Steampunk Faux Leather Arm Bracer

This should have been a snap to make but I ran into a few snags. Maybe by sharing them, others won’t make the same mistakes I did.

This is part of my series on the Steampunk outfits I am making for Halloween for my boyfriend and me.

The first thing I did was measure around Max’s wrist and then the widest part of his forearm a little below the elbow. I marked each spot on his arm with a Sharpie. He is such a trooper. He lets me do whatever and just rolls with it. I measured between those two marks to get the length.

I then drew it out on butcher paper with a ruler. I can’t remember the exact measurements but the top measurement was something like 11 1/2 inches and the wrist was 9ish inches. The length was something close to 12 origninally because I had added a point. Max has long arms, probably because he is 6’2″ tall.

The first problem I ran into was the leather piece I had was only 9 inches wide by 24 inches. I had to add sides to it. I added a quarter inch to each side for seam allowance.

pattern

See the points at the bottom sides, how thin they are? That did not not translate well with faux leather. It wanted to bend upwards. I tried top-stitching to make it lie down but it really didn’t work.

Failed pointy thingy

When I tried it on Max’s arm, the point was just too floppy so I solved it by chopping it off. First, I tried sewing another piece of faux leather underneath but my sewing maching complained loudly and it wanted to bunch up so I took the other piece off.

Solved problem by cutting point off

I really really really didn’t like the orangish tint to this faux leather and racked my brain to think of how I could darken it without making it dull or flakey. Max suggested shoe polish and handed me some that he had. I rubbed it in circles to make it look old. It was tacky at first but I let it sit awhile and the tackiness went away. Whew! I didn’t take pictures because I came down with something and felt like I rolled down a rocky hill and just forgot.

Next, I needed buckles. I had a belt that I was just going to cut into pieces and add buckles and holes. I still felt icky so I sent Max out to get buckles. He went to three different craft stores and a thrift store and found nothing. He returned with three belts that he said he found at Walmart on sale for $9 each. I could have bought a pair bracers on Amazon for $16. After hyperventilating over the cost, I calmed down and decided that I would just use the parts that I cut off of each belt on another future project which would be worth the cost.

I measured each belt and then cut them to size. Max put rivets in them to connect them to the bracer.

Finished Bracer

It was a booger but it turned out okay.

Upcycling a Vest to Make it Steampunk (Edited)

Edited: I added some details. Read at the bottom of the page.

I had so many plans for this vest but, like with a lot of my bright ideas, I had to change some of my ideas and adapt the design. Originally, I wanted to add lots of faux leather to it but I discovered a few problems with that. I will explain below in the steps.

Originally, I was going to make shoulder armor for Max, my boyfriend, for his Steampunk outfit but my attempt at making it was a big fat fail. Some of my ideas just don’t pan out and that is alright because I just think up other ideas. I thought that I could just go to Spirit Halloween and find some shoulder armor. I mean, there had to be a costume from Star Wars or some medieval knight costume that came with shoulder armor, right? WRONG! There was nothing. That was disappointing so I thought we could go and check at the thrift store. They didn’t have anything either so I found this vest and thought, “Oooh! I’ll add faux leather to the shoulders and around all the button holes and give it faux leather pockets and change out those plastic buttons for metal ones.’

Before

Just ignore the crazy, out of control beard.

It was a little snug through the back for him so I added a strip in the back. You would think that would be pretty straight forward but NOPE! I already knew the satin lining material was going to be a problem and there was no way I was going to cut it and have to try to deal with the slippery fabric so I sewed two lines and then cut in the middle of it to keep it all in place.

Sew to lines

I measured out two pieces of the fabric I wanted. I have to say that I love the fabric. It had tarot cards and little skeletons all over it. Super cool! I sewed the two pieces together, right sides facing each other and left a gap in the side to turn it inside out. I sewed it in and top stitched over it.

Added strip

Then came the curse inducing part of the project. I cut out two pieces of faux leather to make the pockets and pinned them on. I carefully sewed around them but I there was no amount of careful that kept the satin lining from sliding around so it bunched. I had to cut the lining around the pocket to make the vest hang correctly. Womp Womp Womp! I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture of how awful the inside of the vest looks. I was upset about it but I kept reminding myself that it is only a Halloween costume so I shouldn’t get too upset.

Faux leather pockets

I was going to add faux leather shoulder decorations and some patches of leather but I just didn’t want to deal with the liner. I added a faux leather patch. I sewed around the leather I cut out and then glued it onto the vest. Then just added gears and called it good. Oh, I changed out the buttons.

Back of vest
Front of vest
Finished Vest

He looks thrilled, doesn’t he? I feel like it still needs something. I’ll probably agonize over it until my brain thinks of something. Maybe I will scroll through Pinterest to get more ideas.

