Posts Tagged ‘costume’

Featured Project – Steampunk Marie Antoinette

Happy holidays, crafters!

Before we headed off for our little festive break, I thought I’d share with you an amazing project we got a peek at way back in October, for our Halloween costume contest. Back then we got a peek at this photo below, and you really can’t see that without needing to know more about that dress.

And that headpiece.

And well, everything really.

The lovely Liddy all the way from Holland is nice enough to join us today to talk in depth and share more amazing photos on what has to be our most embroidered costume to date, this incredible Steampunk Marie Antoinette creation…


This is an incredible costume! Talk to us a bit about what started it. Was it for an event in particular?

Yes, it is a costume I made for a festival in Holland called Castlefest. I’d been wanting to create a steampunk end-of-the-world Marie Antoinette style gown ever since I saw a couture creation in this apocalyptic style, and this was a perfect occassion for it.

What made you choose steampunk? Had you always been into the style?

Not necessarily, I’m into a lot of styles and steampunk is one of many that appeals to me. Especially because of the unlimited possibilities and alterations of existing patterns! I’ve made other steampunk gowns in Victorian style as well. Last year I went to a Danish 1700s weekend, and all the fun of creating a costume for it is why I chose the Rococo era.

How did you go about choosing designs? How many are on there?

*Phew!*I’ll have to count them.

Wait a minute…………….at least some 30 patterns!

The heart on the corset is one design that I’ve enlarged to the utmost corners of my largest hoop, I really wanted it to stand out. It’s then embellished with keys, gears and aluminium coil springs.

Then I did the choker, which i’ve also enlarged, and the gloves. To give the gloves an extra point, I reduced a tiara pattern (loved the shape of it) to have a nice pointed cuff. They are also embellished with keys, chains and gears.

For the headdress, one large tiara pattern. Then the skirts…each pannier section is embroidered with the key border, of which two fill a pannier. Then on each section I embroidered different patterns, like the birdcage, the Marie wig, gears, the Cthulhu, etc. These were embellished as well with gears.

The bronze overskirt is embroiderd with the raven border pattern, using a glow-in-the-dark thread. They don’t really show as well in the pictures but it was a huge project to embroider all these borders. For the corners I used the corner pattern.

For the spats I upsized the patterns quite considerably and in the heart I put an extra clock (embroidering two designs over each other), then they were made in the cameo shape. There is a matching jacket with another Cthulhu embroidery, but I’ve no pictures of it yet.

Choosing the designs was not difficult, since there are so many in this nice steamy theme!

How long did the embroidery take?

Well, only all summer ;)

No, I think about one and a half months to two months (sometimes up to 11 hours a day).

How long did the whole thing take you to make? Was the costume designed by you, or was it based on a pattern?

The actual making of the garment went rather quick compared to all the hours of embroidering. After embroidering it took another two to three weeks to complete the patterns. The patterns used are the Mantua Maker’s hooped petticoats pattern for the hooped panier and for the corset I used the Butterick stays pattern. The black underskirt, silk overskirts and spats were handdrawn, cut on my dummy and improved along the sewing process. Though the spats didn’t fit as accurately as I wanted them, I’ll have to rework them a bit.

Did you run into any problems along the way? Any tips for people trying something like this?

Just this: Start in time to avoid last minute stress. Had quite a hassel with the spats! And, very important, keep the cat away from all the moving parts :) it’s just too tempting.

Talk a little more about that fabulous headdress…

This headdress is inspired by the Kraken creature from the Pirates of the caribbean. It is made up of an embroidered tiara, which I’ve underwired for extra strength.

The octopus is tearing the galleon down to the dark depths of the ocean with its tentacles. He is made up of Fimo clay in coppertones and dusted off with silver and bronze powder to let him gleam. 

He was made in one evening when I had an inspired friend over who encouraged me to make the creature that was popping up in my mind. The galleon is from a miniature store. The cyberlox are purchased by the yard in colours matching the costume and cut to the desired length. My cat loved these coily things!

How did people react to the costume and the embroidery?

Awesome! They were impressed by the amount of embroidery and all the details.

What’s your favorite part about this costume?

I think the Kraken creature….because he turned out just as he envisioned himself in my mind.

What’s your next project going to be?

That’s just finished, it’s a blood red Elizabethan court gown with standing collar….
The other new project will be a living Isis statue.

Such a gorgeous creation, I am totally blown away!

You guys keep pushing the limits of your creative creations, and boy do you love your steampunk. We’ll have to make sure we keep our designs up to the same caliber of projects they’re helping to create.

Thanks again for sharing with us Liddy. I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ll see of your beautiful embroidered creations here on StitchPunk.

Halloween Winner

queen of hearts

Congrats to Karmine Brode, the randomly chosen winner of this years Halloween Contest! I know we’re all looking forward to the cool design ideas she’s going to dream up.

See the slideshow for many of the amazing entries we got this year.

P.S. – Your entry not showing up in the slideshow? No worries, sometimes flickr takes awhile to update the images. Rest assured all images that were tagged as utcostumecontest were included as part of the random selection!

