How to put together a Steampunk costume with little or no sewing

Your first steampunk costume doesn’t have to be fancy, you can find most items in your closet or at thrift stores. It will take creativity, patience and perseverance, but you can put together an outfit with little or no sewing.

SSNM 2012

Steampunk takes its fashion cues from the late 18th to 19th centuries and can be a blend of Victorian, wild west and preindustrial aesthetics. Think bustles, corsets, top hats and long coats. Steampunk can also have a post-apocalyptic feel.  It is not historically based, but a subgenre of science fiction, so the sky is the limit with what you can wear.  Try to use natural fabrics like cotton, linen and leather and in natural colors. Lace, velvet, corduroy are good options. For some ideas, Google steampunk images.

Look through your closet at home and see if you have any of the items suggested below.  Put together what you have.  Then hit Goodwill, Savers and any other thrift store you can find.  Look through all the sections, including the evening gowns, dresses, coats, shoes, and upholstery sections. The key is to build slowly and always keep an eye out for costume pieces and add when you can. Layering different elements will create a fuller and richer costume.

There are a lot of options to find steampunk clothing.

1. Costume stores. The following local stores have steampunk costume options: Birdland, Off Broadway, Buffalo Exchange, and Spirit Halloween stores.  Feshiegirl Fusion is a local designer who has some great items.

2. The internet. Visit etsy.com or google steampunk clothing and you can find anything you can imagine and more.

The other key element is accessories.  Copper and brass are favorite metals. Gears and goggles are very popular. Keep your eyes open for jewelry, adornments, old watches, old anything.

Here’s a list of items you can create your outfit with:

Women

Flowy, peasant like tops.
Vest
Full tiered skirts
Boots
Bloomers
Lace
Shawls
Hats or fancy hairpieces
Anything old timey

Tiered skirt and belt can make an instant bustle – tuck the skirt into the waist band with most of the fabric in the back and secure with a leather belt

Men

Button up shirt
Vest
Dark pants
Coat (preferably long)
Hat – Top hat, bowler of ferdora
Boots

If you want to avoid sewing make sure you have safety pins and fabric glue.

Here are some other links that might be helpful in building your outfit.

Steampunk on a budget: Costumers reveal their greatest secrets!

What the Hell is Steampunk?

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