Introduction: Steampunk Costume

Ok, so their are already plenty of Steampunk inspired outfits and accessories and Instructables out there. But I decided why not make my own as a way to document my hard work and this way people looking in can see all the steps it takes to make a full costume all in one place. I have looked at a ton of Instructables on this topic to work on my outfit, so as I work on steps that were inspired by other Instructables I will give the appropriate links!

Step 1: Decisions, Decisions

This step can be done in many ways. Take a look online on Google images or look at all the interesting Instructables, or hey, why not even sketch up your own ideas. Basically this step is for you to plan out how you want your outfit/costume to look. I looked online a million times doing Google searches on "Steampunk Fashion", "Steampunk clothing", "Steampunk tops", "Steampunk skirts". Honestly, I really did not know exactly what I wanted other then that I wanted a skirt and an under bust corset. But I did not really know what else or what type of skirt. Long, short? After enough searching, I decided to take all the elements of the outfits I liked online and sketch out my own design.

Step 2: Time to Begin

So you have your design or ideas now. Well guess what? It is time to begin turning your idea into a reality.

If you plan on doing everything all at once, it is a good idea to get all the materials you think you may need now.
However if you plan on doing different parts of your outfits at different times, then gather your materials as needed.
Also, check your closet before starting anything. You never know what you may find that replicates what you are looking for!

Step 3: Corset Under Bust

So I started here, because I figured this would be the most challenging part for me because I want to keep this costume fairly cheap. So I searched online and found beautiful corsets, even costume made Steampunk corsets. But most were about 50$ and up, which was certainly out of my price range for a single piece in my costume. So I started checking local stores around my house and found a corset in the lingerie section of a Marshall's in my neighborhood. Now the pink doesn't really go with my idea, but since the corset was only $7.00 I don't feel so bad about Steampunking this corset out!

So after a lot of different trials for the corset, I ended up using the corset I bought as a pattern and cutting/making my own corset. Not what I had planned, but my other methods just did not look nice. With all the hard work I did on all the other pieces I did not want to do a sloppy/poor job on this major piece of the outfit.

I ended up trying a few methods:
1. Painting the ribbon with paint- Messy and the colors didn't set well on the ribbon
2. Covering the ribbon with my own fabric/ribbon- this was a lot of work, and it became a challenge to get all the pieces the right size and to cover the ruffle part of the ribbon.
3. Finally I bit the bullet, and I made the corset by hand.

~This step is optional if you decide to buy a corset already done for you~

Great instructables for sewed corsets:
Steampunk Corset-
Clockwork Corset-
Under bust Corset-


Under Bust Corset: $7.00 (USD)
Faux Leather Fabric: $12.00 (USD)
Gears/decorations: $ . (US)

Steps for Making my No Sew Corset:

1. After many other failed attempts, I undid the string on the corset and layed it flat against my material. This corset became my pattern.

2. I outlined the corset using fabric crayons. After outlined, I cut out the corset shape. I was a little worried at first because the fabric I was using was not stretchy like the corset I bought. But I was smart in stretching the corset when making the pattern. (Was just the right size thank goodness.)

3. Next I began cutting off the bones from the corset I bought and hot glued them in the correct place on my new faux leather corset.

4. Finally I re-laced the new corset and tested the fit. Since I had outlined part of the shoulder straps, I decided at this point to cut the top of the corset straight across. No need for half a strap lol

5. It was a tad bit boring though, so I began scavenging my house for things to decorate it with. My dad found this pocket watch, It looks like a cheap thing maybe from a Wal-Mart but it has a beautiful design on the back. So I made a pocket on the side of the corset that It would fit in.

6. To make the pocket, place the pocket watch on a piece of fabric. Draw out an approximate pocket design around the pocket watch. Make sure the pocket design is bigger. I made that mistake, when I glued it on the watched didnt fit in it >.< Finally cut out your approximate design. If you want it semetrical, fold it in half and trim the two sides so they match. Lastly, glue the pocket onto the corset where you would like and put your pocket watch in!


For no sewing, I think it came out quite nice! Luckily this fabric my dad found holds the seams nicely no need for making hems or sewing in seams! Perfect, since I have little to no sewing skills.

