Featured Project – The Steampunk Prom Dress

As you’ll see throughout the day, we’re all about steampunk today, and we’re kicking off our geartastic celebrations with an amazing Steampunk Prom Dress project that almost makes me wish for high school again. Almost.

This project is shared with us by Tami, who made this dress for her daughter’s prom. The steampunk dress was her daughter’s idea, and they worked together on designing it to pull it all into this amazing Victorian creation in time for her senior prom! This dress utilizes so many cool pieces, from our bestselling steampunk butterfly to lots of lace pieces used in all kinds of creative ways. I guarantee you no one had a dress like this at my senior prom.

Tami joins us today to talk about the whole process of how it all came together…

How did the idea for a steampunk prom dress come about?

Well … my daughter had wanted a dress that was “really different” than the normal formal gowns. She talked about this last year for the homecoming dance in October, but we decided that her senior prom would be better. That gave us plenty of time to come up with an idea.

Did embroidery inspire the steampunk or did a love of steampunk come before the embroidery?

The embroidery definitely inspired the love of steampunk. Once we started looking through your designs we were so excited. She loved the steampunk designs she was seeing on your site. She knew she wanted to incorporate a corset into the look, but when she saw your Clockwork Natura gown that got her creativity going. Then she started looking more at the steampunk style of clothing.

Talk us through all the embroidery… which designs did you use? How long did it take to embroider it all?

It took us a long time just to decide what designs we wanted. They were all so awesome. We finally decided on the Steampunk Butterfly for the front of the corset. We liked that because it had a feminine look, but still had all the gears. The corset is a gold satin fabric, but then we found this awesome sheer gold/black fabric and we decided to layer that. I embroidered that piece before I stitched the corset together.

We loved that, so decided to make the entire corset like that, but it seemed like it still needed more since it still felt rather plain looking. I decided to embroider the Gears and Cogs border down each side. That definitely added the extra pizzazz we were looking for! That’s where the whole project started — with the corset.

I made the jacket next. The Steampunk Wings design was perfect for the back. A nice large design that really gets your attention. We decided that it also needed a little more, so I again embroidered the Gears and Cogs around the sleeve cuffs.

Once I got the jacket finished, we thought the tails looked a little blah … so yet again I embroidered the Gears and Cogs border on the tails. Perfect! I’m not really sure how long the embroidery took, because I worked on it little by little. But I know I had many hours invested.

Did you design the dress and jacket yourself, or was it based off a pattern? 

My daughter had an idea what she wanted. We found many patterns and she chose one piece from each pattern (jacket from one pattern, corset from another, etc.). She also wanted the skirt to be a little higher in the front so everyone could see her new boots, so I had to alter the skirt for that. The overskirt is made of that awesome sheer fabric that we used on the corset. If you look at it one direction it shines a beautiful metallic gold, and looking at it from another direction it looks black.

The overskirt is a separate piece, so she can make different looks from the same dress pieces. We decided to make the corset from a pattern that had a zipper up the back so it would be easier to get into. But she really liked the idea of the lacing up the back, so I put little loops in the seams so we could lace it up for the look without the hassle. The corset originally was strapless, but we wanted the extra security of straps. It was made for prom, and she would definitely be dancing all evening. We used your FSL Steampunk Choker design. I stitched four of those out and then stitched small eyelets on the corset. We used black sheer ribbon to tie them onto the corset and to tie them together at the shoulders.

When it was all finished, I added some metal gears to the jacket collar and a lock above the tails. I also added a lock to the front top of the corset. I stitched out your FSL Floral Facinator for her hair. I used a gold color for the leaves and a deep red for the flowers. To make that more steampunk we added a chain and some keys hanging down. She wanted a pair of gauntlets to wear on her arms because she knew she would not be wearing the jacket all evening. I made those myself with no pattern. We decided to use velcro inside the arms to make them easier to get on and off. This way the lacing never has to be removed. I spent several weeks putting everything together, just working on it little by little.

Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying to create something like this?

There were many challenges. The fabric we chose was extremely difficult to work with. It wanted to shift as I was cutting the pieces and stitching it together. Once I had it done, we decided that it needed an underskirt to give it a small amount of volume, so there was another piece to the outfit! But the results were worth all the headaches. My advice to anyone wanting to create something like this is to allow plenty of time. Don’t try to rush through it. I embroidered many designs on extra scraps of the dress fabric and we looked at them for days before we decided which ones we wanted.

If you make one piece at a time and really work at each one until you are happy, the task doesn’t seem so overwhelming. Don’t be afraid to combine patterns or ideas. If you like one piece from a pattern, but something else from another, DO IT!

How did your daughter like it? What were people’s reactions to the dress at the prom? 

My daughter was absolutely thrilled. She couldn’t wait to wear it. Her grandma thought it fit her personality perfectly. We live in a very small rural community. About half the people at the dance thought it was awesome. The other half “just didn’t get it” … lol.

Needless to say, no other girls had a dress that even came close. And the whole idea for me was to make her happy. I didn’t care who else would like it or not. It was the perfect dress for her.

What’s your next project going to be?

I think my next big project will be Halloween costumes for my husband and myself. Not sure yet what we’ll be, but my embroidery machine runs every day. I’ve always got something in the works!

