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Gail Carriger Steampunk Cream Brocade and Lace At Gaslight Gathering


For Saturday night's ball I wore my favorite cream outfit. This one doesn't transport easily so I rarely wear it away from home. I'm working on a travel modified version, you'll likely see me in that next year at Steampunk World's Fair.

Gail Carriger Steampunk Cream Brocade and Lace At Gaslight Gathering

This corset had to be made over because I used to use it for waist training and, frankly, I've given up on that malarkey. In other words, it was too small. Because Autumn knew I'd be using it for steampunk in the future she improvised a second busk which allowed her to widen it at the front and then she took a little out of the bust (rack reduction, you know?) and wha la! I'm sorry the picture is so bad. I promise to have better in future.

Gail Carriger Steampunk Cream Brocade and Lace At Gaslight Gathering

From the top down...
  1. Vintage 1950s lace applique headband, similar $17
  2. Matched pearl necklace and earring set, similar $30 
  3. Shrug, cotton and lace from Newport News years ago, similar knitted multiple colors $17 or lace and pearl small jacket $19
  4. Lace cami, similar $18
  5. Double breasted corset, variation on Dark Garden's Victorian
  6. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  7. Brocade skirt, thrifted wedding dress modified by me with a crochet coverlet as trim, similar $80

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


Saturday of Gaslight Gathering I wore my spoons corset. Because it was warm I didn't use the usually undergarments. And because I had travels I wore it with layered skirts instead of my usually floof.

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

The above from Jerry was the best picture to capture the complete outfit.

From top to bottom:
  1. Straw doll hat from Michaels that I decorate with a hot glue gun.
  2. Octopus applique necklace with matched earring, gift from a reader. 
  3. Obligatory pen necklace.
  4. Dark Garden Sweetheart Victorian corset that I took to with some serious button and spoons modding. 
  5. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  6. Parasol holster, instructions on how to make from a thrifted pair of cargo pants here
  7. Long fish tail maxi skirt, thrifted (similar $20)
  8. Rock Republic layered mini-skirt from Nordstrom Rack (similar $30)
  9. Nomad flats by Mia (discontinued) one pair in 6.5 or you can search etsy, $30

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

I ran into my very first Prudence cosplay from the lovely Debbie!

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

And, the Tunstells tracked me down! I do so adore seeing my characters come to life!

Gail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger Red & Black Steampunk Pinup at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


On the Friday night of Gaslight Gathering I pulled out all the stops. This is the first custom corset I ever ordered from Dark Garden, referred to as the Class 5.

Gail Carriger Red & Black Steampunk Pinup at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

Right! So from the top down I am wearing...
  1. A buckrum tiny top hat that I ordered wholesale with a group of friends back in the day, and modded. Similar for $14.
  2. Pen nib earrings. ($12 on etsy)
  3. Colorstay lipstick in Covergirl 507 Ever Red $8 
  4. Custom choker & matched bracers (I'll talk about a bit more along with the corset)
  5. Teacup, saucer, teapot necklace. (wide range available from $8-$30)
  6. Velvet shrug, thrifted. (Similar $28, you can add ruffle if you like)
  7. Corset, Dark Garden custom, similar to the Alexandra (more to come) 
  8. Corset busk covers from Ruby Blackbird (discontinued)
  9. Plain black thin vintage gloves (similar)
  10. Trumpet skirt, red, $30
  11. Button boots from Miz Mooz (similar $200)
  12. Black retro purse (similar $80)

The Corset


My Class 5 is a variation on Dark Garden's Baroque, which they no longer offer, but the Alexandra is very similar. You can tell it's an older style for DG as it's more long and lean and less hourglass. Autumn has taken the store more into the deep curve, shall we say, over the years. It has custom red stamped leather applique which match the bracers and the choker.

Gail Carriger Red & Black Steampunk Pinup at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


I used to work for Oberon Design and custom leather company at the same time as I was working for Dark Garden, this corset is an ode to that part of my life. 20 years ago now! I also have a matched belt and cuff. Because I was one of their managers, both companies made a lot of exceptions for me at the time. These days Oberon doesn't really do much in the clothing arena. Dark Garden, however, is usually happy to do as much custom as you like, couture is their specialty.

Gail Carriger Red & Black Steampunk Pinup at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


On the first day of Gaslight Gathering last weekend (which, for me, was Friday) I wore my new grey outfit. This one is a work in progress.

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

The Corset is from Dark Garden, it's one of their Alyscia line. This is one of my favorite patterns that Dark Garden does, and you'll see me in a different colored Alyscia later on at the convention. The busk covers are from Ruby Blackbird.

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego
By Alex WHite

The top is an old Max Studio black chiffon number (similar $22), the hat is here for $15 and highly recommended, because of the material it travels beautifully and it has a nice strong clip (rather than comb) which means it stays in my hair. (Most of my tiny top hats have combs from when my hair was long, and they really do not work well with sort hair. Gonna have to over-make them.)

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego


The skirt is Rainy Night in London Victorian Gothic Ruffle Steampunk Vintage Style and runs about $60. It is super LONG and high wasted. Like if you are in the 6" arena this skirt could still fit you. It also comes in black, and in black or red brocade. If you are shorter than my 5'6" tho, it'll be too long and you'll have to remove the bottom ruffle.

It's a bit of a darker grey than I like for this corset so right now I've plans to mod it with lighter grey and black trim at the hem and on the ruffles, to make them stand out and to go better with the corset.

Wearing this outfit I ran into Alexia!

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

That's a darn near perfect replica of the second manga cover.

Gail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San Diego

I'm generally moving my steampunk outfits into the hour-glass aesthetic (while I can still carry it off), mostly because pencil and fish-tail skirts are easier to pack than the full fluffy ones and require less ironing after a flight!

