Steampunk Fairy Costume – Part 4

I finally have stuff to show for this costume! It’s only been, like, a month! But, finally, my steampunk fairy costume is really getting underway. I have corset stuff to show you and hoop skirt/bustle draping too!

Just to keep you all up-to-date on this making-of costume series, here are parts one, two, and three and my sketch.

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

I started out by finishing up the corset. When I last blogged about it, all the construction seams were done and all I needed to do was finish the edges.

After three failed trips (and two unfortunate purchases) to Joann Fabrics to try to find a thinner fabric that matched in color to use as bias tape (the self-fabric of the corset is a heavy home-decor fabric and I was worried about the bulk), I gave in and cut bias strips out of my self fabric. That was Tuesday.

It ended up not being a problem. There was not a problematic amount of bulk. And I even remembered to add boning to the previously exposed edges!

corset - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

And here’s the inside.

corset - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

And look at that pretty hand stitching! (Wait — you can’t see it)

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

Okay, bragfest over. Anyway, then I started putting it grommets. All 40 of them.  

here's the back panel, from the inside, with all its grommets
here’s the back panel, from the inside, with all its grommets

It took forever. But then I got to try it on, which was a total plus. I laced it up (or, more accurately, my sister laced it up) with black ribbon because that was what I had, but I feel like it makes it a bit too pirate-y, so I’ll get better ribbon.

I LOVE IT. I mean, the ribbon is weird and I need to add panels under the lacings so you can’t see so much of my super pale skin (can you imagine that sunburn? Ouch) and I need to play with the fit a bit in the bust (don’t know how I’m going to do that), but I’m just so happy with it. This was my first glimpse of what the costume is going to look like finished and it was everything I hoped for.

Okay, onto the bustle!

I honestly don’t remember where I was last time I blogged about it. I think I was having trouble with trying to drape it; that had been my status quo for a few weeks anyway, so it works. No, wait, I was waiting to buy more fabric so I could get stuck draping. Lol. Here’s where I was:

On Wednesday, I gave up (for the moment) on draping the bustle and turned to the waistband. That was an adventure.

waistband - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

It was just so much fabric to work with. I mean, the lining is covered in layers of tulle on the inside and then there is like two yards of 60″ heavy home decor fabric on the right side. And then the gathers had stretched out so I had to regather some stuff in the midst of pinning it — it was an adventure, like I said.

The finished waistband is like 1/4″ thick too. I was worried about it showing through the corset, but I think the corset is thick enough for it to not be a problem. And I pressed it with a hot and steamy iron, which helped a bit.

I put all the hoops back in to work on the draping again. I actually made progress at this point, but then I decided that I wanted a pocket.

draping progress
draping progress

For some explanation as to why I decided the bustle needed a pocket when I have a belt which is going to be covered in pouches and random steampunk accessories, well, it’s a bit embarassing. The bustle is so round that nothing deep enough to fit my phone will hang nicely from the belt. (Whoops) And I need my phone because I’m going to be wearing this to Comic Con and I need pictures. So, the bustle needed a pocket.

I chose to put it behind one of the tucks at the edge so that the opening would be covered (prettier and no pickpockets)

where the pocket would go
where the pocket would go

I tried to find some way to sew the pocket without taking the hoops out and the whole monstrosity off my dressform but, predictably, came up dry. I had to unpin a few of my successful draping points in order to get the outer layer to lay flat enough to sew the pocket.

pocket sewing - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

It was a pain in the butt, to say the least. This is what my sewing machine looked like mid-seam.

Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

But it ended up looking great! My phone fits perfectly, there’s room for a wallet too, and it’s totally hidden. (I don’t have a pic. Lol. Sorry)

Wednessday ended with about three hours of tacking the draping points and painstakingly hand sewing the sides and hem of the bustle to the lining. It was painful. But now THE BUSTLE IS DONE.

the bustle - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached


the bustle - Steampunk Fairy Costume | Strings Attached

This has been an incredibly long post (thanks if you’re still reading; you’re the best). I hope you’re as excited about my costume as I am!

I’ll have more for you next week about accessories, wings, and shorts. And then this costume will be done and it will be time to move onto my sister’s steampunk fairy 🙂

What do you think of my costume? Do you love the bustle as much as I do? The corset?

Thanks for reading

Samantha 🙂


4 thoughts on “Steampunk Fairy Costume – Part 4

  1. Samantha, your talent and endurance are inspiring! I have been sewing for many years but have never tackled a project like this one. I really prefer the quick and easy projects and more instant gratification of something I can complete in a day or two. My daughters have been interested in period costume of the revolution era (thanks to our recent visit to Williamsburg, VA) so I may have to tackle something like this eventually. But those layers and the massive volume of fabric have always intimidated me; and don’t even get me started on the corset- terribly stressful comes to mind. Was sewing a corset that bad or am I letting the idea intimidate me for no reason?
    I love your fabric choice for the skirt. The stripes really show off the folds of the fabric, and I love stripes! Have a great summer.


    1. Thank you for your kind words 🙂 It’s definitely been my biggest project to date, and I have missed that instant gratification of smaller projects, but it’s so worth it seeing it come together. I’m just waiting for that moment when everything is done and I try on all the pieces together (I’ve been purposefully avoiding that so I don’t ruin the surprise).
      The corset wasn’t that difficult to sew, though the pattern fit me basically out of the envelope so I didn’t have to play with the fit and it’s lightly boned. I used plastic boning I bought in bulk off amazon, so it’s easier to work with than metal boning would be (*shudder*). But I think a corset is a totally doable project, especially if you choose a pattern with a relatively small amount of pieces! It was not nearly as scary as I expected it to be!
      Working with the huge amounts of fabric for the bustle was definitely time consuming, but, again, fun! I feel like there’s just something enchanting about working with big amounts of fabric–like you would in a revolutionary era costume. You should definitely tackle one!


What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s