• Tag Archives steampunk
  • Steampunk Hat: v1.0!

    Posted on by Xoff

    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!):

    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!)

  • Review: Wild West Mercantile

    In looking for Victorian/Steampunk clothes, I was really pleased to see the selection available on the Internet. As the Old West Era overlaps so closely with the Victorian, a lot of Old West places appear to have branched out to serve the Steampunk community as well.

    When I asked various friends who do Old West recreation, they all recommended Wild West Mercantile as a great outfitter, and while they happen to have a great online presence, they are local here in Phoenix (well, Chandler) I decided to give them a shot. The Artistic Wife and I happened to be down in that neck of the woods, and a friend (and possibly future blogger on this site) gleefully tagged along on the expedition.

    The shop is a couple of medium-sized clothing stores stuck together, with one half specializing in the Old West clothing (mostly mens, but a decent little women’s section) and the other half handling the modern Western clothing. I never really bothered to step foot in the modern section, to be honest. I haven’t owned cowboy boots since I was 4, and I don’t plan to start (unless its for recreation, which is different to me.)

    The Artistic Wife and friend bounded off to the women’s section, and I headed for the hats. First I needed a top hat (you’ll see that elsewhere on the site, in the goggles post).

    The staff was very nice, and took the fact that we were interested in Steampunk/Victorian (as opposed to Old West) completely in stride. The first hat they showed me was exactly what a I wanted — the “John Bull” style, which is not as tall as a full top hat, and has a slightly upturned brim (which they said was more popular amongst the Steampunk crowd). The largest they had (an “XL”) fit my freakishly large head (I wear a 7 3/4″ hat size) easily, and the hat was $35! Sold!

    I tried on various vests and shirts, finding a vest the Artistic Wife and friend liked but no shirts in my size. I looked at frock coats, but not a lot, as our time was up. The Artistic Wife had found two entire outfits, including a blouse, a saddle skirt (pants that look like a skirt for horseback and later bicycle riding), and a beautiful coat. We culled that down to about $400 (the coat was $200, but it’ll go with anything else she wants to do).

    The entire time, the staff was great — helpful but not pushy, and stayed out of the way processing what looked like a mound of web orders.

    A few weeks later, I got an email from Wild West about a 20% everything sale, so I went back by myself to see if they had any shirts in stock and look at coats. This is where their Internet site was really useful — I found a frock coat that fit at a great price (really good with 20% off!) and called the Artistic Wife (strangely, the same friend was over) and had them look up the coat on the website. With the “looks good!” from the Wife I started a pile.

    A very friendly salesperson answer my questions about wing tip shirts (they were still out of stock) with an explanation that the factory was having a few issues, and offered to order me one in the size I wanted. She found a similarly cut shirt to try on and she suggested that she also order a shirt the size up from what I wanted, just to cover the bases. She also explained that such orders required nothing down — they’d call me when they were in (about 6 weeks) and I could take the one I wanted or not, no special charges! Anything I didn’t want, they’d just put on the shelf. On top of that, because I’d ordered when the sale was on, I’d still get 20% off the shirt *six weeks after the sale*! WOW!

    I rounded out my trip with a pair of dress slacks (the “over the stomach” style means that they’re *huge* and need to be tailored about 8 inches off the legs!) and dress suspenders.

    Considering ordering from Wild West Mercantile online or in the store. Do so! I wish regularly clothing stores were this great!

    I’ll definitely be back!

  • 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)

  • Goggles arrived…and painted!

    The goggles I ordered from arrived!

    For modding to steampunk, they are very nice…the cups are shaped heavy plastic held together at the bridge by a ball chain (so the nose bridge width is adjustable) with loops for elastic to hold them to your head. The sides feature a small removable plastic bit to provide ventilation.

    A closeup of the eyecup, disassembled and ready for painting. The open cross-shaped piece is where the ventilation cover was removed:

    They come with plastic clear lenses that protect the thick tinted glass lenses, so that works well…but be warned the clear plastic ones appear to scratch pretty easily! The cups unscrew so you can remove the tinted glass and for ease of painting.

    A few bits of masking tape to tape off the threads of the eyecups (just to be sure) and I was ready to paint:

    I used Ace Hardware brand Metallic Spraypaint in the Brass color. Its a great color and I’m pleased with the results!

    Still To Do is replace the elastic band with leather and figure out what to replace the ball chain bridge piece with!