The Steampunk Mad Hatter, Part 1

mad hatter 2

It’s been a crazy week, so apologies for not posting! I’ve started work on the base garments for a steampunk version of the Mad Hatter (hence the incomplete hat in the photo!) You’ll notice most of these photos were taken at night, because most of the work was done after 10pm, thanks to busy days and bouts of insomnia. Information on how it was done below the cut!

This costume started with a want to do a steampunk costume, but not wanting to do something completely generic. I love Alice in Wonderland, so I thought a steampunk mad hatter would be perfect. After creating a design, I went out and bought fabrics, and got started! This costume is going to feature multiple layers, so the first thing I got done was the petticoat for the skirt, and the undershirt. I also purchased a cheap hat I plan to decorate, and a pair of white over-the-knee socks that also are going to be edited.


I worked on the shirt first. Since there is going to be something over it, which will cinch the waist and give it shape, the shirt was essentially a large sack with puffy sleeves. I made up a design (excuse my ugly handwriting), and made a mock-up. Being only two pieces, it was simple to put together, and my mock-up looked like this.


Very flattering, no? I made a few adjustments (decreasing the shoulder strap width and changing around some lengths and hems) and got to work on the real thing. After hemming it, I focused on the sleeves. They are two puffy sleeves, gathered at the shoulder, with elastic around the arms.


After they were attached to the shirt, it looked like this pretty good! I gave it the loving nickname, ‘The Pretty Sack Shirt’.


(Not sure why the bottom hem looks weird here – probably because it is pinned onto my mannequin instead of the mannequin actually wearing it, since the mannequin’s busy is too big to fit it). Next, I started on the petticoat/underskirt. I cut out 4 rectangles of varying sizes. The largest rectangle was cut into four strips, to become ruffles, while the smallest would be an elastic waistband, and the last would be the actual skirt.


Each ruffle was 2x the length of the skirt, and was first hemmed, and then I added gathering stitches on the other side. Next, they were gathered down to size and attached to the skirt. Overall, it was over 24 feet of hemming, and then a further 24 of gathering stitches, and then they all were attached to the skirt!


The ruffles were attached right sides together, and then flipped down and ironed into place. My iron apparently didn’t like this, and spat out a bunch of boiling water while I was ironing, blistering my finger. Luckily, it wasn’t a bad burn, and I was able to keep working (ruffles before injuries, of course!) I sewed up the side seam, except on the waistband piece, and then threaded to the elastic and sewed that up, too! Finally, I had a petticoat. I wasn’t 100% pleased with it (actually, to tell the truth, I was very unhappy with it at first), but it’s grown on me.

001 (2)   All in all, it looked like this! I still need to add two little dart-like things to the shirt, since it’s a bit loose around the top, but otherwise I am calling them both done. If I did this again, I would consider making them into a one piece underdress, but I’m not unhappy with these results. The hat and socks are still unfinished, so they are just in the picture for reference. Hopefully my next post won’t take so long, and the forces will be for me this week! Inara


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