Sunday, 30 June 2013

Steampunk Web Roundup

 Just a short one this week! Wow, it's been a busy week, been working very hard! I've managed to get a bit of sewing in as well, working on some mockups, I will show you the finished products later when they are done!

A beautiful Victorian wedding!

Conversation rules for gentlemen from 1875, I always think that old fashioned good manners should be brought back, we could do with a little more politeness.

The Ju Jitsu Suffragette

Eyepatches and Missing Teeth- The Edwardian female drunks banned from pubs

I also enjoyed this post on Two Nerdy History Girls. A beautiful painting, and I love the luminous dress!

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Hair Experimentation: Quick Mad Victorian Hairdos

Last night (Tuesday) I experimented with some quick Victorian inspired updos.

Back of hair pulled up into high ponytail, split in two, plaited, curled around at top of head.

Same but made into fake Heidi braid, wrapped down and pinned at back.

Middle portion of hair pulled up into high ponytail and pinned into weird loopy things.

Plaits at front, pulled back, some kind of odd bunched up thing done with the rest of the hair. Random things pinned into hair, like cameo and flower.

Sunday, 23 June 2013


The shadows are making music in the night
torturing their rusty instruments
the jagged notes dance on the scented breeze

in the darkness they spill from us
and play their secret symphonies
half heard amidst our dreams

in the morning
our darker halves lie beside us
in the sun's steady reassuring glow

but slivers of a strange dark music
pierce deep within our hearts
a savage beautiful melancholy
for a symphony we shall never hear

it passes only through our dreams
and dies when morning comes
and with it
dies a little of ourselves

'til we become
a member of that shadow symphony

Laura Morrigan
12.46 am.

This Document Copyright ©2013 By
Laura Morrigan  All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Steampunk Web Roundup

Article about Victorian music halls at Sepiachord

Diversity in Steampunk: Black Steampunks and Steamfunkateers

Amazing Steampunk Kinetic art! I especially love the Tornado 3.0!

Cutest automatons ever!
For sale here on Etsy

Great article on commonalities between Goths and Steampunks by Steampunk author Craig Hallam 

Gibson Girl hair DIY 


McCalls M6770 Ruffle Bustle/ Capelet

 McCalls M6770 is from the new McCalls Summer collection and not yet available in some countries. I ordered it off their website, you can probably also find it on eBay and Etsy.

I made this on the 13th of June. I am still not sure what I am going to do with the fastenings. At the moment the ties can be knotted at the front, as it said to do with ribbons in the instructions. I am thinking of using snaps or buttons to make it into a solid waistband that can be opened at the front.

If you are wondering why everything I make seems to be made of violet material, it's because it's my mock up material, I got a roll that must have more than 20m on it at an op shop for $15. 

Problems and adaptations-

* The waistband didn't seem long enough to actually reach all the way around, it didn't meet the ends of the bustle itself. It may have been that I actually cut it too short, but before you cut it out of your material, make sure it is at least as long as the waist on the rest of the garment. I made mine longer so it could serve as ties.

* The lines where the long pattern pieces for each layer join together at the back do show a bit, especially with patterned material, so ideally you might want to join all the pattern pieces for each layer together and cut them on one big piece, although this may waste more material.

* The bustle really doesn't meet at the front. I cut my pattern size, the ruffles do not meet at the front (although in the picture on the cover, if you look closely, they do not meet). So if you want them to meet in the middle I would recommend adding around 10cm to the length of all pattern pieces. That's how much gap I had at the front anyway, it will differ for different people, I suppose.

* I used quite thin material and still got really big ruffles, which was good. With all the hemming and sewing layers and ruched material, I wouldn't recommend this for thick material. I think it might bunch up unpleasantly.

Isambard Steamparakeet helping with the patterns.

A few different views of the finished bustle. I might later make one in different material to match my outfits. This one is made of my mock up material and hasn't be pre-shrunk, but I don't expect you would normally wash an outside clothes bustle anyway.

As I said before, there is a big gap at the front.

The pictures from the envelope.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Trimmed Sunhat

 Trimmed 7th June

I had this plain white hat for ages, and could never think of how to make it look good. I was on the verge of throwing it out. Then I had an idea, I wrapped a long gauzy white scarf around it, wove in a piece of grey tulle from an old skirt, added a brown fabric scrap with unusual pieces attached to it and a couple of pin on fake flowers!

I sewed the scarf and fabric scrap onto the hat. The flowers are pinned on so they can be moved to different places, or colours switched to match different outfits.

