Steampunk Fairy – Part 1

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

Wow… you guys have missed a lot. (it’s AP season … I’m sorry) I’ll catch you all up.

Two weeks ago, I went to the Renaissance Fair with my dad and bought these really, really cool fairy steampunk ear cuffs.

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

Since then, I’ve basically had 50% of my brain on real life and 50% on planning out the corresponding costume. My original sketches looks like this.

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached
here’s my original sketch, though I’ve changed a lot since then

I have tons of pins on steampunk stuff and costumes and sewing tutorials I want to try, so I started sorting through them and picking out things to incorporate into the costume. I also went into my stash and pulled out this fabric.

red and gold

Here’s my current sketch. The rest of the post is all the little details I’ve figured out ๐Ÿ™‚

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

In the process of making this sketch, I learned that bustles areย really hard to draw. So just imagine that blobby thing as a bustle, okay? You’re the best ๐Ÿ™‚

Theย Color Scheme

Red is the main color, the focus. The light gold is the light accent and the bronze color is the dark accent. Brown is the least important color, the one that redirects the focus back to the red. The brown and the bronze bring the most obvious steampunk elements, with the red tying the costume back into the fantasy world of fairies.

The whole color scheme is supposed to be the basis of both the steampunk and the fairy elements. I definitely used the fabric and the ear cuffs as a starting point for the color scheme, but I think I really like how it ended up. Frankly, I would have ended up with metal, brown, and red anyway.

The Parts

  1. The Corset
  2. The Bustle
  3. Exposed 2/3 Hoop Skirt
  4. Pants
  5. Wings
  6. Lots of Accessories

The Corset

It’s going to be out of a red matching the bustle. I’m going to used Butterick 5935, which I’ve used once before, but I’m making some alterations.


Basically, the wings get attached to the back panel of the corset, which means that the corset laces up around the back panel (in two places, instead of the usual one).

here you can see the "island" which supports the wings
here you can see the “island” which supports the wings

So I’m using the front panel from view A and the back panel from view D. I took out the seam allowances from the edges of the back panel and the side back panel (adjacent) because the edges will be finished with bias tape (so no seam allowance loss). I also too out an inch on each side from the back panel, from the center back, so that there would be room to lace up the corset.

I went to the LA garment district and bought a sturdy upholstery fabric for the outside of the corset. It’s going to be lined in muslin.

the corset fabric :)
the corset fabric ๐Ÿ™‚

The Bustle

This is probably my favorite part of the whole ensemble. It rests over the hoop skirt (see below) and is made of this awesome fabric.

I experimented with draping it over my petticoat (which has been living on Pinhead for like a month now and doesn’t seem to be moving any time soon) and pinning it into a “traditional” steampunk bustle. I got a fairly haphazard look, which I actually really like and will definitely replicate in the actual thing.

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

It’s going to be three layers: the self-fabric outside, a layer of tulle gathered in rows for stability, and a gold lining (also gathered in rows, matching the hoop placement) which will show through.

the bustle lining
the bustle lining

The Hoop Skirt

Okay, this might actually be my favorite part.

I got the idea of an exposed hoop skirt from this post, and the 2/3 idea from this one. I figured out how to make it from this post. Seriously, thank you Pinterest and the lovely bloggers whom it links to ๐Ÿ™‚

The hoops will be made of flexible plastic tubing painted to look metallic and suspended by vertical strips of black ribbon. Lengths of wire running through the ribbon will help it keep its shape, and they will (hopefully) be removable for storage purposes. (So that it can fit in my tiny, already-packed closet.)

I’ve actually done a lot of planning and actual sewing for it, but that’s going to be my next post. Here’s a sneak peek of what the hoops will look like ๐Ÿ™‚

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached


Yeah, this is the boring part, and the part I’ve done the least thinking about. I know they’re going to be brown, skinny, and adorned with various steampunk/metallic elements to tie it into the whole costume, but, honestly, the pants aren’t the focus and I don’t want them to be.

think boring, like these


The whole point is that the bustle and the corset and the hoopskirt are what draw your eye. The pants are just there for public decency.


These are going to be modeled off of the ear cuffs, basically the same shape and construction but larger. I’m going to make them myself out of wire, adding similar beading and maybe some thinner detailing that isn’t possible on the small scale of the ear cuffs.

a sketch of the shape of the wings
a sketch of the shape of the wings

They are not going to be covered in sheer fabric. Honestly, whenever I see sheer-covered wings, my mind goes straight to Tinkerbell. Not the look I’m going for.

Lots of Accessories

This part is self-explanatory right? Little trinkets on the belt, beads from the wings braided into my hair and maybe sewn into the pants, corset, or my boots, maybe a wrist cuff, cool leather boots, etc.

The point of the accessories is to tie the whole costume together and into the world of steampunk. I really, really want this to feel like a cohesive look, and I think it’s the little details that really help with that.

Wow, this is a really long, wordy post. Thanks for getting all the way to the bottom ๐Ÿ™‚

What do you think of my plans? Any ideas for things to change? Questions, comments, concerns?

I hope you like it as much as I do. This project is reminding me why I love to sewโ€”and specifically costumeโ€”so much. It’s taking the edge off AP season and upcoming finals.

–Samantha ๐Ÿ™‚


9 thoughts on “Steampunk Fairy – Part 1

  1. Sounds fabulous! I did a similar steampunk costume a while back where I wore brown leather shorts under my bustle skirt and paired them with knee-high boots. Perhaps that would be an option if you didn’t want to go with pants?


    1. Haha. I don’t think I’ll ever take the time to make a corset with actual corset properties like waist training ๐Ÿ™‚ I can’t wait to look more at that website! It looks like a lot of fun ๐Ÿ™‚


  2. Gorgeous plan for an outfit, I can’t wait to see the whole thing! I made my own steampunk costume last year for a SP festival I went to, and it was so much fun. (My outfit was a mix of steampunk, and Attack on Titan, if you’ve heard of that!). I think as far as creating a cohesive theme, you are doing well by the repetition of colors and textures. Good luck, and please share the finished design when you’re done!


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