More outfits to come!

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

You can visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.
Product links on this blog are usually to Amazon using my associate code. At no additional cost to you this means I gets a slight kick back if you make a purchase. Thank you! This allows me to continue to produce this blog without sponsors.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger


I can't remember when I first heard about the Swiss Waist, Fashionable Reader.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
From my personal collection
Popular in the 1860s this was a boned belt, with at least one peak (either up or down). It usually laced like a corset, only up the front, sometimes is was exactly corset-like with a busk up the front and laces up the back. The Swiss Waist was worn in addition to the foundation corset. It is, so far as I can determine historically, the only corset-like garment that was worn on the outside of a dress.

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Daguerreotype from my personal collection
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1860s  The Victoria & Albert Museum Swiss Waist; my own version from Dark Garden

Here is a retrospective on the idea of the Swiss Waist. They aren't necessarily exactly this article of clothing, but they all suggest the peaks that I associate with this garment.


Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1829  Kerry Taylor Auctions
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1872 Godeys Sept 1872 Dicky
Described as: "Overwaist of blue silk, trimmed with black lace; it is to be worn over a black silk dress, and is very dressy and pretty."

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
Tea Gown  1875-1880  The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
[stage costume] Leonora of Mantua (1873), Valentine Cameron Prinsep via British Paintings tumblr

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1880 Striped Princess Bodice

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1889 Evening Dress The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1890-1895  The Goldstein Museum of Design; Liberty & Co. dress, 1893-94  From the Victoria & Albert Museum

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1895 Golf Ensemble   The Kyoto Costume Institute

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1896-1899; 1900 Ball Gown  Driscoll both The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900 Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1900s Gustave Beer, Antique Dress

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1901 Ball Gown  Jeanne Paquin,  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 1900s  theoryphotoart tumblr; on our merry way tumblr vintage-impressions- Portrait, ca. 1906

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1906-1908 Evening Dress  Jean-Philippe Worth, The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1940s Dress I. Magnin, Kerry Taylor Auctions

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
v-isfor-vintage tumblr 1950s style sass

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage blue

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s  Timeless Vixen Vintage

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
1950s Carrier airconditioning advertisement. via theniftyfifties tumblr
And now for the modern age...

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
 2013 Aigner Fall 2013 collection via nymag.com; 2013 Ralph LaurenSpring-2103

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Nidhi Sunil in Jimmy Choo Over The Knee Boots. Vogue India, 10.2013 via Booted Up

Belts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger
2013 Willow cutout waist belt at theOutnet.com

(A quick note, I had a whole piece prepped for today on wide belts and why they do and don't work on us curvy ladies, but blogspot ate it. I was particularly proud of it, but one keystroke and it's gone, no recovery. Note to self, do not use keyboard shortcuts in blogger! Argh. Anyway, I am hugely overworked theses days and have neither the time nor inclination to rewrite it. So we skip wide belts entirely, sorry....)

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

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

My dearest Fashionable Readers, I'm working on a new steampunk outfit (the direct result of finding a matched over-skirt to one of my favorite corsets at a thrift store last month).

That's what's On The Dummy right now.

Unfortunately, the only shirt I have that goes with this corset is white. White doesn't work with the skirts.

So I decided I would try tea dyeing for the first time. I have dyed before, but not with tea. Why not? It is, after all my favorite beverage!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I had some old American Twinings lying around that I knew I would never drink so, the adventure was afoot!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In addition to the shirt, I added a pair of white gloves and a garter belt, both of which I felt might get more use if they were cream instead of white. I washed them all in clear water.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

"Steam rises from a cup of tea
and we are wrapped in history,
inhaling ancient times and lands,
comfort of ages in our hands."
~ Faith Greenbowl
In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I did have to forcibly stop my father from dipping a hopeful mug into the tea bath! Since there was a cup of salt in as well, it would not have been a pleasant experience. His comment was, "What a waste." There is some truth to that.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

About 10 minutes in I began to see some discoloration and staining in the arm pits of the shirt and the fingertips of the gloves but proceeded willfully along. (The thing about salt is that it's a fixer, including the salt produced by your own body.) I simmered in the tea for about 30 minutes, stirring regularly. Nice to have the house smell like tea instead of dye chemicals for once!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

Rinse and result! Sorry the photo isn't great, turns out I was dying the fabric the same color as my floor! The shirt (muslin) was somewhat stained under arms and in a few creases on the torso, the gloves (cotton) were badly and unattractively stained (chucked em), but the garter (polyester) came out beautifully.  I'm so used to polyester bring the difficult one!

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

All in all I liked the color: a little more rose than a standard cream. And how did it work with the outfit? You be the judge.

In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the DummyIn Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

I'll do more blogging on this outfit once it comes completely together and gets more steampunk. I have plenty of time. I'm thinking its maiden voyage will be at TeslaCon this November.
Gail Carriger Steampunk Cream Brocade and Lace At Gaslight GatheringGail Carriger Spoons Steampink Black Burgundy at Gaslight Gathering in San DiegoGail Carriger Red & Black Steampunk Pinup at Gaslight Gathering in San DiegoGail Carriger Black & Grey Steampunk at Gaslight Gathering in San DiegoOld Corsets and a New Rack with Gail Carriger ~ Steampunk, Modification, Breast ReductionBelts ~ It's What's for Your Waist - Part 4 Swiss Waist by Gail Carriger Gail Carriger Teal in Santa Clara ~ Nova Albion Steampunk Convention Outfit Day 1, 2013In Which Gail Carriger Dyes with Tea & What's On the Dummy

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