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Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style


Without further ado, Fashionable Reader, here are the outfits I wore in 2017!

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

In Detroit, I went pretty low key and practical. I also was starting to test some of my clothes to see if I really wanted to keep them. Both this skirt and skirt have now gone on to new homes so this is the last time I wore them.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

I love this outfit (although this is the cold weather variation). I'm really getting into steampunk pin-up as a look.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

Resurrecting an old favorite dress and remembering how much I love it.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

Changing up the way I wear my corsets now that I have the reduced rack and modified corsetry.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

A new corset with an old dress, another one that I decided not to keep (the dress, not the corset).

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

More playing with corsets and day dresses. Just swinging up my steampunk style.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

I resurrected this dress to see if it still fit. And it did! It's pretty outrageous, does not pack well, and I don't wear it often so I am not sure how much longer it will stay in my wardrobe. But for now, still here.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

All the outfits I wore for San Diego Comic Con. Battling heat and crowds made this a bit of a challenge, and always does. But I was happy with the results, and the AB was with me to take photos.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

Borderlands events ended my year, making this red skirt my most frequently worn piece for 2017. Money well spent if you ask me.

There were a few other events in there where I didn't get a good outfit shot. I'm bad about remembering to ask someone to take a photo.

I did one major crating project in 2017, which was painting this corset. Other than that no sewing or tailoring or anything. Just some basic repairs.

Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro Style

Reminder! 



Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

You can shop my recommendations via the following lists:
Steampunk, Retro Jewelry, Makeup, Retro Clothes, Lifestyle


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DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

A while ago I did a post about making magnetic hat flowers, so I could have different flowers on my two cream hats depending on the dress.

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

A Reminder

  • The hats have heavy duty magnets under their bands.
  • For each fancy I used a hot glue gun to affix strong rare earth disc magnets (facing the correct direction for the hats!) to the backs.
  • I also glue a bit of ribbon over the magnet as otherwise the magnet is stronger than the glue and just comes off the fancy.
Some day someone smart will market magnet buttons so they can be sewn on . . .

Since the first session of fancy-making, I have been plotting to do this to a cream headband as well, but have been experiencing technical difficulties.

In the interim, I created more fancies!

New Fancies


DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
Black grosgrain with teapot button decroation
DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
Black on the hat!
For this one I adapted an old royal blue faire favor. Since I don't do faire anymore, it seemed like a good use for an old friend. Added a spray of feathers to the back with a glue gun, and gued down the magnet and covered with ribbon and wha la!

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
Completed royal blue favor
Re-purposing a cheap headband from Ross.

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
Before

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
Added magnet

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger
On the hat
And lastly I did a cheeky red bow with a button.

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

The final collection:


DIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger

One of the best thing about these? They pack small!

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

So a while back I was rambling through Calistoga, as you do, and I found a vintage store, as I do all the time, and things being as they are, bought this hat for $15.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black
Burgundy 1940s labled Lancaster Wool

Searching the net, I found a few others of this shape.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black
Grey Tear Drop, One of 3 for $50, Doeskin Felt

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black
 Hat  early 1940s  The Los Angeles County Museum of Art

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

It's difficult to see, when it's not on the head but it's so cute! It's worn tilted to one side and down over the right eye and results in a very Noir look.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

I proudly brought mine home intending to clean and and fix (it had clearly once had a feather and such) only to find I have absolutely NOTHING to wear it with. With the exception of two steampunk dresses (already matched to steampunk hats) I actually own very little burgundy clothing. All my reds are true reds. Well, I didn't want to overhaul my wardrobe just for the one new accessory, so I decided I had better learn how to dye a hat!

DIY ~ Hat Dieing 


Internet informs me that one can use paints designed to absorb (for such things as hand-painting silk) that are heat activated. I opted for Jacquard Textile Colors. I also decided on black as I figured it would cover the best and go with the most outfits.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

Tools
  • Special Paint
  • Protective Clothing
  • Protective Surface
  • Paint Brush
  • Water
  • Blow Dryer
  • Lint brush
  • Small scissors
First, I cleaned the hat using the lint brush and clipped any stray threads. The paint seemed a little gloppy to me and it said on the bottle that it could be used for airbrushing thinned 20% with water. So I thinned it out by about that much.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

I did a test paint on the back and dried with hair dryer. It looked good and seemed to adhere well so I went to work painting starting with the bottom. I tried to rub the paint in with the brush, so it wouldn't clump or cause too much of a sheen. The paint absorbed and dried FAST.


