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Steampunk Wonderland

 I've been a lurker for a while... I'm really getting into the steampunk idea, and am trying to integrate it into my style/home, as well as learning to look at things in a more steamy way. That being said...

I'm looking at doing a Steampunk Alice for a con, but am totally lacking in ideas. So far, I've decided:

~The dress will be that Alice blue
~The sleeves will be short and puffy
~The skirt part will be on my hips, not my waist, and come to above my knees

The last point has caused some trouble concerning the apron. The "bib" part looks absurd any way I picture it when it has to run from the chest to the hips. Currently, I'm just going off the assumption that the apron will be skirt covering only.

From a creative side, I want to look at the costume from an explorer's angle, because really, when one goes wandering through Wonderland, one really should be prepared.

I've thought about some sort of (represes snort) utility belt, but I don't know how I'd make that fit with the outfit.

I'd like to have vials on me somewhere, for the shrink potion, but don't know how to integrate them in.

Obviously I should have a pocket watch, but in what form? I have no pockets...

I'd like to carry a wicker basket as well, for con purchases, camera, and a tea set/picnic blanket. (A friend is going as the Cat and we have great plans to sit in the middle of where-ever we please for tea parties. I'm sure the Mad Hatter would approve.) Sadly, a wicker basket is not very steamy, so I'd like to fix that as well.

Oh! And I need a good pair of goggles. -makes note to self-

Anyone have pointers on how I can both make Alice look a bit more mature - in her late teens, instead of tweens? - and steam-punky as well?
Edits: I have a sketch of what I'm planning so far!

Tell me what you think?


( 52 comments — Leave a comment )
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Sep. 9th, 2008 08:41 am (UTC)
Check out Arthur Rackhams' work for a different view of Alice. Might be good for ideas. Personally I love his drawings of Alice.
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:00 am (UTC)
Those are quite lovely. Thank you for the recommendation! I may be able to do some sort of v-shape on the blouse... -ponders, while looking at the pictures-
(Deleted comment)
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:06 pm (UTC)
I'm in love with that version's sleves, and am totally stealing them for my own use. That costume you made is awesome! Love the bow in back ^^
Sep. 9th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
to steam up a wicker basket.. Brass Metal Spraypaint and a Sealant so it doesnt flake in use.
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:08 pm (UTC)
Oooh! And if I get a loose enough basket weave, I could thread some wire of my own in with the wicker... Thanks, cool idea! Also, sealant, right.
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:34 pm (UTC)
I would combine the apron and the utility belt idea, and cover the apron with pockets of all different sizes. Then I'd get a few antique (looking) bottles and label them "Drink Me," "Cheshire Cat Bitters," "Jabberwocky Repellant," or maybe "Laudanum." I'd also read through the books and see what else one would need for an expedition to Wonderland.

Good luck - I'm looking forward to pictures!
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
I love the utility apron idea people have suggested... I may need to steal your ideas for the vials, is that okay?

I'll post the sketch I'm working on as soon as I'm happy with it, but pictures of the outfit itself may take a while as I'm not the fastest sewer, expecially when school gets in the way. I will post them, however!
(no subject) - gkingsley - Sep. 10th, 2008 12:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 12:59 pm (UTC)
A few ideas off the top of my head: Put pockets on the apron. Aprons usually do have pockets, they are functional garments, after all. No reason why you shouldn't have a lot of pockets on it, if you like, and if you choose a reasonably sturdy and stiff cotton for it it can take a bit of weight, too. I would consider having several sewn-on pockets for different things - at least one or two regular patch pockets for random stuff, you could make a sectioned patch pocket for the vials, too, and maybe a special watch pocket with a buttoned flap, so it won't fall out?

As for making it less childlike, there's the obvious and somewhat boring route of sexing it up, but I'm also thinking that the classic Disney Alice has a lot in common with old-fashioned nurse uniforms and the like - that would be an interesting way of doing a grown-up Alice. I really think the bib part of the apron would work. Nurse aprons, obviously made for grown women, always had that bit, because it really is practical - if you're doing messy work you're bound to get stains on the front of the dress above the waist too. Some of them only had a waistband, and the bib was pinned to the bodice of the dress - that's a nice look, I think. The sectioned vial pocket would look great as a breast pocket on that part, I imagine.

Buttoning the waistband instead of using ties is a small detail that looks a little less childlike, I think. How you do your hair and make-up, what shoes, socks and the like you wear also has a big impact on how mature you will look. Skirt length was important to denote age in the 19th and early 20th century, if I remember right; knee-length for little girls, and then successively longer from 12-13 up until around 17-18 or thereabouts, when you could wear floor-length skirts like a grown woman.

And because I'm a little nutty about vintage nurse uniforms, here are some pictures for ideas - post-WWI era, but the details would work on a more Victorianesque outfit as well.

Very cute and Alice-like nurse uniform. A London hospital in the 30's, IIRC.
Bib pinned to the bodice, cute sleeve guards in the post-WWII era.
Different apron treatment, as a part of the bodice.
...And this one is just for fun, really, because there's a nurse wearing goggles in it. 1920's-1930's, some kind of early tanning bed?
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:29 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 9th, 2008 09:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Along the lines of pimpinett's suggestion...if you wanted to go with pockets on the apron, which I think would be a really good idea, you could also "age" the outfit by making the apron something less white and startchy and more "utilitarian", perhaps a combination of a ferrier's apron and a workman's belt?

If you do go with the more traditional apron, the pinned bib look is great...it gets rid of those pesky straps, which can really open up what you may or may not want to do with a neckline.

