Steampunk Circus Clown Update

Need to tidy up a few more things on the costume from the Week of Endless Sewing getting ready for the photoshoot today.  WHICH WAS AWESOME.

Here (in some sort of order) are the remaining things I needed to complete for the costume:

Fitting.  DangerKitty came by for her fitting and luckily we are the same size in some areas (YAY, no alterations!) and different in others (BOO, ripping stitches!)

Looking very pink.

Looking very pink.

It was also the first trial of the wig on a real human, and while it fit well, it made me see where additional combs and such needed to be placed.

Fitting the back of the bodice to the mechanicals in back.

Fitting the back of the bodice to the mechanicals in back.

I also fitted the bodice to the mechanicals.  Sadly there was an accident with the front mechanicals (and then the battery pack for it broke) and so I had to rearrange how everything was going to fit.  I wound up adding black clasps with adjustable straps that ran from the bottom of the harness straps in front, under the armpits and hooking to the copper piece in back.  This kept the harness on the shoulders, moved the straps to the side, and gave support to the bottom of the key turner in back.  The battery pack in back was also attached to the bottom of the key turner and the actual switch for the key was wired to the side of the key turner.

I put aside the idea of what I was going to do for mechanicals on the front and focused on the back.  I made the back of the bodice originally from a Truly Victorian bodice pattern, but soon had to Franken-pattern it to fit around the key turner.  I separated the back into 3 separate sections that I then whip-stitched together at the top till the middle section hit the turner.  Then I sewed velcro on the top and both sides of the opening in the bodice back.  This way the bodice attaches to the key turner via velcro and holds in place.

The front of the bodice has plastic boning sewn on either side.  I had intended to put grommets into it for lacing, but decided against this because it wouldn’t stretch and might pull the velcro off the back, so I sewed elastic bridal loop tape along the front edges instead.  This gave it more give in the front.

The beaded sleeves were tacked into the armholes of the bodice instead of lacing them in because of the weight.

Yes, those are measurements written on a Junior Mints box in Sharpie.

Yes, those are measurements written on a Junior Mints box in Sharpie.

I was starting to get frazzled with the few remaining days left to complete the garment and all the things that kept going wrong.  There were several freak-outs and my husband and friends talked me down from the edge several times.  I also ate all the Junior Mints in all of Minnesota.  There are no more here, don’t bother to look till they re-stock.

Sassy pants.

Sassy pants.

On my list of items to complete were clown bloomers.  Jessica was at Joann Fabrics with me when we saw this fabric in the Red Tag and immediately decided it needed to be the bloomers.  It looks like it is covered in giant sequins and it is drapey and soft.  I sewed ribbon, lace and an additional gathered trim to the hems, and gathered them with pink elastic cord with gold aglets on the ends.

Squirting Flower a la Steampunk.

Squirting Flower a la Steampunk.

I also got around to working on the squirting flower.  When I spray painted it copper I put a tiny pin in the water opening and thus it was still usable – right up until I glued a gear over it, as well as various watch hands and colored beads.  I also glued a handle at the top and turned it into a giant Clown pocket watch.

HONK!

HONK!

Every clown needs an obnoxious sounding horn, and I found this one on Amazon.  I took the black rubber bulb off and sprayed the thing with copper paint and then sealed it.  After reassembling it I used Dazzle Tac to glue on some vintage gears and buttons to made it look older.  It wound up attaching to the skirt via elastic cord on a gold swivel hook hanging from a ribbon sewn to the waistband.

Copper Supportasse and Ruff of Glory

Copper Supportasse and Ruff of Glory

Oh you guys.  I finished attaching this to the copper tubing supportasse the night before the photoshoot of the costume.  I started in the middle (or what I thought was the middle) which was a bad plan.  I got 1/4 of the way done and realized it was wrong and un-did it and started on one side and worked my way in, and then did the same on the other.  I used Beadalon 7 strand bead stringing wire and stitched the beaded trim to the top of the supportasse.  The beads really do form the “S” shape seen on other ruffs, but the space is pretty tight up there and they blend together.  But it looks beautiful and bright and shiny in person.  I used plain Nymo to sew the bottom of the ruff to the bottom of the supportasse, and then wound copper colored ribbon along the neckline so that it would be more comfortable against the neck when worn.

Displayed in place.

Displayed in place.

The supportasse itself was supported by 2 different methods.  One was a long curved piece of copper piping that was inserted into the pockets on the shoulder harness in back and then quickly wired at the top to the supportasse.  There were also tiny buttonholes in the shoulder seams of the bodice where I threaded more of the pink elastic cording through the buttonhole, through the D ring on the harness strap, back through the buttonhole and tied around one of the main tubes of the supportasse.  The spare ends were then tucked back into the buttonholes.  The color of the elastic was close enough to the bodice that you couldn’t really tell unless looking very closely, and because it stretched, it moved with the wearer.  It wound up working very well, except that the tubing slipped in the back and the next time the outfit is worn I need to have a seam in the bottom of the harness where the tube ends.

The whole thing feels ridiculously heavy, but DangerKitty (who modeled it) said it really wasn’t heavy at all, and was partially supported on her shoulders by the padded harness straps.

Bodice decorations.

Bodice decorations.

The bottom of the bodice needed something added to it, so I looked through more Elizabethan photos and discovered that many of them are wearing girdles.  I removed the fake jewels from a belt I had bought at the thrift store and spray painted it copper.

After the spray paint and sealing.

After the spray paint and sealing.

I then divided the belt in half and glued some metal rose beads on the empty jewel spaces with Dazzle Tac, and then stitched the belt sections to the bottom of the bodice.  It didn’t quite come to the front edges, but the front placket covered that.

The front placket.  Sigh.  It wasn’t working properly, the battery pack fell off, and it was all looking very bad.  I left the fixing of the front panel until the night before the photoshoot.  Which wasn’t a very good idea.  However, somehow inspiration struck in the middle of all of this:

Missing:  Dremel box, copper plumbing pieces and a hatchet.

Missing: Dremel box, copper plumbing pieces and a hatchet.

So I decided to remake it.  I removed everything non-working, took the gears off of the old front panel and then attached the copper sprayed decorative grill to the copper plate.  Then I screwed the gears back on and trimmed the grill to fit.  I taped the sides with electrical tape to cover the raw edges.

Halfway there and looking good!

Halfway there and looking good!

I then took the copper strapping and wrapped it around the top and bottom of the panel and duct taped it to the back to cover the rough edges.

Now the gears are pretty!

Now the gears are pretty!

I added rhinestones to the centers of the gears and glued on leaves from a metal kit to make the gears look like flowers.

Yeah, they don’t really look like flowers, but it was 1am and I was tired, so just go with it.

Then I attached velcro to either side of the front of the panel.  I also patterned out the large lapels to go on either side.  Since everything on the costume was already oversize, I decided to make these larger as well.  I cut them out of the embroidered silk satin and backed it in the pink velvet of the bodice.  I sewed the gold braided piping around the edges and velcro on the back edges to attach to the front panel.

All put together!

All put together!

As to how to hang it on the front of the bodice, well, that still wasn’t figured out at that time.

Second update?  THE BOOTS OF GLORY.

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