Step 4: The Hat

The method to create this hat can be modified for a large or small top hat.
However, you can always do some funky head pieces by making a headband and decorate it up with features and cogs and gears.


Links to make your own:
Top Hat (cardboard):
Top Hat (Foam):


Cardboard: Free if you have it laying around, or only a few dollars (less than $3.00 USD)
Hot Glue
Fabric in color of choice:
Ribbon/Lace: My sister found some beautiful lace at a yard sale. So less than $1.00 USD for the beautiful lace I used.


1. Decide what material you want to design your hat out of. You could also purchase a hat online or see if you know anyone with an old top hat.
Since I had tons of cardboard scraps laying around from my parents robot costumes, I decided to make my hat out of cardboard.

2. I chose to begin designing the hat itself with the circumference. After eying up some sizes, I decided to make the hat the same circumference as a CD. So I used a blank CD to make my cut line. Remember, on average the rim will always be about an inch or more larger.

3. Next I took some scrap cardboard to wrap around my circumference to get the amount of cardboard I need for the body of the hat.

4. After testing, and cutting your actual body piece, before gluing make sure you really like the size. After cutting everything out, I realized the hat was a lot bigger than I wanted. But that is OK, because it is always easier to take in, than to add!

5. Now glue your body piece together. You can use the method used in the DIY Tiny Top Hat Instructable which is wrapping your body around a similar tube object. This will let the body of your hat hold its shape as the glue dries.

6. Next, once the body of your hat is dry you can wrap the fabric around the cardboard. Wrap the fabric to get the size you need, then add a layer of glue to the cardboard and wrap your fabric tightly. Try and smooth out the fabric now, before it dries.

7. Now make the rim of the hat. Make the rim the same size as the circumference you made earlier plus about an inch. (you can add more to the rim if you'd like!) With the rim, you can make one of two choices. You can make the hat open or the bottom, rim, solid. So if you want the bottom of the hat flat and solid, simply cut the rim out and your done. If you want the rim open, then cut the outer circumference and then cut an inner circumference. The inner circumference should be smaller then the original size of the body. (Look at picture # if you don't understand exactly what I mean.)

8. Now measure and cut the fabric for the rim of the hat. Glue the fabric to the rim, again smoothing it out before it dries.

9. Next glue the rim of the hat to the body of the hat.

10. Finally, make all decorative additions that you would like. I added a few features found on an old masquerade mask, some ribbon, and some gears.

Step 5: Belt(s)

In this step, were gonna use our leftover faux leather to make some belts. You can also buy or recycle old leather belts!

Faux Leather Fabric: $12.00 (USD)
Decorations: gears, chains, etc
Belt clip/key chain holder

Directions for making a belt:

1. Measure out your waist size plus 5-10 inches depending on how much you want the belt to drape across your body.

2. To make the fabric stronger, find the center and make a mark or fold on the material.

3. Next fold the edges in towards the middles so they overlap a small amount. This will cut the width of the belt in about a half to a third, but will make the material stronger. You can choose to sew the material in place or hot glue it in place like I did. You can also choose to sew a stronger fabric to the back of the belt material instead of folding.

4. Put the end of the belt through the belt loop or key chain loop. Fold over a small amount of the belt and sew or hot glue down.

5. (optional) Decorate as you please. In this phase, you can make and add on utility pouches or bullet holders etc. Below I show the steps to make a utility pouch for the belts and bullet holders.

6. Try on the belt!

Step 6: Jewelry

In this step I created a few pieces of jewelry.

Lace ribbon
Faux Leather

Steps for making Choker:

1. Measure around your neck. If you want a tight choker, like mine, make careful measurements and add 1in just in case. (it can always be cut off later!)

2. Cut the faux leather and the lace according to your measurements. Again add 1in! I made the mistake the first time of making it exact and after making my cuts and testing the cuts it ended up being to small to go around my neck and I had to cut new fabric and lace ribbon.

3. Next, hot glue the ribbon to the middle of the leather. I am unaware if you can sew the lace ribbon, but if you know that you can feel free to sew the ribbon to your fabric if you dont wish to hot glue it.

4. (optional) In this step I painted my shiny silver gears a few colors to get an idea of the color I want for my necklace. You may skip this step if you already have your details planned out.

