Saturday, March 9, 2013

SteamPunk Skirt

One of my co-workers/ friends asked me to go to the steam punk convention with them. I'm not really a follower or anything- but it's definitely a cool concept. When I was in high school, I had my heart set on being a fashion designer, and I took tons of classes on clothing construction, fabrics, retail, merchandising, strategies, etc, and competed in the fashion merch. category of  DECA. As such, I love clothes. I have a separate closet in my house where I keep my costumes/props and I'm always looking for something new.
 When I started researching steam punk clothing, I fell in love with the rich fabrics, the amazing detail, the diversity and the old, Victorian style of it all. This is definitely something I could embrace. So, I went to my local thrift store of choice, the DI (Deseret Industries. This is a LDS church owned thrift chain that doesn't have sales tax). DI is a thrift chain, so they have them in all sorts of places, but it can be hit and miss. Some stores are really good, like mine, and others have nothing of
value- that has to do with the neighborhood they are in and the donations they get. You can find some REALLY amazing things there (I'm talking things worth $500+ dollars that you're parents get you for Christmas for $75. (It was one of those cultured marble globes for anyone who's curious :p)). Anyway, I combed the DI and found tons of perfect/tweakable clothes. One of my finds was this skirt
I really like the runching at the bottom, and I thought that it was adjustable, so that I could change the length of the skirt. Unfortunately it wasn't. I searched and searched for a tutorial on how to make it so that it was (the most common name I could find was saloon skirt, since what I was trying to achieve was NOT a  bustle, even though some people called it that. That's not what it is). There was nothing. absolutely nothing. I found a couple tutorials on how to make the skirt from scratch, but all of them were overly complicated and difficult to follow (and I sow like a kindergartner), so I decided to McGuiver it. Now in all the tutorials I saw for making the skirt from scratch, they talked about sewing special "channels" for your ribbon, but I can't sow, so I tried a multitude of different methods to gather and pull up the fabric, none of them worked. I started to pick off the ugly ribbon on the skirt, when I realized that the ribbon was only sown at the edges, leaving a little tunnel that I could run the ribbon down. Yay for someone else doing the hard part!
I threaded an extra large needle with some yarn, and poked a hole in the top of the inside part of the skirt, pushing my needle into the tunnel. at the very bottom, I pulled the needle back out and tied a knot in the yarn, on the inside so no one would see it. This made the skirts length completely adjustable, so that I could leave it long, or pull it up shorter, making it more bunched and dramatic, and better for layering (which is my plan). I can also adjust each of the six panels individually.

After that, I started to make it more aesthetically pleasing. This particular skirt had a drawstring waist band, with ties one both sides. It was hard to adjust, and kind of ugly, so I pulled the drawstrings out.

 Any seamstress or crafter will tell you that it's impossible to create anything without at least one cat present. (My friend asked me how it was going, so I sent him this picture >>)
Once the "boss" has inspected your work for quality control, chewed all the ribbon, batted the spools around the room, taken a nap on your project, and then leaves to take a lunch break- you can go back to work.
I threaded my extra large needle with some thick burgundy ribbon, and threaded it through the waist band. I decided to only use one ribbon, so that I would have a bow on one side. I'm not usually a fan of A-symmetrical looks, but in this case I thought it would make the outfit look more balanced and interesting- and less frumpy.

Once I had that done, I began to decorate. For this project, I decided to use creamy beiges with pops of burgundy. I bought a special ribbon (the white one in the right hand corner of the picture on the left), but it was a clearance ribbon, and there was only one roll. When I ran out, I improvised and used some black lace I had on hand for the sides. I used liquid stitch for this, so everything is held on with adhesive, not needle and thread. Later, I will go back and secure the bows with a few stitches.

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