A good, thick pair of boots would not go amiss for footwear, probably. I don't know if you want to go the "combat boot" route, or keep it more dainty, but tromping around in Wonderland is bound to get dirty.
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:16 pm (UTC)
I love the idea of boots - I just hope I can find some in my price range!
(no subject) - filia_umbrae - Sep. 9th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 10th, 2008 12:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:04 pm (UTC)
I know someone around here was making garters that held little vials as well.
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:57 pm (UTC)
I love that this comm is well-tagged.

Those are here and I'll have to get one myself. Thanks for the suggestion/reminder.
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 9th, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - mechanical_masq - Sep. 10th, 2008 09:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
Changing from Alice's standard patent leather shoes will impact the maturity as well, like the boots in those photos.
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:18 pm (UTC)
Boots - ones that go up to my knees, preferably - will be possibly the most difficult part to find, but that's what the internet is for I guess.
(no subject) - renireligion - Sep. 9th, 2008 11:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 10th, 2008 01:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 02:54 pm (UTC)
For the steampunk alchemist I plan to do, I will be using a bandolier-style idea for the vials. You can probably work those kinds of loops into the belt, onto the apron strap, even onto the apron for Alice's potions.
Sep. 9th, 2008 09:03 pm (UTC)
I'm not framiliar with the bandolier style... Could you describe?
(no subject) - dreadnot - Sep. 9th, 2008 10:10 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 10th, 2008 01:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 03:31 pm (UTC)
Is it Necronomicon? 'Cos I'm doing a steampunk Snow White for that, and we could totally hang out together in the hallways and look awesome. xD
Sep. 9th, 2008 04:25 pm (UTC)
Yay 4 Necro!
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 9th, 2008 09:02 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dragonflii_echo - Sep. 9th, 2008 09:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kira_onasi - Sep. 9th, 2008 09:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - zengarden - Sep. 10th, 2008 12:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Sep. 9th, 2008 03:41 pm (UTC)
I agree with what others have said about adding pockets to your apron. Perhaps some embroidery or patches too?

Are you planning to have a head bow like Alice? Perhaps instead, you could have some steampunk fascinator or other cool headpiece.
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:56 pm (UTC)
I loooove the idea of patches.

I think I'll be finding a top hat, and adding the black ribbon Alice has in her hair to that, but I'm not totally sure how I'd make that steampunk in any other fashion.
Sep. 9th, 2008 04:56 pm (UTC)
Your post really got me thinking. I've made a traditional Alice dress, but I really think it would be interesting to see a Steampunk one! There are some great ideas here - so I sketched out something quick and colored it (I'm at work, so I couldn't get really fancy with photoshop).

My idea for Steampunk Alice. :)

The back of the skirt could be bustled somehow. (Think Disney's Jane from Tarzan.) Instead of using white for an apron, I think more tea-stained, unbleached canvas look. Like 'explorer khaki'. There's a small watch pinned on the apron bib and there are vials on the skirt. (A great apron pattern is the Sense & Sensibility Pattern for an Edwardian apron. It's very nice and wraps around for the messiest of us.)

That's just my idea...
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:44 pm (UTC)
I absolutly adore your idea for a bustle-type skirt - the way you've drawn it is totally perfect for bringing a more adult element to the shorter skirt of a child. -adds element to sketch- Also thank you for reminding me about the option to tea-stain. The fabric store selection in my area is getting to be rather dismal, and I'm guessing I'll have to do that to get the right effect.
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:01 pm (UTC)
I think your concern with the apron having a bib is that the bib usually starts at the waist of the apron where there are ties and a seam. I agree that having a waist seam that low would look awkward, but here is an apron that has no front waist seam. It's all one piece from the neck to the bottom hem.


The side skirt pieces have large, deep pockets, and you could add pockets and straps all over the rest of the skirt and bodice of the apron as well. If you like this design and have more questions, feel free to reply here or email me.

As for making it more "grown-up," what about a hat?
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:54 pm (UTC)
ooooh a hat. How could I have forgotten a hat?!

I do love that apron but I'm not sure if it would work with the skirt I have planned... I may come back to it if the current plan doens't work out though. Thank you!
Sep. 9th, 2008 05:06 pm (UTC)
As far as I know (children's wear is not my thing):

A pinafore ought not to tie at your hips unless you're wearing something like an edwardian dropped-waist girls dress, in which case it should follow the lines of the dress.

Something like this would work with your puffy sleeves, could have pockets added, and would look nice with a crisp lace collar.

Alice was expected to be a proper young lady, and I think even steampunk Alice would reflect this.
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
I have this image of the Disney's Alice getting stuck in Wonderland and ending up taking apart her dress as a pattern as she grows/ ruins the old one, because the clothing she finds IN Wonderland just isn't to her liking. I want to make the Disney version more accurate to Victorian times, but that remains the main influence. So... Proper is important, but what's proper will have skewed during Alice's time away from "home".

You've made me think all this out, thank you!
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
I have some boots that a former boss reffered to as 'alice does dominatrix" :D i love them. They are wine colored with side buttons and a victorian heel, but its a serious heel and they goo all the way to my knees. They are 2 seasons old at this point so idk if you can find htem, but when i get home ill look for the designer and see if i can find a link.

Also, they are SUPER comfortable.
Sep. 9th, 2008 08:46 pm (UTC)
Oh, please do! They sound stunning! Also Ebay and the internet are wonderful things, you never know what you can find even if they aren't made any more. ^^
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