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Author Topic: How do I get Steampunk clothes when I have no money?  (Read 96820 times)
ValancyJane
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« Reply #125 on: February 10, 2011, 02:38:06 am »

This is geared toward the US where one is far less likely to find something truly antique/vintage.


What are you talking about? Far less likely? You're obviously not thinking about the south. I can't count how many antiques there are!

I was thinking in particular of second hand stores like Salvation Army, Goodwill, etc.  Estate sales are almost always a goldmine of antiques though you have to get there early.  Yes, depending where you live in the US it easier/harder. 
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Oskyden
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« Reply #126 on: February 10, 2011, 07:36:39 am »

I found a part time job working for a fellow that hauls all the left over junk people discard in apartments and rent houses. You should look into that because I have found amazing things. Someone left a perfectly good 5' by 3' roll of butter soft leather in there just awhile ago.  Also found a checked frock type coat and tons of "useless" brass bits.
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ahti
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« Reply #127 on: February 11, 2011, 06:59:25 am »

Someone left a perfectly good 5' by 3' roll of butter soft leather in there just awhile ago.  Also found a checked frock type coat and tons of "useless" brass bits.

I pray you nabbed these wonderful bits?
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Oskyden
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« Reply #128 on: February 12, 2011, 05:29:55 am »

Oh yes indeed. I am cutting and sewing and gluing things on to other things. At the end I just might have some sort of steamy clothing and accoutrements.  I have been reading a lot of the how to articles here so high hopes all around.
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SteamFreak
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« Reply #129 on: February 23, 2011, 05:08:25 am »

Well, I dont know if this is helpful, but one can purchase a pocketwatch at Wally World for around 15 bucks. thats where I get mine. I dont purchase them for use as steampunk because I do not as of yet dress as such. For me it was kind of by default that I started wearing a pocket watch. See, I have an allergy to base metals (metals such as tin). It causes an unfortunate rash and makes it difficult to wear wrist watches as most have exposed metal on the back of the watch face. some watches do not but over time I found that dirt and such would get caught in nylon bands and once again, break my wrist out. So my dad had the thought of me wearing a pocket watch and now its all I will use
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SgtPepper
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« Reply #130 on: February 27, 2011, 10:09:17 pm »

Good god, I actually have something to contribute to this discussion that hasn't actually been said before!  (Don't worry, I'll also repeat a lot of other people's opinions.)

As far as army&navy and thrift stores go, yes, yes, yes! 

BUT!  Don't trap yourself into thinking the clothes there are anything more than pieced together pieces of fabric.  There are some absolutely hideous dresses, suit sets, and more that are huge and can very satisfactorily be hacked into skirts, vests, corsets, WHATEVER.  Especially great: the 80's black velvet prom dress.  You can get yards of nice black velvet from one of these that makes for a delicious corset (I say this from experience). 

A different kind of thrift store is a little charity organization called Habitat for Humanity.  Their mission is building affordable housing through community labor.  Great organization, but I personally love them not because of their mission, but because of their ReStores.

This charity sets up thrift shops for building materials, and it is a steampunker's paradise.  The plumbing section is filled with funky brass tubing and pipery.   The hardware section has unidentifiable bolts, nuts, bits and bobs, as well as old drawer-pulls that are basically just pieces of sturdy brass filigree.  They have oddly-shaped hinges.  They have curtain rods with big glass chunks on the end.  They have blades from ceiling fans which were crying out quietly to me to be made into a collapsible wing set for a jet-pack.

If nothing else, the stuff you find there could be sold to other people online as "steampunk supplies" for 10x the price.

http://www.habitat.org/restores/     <-- here's the link for finding your local store.  Looks like mainly US and Canada.  Sorry, you Brits, but we don't get car boot sales here in the States, so we're even now.

---

FINDING CHEAP BROCADE AND LEATHER FOR SEWING

Many fabric stores sell upholstery fabric, and many fabric stores also have heaping piles of discount fabric that nobody ever bought, which usually consist at least partly of said upholstery fabric.  At my local fabric store, I have a good selection of brocade and fake suede for $4.99 a yard on any day of the week.

Upholstery stores also almost always sell remnants, and here is where your $5 leather spats, corsets, toppers, bracers, satchels, and whatever else you can dream up are born.  It's not (as far as I know - I really don't see how it could be) real leather, so no baby aminals will be without their mommies because of it.  It's good quality, and waterproof, and necessarily durable.  It's thinner than most real leather, and therefore easier to sew.  I've yet to attempt ironing on any interfacing to stiffen it up, so I don't know how it reacts to heat.

