How to Make a Steampunk Skirt

Written by kate kotler
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Fantasy writer Caitlin Kittredge defines Steampunk as "Sort of Victorian-industrial, but with more whimsy and fewer orphans." A literary movement in the science fiction subgenre, Steampunk intersects Victorian fashion with elements of advanced technology. Good examples of Steampunk fashion can be seen in television shows like "Firefly" and movies like "The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus." Cosplay or costume play is also a large component of the Steampunk lifestyle. Those wishing to experience this alternate universe can use DIY ingenuity to turn a long skirt found at a thrift store into a costume masterpiece.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Ankle length full skirt (preferably in a solid colour)
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Bias tape
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Tailors chalk

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  1. 1

    Measure and cut eight pieces of two inch bias tape.

  2. 2

    Flip the skirt inside out and lay it flat on a table.

  3. 3

    Measure 3 inches from the hem. Draw a horizontal line with tailors chalk lightly across each side of the skirt at this mark.

  4. 4

    Measure 6 inches from the hem. Draw a horizontal line with tailors chalk lightly across each side of the skirt at this mark.

  5. 5

    Pin an end of the four pieces of bias tape to each line. The pieces should be equally spaced -- pin a piece to either seam and on opposite sides of the skirt, between each seam.

  6. 6

    Sew one end of the bias tape into place, this will create a tie to bustle your skirt with. Tie the bottom and top pieces of bias tape together. Flip the skirt right side out and shake it. You'll see that you've created a bustle effect around the skirt. The skirt is now ready to wear as part of your Steampunk costume.

Tips and warnings

  • For a more detailed look, you can accent the skirt by sewing brass pieces (such as those from a broken pocket watch) onto the skirt along the waistband or on top of each bustle.
  • Vary this pattern by only creating bustles on the back of the skirt, or by adding more ties/bustles on different parts of the skirt.

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