Posts Tagged ‘boots’

Featured Project – The Steampunk Clown

Oh steampunk… is there anything you can’t make amazing? Sometimes the best ideas come from one random thought, such as “I wonder what a steampunk circus would look like?”

From that one brilliant idea this amazing steampunk clown costume was born from the talented minds of two ladies, Laura and Chelsey. That one little thought grew into this gorgeous over-the-top clown costume that just blew my mind when it showed up in my inbox. The photos were taken in an opera house in Mantorville MN, just a short drive from my hometown, and the richness of this whole project was just too good to pass up!

I could go on, but really, it’s much better if I just let our lovely ladies tell us a bit about what went into this steampunk creation…


What started this project?

Laura: I started to buy fabric to design a circus costume after several of us talked about how we hadn’t really seen a steampunk circus done before, and what fun it could be.  I didn’t know the outfit itself would be a clown until I had assembled a pile of brightly colored fabrics and the idea that the skirt might look like a carousel.  When I mentioned it to my husband he said, “Just don’t make a clown.  Clowns are creepy.”  Which meant, of course, that it had to be a clown.  A non-creepy clown.


How did you go about choosing designs for the project?

Laura: We chose the Parisian Clockwork for the lapels, stripped down to just the clock faces and in a copper thread to mimic the idea of the clown being a clockwork clown, and to bring the copper color of the metal into the embroidery.  Lyra and the Ringmaster got added to the spats after the leather that was purchased for the spats was found to not be thick enough for the original cut-work design that was planned.  The colors were changed in their clothing to better reflect the colors of the fabric.


The end result of the spats far exceeded our expectations and looked much better than I believe the original idea would have looked.  We did use Carousel Animals embroidery from Embroidery Library because we needed a number of different animals (there is only one repetition in the entire skirt) and at that point Urban Threads did not have a large collection of carousel animals, otherwise you definitely would have been our first choice!


Chelsey: It was tough to choose between all the different circus characters and steampunk elements. I think Laura and I had a list of a dozen designs before we settled on Parisian Clockwork, Lyra, and the Ringmaster. In the end, Parisian Clockwork was chosen for the simplicity and subtlety it could bring.


Lyra was picked because we wanted to keep the costume as feminine and pretty as possible. The Ringmaster was chosen because he was playful but still had that hint of creepiness that circuses have.


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

Chelsey: Once we sifted through all the possible designs, the whole thing came together. I used Embird to edit out the background shading and text on Parisian Clockwork and then repeated the design against itself. I stitched it large enough that Laura would be able to fit her lapel pattern inside the stitched area, essentially creating a new fabric for her to use. Lyra and the Ringmaster were embroidered into this amazing pink leather.


This project was the first time I’d ever embroidered on leather before, and I was a little nervous my placement would be terrible or I’d screw up have to start over, leaving Laura without enough room to cut out the spats. Those three designs were super easy and fast to stitch up. The carousel animals on the skirt were the most time consuming with their million and one thread changes. All told, there is probably a 40 hour work week put into the embroidery, but that’s a rough estimate.



Any challenges along the way?

Laura: Oh goodness yes.  In regards to the actual construction, the design changed several times. The mechanical pieces in the front actually broke several days prior to the photo shoot and needed to be completely redone.  The shoe design was changed several times and the wheel farthingale that supports the skirt went through several variations before we got it right.  The rigging of the front panel was also done on the fly the morning of the photo shoot.  It worked, though, and the photos were beautiful.


How was the costume and the embroidery received?

Laura: Everyone thus far has LOVED the costume. Historical and non-historical costumers alike. We were so very fortunate that the setting of the background worked so well with the colors of the costume and we really lucked out in having Jim Jordan shoot the photos. He did an amazing job. The boots were particular favorites of many people, and I know the embroidery was a huge part of that.

Chelsey: It’s been fun to get comments from people who usually don’t like clowns. One of the biggest goals was to keep her a pretty clown, and I think it really worked. The embroidery is one of the really fun aspects of this costume, because every time someone takes another look, they notice something different.

final shot

Any plans for other amazing embroidered costumes?

Laura: I have a plan for Chelsey, but she doesn’t know about it yet. 😉

Chelsey: I have at least two costumes in mind right now. To keep with the steampunk circus theme, I have a bearded lady Lolita in mind. I plan on using a good amount of UT mustaches  The other costume will have a little embroidery, in particular a gear or two, but it is actually going to be a physical interpretation of an Urban Threads embroidery design.

