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Author Topic: The VR guide to steampunk costumes on the cheap  (Read 8391 times)
Violet Rose
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« on: July 14, 2009, 07:45:16 pm »

1. Charity/thrift shops are your friends but you have to be a regular visitor - no point going once a month then complaining that there is nothing there to suit you. When in a shop:
2. Don't automatically dismiss clothes that are too large - you may be able to take them in
3. Don't automatically dismiss clothes that are too small but in a fabulous material - you may be able to use the material to make something else - a bag, or a scarf for example
4. Don't automatically dismiss clothes that are a fantastic fit but in a horrible material - unpick them and use them for a pattern
5. Think laterally - that ra ra skirt may be entirely unsuitable as such and yet may be the makings of a fantastic bustle. Similarly those tiered summer skirts make admirable petticoats
6. Watch out for beautiful trimmings and buttons on otherwise nasty garments
7. Also army surplus stores may also be useful resources if you are after a more gentlemanly look
8. Have clothes swap parties with like minded friends

I hope at least some of the above is helpful to someone - anybody else got any good tips ?
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« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2009, 08:10:44 pm »

Some great ideas... any tips for men?
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James Harrison
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2009, 08:45:48 pm »

Try wedding hire shops for old stock- sometimes they sell on ex-hire morning and frock coats, patterned waistcoats, trousers etc etc.   
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« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2009, 08:51:03 pm »

When in the thrift stores:

Look at the purses and belts. Take a cool leather bag, sew on a belt loop or some sort of belt hanger for a nice side pouch...

Old leather luggage can be salvaged for other projects...

The Salvation Army often has leather and suede clothing CHEAP... shop on the 1/2 price days...
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Violet Rose
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« Reply #4 on: July 15, 2009, 12:24:07 am »

Some great ideas... any tips for men?

Victorian stylee moustaches and beards are a cheap way of getting a retro look - and army surplus stores are good for all sorts of things.
Again think laterally - I have a very nice leather lens case on a strap that I found in a car boot sale which I use to carry art equipment.
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Violet Rose
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« Reply #5 on: July 15, 2009, 03:59:16 pm »

Also furnishing fabrics often make opulent waistcoats - they are generally pretty pricey but many fabric stores sell off remnants or better yet swatches of material - C and H fabrics are very good for this - you can get three pieces for a pound, and six would probably be ample to piece together for the front of a waistcoat
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Violet Rose
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« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2009, 04:01:32 pm »

Also for the ladeez - summer is a good time to buy cheap white cotton drawstring trousers -  the material is usually thin enough for them to serve as drawers in the winter especially if you trim them with a little lace
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The Hon. Archibald Keyes
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« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2009, 05:03:03 pm »

For both genders - investigate any old family clothes that your parents (or grandparents) may have knocking around unused in attics or cupboards and the like. Likely as not that they will allow you to have them.
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garingling
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« Reply #8 on: July 15, 2009, 05:46:17 pm »

Good points Violet Rose, I often give the same advice when people ask where they can find things on the cheap.
The hubby and I have done all of these things except the clothes swap (I don't think stealing his stuff counts). Cheesy

Also don't forget to look at the jewelry for fun pieces or things that can be taken apart to make new pieces and find out where your thrift store stashes the hats (I have come home with many hats that will be awesome with a little modification and some good as is).

Also furnishing fabrics often make opulent waistcoats - they are generally pretty pricey but many fabric stores sell off remnants or better yet swatches of material - C and H fabrics are very good for this - you can get three pieces for a pound, and six would probably be ample to piece together for the front of a waistcoat
On this side of the Pond Joann Fabric and Craft stores are pretty good for such material. It is often on sale for 40 to 50 percent off any given week. When it's not they often have coupons at the store (or you can sign up for their flyer) for 40% off a single item or cut of fabric. They also discount remnants and if they are on sale to boot it's a double discount so always check the bins near the cutting counter. They also do red ticket sales (fabrics that they are discontinuing or just have to much of are marked down with red tickets and then periodically they have half price red ticket sales). I have filled several floor to ceiling cabinets in the sewing room with such deals. Good luck hunting since that's half the fun. 
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 06:33:21 pm »

