• Category Archives Clothing
  • Project Redo: Black Watch Officer’s Uniform Pith Helmet

    So originally I’d made this Pith Helmet for my Black Watch outfit:

    On reflection, while it was historically fairly accurate…it didn’t actually fit me well. I’d sort of given up on finding one that fit (I have a big head!) until The Artist Wife ordered one for a project for her cousin. The one she ordered fit me GREAT! So I ordered another from the same supplier…and it fit “ok.” I finally removed the inner liner and restrung the string it used to give me a better fit. I also discovered that the naugahide liner was miscut, and didn’t fit well, so I cut a slot in a couple of places in the liner to have it fit better. Much more comfortable now!

    The Artist Wife also offered to vent the Helmet, so I couldn’t turn that down. So behold, the Vented Pith Helmet! (Click the slideshow to advance)


  • New Project: Black Watch Officer’s Uniform Pith Helmet

    I’m working on a new Steampunk outfit, but I’m not going to reveal the Steampunk elements yet!

    The outfit is a Victorian Black Watch Officer’s Uniform, the desert (Africa) version:

    British Victorian Era South Africa campaign Scottish Regiment Uniform

    The image is a Argyll & Sutherland Regiment and I’m doing Black Watch, but it’s mostly the same. There are a number of cool parts of this uniform: the khaki colors were originally issued white, that was either mud or tea dyed by the troops. Apparently the Boer guerrillas in Africa had a great time picking off the British Officer’s in their nice white uniforms, so the troops used “field expedient” methods to make themselves less of a target.

    My first step has been creating the pith helmet. I started with an “Imperial” style British Pith Helmet. These are the taller ones that were more common earlier in the 19th Century. Later on the flatter wider “Wolseley” Pith Helmets became more common. The Black Watch had a couple of special uniform elements that were unique (or semi-unique) to their uniforms: first was they wore a Black Watch tartan patch under the badge on the side of the helmet, and second they had the right to wear a red feather “hackle” on their helmets. This is a period example from the Canadian precursor to the Black Watch, of the later part of the 19th Century:

    Wolseley-style 5th Royal Canadian Highlanders

    I later found a recreation of the exact helmet I wanted: the 42nd Black Watch Pith Helmet, with tartan patch, helmet badge, and red hackle:

    Reproduction Black Watch Pith Helmet

    I got the Pith Helmet from Gentleman’s Emporium and the badge and hackle from ebay. A friend had some extra Black Watch fabric from when they were in the SCA, so that became the patch. So here is my version, ready to be attached!

     photo 1970702_10202831911737356_755132670_n_zps46d2e52d.jpg

    An interesting note is that this is before the commonplace pin-and-clamp on the back of pins and badges now…they used a seperate cotter pin to hold the badge on, through holes in the puggaree (the wrapping around the helmet). I may use those if the Artist Wife helps with the cutting/pinning, or I may just glue the whole setup on.


  • Phoenix Comiccon: Steampunk outfit, v1.1

    I’m really pleased with how my Steampunk stuff is progressing!

    Last weekend was Phoenix Comiccon…and while it wasn’t the 60,000 attendees that San Diego Comiccon is, it was a respectable 25,000!

    The major improvement to my outfit was my hat), but I also updated the buttons on my vest and coat with handmade ones by a local artist. I added a number of forums, including steampunk weapons and clothing, and had a great time running into quite a number of friends. I avoided the SCA booth and the glares I received from it.

    Me and Mouse
    Xoff and the gorgeous Mouse! (and a nice side view of the hat!)
    Me, Susan, and Bea
    Another Con pic, you can see the brass buttons on vest (with Lady Bea and The Artist Wife)
    Brass button closeup
    Closeup of the new brass buttons

    I saw a lot of great outfits and have a tons of ideas…stay tuned!


  • Steampunk Hat: v1.0!

    My regular steampunk attire hat is just a Top Hat from Wild West Mercantile (go buy from them, they are an awesome company!), but it lacked any steampunk elements…

    I originally had an idea to add a fan (I live in the desert, after all) but it hasn’t worked out quite right yet.

    First, I cut holes in the sides…

    IMG_20120511_185642, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

    …and cut, punched, and dyed a leather “gasket” to go around it, held in place with decorative brass bolts from Ace (btw, brass bolts are EXPENSIVE! Around $0.40 each!):

    Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

    Then I found a guy on ebay who sells bronze/brass “insect screen” for a great price (link to his ebay store), and bought some 6″x6″ pieces (on sale for $1.99 each!):

    Viola!
    Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

    For the top, I’d originally wanted to do a fan (now relegated to v2.0), so I’d cut a hole that fit a 40mm fan. I decided that the top needed more than just the wire screen like I did on the side (to protect the top of my head from the sun) and found some nifty decorative screen at Home Depot, and duplicated the same leather gasket and brass bolts look:

    Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

    Now, the completed hat!
    Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
    I’m really pleased with the overall look, and its much more steampunk than before, just in time for Phoenix ComicCon this weekend!

    There is no way I could have done this without regular input from The Artist Wife, from making templates to helping me mark the right spot for the holes. Thanks, Babe!

    (Edit: I realized some of my picture links were broken…fixed!)


  • Darkcon 2012: Steampunk outfits, v1.0!

    The Artist Wife and I went to Darkcon this last weekend, and wore v1.0 of our Steampunk outfits. My sole “steampunk” bit was my goggles, but I’ve got lots of other things planned…buttons from my friend Epaul Fisher are in process, I got a couple of nice walking sticks from a dear friend to just round out the Victorian Ensemble, and a few other things.

    Nicely, we both got lots of requests for pictures, which is a sure sign you’re doing things right! I also got lots of comments on my goggles, and I have a few changes to make (mostly gluing the loupes in place so they don’t move).

    The Artist Wife also got lots of compliments on our watch chains (her Etsy Store – BUY THEM!) and sold one to a passerby. 🙂


  • Pocket Watch Chains

    For Christmas, a friend got me a nifty little pocketwatch from Amazon. The chain it came with was designed for attached to a belt instead of a waistcoat (apparently that’s more common…)

    The Artist Wife quickly added various watch chains for me to wear. Here is the watch with a “double Albert” chain (double meaning it uses both pockets and Albert after Queen Victoria’s husband.)

    Double Albert brass watch with chain, Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

    The Artist Wife also made me single Albert chains in both silver and brass:
    Single Albert silver watch chainSingle Albert silver watch chain

    …and double Alberts:
    Double Albert brass watch chainDouble Albert silver watch chain

    So I’m pretty darned set chain-wise!

    (Note: in looking at the pics, I’m wearing the button pin too high, its supposed to be even with the button at the top of the pockets. I know better now!)


  • Goggles finished, and I found a top hat!

    Suddenly even more eager to finish up the goggles project, I stopped at Tandy Leather and picked up a package of 1/2″ saddle strap, which is a nice thick but flexible latigo leather in a nice dark red color. Adding a brass buckle and brass smash rivets brought the total to less than $10!

    The Arist Wife came up with a great suggestion to replace the ugly ball chain nose piece with some brass compression fittings she had bought for jewelry, and I added the double 5x loupe set I bought to fit using a 90 degree grease zerk which worked perfect!

    Then today we went to Wild West Mercantile, a Old (and Modern) West store thats got a great online presence (and good prices!) as well as a huge local storefront!

    I found the perfect Top Hat with just the “John Bull” style I wanted for very reasonable ($35).

    Without further ado, the completed project: goggles and top hat, for about $55 total! Vivat!

    (Click any link for a larger view)
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