How to Make a Steampunk Shirt




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In conclusion to Threadbangers Steampunk week, Rob and Corinne show how to construct outfits for both the Steampunk Gentleman and Ladies. See more at

Things you will need:

Two shirts of contrasting color (one should be long sleeved)

Brass or silver buttons.

Scissors, thread, needle, etc.

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Step 1: Making the Breast Plate

Take an old long sleeve shirt and lay it out flat in front of you.
Take some chalk and trace an breast plate pattern to the front of the shirt.
Take a piece of newspaper and trace half of your pattern onto it. Fold over and cut out.
Pin to the other piece of fabric or old shirt- preferably a good contrasting color. Pin down the pattern and cut out, allowing a half inch seem allowance.
Pin a hem all around the garment and sew the hem.
Once you breast plate is complete, pin down and sew to the first shirt.
Keep the right side top (it will be on your left when it is worn) portion unsewn so you have enough room to get your head comfortably through the collar.

Step 2: Embellishing With Buttons

Take some silver or brass buttons and place them along the sides of your fabric, make sure to line them up evenly. Mark where they are with chalk and use a ruler if you need to. These run roughly five inches apart from each other.

Then take some extra fabric, same as the breast plate, and cut out two arrow shaped like pieces (see pictures) each one is going to about two to three inches in length and your going to sew all around the edges leaving the bottom open. Turn them inside out, place them on top of the shoulders of your shirt and sew them on. Then, exhaustingly, sew all the buttons on by hand. Make sure to leave the button on the top right corner off of your garment. Sew that last button onto your shirt directly, underneath where you'd like it to go on your breast plate and create a button home for it. And your done!

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    25 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Steampunk is a nebulous concept.
    This shirt could easily be incorporated into an "Aerial Naval Officer" costume, as well as any other number of outfits that fit the genre. Steampunk is what you're pointing at when you say it. There is no "era" for steampunk, since it's a past that never was. I've seen great steampunk outfits that incorporated elements from the 20s up through the second world war.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    "Not Steampunk" Whatever guys. It really is a civil war era bibbed double breasted shirt. Very common in the Victorian period especially in America (and dont pretend all of the "steampunk" stuff is exclusively based on british styles)

    2 replies

    steampunk is the style a fictional futuristic victorian era. that shirts pretty victorian if you ask me. unless your mixing steampunk and cyberpunk...


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    i have a pair of combat boots from the 80s. i took some screap leather and made buckles that go over the laces and buckles on the other side. also attached some peices of scrap metal to the front of one side as an improvised steel toe cap on one boot and on the other i did the same but i welded short and medium screws to it. now honestly i was aiming for a Reaver feel (you know, from Firefly?), but i guess minus the steel caps it would be a bit steampunk. i should really put this up as an instructable......

    Ceiling cat

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Where did you get your top hat. I have wanted one for prom, steampunking, costumed events and what-not, but all I can find are the crappy felt ones.

    1 reply

    Search for hat shops in your local phone book. I got mine at South Street Hats in Philly. As a warning, a good topper won't be cheap, expect to pay at least $60USD for a nice fur felt hat, and more than $100USD for a satin hat.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    It's Victorian era, for sure. Does that automatically make it steampunk? Dunno. But I like it, and it seems pretty simple. May try to do somethign liek this if I ever get serious enough about it.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I am so making this and wearing it to he mall hehe!!!!!


    11 years ago on Introduction

    That looks pretty steampunkish to me. I'll be using this for my halloween costume, thanks you very much!