While you're at the thrift store, paw through the belts, shoes and purses whether you want any of those items or not.  For what you'll pay online for one new brass buckle, you could have got a whole drawer full of them at a salvage store, and maybe scored some leather you can use later.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2009, 06:35:03 pm by Mr. Hatchett » Logged

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« Reply #10 on: July 15, 2009, 10:37:47 pm »

1 - Have a plan - spend some time looking at pictures of appropriate clothing, be it Victorain historical civilian/military, Girl Genius comic or just photos of members of this forum. From this, come up with a concept (clothing style & base colours) that you would be comfortable wearing and that isn't roo complicated. Keep this in mind when you go shopping - that way you won't esd up buying something that ins't going to match or fit in with the rest of your ensemble.

2 - For entry level clothing, espcially for summer meets, KEEP IT SIMPLE. Men should be able to get away with shirt, waistcoat, trousers and appropriate shoes/boots as a basic costume that they can add to. Of these items of clothing, if you choose carefully you should be able to wear most items as part of your every day clothing, thus meaning you are not spending on costume items you wil rarely use. For example, my preferred clothing colour is brown and I prefer wearing collarless shirts when not in the office, hence I found a good pair of brown chino-type trousers that I liked, some grandad shirts and a pair of brown shoes that I can use for work too. Add to this a waistcoat and I have a basic set-up. Other items can be added as and when I find/make clothing/accessories that compliment the 'look' I want (first priority is a suitable coat).



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Prof Eumides Blakehurst
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« Reply #11 on: July 16, 2009, 12:47:28 am »

They also discount remnants and if they are on sale to boot it's a double discount so always check the bins near the cutting counter. They also do red ticket sales (fabrics that they are discontinuing or just have to much of are marked down with red tickets and then periodically they have half price red ticket sales). I have filled several floor to ceiling cabinets in the sewing room with such deals. Good luck hunting since that's half the fun. 

You're doing the "person who dies with the most wins" thing aren't you ?  Cheesy

Though of course it's excellent advice.

For the gentlemen, remember that it only takes about 70 - 100cm of spiffy fabric to make a waistcoat - assuming that the back and lining are normal lining material. So even a fairly expensive fabric could be worth the cost if you're only getting a small amount. This doesn't work with coats that need a lot of fabric.

Barter your skills. If you can't sew or do leatherworking (or simply don't have time), then find a friend/relative who can and see what you can do for them that is quick and easy for you. Fix their computer, paint them a picture - I have done a fair bit of calligraphy in return for art in media I can't work with, as well as framing and so on.
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garingling
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« Reply #12 on: July 16, 2009, 02:19:42 am »

They also discount remnants and if they are on sale to boot it's a double discount so always check the bins near the cutting counter. They also do red ticket sales (fabrics that they are discontinuing or just have to much of are marked down with red tickets and then periodically they have half price red ticket sales). I have filled several floor to ceiling cabinets in the sewing room with such deals. Good luck hunting since that's half the fun. 

You're doing the "person who dies with the most wins" thing aren't you ?  Cheesy
That's the truth of it! LOL
I have more than I know what to do with, well I know what I want to do, but it's getting to it. It's really hard to walk past pretty and inexpensive fabric. Cheesy
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jib27
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« Reply #13 on: July 16, 2009, 05:17:22 am »

All great advice, I would also like to offer up the advice that you look at everything in pieces rather than as a whole. If you have some decent spatial reasoning you can start to rearrange the parts in your head and will find wonderful new uses for your thrift store findings. This is wonderful for people who are terrible at sewing like myself, I recently turned a shoe in to a gas mask by doing this.
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Mrs. Sullivan
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« Reply #14 on: July 16, 2009, 06:01:05 am »

Look in the "Linens" section for old bedsheets (can be used to make up a practice pattern on the cheap), and for old draperies/ curtains.  There is a ton of fabric in an old curtain, and (cleverly cut), can be used to make unique clothing, especially skirts, jackets, waistcoats, and cloaks.  Wink
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Violet Rose
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« Reply #15 on: July 16, 2009, 08:35:09 pm »

All great advice, I would also like to offer up the advice that you look at everything in pieces rather than as a whole. If you have some decent spatial reasoning you can start to rearrange the parts in your head and will find wonderful new uses for your thrift store findings. This is wonderful for people who are terrible at sewing like myself, I recently turned a shoe in to a gas mask by doing this.