Halloween at Home

Given that I am a first class Halloween nut, or at least profess to be all the time, I thought I’d offer a little bit of proof by giving you a little peek at Halloween at home with some of the Urban Threads crew.

Welcome to my haunt!

If you ever had a dying curiosity to know what the Crane Wife looked like under blacklight, well there she is in all her glowing glory, hung up on my wall at home. Some of our party guests thought it was just a really involved Halloween decoration. I assured them I’m that weird year round, and it was in fact an art piece.

Some spooky signs I taped over some of our framed prints. Plus a peek at my crazy bunnies collection at home. I think they’ve outgrown that shelf, to be honest.

A lineup of some of the yummies we had at the party, complete with my glowing masks collection.

Recognize the banner? You should, you can learn how to make it.

Finally, I have all kinds of excuses as to why my steampunk windup doll isn’t nearly at the level of awesome as our Featured Project, mostly because I was somewhat distracted by another costume project this month, but really, there should be no excuses.

It was still fun to put together, if a bit rushed at the last minute. Btw, the tights and arm warmers were made with a variation on the tattoo tights tutorial.

My husbands costume was extra rushed, as I was at least weird enough to have a lot of my costume parts already from other costume adventures (that’s my bodice from my wedding!)

His however was made from a thrift store leather jacket, two costume hats put together, and a whole lot of hot glue and duct tape. He’s a steampunk tin solider. He was a very good sport about it.

I also had the good fortune to go visit another Urban Threadsters house before their party (which I actually missed, boo!) and I got some amazing shots of the decor. Yup, we’re all Halloween nuts around here.

The general theme of this party was kind of a dark nature thing. I loved it!

Recognize this design? I think it fits right in with the theme. It was made into a wall hanging using this tutorial.

Finally, our digitizer Danielle (who was an eskimo, to match her yeti husband pictured back left) would like to jump in before we leave and say goodbye. She likes to be subtle about these things.

We had a blast this weekend rockin’ the night away in howling good fashion. I hope you had an equally spooky weekend, the real action starts tomorrow night!

Featured Project – Illsabelline the Steamwork Doll

Happy Halloween, stitchers! Are you all geared up for a weekend of tricks and treats? Well, one of my favorite parts of Halloween is seeing all the fantastic costumes that come out this time of year, and I have a really great one to share with you today.

Lately it’s been so much fun to bust out of the world of traditional stitches, and today’s featured project just cranks this up on more notch. Ladies and gents, get your game face on and your machines at the ready, because you’re not going to believe the work of this next Urban Threadster, Azre Greis.

She’s created this absolutely stunning Steamwork Doll costume called Illsabelline, and she created this as a basic machine embroidery newbie! This thing is not only dripping with embroidery, but all kinds of amazing steampunk details you just have to see to believe.  Azre joins us today to talk a little about her amazing project, and the crazy amounts of hours of work that went into bringing this doll to life.

First off, this is no small project…what inspired this? Was it for a particular con or event? Or just for the heck of it?

I’ve always had an interest in Steampunk and its style, but never felt like I understood it enough or had enough of a reason to do anything relating to it. Unbeknownst to me, two of my dear friends were part of an ‘airship crew,’ the Sky D.O.G.s (Delirium of Grandeur) and were doing a convention in the summer called A-kon in Dallas, TX.

They encouraged me to make a costume to go with their group and hang out together. They hand held me through concept, design, back story and even character name to make my transition into this brassy new world a gentle one.

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

I had originally planned a fairly plain skirt/top combo with a small box on the back for a key to come out of and didn’t even actually own an embroidery machine at the time the costume was started.

The machine came in May as a belated birthday present from my fiancé and my best friend (it was a plot) and she showed me Urban Threads, specifically the gothic and steampunk areas. I was in love. I immediately began coming up with places to put the designs I found and began testing the waters of making my own.

Talk us through all the embroidery… how many designs are on here? How long did it take to embroider it all?

The skirt is 15 feet of hem and took 2 weeks to do using a grouped cog design that I married together into a bigger group so I wouldn’t have to re-hoop as often. All of the cog sets are unique as I used no colour set and changed them out on the mood of the moment as I worked through it. There is a seal on the front left side of the skirt bearing the character’s name, Illsabelline, and her make/model information as well as steampunk butterfly. 

The shirt has a collar and sleeve trim lined in cog borders with the neck piece being overlapped and the sleeve are just pairs with spaces so it didn’t get too busy. The arm cuffs have the same cog border on the top and the bottom, but only the front, as the back is tied in a bow. The socks have the cog border, but only on the front as they are also tied in a bow in the back.

Then there’s the box itself. The doll box has cog border corners turned at different angles on the sides and the front, while the top has the steampunk compass and the right speaker holes are covered up a steampunk globe. The final piece was a large keyhole embroidered to nest with the metal key, the actual hole of the keyhole is cut out on the top for the key to go in and out of, as well as spin when turned.

