by: Linda Lindsey
Thanks for having me on your blog. I've been sewing for 33 years and costuming for 21. Most of that 21 years was with the Society for Creative Anachronism making Medieval and Renaissance historical clothing. A couple of years ago, I heard about Steampunk but thought that the last thing I needed was another sewing hobby. Then about a year ago, a friend of mine mentioned that she wished she had a Circus Steampunk skirt. I couldn't resist the challenge and made it for her. And I was hooked.
Most people discover Steampunk by reading something like Cherie Priest's novel, "Boneshaker". They get hooked on the cool alternate history and then put together a costume or two. I got hooked on the cool costumes, then read a few books, and am now writing a Steampunk novel. I'm just backwards that way.
After making a costume for myself and shopping around for bits and bobs, I realized that there were two unoccupied niches in the market. There were no women's Steampunk hats, only top hats or mini top hats, and there were no carpet bags, a Victorian necessity. The other thing that bothered me was that everything seemed to be in shades of brown, like a sepia photograph, even though Victorian loved bright colors. So, I started my Etsy shop with a few colorful Victorian hats, added some slightly steamier ones, then added my line of Steampunk carpet bags. Every once in a while I'll put up a skirt or something else that I just had to try and make.
One of the things I picture when I think of Victorians is the carpet bag. When I started looking for one, there were very few available, decent looking, or affordable. So, when I happened to find a pattern and a supplier for the hardware, I went to town.
When I first started searching for Steampunk items, all the hats I could find were top hats or mini top hats and in varying shades of brown. I love color, just like the Victorians did, and thought there might be others out there who would like Victorian lady's hats in a variety of colors.
I usually make my hats out of remnants, but even then, there is always enough fabric left over to make a matching reticule.