Thank you so much, ladies, for sharing this project with us. The fabrics, the spats, that amazing full skirt, the gears… goodness I could go on. It’s fun to see some designs from our buds at Embroidery Library show up too! Now it makes me think we need to do a line of steampunk carousel animals… what do you think, gang?

Want to see more of this project? It was wonderfully documented on Laura’s blog Rocking the Frock if you’d like to see even more behind-the-scenes action of its construction, and of course you know you want to see more of those final photos over on their facebook album.

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

Autumn Tutorial Roundup

September is here and in Minnesota at least the chill of autumn is definitely in the air. This is my absolute favorite time of year, filled with bright colors, hot cider, cozy blankets and crisp walks through the woods. Why not celebrate this  season by trying one of these easy tutorials perfectly suited to the new cooler days and longer nights.

Click the image of each tutorial to try it out!

Craft an elegant infinity scarf with just the right hint of darkness and warmth to see you through the fall season in style.

Get bold and bright with your leftover fabric scraps and some delicate lace leaves to make this festive autumn garland.

Go back to school with style by giving your paper covered textbooks their own touch of stitched personality.

Light up those darkening autumn nights with this easy and elegant lace votive wrap.

Go all out in festive style by making this cheerful autumn bunting in appropriately spooky colors.

People aren’t the only ones feeling the chill of the fall air! Why not keep your four legged friends cozy with a totally hip little embroidered dog hoodie.

Sandals feeling a little chilly these days? Upcycle some old sweaters and a pair of flats into these totally adorable sweater boots.

All of these tutorials are easy to try and can be whipped up in an afternoon. There’s no better season to bundle up in handmade goods. Looking for something a little spookier? Check out our previous roundup of Halloween inspired tutorials!

Happy Autumn everyone! I’m off to hunt down some cider.

Tutorial -Leather Elven Boots With Embroidery

Deviant Art user scargeear is sharing her pattern on how to make these gorgeous elven boots from leather. It’s not a full tutorial per say, but you can pretty much sort out what needs to be done from the pattern.

The best part? By making them from scratch, she offers the chance to add some embroidery. She has a design you can use on the pattern file, or of course, you can go choose whatever design you like and start stitching away. Finally, a chance to embroider some foot wear without having to figure out how to hoop a boot!

Get the pattern here (link at the bottom).

Mark Nason Threads

If you ever get in a rut with how to use your embroidery, I highly recommend looking at the fashion world for inspiration. I love seeing how designers use machine embroidery in new and more interesting ways.

I recently came across a Mark Nason and his  grungy tone-on-tone use of embroidery on boots and leather. Check it.

It’s also a perfect example of how to use machine embroidery for manly styles, as I’d say most guys would rock this style of embroidery on things. It’s a gorgeous combination of tone on tone that almost makes it akin to embossing, or a subtle use of dip and brushed dyes to give the colors on the embroidery a faded, blended look.  It’s all just too delicious.

The price tag may not be, unless someone really loves you for Christmas (his boots and bags usually start around $300) but with a creative mind and your trusty embroidery machine, there’s no reason you can’t use this as a fantastic place to jump start your crafting.

UT Tutorial – Faux Fur Boots

You know that pair of boots that just live at the back of the closet?

You know, the ones that still are technically wearable, but they’re just kinda…meh?

It’s totally time to dig them out.

A little faux fur, a hot glue gun and some lace and buckle magic, and you have boots that are so on trend this season. True, after working with all that fur it might look like you sheared a herd of cats, but it’s so worth it. Plus, they’re also a tiny bit steampunk, and I love sneaking in gears when no one’s looking.

Get the tutorial here.

Embroidered Boots Tutorial

What a cute idea! Poke some holes in your old rubber gardening boots and stitch away. Get the full tutorial over on doe-c-doe.

UT Tutorial – Steampunk Sweater Spats

Did you know spats were originally called spatterdashers?  I think that’s like my new favorite word. Hopefully, this might just be your new favorite project. Learn to make these super cool spats from a thrifted sweater! Plus, no messing with button holes or buttoning them up every time. It’s sneaky like that.

It’s like steampunk, just casual steampunk. Kinda like casual Friday but with cooler hats.

…and yes, the more eagle eyed shoe lovers among you might recognize those as the same shoes from the tights tutorial. Sue me, they’re cute shoes.