So you want to make a Steampunk Costume?

Well slap some goggles on it and call it a day!

Costume 1
Don’t you wish it was that easy?

Well, don’t be too intimidated. I’m going to take you through the basic steps. Remember: thrift stores, costume shops, vintage stores, or online are all easy ways to piece together a costume without doing any sewing.  But I’m going to take you through some steps to show some basics of sewing your own costume.

Proper introduction time.  Hi, I’m Julie Dziki.  I am the Board Treasurer and Vendor Coordinator for the Jewelry City Steampunk Festival.  I can’t wait to see you there, looking fabulous in your steampunk attire.

I’m going to take you over 4 basic steps over four costuming blog posts:

  1. Gearing up (that’s this post!): Picking a pattern and choosing fabrics
  2. Snipping and Stitching: Cutting fabric and reading sewing patterns
  3. Some Assembly Required:  Construction and fit
  4. SLAP SOME GOGGLES ON IT: Accessorizing

Today we start with Step 1.


Picking a pattern and choosing fabrics


Costume 2

There are tons of patterns out there to pick from, and you can pick one or several to piece together your own costume or outfit.

Research what you want to make.  Opening Google and typing in ‘steampunk’ works wonders for this. You can also go to a local fabric store or shop for patterns online in the genre you are looking to make.

As you can see here, I found a few that I like and I’m going to put together a steampunk princess outfit for a special little girl—let’s call her Bean—that I know for the festival.

Costume 3

I took the dress and corset of the one on the left  and will combine it with the skirt of the one on the right in the fabric colors I chose.

Costume 4

My husband requested a Steampunk Batman costume.  Considering we are having a costume contest and facial hair contest, this should be a contender.  For this one I had to get bunch of patterns so I could find the right style I wanted.

Steampunk batman
1. Using the pants and spats from this; 2. the shirt and mask (and maybe utility belt) from this; 3. the gloves and belt from this; 4. and the cape without the hood from this.


So we get something like this:

Costume 9
Although I am confident in my skills, sometimes it helps to ask an absolute sewing expert, like my friend Wolfgang, who may chime in on this blog from time to time.

Steampunking out a superhero or villain can be cool.  Cosplay (dressing up and acting as if you are a character) is very popular at conventions and festivals and is a ton of fun to do.

Costume 10
Mayhaps the Joker or Bane will show up and take pics with my husband…

If all else fails when coming up with ideas, think of a few movies: We wrote another blog post detailing some movies that adhere to a steampunk genre or aesthetic.

Measure twice, cut once

The saying is true.  We want to make sure it fits you.  Here are some charts for measuring I found on Google and Pinterest.

Costume 11Costume 95

Important areas mostly are: chest, hip, waist, and back waist length (the bottom of your neck to your waist).

Most patterns will have measurements on them as well like this:

Costume 96

So you can see what size you will need.  It’s important to sometimes make a size larger if you have a sprouting child who grows like a weed so you don’t have to make another one.  You can always take it in, but it’s hard to create fabric out of thin air if you don’t have enough.

Pick a Pattern

This can be fun and time-consuming. It can be time-consuming to pick a pattern only because you might want to do too much. Keep it simple. Trust your gut; it will work out.

Pick the right size. Usually on patterns you can see what size it ranges.  Read the numbers carefully and make sure you get the size that matches your measurements. Sizes can range from babies to children to kids to misses, women’s, men’s, unisex and one size fits all.  It all depends on the pattern maker.


Choose Wisely

Take time, thought and care when choosing your fabric. Making  a belt with a knit fabric if you wanted it to be firm would be ill-advised and making a princess outfit with leather if you wanted it to be soft would not make sense.  Most patterns will have fabric suggestions on them. Get something they suggest or something similar; straying too far can cause issues when you try to sew things together.

Costume 97

Pick whatever color scheme you want, and remember the color wheel or ask the person at the fabric store if you need advice; they know what they are doing and are amazing. (Remember that asking experts thing?)

Read the pattern for how much fabric you will need per size.   Please don’t be afraid to ask the nice staff at the fabric store to help you identify on the pattern how much to cut.  They are trained professionals!  Better to always get a little extra if you are unsure.

Costume 99Costume 98

Ok! Go get your stuff and I’ll see you back here next blog to talk about Part Deux: Snippin’ and Stitchin’:  How to cut out patterns and read them.

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