The only problem was, the stitches showed through the brim! Whoops! I didn't think of that! I don't think they are too obvious, though. I have thought of sewing some lace over the inside of the brim, but I am not sure.

I might also add a claw clip to it to keep it on my hair.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Web Roundup

Interesting links from the web

New York Library spotlights Steampunk


The Fall of October Rain 

Making fabric covered buttons

Tutorial: Steampunk Surveillance Arthropod

How to write a telegram properly

For those who think good clothes these days are cheap, you should read this article, including the price conversions. And to think girls were expected to have different outfits everyday in the 1920s!


I have definitely seen biscuit boxes that would work for this, it doesn't have to be that particular brand!

And I love this quote, shared on Facebook:  "It may be possible to do without dancing entirely. Instances have been known of young people passing many, many months successively, without being at any ball of any description, and no material injury accrue either to body or mind;--but when a beginning is made--when the felicities of rapid motion have once been, though slightly, felt--it must be a very heavy set that does not ask for more." From Emma by Jane Austen.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Mr Selfridge

I've just finished watching the first season of Mr Selfridge, and here's hoping there will be a second!

What can I say? The costumes are amazing! I was taking so many pictures! There are definite items that I need, especially all those delicate lace blouses and dresses! I like the style of the early Edwardian era. Sometimes I miss a time when everyone dressed in their best every time they left the house, although I do love some of the (relatively) modern (to people like me) styles we see like Punk and Goth and of course, when I am sick, I appreciate being able to pull on a hoodie and shuffle to the doctors without being judged.

The plot was good, rather similar to The Paradise, which I also adored for the costumes. As in The Paradise we have the brash, bold visionary shop owner, the intelligent and talented up-and-coming shopgirl with ideas of her own, and lots of love and betrayal and moodiness and disasters, but not too Soapie-like, although it definitely has the flavour of a modern drama based in the past.

One character I really enjoyed was Mrs Rose Selfridge (Frances O' Connor), the long-suffering wife who puts up with her husband's neglect and affairs with a beautiful melancholy grace, although falls from grace herself due to feelings for another man. I also liked Rosalie (Poppy Lee Friar), their eldest daughter, who some will recognise from the  Australian children's drama Dead Gorgeous, where she played the ghost of a Victorian girl trapped with her sister ghosts in a modern day school that used to be their home. She has a sweet charm and innocence, rather reminiscent of Romula Garai.

It was also nice to see Zoe Tapper (Desperate Romantics, Stage Beauty) again. She added some sympathy to what might otherwise have been a rather cardboard character of Mr Selfridge's mistress. Another character I who I do not feel was as well written as she could be was Lady Mae. I have no complaints about Katherine Kelly's portrayal of the character, but I would have liked to see more focus on Lady Mae being a strong, intelligent, independant woman, and less on by showing her having manipulative relationships with younger men, which I think showed her in a bad light. As Violette (Selfridge's very young feminist Suffragette supporting daughter who I also hope we will see more of) says, why do the men get to go out and have all the fun?

I was rather surprised at the number of female characters that seemed to have had sex and not got pregnant in an era when contraception was still very rudimentary, but really, unwanted pregnancies are way overdone in drama, so I was glad that that did not happen.

There were a few good discussions of woman's issues such as the Rational Dress Movement, Suffragettes, and the fact that women had to choose between working all their lives or marrying and having to stay home and not be allowed to make their own choices anymore (Married women were not allowed to work).

The biggest thrill for me, as with The Paradise was watching them create all the innovations of modern shopping, things like window dressing, store sales, cheaper store brands of perfume, etc. I found it all very fascinating. It always gives me a chuckle in shows where people tell them it won't work when we clearly have all these innovations nowadays and it works just fine! I loved that in Murdoch Mysteries too, how Murdoch was always creating all these inventions but not patenting them, like stickytape and blutac and Crabtree had the idea of tinned meat. I loved the part where Selfridge's mistress wanted to run what was basically the Edwardian version of a 'sex sells' campaign for perfume with smouldering pictures (fully dressed). Of course, it was far more elegant and restrained than the sort of ad we see nowadays!

All in all, definitely worth watching if you enjoy things set in the Victorian/ Early Edwardian era.

Here are a few shots of the amazing costumes! I want all of the ones pictured. Blue and white/cream are my favourite colours, it can be almost painful to look at all those beautiful costumes!

