Hi all, and welcome to the first featured project of 2012!
Damn, I still can’t quite get past the 2012 thing, though I’ve had nearly a month now to do it. Do you adapt easily? For some reason whenever I hear or say something about “Twenty Twelve!” my internal monologue almost always adds something something stupid and spacey like “welcome to th’ fuutchaaa!”
No? Is that just me? I’ll get over it. Still, they promised us jetpacks by now.
We’re having a slightly steampunky week here at Urban Threads, and whether you think gears and rayguns conjure up visions of the “the futchaa” or gaze longingly at the non-existent, somewhat romanticized steamwork past, this felt like a perfect time to share the most dapper of all dogs with you…
Krusher, the Steampunk Gentleman!
Krusher is the classy pooch of Mariah, who went all-out last Halloween and created what has to be the dandiest dog costume I’ve ever seen. Good thing Krusher is such a good sport and a camera darling. Mariah joins us today to talk a little about this steampunk costume masterpiece and the awesome dog in it.
This is just too awesome for words. Talk about what inspired this.
Thank you so much. The love of all things Halloween related, I’m quite festive. I find a costume for Krusher every year and when I saw your costume contest, I knew I wanted to do something more involved then his other costumes. I also needed to make something my husband wouldn’t oppose to have Krusher wear. Something more manly then a pumpkin, and what is more manly then a gentleman with a sidearm. He even joined by helping with the painting of the water gun.
Did embroidery inspire the steampunk or did a love of steampunk come before the embroidery?
Your embroidery really inspired this since I wasn’t familiar with steampunk before following your site. First I saw the lace top hat and thought, “That’s the perfect size for Krusher,” and it all went from there. Thinking about what would be on the hat to make it steampunk, what else would he wear with it. I used the Fancy Felix design you have as inspiration for the clothing. I found a pair of kids swim goggles, the water gun, metal gears, and other metal accessories from the craft store.
Talk us through all the embroidery… which designs did you use? How long did it take to embroider it all?
I chose the free standing lace top hat but wanted to butch it up a bit. So I placed cutout pieces of the brown faux suede like I would for an appliqué. When it embroidered out, the fabric was between the stitches. I had grouped as many of the parts as I could with my digitizing program to save stabilizer and time with minimizing how many times I had to hoop my stabilizer. This was the most time consuming part of the embroidery which took a few hours or so on my machine.
I also chose the steampunk rayguns to be on the back of the vest to give a little life to it. Instead of using just two threads, I wanted to have the guns different colors, so I watched where the embroidery changed over to the second gun, stopped the machine, changed my thread.
For the holster, I used the Gears ‘n Cogs in a contrasting brown thread to add some flair. That was the quickest embroidery of the project.
Did you design the costume yourself? Was it based off a pattern or did you make it up on your own?
I knew what I wanted to do, make the top hat, a button down shirt with a tie, a vest, and a gun holster. So I looked through my patterns I had in my stash (love the 10 patterns for $10 sales) and found a pattern I had used before (the tie) and another one that I had wanted to try. I had to adapt the patterns to fit Krusher’s frame. With his barrel chest, he has a hard time finding clothes that fit him off the rack. I used Simplicity pattern number 2695, Dog Clothes in 3 Sizes from the Go Green Collection. It includes a pattern to adapt a man’s button down to fit a dog. The problem was that it only goes to a size medium, so after much math I figured out the size shirt needed and how much width to add to the pattern. Then I used the same pattern but tweaked it a bit make the vest.
I also used a pattern for the tie, McCalls M5777 (which is now out of print sadly), but tweaked it by not having the collar attached.
I did make up the holster as I went. To figure out the size and shape of the holster, I traced the painted water gun and added an inch or so on both sides, cut out two pieces in the lighter faux suede, did a rolled edge hem with my serger on the tops of them, pinned the pieces wrong sides together, and then serged the other three sides together. I also serged two very long strips of the fabric with wrong sides together to create the rest of the holster. With some creative use of D-rings I was able to make a custom holster for Krusher.
How did Krusher handle all the costuming? Was he pretty tame about it, or was he just holding still for the photos? He looked amazing, and so dapper!
Thanks, he is quite the elegant hound. He handles costuming well. Krusher is our 70 lb bump on the floor, sleeping about 20 hours a day, so he is calm to begin with which helps. Never fights getting dressed but when I first put any piece of clothing on him, just stands there and has this look on his face like he is saying, “Really. Really Mom.” The longer he is in the costumes, the more comfortable he gets and forgets he’s wearing it. The most movement he did was walked around the living room slowly, so I followed him with the camera. Treats always help in he process of picture taking.
What were people’s reactions to the costume and to all the embroidery?
Krusher got first place at our Petsmart costume contest. Everyone loved the costume; only one person at the contest knew he was a steampunk gentleman. The rest thought he was a cowboy =^_^= All of the people I met we impressed by the embroidery and were surprised someone can do this at home.
Any challenges along the way? What advice would you give someone trying to steampunk out their pets?
The challenges would be adapting the patterns to fit Krusher. Even with my calculations, I had to put a panel in both sides on the shirt, but then I took that measurement to create the vest.
For steampunking pets, have fun with it. Think of new ways to interpret the steampunk character types, but do fittings along the way to make sure your pet is comfortable with the outfit. Mainly be able to walk =^_^=
Another tip, do a trial run with the costume before you take them out in public. Krusher shook his whole body and the gun came flying out. I had to add a tab to secure the gun to the holster so that didn’t happen at Petsmart.
Please tell me you showed him off a little. Did you get take him out on Halloween night, or to any events?
Oh yes, he got seen by the public at Petsmart, dressed up for greeting the trick-or-treaters, and also got his picture taken by a local photographer.
I notice both your and your husband’s costumes are also embroidered! How awesome. I’m also really digging the Cowboy and Indian thing.
Thanks you! Since I bought my machine I have been an embroidering fool. We were all dressed up for Halloween, I’m festive so my husband and dog need to be too.
What’s your next project going to be?
I always have another project going on. Right now I’m working on another baby quilt using the Jacob’s Ladder block with pink and a pattern fabric. After the baby is born, I’ll embroider the baby’s whole name, time of birth, date of birth, weight, and length then finish putting it all together. It’s my fourth or fifth pieced quilt. I’m also making a matching hippo and will embroider the monogram on its side. I’m also making several other stuffed animals for friends’ babies.
Thank you, Mariah, for sharing this awesome creation with us, and thank you Krusher for being such a good sport about it. I can’t wait to see what she has in store for you next year!
Do you want to be a featured project on StitchPunk? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or upload your Urban Threads stuff to our flickr group!