Upholstery stores also carry some interesting scraps of brocade.  Let me clarify when I say scraps: I for $5 each, I got a 56" x 25ish" piece of gorgeous turquoise, gold, and brown brocade, a 58" x 26ish" piece of gorgeous warm medium brown upholstery leather, and a 54" by 23" piece of dark brown upholstery leather, which is also gorgeous.

Any of these pieces by itself is big enough to make boots, a bustle, a corset, a lab apron, or a travel bag.  I'm going to combine pieces of each to make a corset with a matching bag.  (Don't hold your breath for photos, though; I'm getting married in June, and sewing my wedding dress takes priority.)

---

Also, hardwareelf.com has some great alternatives to gears for steaming up outfits.  Check these out:

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

Hope this reply isn't too long.  I just joined the site and I'm way excited! 
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BadKarma
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« Reply #131 on: February 27, 2011, 10:56:17 pm »

All of the advice here has been great: thrift stores, garage sales, flea markets, DIY, etc.  I'm kind of surprised that nobody has mentioned bartering (and if it HAS been mentioned, apologies--I probably overlooked it).

Anyway, maybe there are some Steampunks in your area or at an event that have some things that they don't wear/use much.  And let's just say that you are an awesome cook, gardener, brewer, etc, etc.  You could always make an offer to barter some of your chocolate-covered-raisin oatmeal cookies or a bottle or two of whatever magical elixir you brew for something.  Or offer to trade lawn care or some other helpful service (snow shoveling, auto repair...) for a short period of time. 

I once traded a mosquito net for a poncho and it has come in handy more than once.  Arrange a swap meet in your community if that's what it takes.

So, that's my $.02 (haha--pun on the topic title) but I hope somebody finds it useful.

 
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costumemercenary
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« Reply #132 on: March 11, 2011, 06:28:10 pm »

I'm reminded of the scrap of advice from a Lord of the Rings costume site I read some time ago. When designing/desiring a costume, you can only have two of the following three:
* I want it now!
* I want it cheap!
* I want it to be perfect!

Speaking of upholstery remnants, charity shops in the UK often stock old curtains ans sheets that make for great scraps.

Durham has just had a spate of Vintage shops, which are often not as cheap as charity shops, admittedly, but have seen things very lovely and very reasonably priced, especially good for those on the Edwardian end of steampunk. Vintage prices aren't always as intimidating as it would seem, so go through and have a look.
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Dr. Madd
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« Reply #133 on: March 12, 2011, 03:43:06 am »

Another possibility.. Get some old cloth or some old clothes.. And if you get good at it, you could sell some and make some money to get better materials and make more clothes,.
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badkittie748
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« Reply #134 on: March 12, 2011, 10:14:03 pm »

In response to "getting a job" at a thrift store - Ive done quite alot of volunteering at Goodwill Industries since moving to Texas as terms and conditions to recieving state aide (Federal TANF program) whilst getting on our feet out here. With that being said, Employees of Goodwill Industries do not get the first pick of items that come through the warehouse. Instead they are forbidden as terms of Employment from "Hiding, Stashing, and Buying" anything from their home store. Meaning that they must first go to ANOTHER Goodwill store rather than purchase from their own store. Kinda sucks for working there but  according to the Goodwill store manager that i had the opportunity to speak with about a job, "it just makes it more fair for the customers to not have to compete with employees for purchases. " Sorry to burst your bubble there, but i just wanted to knock out some erroneous information....

as for looking for a steamy wardrobe, why not try your own closet? I know i have a few things that are old and outdated that ive saved for just such an occasion as to recycle into something else.... always look for dual purpose items and think potential in clothes when they are out of fashion i always say!
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Cubinoid
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« Reply #135 on: March 13, 2011, 02:33:07 am »

Impossible to tell from the opening post whether they are from the UK or the USA, but whilst badkittie748  might be giving reliable information on thrift stores in the US of A, charity shops in ol' Blighty are quite often a different kettle of fish (depending on the manager...)
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RoseOak
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« Reply #136 on: March 13, 2011, 07:50:06 pm »

Agreed Cubinoid

A lot of charity shops around here have more brand new fairtrade stuff then actual second hand and its sometimes rather expensive to buy anything thats given to them and actually wearable.