In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

I dried the underside for a day in front of our big old room heater (the wall wart). Flipped it and then painted the crown and the brim.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

The I dried it again for several days, luckily it was cold out so we had the heater on a lot.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

During the interim, I bought better wider stiffer brush (just inexpensive ones from a craft store). Throughout the process I also kept having to thin the paint.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

Lastly, I did one final coat over the outside with the paint thinned to about 50/50.

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black

The felt became stiffer and less soft than the original hat, but the look is what I wanted. I added a few small feathers and a magnet to the inside of the feather holding tube so that I could put on a flower to match whatever dress I chose to wear it with. (If you want to know how I made those, here's the DIY.)

In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat Black
 Photo showing finished hat with a simple matched black bow magnet from the second round of hat fancies (post to come).

Conclusion:
It worked well enough, but the hat still has a slight reddish sheen in bright daylight. I didn't paint the interior of the crown, since that won't be visible and I wanted it to stay nice and soft, and not come off black on my hair!

* If I had it to do again? I'd thin the paint 50/50 from the get go and use the bigger stiffer brush. This would mean three thinner coats, but would be faster and worth the effort as I think it would keep the texture of the felt better.

Now I just need a reason to wear it.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Just a simple DIY, Fashionable Reader for this month. I try to do mending and small sewing projects regularly but copy edits really derailed me in September. So last night I got a bee in my bonnet about being mending pro-active! I've been meaning to switch out the buttons on my favorite 1940s red sweater for ages.
DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

The task was finding acceptable buttons. It is so difficult to match reds and get the right size. I like the black ones but I found myself limited in what I could pair the sweater with and I wanted to wear it with more outfits. You know me, I like to match everything ~ very old fashioned. So I needed to loose the black to open up creams and whites.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look
$12 for 7

I hunted all over for the right buttons ~ something vintage, not the chintzy modern plastic buttons one finds at supply stores. Eventually, I found what I needed in Petaluma. It's hours away from me, this small farming town, but it has a crazy drag of antique stores one of which is a consortium that hosts an antique button specialist. Called Summer Cottage Antiques it hasn't the best clothing selection, and it's a bit spendy, but when it specializes, it really specializes. And the buttons! Oh the buttons. Occasionally I pilgrimage there just for buttons. If you don't have a source like this, I suggest visiting the dealers room of a local costumer, maker, or steampunk convention. Sometimes, if you are lucky, a button person turns up. And sometimes you don't have to buy a pass just to shop. There are online resource as well. I tend not to use these, as I like to handle the buttons in person before I purchase. I know, frisky of me.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I hate hate hate widening button holes, but I don't mind narrowing them, so I always shop for buttons that are as much the same size as the original as possible, and if not, then slightly smaller. These turned out to be slightly smaller, so I did have to go over and close down all the holes, but I love the finished effect.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Of course, now I'm confined to gold jewelry with this sweater, but I find that less restrictive than the black.

So there you have it, not much of a project for this month, but I also repaired this hat, which needed TLC:

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Because I want to wear it for my Sword & Laser video interview next week. Squee! More on that outfit later. Now that I have done all the research on what to wear on film I feel much better equip to chose this time around, I shan't keep you in suspense long, I promise.

I hope you all have a lovely and fashionable weekend!

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

I don't have a photo of me wearing the new version, but here's the old one... 

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Some new hats have come into my life recently, Fashionable Reader. They are very silly.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
No, not quite that silly.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
This one is hard to see when it's not on but it's one of those follies (or fancies) that is on a band, has net, a silly bow, and black feathers. I look forward to wearing it soon with one of my black and white outfits. It looks a little bit like this when it is on:

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

I'm strangely excited about it. It may come to ComicCon with me.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Here's one that started out black and white but I changed the dots to red, I thought it would be more useful that way. It's very spiky and outrageous. Both of these were gifts from my Mum, I believe she found them at Ross.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

For this one, the tiny hat portion was a gift and the decorating and feather poof were my own additions. It has an almost Renaissance noblewoman feel to it. I think it's going to become one of my steampunk hats, it will travel better than the tiny top hats and so be more useful for distance conventions.

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Speaking of tiny, this one is about two inches wide. It's on a little hair clip and was made for me as a gift from my grade school art teacher. (She is one of the teachers I thank in my forward to the first Finishing School book.) I love it because, apart for the emotional connection, it really will pack well. These days, everything is about packing. Here is one about the same size:

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies





And here are a few other silly hats, just because . . .

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
 1943
Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies
 1949
Gail Carriger's New Hats and Follies

Happy four day work-week to all the US readers. I hope you had lovely weekends.



Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

 

Steampunk DIY Pocket Belt

My latest DIY project is making a steampunk pocket belt from an old pair of cargo pants.

