Sunday, January 3, 2016

New costume plan for 2016: Souless Manga Floating Dress

Happy New Year, Steampunks!

With a new year ahead of me, I have some goals.  One is to make myself a new awesome steampunk outfit.   My last entirely new outfit was my Femme Steampunk Darkwing Duck and that's rapidly approaching two years ago.   The last year was really limited for my in terms of events, and I'm not sure how many I'll be able to attend in 2016, but I want to be prepared with new awesomeness in case I do.

So I'm planning to make an outfit I've wanted to make for a long time.  It's this one:

It's the cover art from the second volume of the Souless manga.  The manga is, of course, based on the Parasol Protectorate series of novels by Gail Carriger.  In fact, I've felt inspired to make a costume based on these books since I first read Changeless, the second book in the series.      In Changeless,  Alexia and companions take their first dirigible ride.  As floating is the fashionable way to travel, they have special floating dresses  for airships.  They have straps holding the skirts down, weights in the hems, and lots of flounces to flutter in the breeze.  Matching goggles are a must as well.  I loved all this detail when I first read it.  And I was super impressed with this artist's interpretation when the second manga was released.  The straps weren't what I imagined at all, but I adore them.
I recently reread the series and was reminded of how much I wanted to make a floating dress.  And I got my copy of the manga out and it's been sitting next to my bed for a month while I stare at it and imagine how to make this.  So I'm gonna go for it.  I even have a plan.

The plan actually starts with my wedding dress.  I had a conversation with a friend at Steampunk November about poufy skirts and how insanely poufy my wedding dress was.  I bemoaned the fact I don't fit into it any more.  And she suggested I take the skirt off the bodice and just use the skirt for a costume.  Which is pretty genius.   It's just sitting in a bag in my closet taking up space, and what fun is that?  So my plan for the main skirt of this outfit is to use my wedding dress skirt.  I'll have to detach it from the plastic-boned bodice and probably add a waistband of some kind.  But it's super nice, soft tulle, and LOTS of it, so it should work well for this.  I want the skirt to be poufy enough to get that overflowing feeling of it really being held down by the black ribbon ties.

Here's a picture of my wedding dress, to give you an idea how big it is.   This is worn with another petticoat underneath that I think I'll skip so I can fit through doorways.  I've considered just dying the dress teal, but the illustration does show white petticoat showing underneath, so alternatively I can just make a covering skirt from something translucent.  I'll need teal and black organza or chiffon for the bustle and skirt and slightly darker teal fabric for the bodice and hat.  I haven't had any money for shopping yet, so we'll see when that happens.

The bodice should be fairly simple, with the help of Truly Victorian pattern 1883.  It's perfect for the shape of the bodice in the picture, plus it's a pattern I want to own anyway.  I'll have to add some flounces to the wrists for that lolita look, but that's about it.   Add a matching top hat
(I'll need to make) and some matching goggles(made? bought? modified?) and I'm done.  Oh and a cape and stuff.  And a parasol.  Crap.
Ok, my fairly simple outfit is sounding awfully complex, but hey, why do it if it's not an accomplishment?

My husband is about to go out of town for a month again, so I'm thinking I'll pull the wedding dress out and start attacking it soon.  I have some client projects to finish before I can really work on anything, though.

Do any of you have big plans for projects this year?  Share your ideas in the comments.



  1. It sounds awesome, can't wait to see pictures.

  2. I have been throwing around doing a White Queen from "Alice thru the looking glass" based on the original illustrations and making it steampunk.Mary Ann

  3. What a sweet wedding photo! You both look wonderful, it must have been a lovely day. It'll be fun following your progress on your floating dress, and you've reminded me to dig out my Gail Carriger books for a reread.