Challenge #2 – “Thing-a-ma-bobs? I’ve got 20!” – The accessories challenge! Hats, ruffs, wigs, shoes, bags – it all happens here!
Here at Shear Madness HQ we thought it might be helpful to show some examples of different accessories and how really fun and creative they can be!
When the annual Fezziwig’s Steampunk Christmas party was only several weeks away, I started to panic. I came up with 2 completely separate designs for outfits, but wasn’t inspired enough by either to actually start on them. I went through my costume closet, trying to come up with an idea that would use items still in my closet, and save me a little bit of cash. My final decision was to Steampunk up my “Sound of Music” Liesl dress, and make a coordinating hat.
The hat is a costume version of a traditional Bavarian hat. On the hat I have stitched the “Favorite Things” from the song: “Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens, bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens. Brown paper packages tied up with strings, these are a few of my favorite things!” On the back I stitched through a box of Junior Mints as a inside-joke, because those are ACTUALLY my favorite things.
It was really fun to have people stare at the hat and finally get what it represented, only to start laughing in delight!
This past spring I was fortunate to be able to compete with a very talented bunch of ladies at Costume Con in Denver. We competed as a Steampunk Circus, complete with a clown, Ringmaster, strong-woman, trapeze artist, lion tamer, horseback rider, fire wrangler and tightrope walker. Three of us chose to wear wigs that were created out of unusual objects.
The Strongwoman (Jessica) chose to make hers out of tubular mesh ribbon. She used various metallic colored mesh and built it on top of a foam head to get the proper shape. The inspiration was metal bullion wigs of the 1920’s.
- The Trapeze Artist (Jennifer) went a slightly different route. Her wig was made of raffia, carefully styled on top of a buckram base. Feathers and flowers completed the look, which was based on a vintage hairstyle.
The Clown (me) went in yet another different direction and used yarn. The base of the wig was a knitted cap. The curls were made using crochet, and the entire thing was then built on top of the cap. A piece of color coordinating elastic runs through the edges to help secure the fit, along with a plastic comb. The “crown” was a handmade necklace that was sewn on top.
3. These shoes are made for walkin…
Several members of the Steampunk Circus also decided to make or modify footwear for their costumes.
The Tightrope walker (Chris) and the Trapeze Artist (Jennifer) actually MADE shoes out of vinyl and fabric. They used commercially available patterns and designed them to look like their inspiration images.
The Strongwoman (Jessica) has experience working with leather, and decided to make an entire boot. She started with a pair of heels that fit well and then made a detailed leather lace-up boot on top of them.
For the Clown I followed a similar method as Jessica for her strongwoman. I found a pair of heels at the thrift store and painted them a copper color. Then I made spats with back zippers out of leather that had been embroidered with designs from Urban Threads. I laced them through buttons and holes I punched into the shoes with elastic cording.
4. Ruffs of Glory
The traditional method of making a ruff is with a thin, fine fabric. However, sometimes rules are made to be broken.
Arte needed to make a ruff for her Elizabethan Dalek costume. She needed something quick, fast, and sparkly, and thus the Christmas Ruff was born. She sewed layers of wired Christmas ribbon together and wound up with an elaborate looking piece that took her far less time than a traditional ruff.
The Clown also required a ruff as it was mimicking Victorian Fancy Dress. The supportasse was made of copper plumbing pipe, the ruff itself was made of copper mesh from the pest control store, and 7 yards of beaded trim was hand-made to go along the edge.
5. Miscellaneous accessories
Maybe your Khaleesi costume needs a purse. What to do? Turn a coconut shell and some clay into a Dragon Egg purse.
Or maybe you need a bar bell that isn’t going to actually weigh as much as a bar bell, so you spray paint some gerbil balls and a wooden pole.
Or a trench coat becomes a capelet.
Or a cake pan becomes an epic hat for a Valentine’s Day Redingote.
Hopefully these examples will give you some ideas about some of the different ways you could approach this challenge.
Good luck and happy crafting!