Fantastic!
Do we get to see pictures

(I have to say for some people's shoes you would need a gas mask to work with them!)
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jib27
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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2009, 10:17:51 pm »

All great advice, I would also like to offer up the advice that you look at everything in pieces rather than as a whole. If you have some decent spatial reasoning you can start to rearrange the parts in your head and will find wonderful new uses for your thrift store findings. This is wonderful for people who are terrible at sewing like myself, I recently turned a shoe in to a gas mask by doing this.


Fantastic!
Do we get to see pictures

(I have to say for some people's shoes you would need a gas mask to work with them!)



Well of course there are pictures just took some time to get them.
The leather was from the previously mentioned shoe, except for the strap which was from a purse.
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garingling
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« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2009, 10:21:37 pm »

At first glance had you not said it was from a shoe I wouldn't have seen. That turned out quite well!
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jib27
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« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2009, 10:46:34 pm »

At first glance had you not said it was from a shoe I wouldn't have seen. That turned out quite well!
thank you, I thought about playing down the whole shoe thing but then I didn't want someone to actually think I knew something about working leather, and then get asked a question I know nothing about.
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waif
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« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2009, 10:51:24 pm »

This years fashion is actually quite adaptable to steam punk style..... Ive been to the sales. I have managed to make several fantastic outfits picking up things for quite cheap from the great british high street. Here are a few of my purchases.

http://www.warehouseoutlet.co.uk/fcp/product/fashion/Coats-&-Casual-Jackets/asymmetric-linen-jacket/11499
http://www.missselfridge.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=false&catalogId=20555&storeId=12554&categoryId=143536&parent_category_rn=63769&productId=1271553&langId=-1
http://www.missselfridge.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=true&catalogId=20555&storeId=12554&categoryId=124049&parent_category_rn=63749&productId=1270320&langId=-1
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Vienna Fahrmann
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« Reply #20 on: July 17, 2009, 04:33:40 am »


    Like thrift stores, charity sales (either annual or monthly) turn up some great finds.  It's worth the time it takes to hunt down the consistently good ones and put them on your calender.  I've got some large, lovely, but slightly spotted embroidered and laceworked tablecloths (fairly modern, were probably expensive when first purchased) at a charity sale that are perfect for either fancy petticoats or white sumner dresses when I get around to re-working them.  (Time to do this is usually the problem).

     Vienna
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Sean Patrick O-Byrne
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« Reply #21 on: July 17, 2009, 04:41:17 am »

At first glance had you not said it was from a shoe I wouldn't have seen. That turned out quite well!
I still don't see the shoe.  Huh
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« Reply #22 on: July 17, 2009, 07:27:55 am »

(In the Eastern US, at least) organized community-wide yard-sale-weekends in upscale neighborhoods can be an excellent resource for anything from bits-and-bobs to clothing to furniture to vehicles.
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« Reply #23 on: July 17, 2009, 09:04:27 am »

At first glance had you not said it was from a shoe I wouldn't have seen. That turned out quite well!
I still don't see the shoe.  Huh
Pssst. Look for the heel.
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« Reply #24 on: July 17, 2009, 10:40:20 am »

All great advice, I would also like to offer up the advice that you look at everything in pieces rather than as a whole. If you have some decent spatial reasoning you can start to rearrange the parts in your head and will find wonderful new uses for your thrift store findings. This is wonderful for people who are terrible at sewing like myself, I recently turned a shoe in to a gas mask by doing this.


Fantastic!
Do we get to see pictures

(I have to say for some people's shoes you would need a gas mask to work with them!)



Well of course there are pictures just took some time to get them.
The leather was from the previously mentioned shoe, except for the strap which was from a purse.


Excellent modding there. I wouldn't do yourself down. You obviously have an eye for leather and the way that it works. I'd just like to add that you are a very brave bloke sticking your nose into a shoe from a charity shop  Grin
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