Total embroideries are 7 on the doll box, 16 sets of cogs (two groups each) and the 1 seal on the skirt, 2 (1 per) on the socks, 8 border sets on the shirt, and 4 for the arm cuffs, so 38 total. I only did about 27 of those between May and June, when the convention was, and then did the rest over the course of a few days later in the year to ‘finish’ the costume.

Did you design the costume yourself? Was it based off a pattern or did you make it up on your own?

I sketch out all of my costumes before I get started on them to make sure I’m not getting in over my head before all the fabric is in a heap in front of me. I designed the costume along with my friends’ suggestions about Steampunk, but I did use some patterns from Simplicity for some basics like general shirt and skirt shapes then exaggerated them. The socks and cuffs are just out of the ether, and the box was 100% made up by myself and my friend.

What were people’s reactions to the costume and to all the embroidery?

Everyone asked where I bought it and were shocked when I said I made it. Many people got confused and thought embroidery was done by hand only, so I explained that I have a magical machine that makes it all happen for me provided I give it a proper sacrifice of compressed air, oil and Robison Anton threads. Several people asked me how long it took and were aghast at how much time was spent on the skirt alone.

There were lots of pictures and a lot of people played with the key on the box and spun it around. I’d pretend to get wound up or down depending on what was happening around us. I’m extremely camera shy so it was very surprising to me to have so many people coming up with shutters in hand asking to touch it and take close ups. The embroidery makes the outfit, it wouldn’t be anything of note without all of it.

Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying an ambitious costume like this themselves?

These are all things that smacked me square in the face along the way working on the doll. I can’t stress this part enough, plan ahead, don’t try to rush embroidery or you’ll wind up making mistakes or trying to take shortcuts that will only increase the time you spend and lead to frustration.

Make sure you have all the colours of thread you need before you get started and if you know you’ll be using a particular colour a lot, buy 2 spools. Make sure you research how much space you’re working with and therefore what size hoops you need and if you need to resize your designs. Don’t be dead set on one kind of design or idea, let the outfit and the embroidery take you in other directions. I was originally very set on everything on the outfit being all butterflies, but there were so many interesting aspects to the world Illsabelline lives in I couldn’t imagine all she’d adorn herself with to be just butterflies and branched out after surfing and tinkering for 30 minutes here and there.

Know your fabrics, some designs are too heavy for things like organza and other sheers to handle, while some fabrics are too thick to really show delicate details appropriately, and if you’re not sure, find someone and ask for advice. Be ready to take breaks, most machines get tired running nonstop and will get very hot, sometimes even causing more frequent thread breaks (this happened on my original machine all the time).

AVOID METALLIC THREADS IF YOU CAN! They are so beautiful but they are full of grief and will snap even under the most perfect of circumstances. 

What’s your next project going to be?

My next steampunk project is an evening gown for Illsabelline based loosely off of Koi fish and I have my eyes set on the fantastic steampunk Koi in Urban Threads steampunk area to inspire me.

For Halloween I’m working on Morticia Addams, which wound up being a lot less embroidery than I had tried to will it to be. When something is all black, not much shows up. But I just finished a Mrs. Lovett that I managed to sneak some in on, so all was not lost this October!

A little to my chagrin, I’m actually being a stitchpunk windup doll for Halloween, and I am very much thinking I should have just saved that one for next year. How do you top this? Well, I don’t, but I for one couldn’t be more pleased. I just love seeing what creative minds can do with the right designs.

So, did you get your stitch on for this Halloween? If nothing else, I bet this will inspire you to give it a go next year — after all, this thing was made by an embroidery newbie! I cannot wait to see more creations from Azre Greis.

Hair by Jamie Lee Laratta, makeup by Julie Edwards, and CCI photos as marked by Stephen Hertenberger

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

The Shrunken Head

"The Shrunken Head"

Rock. On.

Hands down, my favorite pet costume I’ve ever seen. Crestedcrazy, you are crazy. In all the best ways that count.

Fantastic entry to the Urban Threads costume contest too, with all those lovely lace skulls and bats. Have you started stitching for Halloween yet?

UT Tutorial – Tattoo Tights

Halloween is starting to creep up on us, and it’s a perfect time to try out a whole new look, and whip up a fast costume. Don’t know what to be this year? How ’bout something with a tattooed rockabilly style? No ink commitment required! All we need is a pair of tights and a cool design.

There’s also no embroidery machine required, so everyone can give it a try.

Check out the tutorial here.

Embroidered Steampunk Lace up Spats

First of all, with those four words “Embroidered Steampunk Lace-up Spats” all in one posting, you can’t possibly go wrong.

My latest retail love.

I love them for many reasons… the super cute machine embroidery (not our design btw, but steampunktastic none the less) the peekaboo lace back, the fairly reasonable price tag ($16!) and the fact that they also look totally DIY-able.

What do you think? Just spring for the under $20 price tag? Or take em’ on yourself just in time for Halloween?

Get em’ over on FanPlusFriend.