 My mother got yalled at in one the other day when she went into one to get a new purse as she had had her handbag stolen on the bus. She didn't have enough change for the one she wanted and the assistant yelled at her " well we are a charity after all" "Fancy not being willing to spend decent money on a charity"  as she was leaving the shop.
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Cubinoid
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« Reply #137 on: March 14, 2011, 02:33:34 am »

Agreed Cubinoid

A lot of charity shops around here have more brand new fairtrade stuff then actual second hand and its sometimes rather expensive to buy anything thats given to them and actually wearable.

 My mother got yalled at in one the other day when she went into one to get a new purse as she had had her handbag stolen on the bus. She didn't have enough change for the one she wanted and the assistant yelled at her " well we are a charity after all" "Fancy not being willing to spend decent money on a charity"  as she was leaving the shop.

That's terrible RoseOak! I'm sorry to hear about the series of unfortunate incidents that happened to your Mother, and am disappointed in the staff of that particular charity shop. The problem with volunteers is that it is tricky to carry out front end screening. However, most of the charity shops my other half works in are excellent providers of cheap finery! Some of the materials for our robots, dolls, puppets, hats and much of our clothing comes from charity shops and the things they throw away...I am sitting in stripey trousers, dress shirt and silk tie from the charity shop...all for pennies.
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RoseOak
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« Reply #138 on: March 14, 2011, 10:42:10 am »

That's terrible RoseOak! I'm sorry to hear about the series of unfortunate incidents that happened to your Mother, and am disappointed in the staff of that particular charity shop. The problem with volunteers is that it is tricky to carry out front end screening. However, most of the charity shops my other half works in are excellent providers of cheap finery! Some of the materials for our robots, dolls, puppets, hats and much of our clothing comes from charity shops and the things they throw away...I am sitting in stripey trousers, dress shirt and silk tie from the charity shop...all for pennies.

Thank you. she rang up when she got home and complained.
I got a lovely pair of purple heels for £4 and a green dress for £3 the other day so you can get lucky. A lot of them around here have antiques experts on staff to check bric a brac
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CaptainMurra
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why hello there!


« Reply #139 on: March 14, 2011, 10:51:24 am »



I am sitting in stripey trousers, dress shirt and silk tie from the charity shop...all for pennies.
[/quote]

HEY! i'm sitting in strpey trousers too! Cheesy

i have other things to add.. i'm sorry if someone already said this but my mind is overdazed at the moment!
how about going through you friend's wardrobe?
my firned and i recently swapped clothing with each other and thankfully we have the same taste as she gave me about 2 or
3 waistcoats, stripey trousers and loads of scraves and ties!

but make sure you check your brother's, sister's, Aunty's and Uncle's wardrobes too!
and don't forget the old GRANDPARENTS, who might have the stuff you're looking for! Smiley
i'm a beginnner in this too and i've already found lots of stuff!

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J. Watts
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« Reply #140 on: March 20, 2011, 10:50:48 pm »

Someone might have already had this idea, but if you find any old blazers or suit jackets with sleeves that don't exactly fit, you can cut off the sleeves and make it into a waistcoat/vest and wear it over a white dress shirt...
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Madasasteamfish
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« Reply #141 on: March 21, 2011, 11:33:42 am »

Someone might have already had this idea, but if you find any old blazers or suit jackets with sleeves that don't exactly fit, you can cut off the sleeves and make it into a waistcoat/vest and wear it over a white dress shirt...

I did that with an RAF tunic I bought which didn't fit me. It is now the proud basis for my main steampunk outift.
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« Reply #142 on: March 21, 2011, 02:52:00 pm »

Someone might have already had this idea, but if you find any old blazers or suit jackets with sleeves that don't exactly fit, you can cut off the sleeves and make it into a waistcoat/vest and wear it over a white dress shirt...

I made a leather vest out of an old $5 leather coat from the thrift store
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Major Heinrich "Heiner" Cybersnell
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« Reply #143 on: April 10, 2011, 10:49:48 pm »

Once upon a time, dry cleaners would do a sale of long term unclaimed items.  Same with tuxedo rental places, when items became stained or worn.

Check papers for estate sales, contact auction house or agent regards an old clothing.  Might pick up pocket watch and other accessories too for a song.

