Plus-Size Steampunk

Maximum Fabulous – Minimum Budget

Archive for the ‘Bibliographic Resources’ Category

November 22nd, 2013 by Charlotte Babb

Review of Steampunk Accessories

Upgrade your skillset and create new accessories for your next con. Not only are the projects very well done, but the DIY pages are illustrated with clear drawings, and the finished products are photographed to advantage on models. A short but good section is included on thrifting, including what to look for, how to decide if it is more valuable as it is or deconstructed, and how to clean and age the pieces. Basic jewelry and leather tips are part of the instructions.

Most of the projects are not size-constrained, but measuring instructions are included where needed to make a piece personal. The goggles on the cover, in particular, are very impressive, though crafted mostly of recycled plastic. The techniques used are applicable to other projects, so if you don’t need a glasses case, you might use the same ideas to mod a corset or top hat. Some of the ideas, such as a place to stash your earbuds, are ingenious and not something you might think of yourself. Others are well described and presented.

No clothing is discussed here, except for gloves and a belt, but accessorizing your existing costume, adds the steamy spice to what might otherwise be a bit mundane.

The book is well worth the USD $18.95, as includes traceable patterns and copy-capable textures and images for typewriter keys, numbers and textures, if you wish to make your things look exactly like the projects pictured.

The Amazon link to the right is an affiliate link. Buy a book and I get a nickel.

Tedman & Skeate. (2013). Steampunk accessories: 20 projects to help you nail the style from goggles to cellphone cases, gauntlets and jewelry. Haupage, NY, USA: Ivy Press.

November 15th, 2013 by Charlotte Babb

Review of Steampunk Emporium

Fairies like Gears too! Not only does this book look lovely with its antique book design and full-color, sepia-tone pages, but it tells a story to go along with each of the 20 jewelry projects. The articles are cute and feature images of clockwork fairy models wearing the projects.

Since story-telling is a large part of character design in Steampunk, this aspect will help you design your character and make up a story about why you have each of your accoutrements. Several necklaces, broaches, medals, charms, absinth class charms, and a hatpin are included as projects. An index of projects and stories completes the book, along with a listing of resources and Steampunk groups.

The instructions are photographed well, and described clearly. A 22-page section of general jewelry and crafting tips is included in the back, also illustrated with photographs. Jewelry findings, polymer clay techniques and mixed media offer many design ideas for the gears between your ears to start turning. At USD $27.99, it’s a good deal if you don’t already know about making jewelry.

The Amazon link to the right is an affiliate link. Buy a book and I get a nickel.

Hewitt, J. (2011). Steampunk emporium: Creating fantastical jewelry, devices and oddments from assorted cogs, gears and curios. Cincinnati, OH: Northlight books.

November 8th, 2013 by Charlotte Babb

Review of Elegantly Frugal Costumes

While not a Steampunk costume book, this little black-and-white gem has many practical ideas for making what you have become what you want. After a section on authenticity and appearance, the writer includes sections on each time period that costumers for plays might need, including a section on the 1800s. The illustrations are line drawings, and indicate more how to see the costume in the mundane dress than how to make the changes.

Some patterns are sketched out, just enough to get you thinking:  a diagram for a wire bustle on p. 54, several Steampunk era hats on p. 74, and leggings on p. 87. This is not a picture book, however, but has good discussions on how to make the changes. It does assume you already know some sewing.

The primary benefit is the sketches that show how to look at a dress from the 1950s and make it look like the 1850s. Other time periods are included and described, Biblical, Renaissance, American Colonial, and the Roaring 20s. I bought this as a used library book, and so only paid about USD $5 for it, but it was money well spent. Street price is USD $17.00 For 125 pages, a lot of information is included. I’m glad I bought it.
The Amazon link to the right is an affiliate link. Buy a book and I get a nickel.

November 1st, 2013 by Charlotte Babb

Review of Steampunk Your Wardrobe by Callista Taylor


Callista Tayor, gaslight romance writer and seamstress extraordinaire, has a fabulous book on not only repurposing your own or thrifted clothing for Steampunk, but also has a great leather waist-cincher design, jewelry, a mini-top hat from cardboard and 15 other projects that will get you steamed up on the cheap and fabulous.  The one thing missing from this book is a list of places to find the fiddly bits, but you already know how to search Amazon and other craft emporia.  You already have almost anything she mentions, if you do any crafting at all.

Her sewing techniques are simple enough for novices, and she has a 6-page section of general instructions to get you started, including how to measure to make things fit you.  Color photographs illustrate each process, and some extra photos are included for inspiring your own ideas.

The section on the leathercraft to make the waist cincher is especially good, and I plan to try that for myself. Her pattern is based on your own measurements, so you can be sure to make it your size. A waist cincher is easier to wear than a full corset, and so might be a good first project for that western look that you’ve been considering.

I also want to try the capelet she made from a thrifted coat, if I can find one in a usable size and fabric. She basically cuts off the bottom of the coat above the elbow and works the sleeves into the seams. The wool coat she uses would be too warm for me, unless I were in an outside venue in the winter, but a lightweight coat might work very well inside.

For an all-you-need-to-know-to-get started book, this one is very reasonable at USD $19.99.

The Amazon link to the right is an affiliate link. Buy a book and I get a nickel.

Taylor, C. (2013) Steampunk your wardrobe: Easy projects to add Victorian flair to everyday fashions.  East Petersburg, PA: Design Originals.

October 25th, 2013 by Charlotte Babb

Review of 1000 Steampunk Creations by Dr.Grymm

If you need inspiration that sets the bar for what is Steampunk, this is your book. It’s a lush pictorial archive of the art and fashion of Steampunk ca. 2011. The book itself is beautifully designed, from its pierced cover to seven sections of steamy goodness.  There are few words, and each image is worth at least a thousand of them.

Nearly 300 pages portray one to eight images of clothing, art objects, jewelry, weapons, home décor,  and things both indescribable and unimaginable. Bring your own napkin because you will DROOL with desire. Some of these images have escaped onto Pinterest or other websites, but there will be much you have not seen before.

Each image is captioned with a number, the creator’s name and the country of origin.  A nice directory of images is included.  While not a how-to book, many of the images show the exquisite craftsmanship of each item and offer visual hints of how it might have been achieved.

Don’t let that craftsmanship keep you from making your own goodies, however. Give yourself a high goal for aspiration and aim your talents for the stars.

Take it in slowly, not all at once, for like a child with only a dollar in a candy store, you will find more than enough brilliant ideas to inebriate the imagination.

You might check your local library if your wallet is thin, as the sticker price is USD $25, but the value is there.
The Amazon link to the right is an affiliate link. Buy a book and I get a nickel.

Grymm, & Saint John. (2011). 1000 Steampunk creations: Neo-Victorian fashion, gear and art. Beverly, MA: Quarry Books.

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