourself a version of “heads up” in the spirit!
      • “heads up” is that game where the person who is “it” holds a card (or smart phone with app) up to their forehead and the other players need to get the person to say what is on the card.
      • You can write your own heads up game by writing flash cards using index cards or cut pieces of construction paper.
      • Things you could write on the cards include:
        • Characters: Gandalf, Frodo, Galadriel, Tom Bombadill, Fili and Kili, Eowyn, etc.
        • Races/Types of characters: Entwives, Elves, Orcs, Nazgul, Men, etc.
        • Places: Rivendell, Bag End, Green Dragon Inn, Mordor, Helm’s Deep, Erebor, etc.
        • Popular quotes: “It comes in pints?”, “one ring to rule them all”, “you shall not pass!”, “… and my axe”, “my precious”, etc.
        • People: JRR Tolkien, Peter Jackson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Ian McKellen, Liv Tyler, etc.
        • Book or film names: “Battle of the Five Armies”, “Fellowship of the Ring”, “The Silmarillion”, etc.
      • Or just play any fun game they may have played: charades, musical chairs, sack races, horseshoes, etc.

     

     

    DECORATIONS

     

    • Banners, streamers, lights, candles, lanterns, and other festive décor can be utilized in feeling more festive in a proper style!

 

joannavolavka via wordpress

  • Fireworks (or at least sparklers) would have been brought by Gandalf to add to the festivities! If you don’t have your own and live in the Orlando area, visit SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration, Universal Studios, or any of the Disney festivities to see some fun and festive fireworks displays!
  • Create your own sign!
    • One is a large piece of fabric that I painted with fabric paint to say “welcome to the shire” with the feel of Bilbo’s birthday banner.
    • Another is a door sign that says “No Admittance. Unless on Party Business (in which case, please come in)” J Like the one that Bilbo has on his door (but a bit friendlier). It’s also nice to just let people come in as they wish during a party without needing to get the door for everyone.

Welcome to the Shire Sign and no Admittance

  • Add some Hobbit-style goodness to other things around your home:
    • I made a geeky tree skirt for Christmas this year. The LOTR reference portion is the white tree of Gondor (Other bits include Doctor Who / Tardis, Harry Potter, and Sherlock).

Geeky Tree Skirt Geeky Tree skirt christmas tree

 

 

WORDS

 

  • Read passages from the Hobbit or LOTR books (out loud or to yourself). Try reading them in the voice of Gandalf. Or Gollum.
  • RIDDLES!
  • Learn some phrases in a middle earth language (Sindarin, Entish, Quenya, etc)
    • Gi nathlam hi = you are welcome here (Sindarin)
    • Dol gin lost = your head is empty (Sindarin)
    • Heca = scram! (Quenya)
    • Mara Mesta = Good journey (Quenya)
    • You can just mumble low and long to attempt a phrase in Entish….. no matter what, you’ll likely not speak it correctly, unless you’re an Ent.
  • Poems
    • Have a haiku or a limerick competition. Or just a giant piece of paper on the wall where people can write their own poems.
  • Give the gift of a homemade card for your friends, or draw your own map of middle earth. Use this one I made below as inspiration:
  • tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

     

     

    ADVENTURE

     

    • Go on an adventure! Go find something new and try it out!
    • Go on a trip somewhere unexpected! Throw a dart at a map of your city, or of the globe! You never know what sort of fun crazy stories you’ll have to write in your own “there and back again” book.

    thereichenbachfall on wordpress

    • Go visit nature! Take a walk in the woods, or some cavern- but look out for dragons (unless it’s the green dragon inn… then go get thyself a pint!)
    • If you’re near Orlando, go on your own quest and visit It’s a Trap! A Room Adventure in Orlando (click here for information)!
      • It’s a Trap is a place where you work together with a group of 8 or less people (you need not know them prior to the adventure. One does not always get to choose quest partners) in order to solve a mystery by finding clues hidden around a room. There are currently 4 games total in 2 different rooms. One of the rooms happens to be a Wizard’s Hut- so it’s quite fitting.
      • I actually helped kickstart this place- and I got to go to a beta test of it. The quest we did was in the wizard’s hut and had a dragon character that talked to us! It’s definitely worth a visit. Below are some poor iphone photographs of the inside of the hut (taken with permission. And no spoilers!)


    Its a Trap TreeIts a Trap Dragon

    • Or go have a pint at the Cloak and Blaster! They have games and hobbit-inspired food as well as Hobbit-Hour (much like happy hour, but more geeky/awesome)

    Click here for more info about The Cloak and Blaster in Orlando

     

     

     

    And last but most certainly not least,

     

    GO SEE THE FILM!

    Click here for the Fandango movie overview

    (Or see the previous films! Or go see the old cartoon one!)

     

    image from Fandango

     

     

    oh, but check with your closest friends first, unless you want to no longer be friends:

     

    troll.me


     

    • Have you any ideas for throwing a Hobbit party? Please share them below!
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    Hobbit Graduation Card

    Has anyone else tried finding a decent graduation card for someone this year? … I looked & have come to the conclusion: GRADUATION CARDS ARE BORING.

