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Steampunk Halloween Dinner 2012

Dec 25, 2012
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Everything we are wearing, except our shoes, we (mostly I) made

Every year we have a themed Halloween dinner (in New Zealand Halloween is not really a big celebration but we like the excuse to get dressed up). We don’t usually make a huge effort – last year I made a green leaf choker, threw on a red dress and went as the apple from Sleeping Beauty. This year, however, my husband, a mechanical engineer, was really excited about the theme so we decided to go all out.

He started by designing and having 3-D printed his rifle butt – complete with inset electrostatic ball. Various early movie camera parts, box brownie bits and external flash dishes did duty as the tracking system on his pith helmet.  His ammunition belt holds old-style soda siphon bulbs and his tie pin is his Duke of Edinburgh award with wings.

His outfit features Victorian high-waisted cavalry pants, made from $1.50/m close-out stretch (unknown fibre but absolutely no natural fibres died in the making of it), with a button fly and braces, satin Hong Kong seaming and horsehair canvas waistband.The Sweeney Todd waist coat is a silk chiffon with cameos of Queen Victoria. The chiffon was underlined with a stable cotton in the same colour as the cavalry pants.The back, lining pocket welts and edge piping are in tobacco Thai silk and the internal facings are piped in the same duponi silk as the Ascot tie which matches Queen Victoria’s garter sash.

My hat came from Ms Purdy ( and was re-embellished with eschutons, keys, watch parts, a monocle, replica magpie skull ( and crocheted wire mesh (I had to do a course to learn how to make this for my mask).My Victorian walking skirt (in polyester taffeta) was supported by a steel boned petticoat (both patterns and David’s from Harlots and Angels – see below).The bustle was Simplicity 1840 in a cotton sateen with 1970s model portraits in lilac and cinnamon – this fabric was the inspiration for the entire outfit as I didn’t want to go with the traditional black, brown or red combinations.The underbust corset was in the same taffeta as the skirt, with the boning concealed with randomly placed zippers and I was lucky enough to find a stretch velvet (not a fabric I am particularly fond of) in exactly the same inky blue for the top.

I finished off the outfit with lace gloves (remnants onto the hat), a beaded wire mesh mask, box brownie casing handbag and a necklace made from crystals, bathtub chain, keys and watch parts.

Threads 163 has directed me to where I have already found a fantastic fish skeleton print for my skirt for next year.[We all put so much work into our outfits for this year that some variation of “steampunk” will be our theme forever more.]

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  1. user-2461544 April 15th

    Love it all!

  2. User avater imeldashoequeen February 7th

    Thank you, this year we're going for a gothic theme, and I have the most beautiful bat skeleton choker on which to base my outfit - I used the fabric as the inspiration to lobby for a gothic theme!

  3. User avater RStaff49 January 30th

    I have admired steampunk designs from afar. Your outfits were terrific! Bravo!Great work!

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