I’ve been seeing lots of steampunk around – and I have to say I think it’s incredibly impressive. I love the idea of cosplay and I especially love that steampunk doesn’t seem to have any hard-and-fast rules – so costumers can go creatively ballistic. I love the props these guys come up with as well.

Of course, I don’t really move in the circles that get around in copper waistcoats and clockwork pince-nez, but it wasn’t hard to sort of reverse-engineer the theory to add a little Victorian flair to my wardrobe.

Here’s a plain black stretch cotton skirt I picked up at Savers for $4. (Sorry the pic’s a bit dark!)

It has a short kick pleat at the back, which is not too visible here.

I wanted to replace the pleat with some ruffles, but I knew that removing the pleat wasn’t going to give me enough fabric to create the effect I wanted. So, I dug up some scraps from the reversible dress. There wasn’t a great deal of that left either, so I had to make a join in a couple of pieces. Here are my 3 pieces, hemmed and ready to ruffle:

The longest ruffle had to have a piece of black fabric attached to make it long enough, but it will be nicely covered by the upper ruffles. I much lament the fact that I don’t have a ruffler foot for my sewing machine (not sure if Janome even make them, to be honest!) and she wasn’t in the mood to do a gather stitch, so I just pin-pleated them by hand.

I ran a line of stitching on each piece to secure the ruffles, then lined them up and sewed the three of them together at the top and sides.

Then I measured several times before cutting (haven’t we all learned that lesson!) and removed the pleat section from the skirt.  I unpicked the hem a little way on each side of the ‘window’ so that I could open out the hem.

Now, forgive me for not taking more pictures of the next part of the process, but quite frankly I was so excited at the prospect of a successful refashion that I just couldn’t stop!

I put a diagonal snip in the corners of the window, folded the seam allowance inside and pressed it flat. Then I lined up the ruffle piece and sewed it on, pivoting at the corners. Much to my amazement, the corners worked exactly as they were supposed to. I ran a zig-zag stitch along the raw edges, then pressed the seam allowances back onto the skirt again. The hems on each side were then refolded to cover the seam allowance, pressed and sewn down, and I topstitched all the way around the ruffle section.


Here’s the end result:



Gotta love a silver lining.