The blue dress lady Mae wears below is just exquisite. I  took so many pictures of it, I have to have it!

Oh and the hats! I love the hats! I have recently trimmed a hat, and I think it looks pretty good! Keep an eye out in upcoming posts!

Clothing Adaptation: Waistcoat

Adapted in April I think.

This vest was too long, so I cut out a few inches at the back.

I forgot to get any before pics, but it was really low in the front. I worked out if I altered the back it would shorten the front too, as it's a pretty simple cut.

I wish it would come out better in the pictures, it has ruffles down the front, looks really pretty.

Friday, 14 June 2013

Adele Blanc-Sec: A Movie From a Steampunk Comic

Adele Blanc-Sec is based on some of the French comics about the eponymous heroine which are considered part of the classic Steampunk genre. While not containing any emphasis on technology, they fit another part of the Steampunk genre which is currently undergoing a less publicised phase, stories based more on odd adventures, exotic locales and strange magic than technology, stories such as the works of writers such as Haggard and Jules Verne. As such, it is a bit of a breath of fresh air, and I enjoyed this, although I do also enjoy the books with a more mechanical focus.

The main focus of the story is definitely imaginative and fascinating, tying together two of Adele's adventures, which I believe made up the first two graphic novels about her. An adventure to Egypt to find the mummy of the pharaoh's doctor to save her sister, and trying to solve the problem of an escaped pterodactyl whose life force is tied to the very man who can help her resurrect the mummy. I enjoyed the magical elements, even though some of the farcial humour left me cold.

There are many different kinds of humour, and some countries have their own particular style, this film has a definite French sense of humour, which, while some may enjoy, I found difficult. But then again, my sense of humour has always been more towards the English or dark ends of the spectrum. I found that the things in this movie that were meant to be funny mostly annoyed me, but this may not be the same for others.

I absolutely adored the costumes, and want many of them for myself, especially the blue embroidered coat, the delicate lace dress with the blue ribbons, the huge feathered hats and striped underskirts.

Here are some of my favourite costumes, all of which I intend to have one day!   

Particular things I liked and didn't like- CONTAINS SPOILERS


The beautiful costumes

The idea of resurrecting mummies who had superior technology to the present day to cure her sister

The girl who played Adele I think she had a great mix of sarcasm and enthusiasm.


I didn't like the big noses and exaggerated facial features of some of the characters, the farcial humour, there were bits I fast forwarded. For instance the government minister dying while having an affair with a chorus girl, Adele dressing up in various costumes to try and rescue the professor, the game hunter and the policman dressing up in the sheepskins, long winded conversations that were meant to be funny, etc. However, as I said before, my style of humour is mostly old school English and dark humour so others might find this funnier. It was still definitely worth watching the movie!

The ending- she gets on the Titanic. Followed by evil people. We know the heroine isn't going to die, what is the point? To set it up for a sequel? I hate endings that feel like that!

My ratings for Adele Blanc-Sec

Costumes 5/5
Plot 4/5
Humour 2/5 (if you like French humour you might like it more)
Ending: 2/5

Overall: 4/5

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Steampunk Blog Link Party

Visit Steam Ingenious to participate in the new Blog Link Party! 

Steampunk bloggers unite!

Steam Ingenious Blog Link Party

DIY: Edwardian Mourning Blouse from 80s dress worn to Gothic Sunday

Clothing item adapted on sat 23rd March

This ended up being the top I wore to Gothic Sunday in May. 

I can't take full credit for this, as the top part of the dress already looked very much like an Edwardian blouse, lace and all. However the bottom part was much too tight. It had to go.

Bottom layer carefully cut off.

zipper taken off, spare bit of material folded under opened up so there is more room in the top.

Set of hooks and eyes on ribbons, taken from a corset. If I manage to get one of those zippers which completely detaches at the bottom I may swap it in, these fastenings are a bit frustrating as you need help getting dressed, and men are notoriously bad at dealing with fastenings like this. I actually ended up getting him to help me with it for Gothic Sunday and he did a good job, but what would I do if he wasn't around to help?

Hook and eyes being pinned into the back to be sewn on. If I remember right I managed to machine sew one side but the other had to be hand stitched.

Back now closes with hook and eye attachment. At the very top I carefully crossed the material over so it didn't crease the rest, and added a couple of hidden snap buttons, below the material covered buttons at the very top of the neckline.

And the final top, worn with my Yohji Yamamoto skirt, as photographed by Harry Raab of Raab Imagery at Gothic Sunday.