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TheDandy
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« Reply #144 on: April 13, 2011, 12:46:22 am »

DIY and thrift stores really are the way to go for this. and picking up some decent metallic paint from an art store
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Shing
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Alexa Davina Ironlass, Seamstress


« Reply #145 on: April 24, 2011, 06:54:24 pm »

DIY is my favorite way: i didnt know much about sewing before i got into fashion school so i got all my patterns from the internet.
There are a few very simple patterns that anyone can understand and it doesnt require a professional sewing machine of anything, one of those cheap travel-size are just fine and they are between 30€ to 80€(at leats here) and learn yourself!

A very good and simple waistcoat for example from ThreadBangers(i know it says for men but ive tried for me too and it works marvelously):
http://forum.threadbanger.com/showthread.php?t=13609

Another location is like to add for you to seek stempunk-like clothing or clothing you can modd INTO steampunk are flea markets. Sure, most of the stuff is on the floor, on top of a sheet or something but you can find really good stuff that after they're washed look just as nice as something store-bought.

Look into your friends closets and attics, most of them probably have/had old relatives that keep some cool vintage stuff boxed away under the bed as well. XD

Hope i could help!
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Gulliver
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« Reply #146 on: April 25, 2011, 10:54:08 am »

Agreed Cubinoid

A lot of charity shops around here have more brand new fairtrade stuff then actual second hand and its sometimes rather expensive to buy anything thats given to them and actually wearable.

 My mother got yalled at in one the other day when she went into one to get a new purse as she had had her handbag stolen on the bus. She didn't have enough change for the one she wanted and the assistant yelled at her " well we are a charity after all" "Fancy not being willing to spend decent money on a charity"  as she was leaving the shop.
Sadly, charity shops have to pay rent and rates as well. We are also crushed by bureaucracy by those above us. "This book would go for £75 on eBay, can we put it online? No? Okay, well £9.99 it is then."

Coming in at about the same time each week (and therefore getting the same staff) and being friendly and polite will get you the benefit of the doubt when it comes to getting discounts if you think something is too much. Being bossy or overly critical will result in the till staff making your life as difficult as they can.

Anyway, volunteering in a charity shop one day a week is a brilliant way of finding clothes (and helping charity); a lot of stuff is recycled (it gets sold on abroad or turned into insulation if it's really horrific) because it's not deemed saleable. This is largely an arbitrary decision by whoever is sorting the clothes and not based on any thing other than personal taste. Unless it's a mangey fleece or smells like dust and poo.

At my Oxfam, there are waistcoats galore in the back, as part of our Bizarrely Tailored Suit collection. If you ask nicely if they have any more X, you might be able to see the treasure trove that is the back room. If you're really nice you might be made a cup of tea and end up doing the ironing. Boots, too, we have in abundance, but there is no space to put them. Get friendly with the staff by coming in the same time each Saturday (or whenever) and they'll be friendly back.
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Lady Ashgrove
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« Reply #147 on: May 26, 2011, 01:45:55 am »

don't try for a job at GoodWill

they are not allowed to buy anything if they work there.
Says so on their door
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Klaatuprime
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« Reply #148 on: May 31, 2011, 07:02:32 am »

As a slight aside, this looks like the best price you're going to find on an article marketed as being Steampunk, but is at a better price than you'll find anywhere else.
https://www.museumreplicas.com/p-1545-airship-captain-boots.aspx
I'm not affiliated with this company, but have bought one or two items from them.
Try not to buy them out, I don't have my pair from them as of yet.
I've also had some decent luck buying from stores that specialize in Old West outfits. They tend to be priced a little better than places that specialize in Steampunk gear, and it's the exact same stuff, and sometimes higher quality than the stuff marketed as Steam specific.
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Guinevere Meander
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« Reply #149 on: May 31, 2011, 09:31:09 am »

I still scout the roads for random discarded furniture on the curb, waiting to get picked up (ie leather sofas etc). A nice box-cutter is always in my pocket or purse, and I do cut the best pieces off. As we deal with a major bedbug issue here in the US, I put anything (leather, shoes, purses, clothes etc..) I find/buy into a black plastic bag and set it out in the sun during the summer months (Texas is HOT)( just one whole day in the friggin sun will do), or pre-heat the oven to 400F and "bake" all items by holding them into the oven..not touching anything...specialy not "pleather".... Grin You will be amazed on how much leather You can find this way. I also get old promdresses from goodwill at $5-9 a piece, restyle them and dye them. I prefer bigger sizes than I actually am, so I have extra fabric left for play or error Cool. Contact the local tux rental and make friends, they will offer stuff after the prom season is over...
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