Never, in all my years of sewing, would I have ever dreamed about doing anything Steampunk related. Why? Well the culture for steampunk is quite unique. You get one thing wrong you may as well say bye bye to your cosplay career. Okay, so it isn’t all that harsh, but it is very specific to certain things and I really wanted to get it right. However, thinking that way made me stress out a lot and at times I didn’t even to work on it. I would stare at my designs and think ‘What am I getting myself into!’. My dear husband who is my supporter, my engineer, and the one who thinks I can do anything, told me I should just go for it and not worry about what others may think. So that’s what I did.
Before any good cosplay there comes a design. Whether it be from an already known character or one that is made up entirely by the cosplayer themselves. We call these originals, which is what Steampunk Snow White is. She is an original. She has her own story line, she has a unique to herself costume, and best of all… it’s the only one that looks like this in existence.
I started out by going through different pattern designs for steampunk. Simplicity Patterns has some of the best so I picked a few of them.
The first two patterns didn’t really fit with what I was going for, but I kept them for future uses (I have plans for more Disney style steampunk). The other two I looked at more and tried to decide which one would best fit my character. This included drawing out and recoloring to come up with what I wanted.
The first design was a basic recoloring of the third pattern. This was simple and easy to do and the color scheme was quite nice… but the more I looked at it, the more I felt something was missing. Now, I started this design process in October of last year. It didn’t stare at it every day or spend every waking moment trying to figure it all out. No. I took my time, cause I knew that Rose City Comic Con was another year away.
My next step was trying to figure out what was missing. I then decided I would go with out the short jacket, create a cape with collar, add short puffy sleeves, and give it a bit more of a steam punk flair. Note.. this drawing was not as good as my first cause I was rough sketching it while doing something else. 🙂 I showed this to my husband and he liked it… but thought it just wasn’t quite there yet. I agreed. SO I thought… why don’t I mix a couple patterns. I liked the skirt from the first design so I wanted to stick with that.. but I did want something more cape like.
I was FINALLY getting closer! I loved the jacket in the fourth pattern cause it was longer, like a cape, but still had steampunk flair… and it covered my arms! That was a huge plus. The corset is from the fourth pattern as well but the bottom would have to be changed to a point rather than the upside down V the pattern was. I almost called this my final design but something was still off. I wasn’t sure if it was the coloring or the design on the skirt or the corset that was wrong, it just wasn’t perfect yet. By this time it was around May and I needed to start sewing and getting to making it as I only had a few more months left before RCCC 2017. So back to the drawing board I went. My husband was a huge help as he gave me ideas to help me think of other ways I could do this. One thing I did know is that the ruffle front, below the corset, would probably be the one fabric item I would want to throw out.. so that’s when I came up with this!
Although this design says “final” on it… it really wasn’t. However, it was a heck of a lot closer then all the rest. That’s when I started sewing and getting the big part of the costume done. Now i still wasn’t finished. There was a lot of steampunk details that I needed to add. The hat was one of the first things I created… but trying to do the veil was a pain in my butt. I decided not to do the veil which made it possible for me to add other little details to the hat. Once I was finished sewing the corset, skirt, jacket, and collar piece I needed to work more on the detail. By this time it was around June… my kids would be visiting for the summer and we were about to go on vacation for a week in Kansas. I wanted to get the majority of all the detail work done before they arrived.
This was only a few details but it was finally coming to fruition. I had a bigger and better idea of what I was going to do, to really make this character come to life. The details were as follows:
Necklace with anatomic heart design
Leather belt with Pulley attachment to lift up skirt
Nautical compass on Leather Wrist band
Leather wrist brace with clock on it
Leather holster for gun
The more and more I added, the more excited I was getting about the finished product. I did not get it done before the kids arrived, like I wanted to, but I did finish it while they were here. There were some details that got changed, for example; Leather belt with Pulley Attachment to lift up skirt. We tried very hard to create a pulley system and nothing was working, so I opted for a leather strap that is on the inside of the skirt that comes out and up to the belt. You will see pictures of that later.
No matter what project you are working on Design is always an important step. Your finished product my not look at all like your first idea, but you have to start somewhere!
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