Feb 242014

So on a suggestion from a commenter (Thanks @Aurora Celeste!), I’ve joined the Silicon Web Costumer’s Guild so that I can have access to their (rather lovely) magazine. The November issue contains a build for a wig with tubular crin like I’m doing. So now there’s one mystery solved: I was supposed to buy this kind of product:



Rather than the wig cap I bought. I’m considering doing a second wig later, since this stuff was pretty cheap, but in the meantime I decided to see if I could save my stocking-based start with a beanie for structure. Heck, I’m picturing a series of styled wigs for various occasions; it’s certainly easier than making my wild locks behave!

I was hoping for a white beanie, but I only found grey at the local dollar store, so in true Steampunk spirit  I made do with what I could find. I tried on the hat:


Then set about attaching the stocking. I glued as few points as I could manage, to allow for the hat to stretch a bit, and then trimmed away all the excess stocking I could reach. I then glued new strands directly to the hat, continuing along the pattern I had begun. Helpfully, the hat has a seam that sits more or less right at my hairline, and I used safety pins to mark where my bangs should go (because my chalk pencils don’t write so well on fleece).

WIP shots:

I think it turned out pretty well, don’t you? 🙂

Wearing Front Wearing Back

 I also tried putting on Lucas’ hat to see what it looks like with a top hat, since that’s the eventual design:Bigger Hat Back of Hat

And the pinnable:

  Pin Pot2

Feb 172014

In case you guys hadn’t noticed, January was REALLY COLD. So I finally caved and agreed to make the coat I’d had materials for since last October: a winter-thick black duster for Bob that could double as a Harry Dresden costume.

First Thread

Breaking out the trusty machine again~!

The outer layer is canvas, with a fleece lining I added to the pattern. Fleece, my assistant informs me, is incredibly difficult to cut. I reminded him that that’s why I asked him to do the cutting while I was at work 🙂 The pattern we used is the more elaborate view, labeled “Australian Drover’s Coat”.

Pocket pinned in place

Pocket pinned in place

  Fun fact: Did you know you have to thread a sewing machine with the presser foot in the up position? Thinking back, my instructors always had the foot up when they threaded the machine, but I don’t remember being told why. Turns out, the tension disk will not open to admit thread with the foot down. That’s what’s been causing my jamming problems on the last few builds. Well, that and I keep having trouble winding bobbins with the thread taunt enough. They keep coming out loose. I think it’s a lot more persnickety than I want it to be.

The finished pocket on the coat

The pattern felt really straightforward and familiar after doing so many coats and tops in recent years for men. It had me attach the pockets to the front first, which was kind of strange, but pretty straightforward as they’re purely exterior pockets. Then I had to stitch the back pieces together.. and hit my first snag. I was told to attach the fantail to the back “matching notches, squares, and circles”. Except the back had several sets of squares, notches, and circles. Where the heck does the fantail go? What IS a fantail? The pattern didn’t say. If you ever find yourself in this position, folks, the best thing to do is google for other patterns. Sometimes their preview images will show you what you’re doing in more detail, helping you understand what’s going on. In this case, I used Folkwear #137, which I plan to purchase should I ever need to make another one of these coats, as it has better instructions and includes the leg straps that Kae suggested I add after I’d already picked out a pattern 🙂

This is where a fantail goes, by the way.

This is where a fantail goes, by the way.

Once I had the fantail attached to the right spot, I continued on, attaching the front bits. Here, it says to do the collar and front facing; however, because I was adding lining, I skipped over that to do the sleeves. Then I stitched the back, front, and sleeves together in the fleece, leaving it inverted so the nice sides of the seams were facing down, towards Kae’s body. Finally, I inserted the fleece into the canvas and hemmed the sleeves, anchoring that in place. The collar was a bit difficult to add in after the sleeves, but I managed, centering it with difficulty. It was around this time that my arms began to seriously ache from hauling this heavy coat around, pinning and stitching, but I persevered, as it was Sunday and my time was running short. After another round of fittings, I decided to finish the last details over the next few days, particularly since the university would be closed due to snow so Kae didn’t have to go anywhere until Thursday. The stupid buttonholes took forever, though. I kind of hate using the buttonholer because when the machine inevitably jams, it’s nearly impossible to pick out all the thread. I got enough buttons stitched on that he could button the front closed and took a week off, coming back to finish up the last few details later.

Finished coat, front

Finished coat, front

Finished coat, back

Finished coat, back

Oh, so there’s this thing out there on the internet, I guess it’s called Pintrest? You may have heard of it >.> Anyway, since we’ve been getting a little traffic from Pintrest lately, I thought I’d throw out something for you all to pin:

Duster Pin

Feb 152014
Well, the first podcast is done and posted. The first four parts are the movie itself- the last (and biggest) chunk is our After-Hour Bonus Ramblings. In order to make it so anyone that has subscribed via iTunes can auto-download the podcasts, Yami has created five separate ‘podcast’ type posts that won’t be pushed to the front page. So here are the links for your convenience.Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

After-Hours Bonus Ramblings

And, as a teaser/accompaniment, here are some links and trivia that really only make sense if you listen to us ramble.

Dogs and gramophones!

Caffeine at room temperature!

Fish house punch! (not bowl, like I think we called it more than once)

Umm, a non-drunken list of the movies!

That should just about do it for this- go and listen to the podcast.