     

    Rather than fork out my money for a lackluster symbol of my congratulations, I decided to MAKE a graduation card for a special graduate I know.

     

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

    also, this post is out in time for you all to celebrate

     

    Geek Pride Day (May 25)

     

    Geek Pride Day is an initiative to promote Geek culture, cosplay, and the like.  So go forth and celebrate time travel, wear your one ring, drink your butterbeer, daydream, assemble!, read a book, fight some crime, and for all of these shenanigans: may the force be with you.

     

    May 25th was chosen as the date in order to commemorate the first Star Wars release (some people even consider this day “Star Wars Day” over May the 4th), though it also shares a date with references from the Discworld series as well as Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

     

    Click here to learn more about Geek Pride Day

     

     

    Hobbit Lord of the Rings card home made

     

    Oh right, back to the graduation card….

     

    This was written/drawn with ink and quill (yes, olde-style dipped ink), though you could do it with a pen or a sharpie even…. just try it!

     

    I cannot draw.  Seriously.  This is about as good as it gets (I cannot even draw a straight line), so I had to choose an idea for a card that would fit with my level of drawing ability and my geek knowledge.

     

    I also love to age paper whenever I can (look forward to a post later on coffee/tea staining… though if you request it, I can expedite it!), so I purchased blank cards from Michaels and aged them, let them dry, then drew on them with the ink via quill.

     

    map of middle earth

     

    One of my first ideas for the inside of the card was to mention something along the lines of :  You’ve defeated SMOG Graduate School! Now you can return to the Shire real life! Huzzah!

     

    Then I decided I could find some cool Sindarin (one of the Tolkien Elvish languages) phrase of sorts to add to the inside, so I did!

     

    Had I the time, I would have written the message in Sindarin letters, but alas.

     

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card Sindarin Elvish

     

    Elvish Sindarin phrase

     

    If you’d like some Sindarin / Elvish phrase ideas, click here.

     

     

    I also wanted the envelope to match and hint at the Tolkien Middle Earth Map.  It worked, of course- he knew that it was Tolkien-esque :)

    LOTR envelope style idea

     

     

    And once again, the final product:

    tolkien hobbit LOTR graduation hand made card

     

    I hope this helps to inspire you to do something fun and geeky today!  Enjoy, fellow muggles!

     

    Want another geeky idea?  How about making some Geeky Cupcakes!  Featuring Star Wars and Superheroes!

    Or perhaps you want to learn about another random holiday?

     

    • What did you do to celebrate Geek Pride Day?
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    Make your own boutonniere

    seriously… it’s not that difficult.  The hardest part is using living items and keeping them alive until the date of the event :)

     

     

    ok… perhaps I lied.  The most difficult part for me was picking the super glue off my fingers…. but that’s because I made a stupid move…

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    Research through some boutonnieres on the interwebs to get ideas.  Do you want fresh flowers?  feathers? herbs or plants? something different altogether?

     

    I saw a really nice feather one and thought- hey! I can make that!   I also liked its trim lines and masculine look (I’m not really a fan of the foofie-looking ones).

     

    Choose your ingredients, and place them together to see if you like how they play together.

     

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    I chose a feather, a piece of fresh rosemary, and this little dual leaf metal thingy I happened to have.   Everything I already had in my random crafty piles somewhere.

     

    A friend who was helping me suggested I add the white pin stripe to the feather.  It just so happened that I had *just* purchased this new set of paint pens for another project…. so I was all ready to make the suggestion happen.

     

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    Grab your creation at the base of the pretty part; you are now ready to bind it.

     

    If you have floral tape- good for you!  you can securely wrap the base with it (or so I’m told)!

    I did NOT have floral tape, so I improvised

     

    WORD TO THE WISE: don’t try to use normal super glue… if you’re anything like me, you’ll get it all over your fingers and spend the rest of the evening trying to pick it off.   Once I was done with the super glue debacle, I used the GEL super glue that I had (I’m sure hot glue would work, but I didn’t use it because I didn’t want to get it everywhere).

     

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    Once you secure your base, wrap it with a pretty ribbon.  I super glued the last bit of my ribbon on to ensure it would stay.  I also folded the last edge of ribbon under, and ensured the ribbon ended in the back of the boutonniere so as not to have any exposed fraying ends.

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

    For the record, my friend held it for this photo… that’s not my manly hand there.

     

    I then held  the ribbon closed with a clothespin (ensuring not to accidentally super glue the clothespin to the newly made bit of awesomeness) and placed the boutonniere in the fridge.  I figured the fridge would help keep the rosemary fresher for longer.

     

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    I then boxed it in this nice little jewelry gift box for the gifting.

     

    DIY you can make your own boutonniere

     

    Voila!  It’s so much nicer when it’s home made and from the heart…. Remember, your fresh ingredients will not hold up for long, so I recommend making them day of.

     

    Off to a party?  High-Five!

     

     

    • Have you ever made one? Post your ideas or creations below!
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