A while ago I made this steampunk belt from an old pair of shorts.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

I wanted something nice to wear over my longer more formal dresses that I could hang gadgets off and put passes and money inside. Portable pockets, if you will. I also wanted it to be relatively easy to make. Here is an example of what it looks like on an outfit.


How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Well a dear friend of mine noticed the belt and when a favorite pair of cargo pants lost a battle with a leaky pen, she brought them to me to make over into a similar belt. This time, I remembered to chronicle the project.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

The original pants, front and back. (See the pen leak on the back left pocket?) The material on these trousers was a little thin. I suggest something relatively thick, if you can find it ~ khaki or canvas or corduroy. Thrift shop for ones that are well made with reinforced pockets and a sturdy waistband. Ones that already have metal buttons are a bonus. You definitely want some of the pockets to snap or button properly, for security.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Using pinking sheers (just to be on the safe side) I cut the pants off above the knee, merely to eliminate excess material. I didn't want the belt to hang too low, aesthetically I think it works better to keep to upper level pockets only.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Still using the pinks, I then cut around the pockets I wanted to keep, leaving exiting seams (if possible) and at least a half inch allowance (if possible). I find that cutting out the zipper and at points near the waistband I lost seam allowance. That's OK you can cover rough bits with trim or other decoration later. Take care to keep the waistband completely in tact when removing the zipper.

I feel asymmetrical looks better (and less like the belt started life as cargo shorts). Thus I suggest an uneven number of pockets one side versus the other. In this case, because of the pen leak, we had one pocket on one side and three on the other. (If you have leftover pockets keep them for future projects. They make great additions to the inside of jackets for extra holding power.)

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Fold over the edge and pin down. Again don't worry if there isn't enough in places. That can be fixed later.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Sew down the seam. (You can do the whole thing by hand if you prefer.) Then go over it and do a binder or whip stitch at those points (like corners) where the sewing machine was no good.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Then comes the fun part ~ decorate! (I handed the brown ones off to my friend and she hasn't had the time to finish the project yet, so we are back to the original belt as an example.)

I stitched a complementary color trim all around the edge by hand. I recommend keeping it in the same color family, so the belt goes with as many different outfits as possible. (I have one belt for browns and one for blacks.) So far as the buttons are concerned, I suggest going from larger to smaller in an angle up the seams (careful not to sew down any pockets). It's all personal preference, I just like the way this looks. Plus you want the most weight at the hem, so the belt hangs nicely. I use both vintage and new buttons, and beading spacers from a craft store as I get smaller. This belts also includes some octopus buttons and necklace pieces, an old broach, a key, and a pin. (Odd earrings can also find a new home.) Hanging off the waistband (in the space left by removal of the rear section of the shorts) I added some metal rings, these are from old curtain hangers. I use strong 100% nylon thread for my decoration, and a lot of it, especially on the rings from which I hang heavy pouches or gadgets using beaners.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger

Here's another example of the button decorative technique. Note I've also uses spoons and old-fashioned copper paperclips on the outfit.

That's the great thing about steampunk you can find beauty in the oddest household items.

Anyway, there it is. I hope some of you will try your own belt and have a fun time with it.

~ Gail Carriger

More steampunk fashion here.

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger
Belt purse, 1870 via shewhoworshipscarlin tumblr

How to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger
Traveling reticule fashion plate in Godey’s Magazine, 1859.

Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress

So I bought this dress for about $5 from the Bon Marche thrift store in Sonoma. I never wore it, there was just something slightly too 80's about it. But I still loved the color and brocade fabric, so I decided to try to make it into a shirt.

And with some cutting and snipping and a little hemming, voila.


I added small vintage buttons to sleeve and front waist.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress

Here's some good articles on DIY from thrift store items. And a similar project on New Dress a Day. I haven't worn this shirt yet, I'll let you know when I do.

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress

And here's one for Alexia . . .

DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress
1885 via The Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Gail Carriger discusses her Year in Outfits! Vintage and Retro StyleSteampunk Costume Loves by Gail CarrigerDIY ~ Steampunk Holster for Tiliting Folding Parasol by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger Denver in Steampunk AutumnDIY ~ More Hat Decorations with Gail Carriger In Which Gail Carriger Dies a Hat BlackDIY with Gail Carriger ~ Switching buttons to get a more vinatge look Gail Carriger's New Hats and FolliesHow to Make a Steampunk Pocket Belt from Old Cargo Shorts, DIY with Gail Carriger DIY with Gail Carriger ~ Making a Blue Shirt from a Blue Dress

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