5. Hot glue your gears or decorations on the choker as you see fitting.

6. If you wish to decorate like mine, next, decide how much of the chain you want to drape over your neck.

7. Now hot glue one end of the chain under the right gear and the other end under the middle gear. Repeat on the left side.

8. Finally, attach your key to the chain and hot glue the chain under the middle gear.

9. For closure, you can do a few ways. For one time use, you can hot glue the choker ends together once its on you. You can also add velcro to the two ends, make a fancy clasp/closure if you have the proper materials, or simply cut a slit in the ends and use some extra fabric or ribbon to tie it closed in the back.

Step 7: Skirt

Ok time to make our skirt.
So we need to start with a very simple pattern, since I do not know how to sew and many of you may not know how as well. I started with one pattern which I loved, but It was challenging and I did not have enough of my faux leather anyways. So I switched to a simple circle skirt pattern.

Fabric: $12.00 (USD) for 1 and a half yards
Rope Belt: Free- Already had

1. In the second picture, I included an image of my pattern I used. So use my pattern sketch to figure out your numbers. Start by deciding how long you want the skirt to be and add 2 to 3 inches. The skirt will be shorter in the back on some people so the extra length helps, and the front can always be trimmed after to be your desired length.

2. Next measure your waist. Add 2 inches which will allow the skirt to gather, and leave room for some cutting or measuring mistakes.

3. Your waist is the circumference of the inner circle, so to get the radius divide your number by pi which gives you the diameter of the inner circle. Then divide by two for your radius.

4. Cut out your square of fabric based on your numbers.

5. Fold this in half and mark off the radius of the big circle. Fold this in half again (so you get 1/4) and cut a quarter of a circle. This will make all four quarters of the circle skirt the same.

6. Next unfold back to the fabric being folded in half. Find the middle point of the fabric and from there measure out your radius of the smaller circle.

7. Again fold in fourths and make your cut for the inner circle so it is even all around.

8. Next unfold everything and try on the skirt. It will be big if you added an inch or two to your waist.

9. Now I used a rope belt to make the band for my skirt since I wanted to sew as little as possible. I folded the skirt in half and marked off dashes every 2inches around the small circle. Each dash was 1 and a half inches away from the circle. Cut a small slit at each dash.

10. Feed the rope belt through each slit and try on your skirt. Use the belt to tighten the skirt as needed and add gathering to the skirt. I put all my gathering in the back to make a bustling like effect.

11. Next make any trimming to the skirt as needed. I trimmed the front of my skirt only to be 10inches long and the back is 15inches. This allows the white skirt underneath to show through only in the front.

12. (optional) Finally take a piece of the faux leather scraps and tie some of the fabric up on the side on the front. This gives a skirt a cute effect.

Step 8: Gun

This step took a lot longer then I thought it would, but it was fun!

Nerf gun (I used a Nerf Recon CS6)
Paint Brushes or Q-tips
Screw Driver.


1. Start by taking the gun apart. This is important because if you spray paint the gun while it is together you may spray paint some pieces and make them stick.

2. I would suggest taking a picture of the insides be4 removing everything. If you don't it could cause a headache later. I had to search the internet to figure out how everything goes back together!

3. Next take the body pieces and spray paint them with a base coat.

4. From here on out, its painting or spray painting the gun as desired. Go with metal colors like silvers, coppers, bronzes. And have fun with it! You can design your own color schemes like I did or look online and copy other peoples designs. Their is a lot of inspiration online.

5. Let everything dry. Work on different pieces or parts of your outfit, or do what I did and get food ^.^

6. Now that everything is dry, and it has to be thoroughly dried-not tacky, you can start putting it back together. Reference your picture from the beginning. If that does not help, do a Google search for "how to put (your Nerf gun name) together." There are video tutorials out there because people tend to mod the insides of the guns to make them perform better.
Here's a great Youtube video I used if you have the same gun as me:

Step 9: Putting It All Together!

Here's just a few pics of the individual pieces pieces, my makeup, the whole outfit, and a few fun pictures from the families Halloween themed Camping Trip this weekend!

Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge

Participated in the
Halloween Easy Costumes Challenge