 Posted by at 12:32 am
Feb 102014

In an attempt to get a regular event going that the three of us (Chaos, Yami and myself) can do at home, I came up with the idea of watching a steampunk-esque movie every month. And podcast it. While drinking. Yeah, well, it worked kind well for the first podcast so…

Anyway, I poked around Amazon a bit and ordered eight movies so far:

Wild Wild West (1999) with Will Smith and Kevin Kline, one of the more mainstream accessible steampunk movies.

Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) with Jude Law, Gwyneth Paltrow and Angelina Jolie, which has giant robots.’nuff said.

The Rocketeer (1991) with, umm, Timothy Dalton and Billy Campbell (had to dig for actors there), which is a bit more diesel- than steam- punk but whatever.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003) with Sean Connery and some other people. A bit of the supernatural there, but it has Captain Nemo and so instantly steampunk.

Van Helsing (2004) with Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsale. More supernatural here but that works with Yami and Chaos’ new characters so I’m kind of hand-waving that the gadgets Helsing uses are all steampowered.

Mutant Chronicles (2008) with Thomas Jane, Ron Perlman and John Malkovich. Alright, to be honest, I’m not sure if some of these really qualify but Amazon assures me they’re part of the Steampunk genre so I’m going to trust hat the entity that is trying to sell me more DVDs isn’t being overly flexible to move merchandise. Crap.

Steamboy (2005) with the voices of Anna Paquin, Alfred Molina and Patrick Stewart (Picard?). Alright, this one is animated, which could put some off (I’m a fan personally) but the plot is about a guy named Roy Steam who is an inventor.  I think we can safely bet there’s gonna be some steampunk doings going on.

And finally I have Metropolis (1926) with Brigitte Helm and Alfred Abel. It’s a black and white silent film- and thus not the animated movie of the same name I had meant to buy. Whoops. Chaos suggested that we should watch both, perhaps the silent one off-air, then the animated recorded right afterwards.


So those are the movies I’ve gotten already and we’ve already watched Wild Wild West and recorded it (still working on the edits though, sorry) but we’re interested in getting some opinions on where to go from here. Anyone have any suggestions on the viewing order? Or even have a movie or two that you’d recommend we watch that’s not on the list? If I can find it on Amazon for under ten bucks, I’m very willing to give’em a shot. And if it looks interesting, I might go over that to be honest. The only real restriction is that horror movies result in Yami having nightmares and beating up Chaos so we’re going to avoid those. Other than that, we’re going to be drinking so we’ll watch anything. Okay. Maybe not Jack and Jill or Gigli…

 Posted by at 9:33 pm
Feb 012014

Okay, we had some problems getting the photos off the bloody camera (for whatever reason, the computer would recognize the camera was plugged in but trying to access the photos on them would cause the camera to crash and the computer to freeze up. fun times) but success is mine!


I should probably explain what I meant with the title. The CZU (that’s Cleveland Zeppelin Union for those new around here) managed to get use of Parma Township’s public library (well, one of the conference rooms anyway) to host a ‘Making Day.’  What that is, exactly, is the lot of us doing something of a show and tell about some of the things we make to support our obss- hobby. Enjoyable pass time. Activities of interest. For interest, we brought in the business cards Yami has created for our group complete with a short but nifty little slide show. I also whipped together another slide show about general creating idea, using the steampunk wreath we made as the main example.

Gabriel hard at work making a trinket for a curious attendee.

Gabriel hard at work making a trinket for a curious attendee.

We also had a booth showing off some LED creations, one that helped explain some of the common character ‘archetypes’ and paper wind-fish (think of a windsock but made of paper and in the shape of a carp).  It was pretty neat to see how far the gambit can run, from the relatively cheap and easy to make calling cards to the really impressive LED-studded costume pieces that can take weeks or even months to create.  Of course, props and costumes are only as cool as the ideas behind them, so even having a platform to explain to a few people about how to start ‘thinking steampunk’ was really great.  



Some of the CZU members trying to get the FB page up on the projector.

Some of the CZU members trying to get the FB page up on the projector.


The star of the show, however, was Gabriel  and his jewelry, ornaments and doodad creation seminar. He brought his hot glue gun, boxes of small metal, plastic and paste-gem bits and some chains, then did some quick tutorials and demonstrations of how to assemble some very simple creations. I, for example, worked with him and another CZU member to create my Owens persona a fake pocket-watch to go with his new vest.  It’s a simple piece, just a false watch face attached to a metal chain on one end and a decorative weight on the other.



It was half ‘hey, nice to see you all again!’ and half ‘PSA: Hello people, this is Steampunk!’ And personally, I think both halveswent great. Sure, we may not have gotten as many visitors as a panel during a con, but we had at least two dozen or so people attend our little three hour session. That’s not bad for a bunch of people who just want to share their fun.

Not a bad sized crowd.

Not a bad sized crowd.

And we also got to debut some new additions to the  Owens costumes (most of which has been covered elsewhere):

Got some nifty new vests and button-up shirts.

Got some nifty new vests and button-up shirts.


Nothing new technically but we haven't had a 'in costume' photo of Nettie as yet.

Nothing new technically but we haven’t had a ‘in costume’ photo of Nettie as yet.


The new pocket watch (and weight, which is what you can see) for Owens.

The new pocket watch (and weight, which is what you can see) for Owens.

 Posted by at 7:43 pm