Everything came together so wonderfully! Thank you so much for sharing, Tami — this is such an amazing gift to give your daughter for her big prom night. From the jacket to the corset, to handmade gauntlets and lace fascinators, a custom made steampunk gown is certainly a totally unique way to rock the night away. I bet it made it a night to remember.

I’ll be keeping an eye out around Halloween for more amazing outfits, and I hope you’re a fan of the new steampunk stuff coming your way later today!

Do you want to have your project featured on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at blog@urbanthreads.com or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!

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20 Responses to “Featured Project – The Steampunk Prom Dress”

  1. 1
    Karen Wilson (Timewrinkler) says:

    Just beautiful! It’s very cool that this was a Mother/Daughter collaboration, too. Amazing what comes about when two women put their heads together! The colors and fabrics chosen are just gorgeous. Wonderful job!

  2. 2
    Angela Forget says:

    Beautiful work! Love it!

  3. 3

    Beautifu, beautiful work. Love it! great proportion of designs too. So Lucky you are to work with your mom on this wearable artwork created with love!

  4. 4
    jan says:

    i love it! so great that you worked together…something you will always remember…….and i totally love that you have a daughter who wants to be “herself” and not a copycat of everyone else!!!
    hope she had an amazing time……thanks for sharing

  5. 5
    Michelle says:

    That is absolutely awesome! I absolutely love the cut of the jacket, and would love to hear about where it came from.

    Projects like this make me wish I had a daughter rather than 2 little boys.

  6. 6

    I loved it when you said, “I didn’t care what other people thought, I knew I wanted to make my daughter happy.” Gosh, you are such a caring and thoughtful Mom. To spend time together doing this will provide you with many happy memories, too.

  7. 7
    Annie Wiederstein says:

    I’m almost 60 and I just LOVE Steampunk! This is a terrific project and you did an outstanding job. I love the color choices and excellent machine embroidery. You did a Good Job, Mom! You have a Great mom, Daughter!

  8. 8
    Andrine says:

    Color me green with envy! Eons ago my prom dress was yellow lace. Luv luv this dress and your attitude wearing it.

  9. 9
    Marilyn says:

    How much fun is that? Your daughter is very much an individualist and her dress is so much better than the cookie-stamp, too-revealing things we sometimes see. I have to admit, as I was reading your story, I was thinking, “I wonder where they live?” so I’m glad you told us. I don’t think any of my granddaughters has this much self confidence, but then, I guess I’m glad I don’t have to tackle such a big job. Thank you for sharing.

  10. 10
    Carol Adams says:

    Incredible dress! My mom used to make my formals so that I too would stand out from the cookie cutter crowd. My mom and I were very close and I feel so fortunate to have had that kind of relationship with my mom. I’m sure your daughter feels the same way. Thanks so much for sharing your daughter and her dress!

  11. 11
    Tami says:

    Thank you all. We had a lot of fun creating this dress for Kaylee. She definitely has the confidence to walk in to the dance knowing she was totally different from all the other girls. She had a wonderful night. Makes me wish I had someplace special to go to create one for myself! I just love the steampunk designs on Urban Threads!

  12. 12
    Sue A says:

    Simply fabulous and great inspiring sewing techniques and embroidery! You need to enter this in a contest somewhere..maybe something like the state fair or some other competition. So glad that this was featured.

  13. 13
    Kaylee says:

    Thanks everyone for all the positive comments about the dress and myself. My mom and I had a great time putting this whole thing together and I appreciate all the work she put into it. I got a few silly looks at the prom but I had fun. I loved this dress so much!

  14. 14
    Helene says:

    Love this, super original and very beautifully made!
    She will steal the show with this dress.
    Hats off to you ladies!

  15. 15
    Elizabeth says:

    Three words: Out Stand Ing!! My daughter (way past prom days) would have (and still would) ADORED this fabulous dress, corset and jacket ensemble. Eccentric, elegant and very chic!! Can you tell us about the lovely “head piece/hair clip”? It finishes the outfit almost as well as the boots (which are Fab U Lous).

    • Tami says:

      The hair piece is the FSL Floral Facinator sold here on UT. We stitched the flowers in a deep wine red color and the background leaves were done in a gold color. I used a couple pieces of deep red tulle folded in half then gathered on the end. I glued those onto the barrette before I glued the leaves and flowers. We found a set of keyhole locks and a set of keys in the scrapbooking section of JoAnn Fabrics. So we glued a lock into the center of the flowers. Then we used a section of chain and attached the keys to that and let it drape down. I attached the chain to the barrette so it wouldn’t weight down the FSL.

  16. 16
    Jolene Ehret says:

    That is aweseome dress. Is great you and your mom could work together on it. I may be old lady but love it. It is all about attitude. LOL

  17. 17
    Buffy Wands says:

    I wish I could go back to school and wear that to my prom! I was always different and setting trends. It would be fun to see all the “wanna-Be’s” try to imitate that one! Only the uncool kids wear the coolest stuff. Thank you so much for the inspiration!!

  18. 18
    gogo says:

    This is incredible.

  19. 19

    Interested to hear more.

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