I added some leather patches and a strip for loops. I had Max add the rivets. I like it a lot more now.

How to make Steampunk Spats

This is my fourth post on my Steampunk series.

After searching the internet for a pattern for spats and not finding anything I liked, I decided to make my own pattern. There was one pattern on etsy but there was no way I was going to spend $10.00 for something I had to print out myself. Call me cheap because I am. McCalls had a pattern but they were too clunky looking for my taste. Plus, I have HUGE calves, I have problem finding tall boots that will go around my calves so a pattern would probably be the same. I’m a big girl but, even when I was slim, my calves were big. My legs, thighs and calves have always been thick, even when I weighed 100 pounds. I like them the way they are but boot and pattern companies do not make boots that fit well.

Enough of my little rant! Let’s get to how I made these.

Step 1. Take the boot you want to cover and trace it onto butcher paper or any paper that is large enough to use. I am not leaving room for seam allowances because I am going to add a back part to the pattern and add a strip with eyelets or grommets enable to lace up the boots. You might want to add about a quarter inch to the top for seam allowance. I kind of wanted some of the boot to show so I did not add this.

Boot on butcher paper

Step 2. Add a strip that is wider at the bottom and tapers to about an inch on top. If you look at a boot, it is wider at the back of the heel and then tapers up. You need to add this into the pattern. It will look something like the photo below. I thought about scanning the pattern I cut out but everyone’s boots and sizes will be different so it wouldn’t be that helpful.

Step 3. Draw an arched shape like in the picture below and cut out the toe and the heel.

Step 4. Choose your fabric and pin the paper pattern to it and cut it out. Cut 8 of the boot shape pattern. 4 for the outside and for for the lining. Cut 4 of the tapered piece on the fold, 2 for the outside and two for the liner. You will notice that I wrote half that number on my pattern because I was using a thick denim fabric and wasn’t going to line the inside. I thought I wanted to fringe the edges but ended up not doing that. If you are using faux leather or a thicker fabric that won’t fray, you do not have to line it. Every other fabric needs lined.

Step 5. Place right sides together of the boot shape and the strip and pin it and then sew it together. I always iron my seams after I sew them. Add the other side of the bootshape and sew to the other side of the boot shape to the strip.

Step 6. Do the same for the liner and sew the liner to the outside with right sides together. Leave a gap big enough to turn inside out somewhere along the front. You can top stitch it later or just close it up when you add the grommet strip if you want to add it. You can add button holes on each side too but that would be a lot of work.

Repeat step 5 and 6 for the other spat.

Step 7. Add the grommet strip to each side and top stitch over the top to keep it down and give it a nice look.

Vroom Vroom

I chose a faux leather strip that I bought at a craft store for way too much. It cost $10.99 a yard. I didn’t buy enough at first so I went back and it was on sale for half off so I bought extra just because. There are less expensive strips on Amazon and other craft stores. I just wanted leather to look more Steampunkish. I’m sure that isn’t really a word but let’s roll with it.

Elastic at bottom

Step 8. Add elastic at the bottom. Measure across the bottom of your boot or shoe and add a half inch for seam allowance.

This is really the finished product. All you have to do it add laces but I decided to add an iron-on dragon. I used my Cricut to cut it out. I usually draw and design my own images or use a free image from the public domain or other places but this one I purchased. It was included in a bundle.

I added a buckle too.

My boyfriend help me lace them up and I loved how they looked.

Finished Spats

I have a few more posts on my Steampunk outfit for Halloween that I am making. Stay tuned.

Give me feedback on what you think or if there is anything I can help you with on making these.

DIY Steampunk Hat and Goggles

This is my third post in my Steampunk series on my boyfriend and my costumes for Halloween.

I love Steampunk. It gives you the freedom to get creative because it is a mixture of the Steam era in England, Victorian times, the old west and post apocalyptic times. It is way more than just gears and leather.

I started by going to a thrift store. I found so many things there and I could go on and on about all the things I found but I’ll stick to the hat and goggles, the mainstay of a Steampunk outfit. You can use any kind of hat; a bowler, a top hat, an aviator hat and even a helmet. I found a fedora (I think it is a fedora) in a pile of Halloween accessories for $2.99. I also found two pair of plastic goggles for a dollar each that were very fake looking but I figured a coat of paint and some tweaks and they would look better. I also bought some leatherishy belts and a really ugly pleather purse. I’m saving someone from a horrible fashion no-no by purchasing it to use for parts.

This was the pretty side. The other side had two bulged out zipper pockets.

Black Hat

I had to work at getting all the weird hair and glitter off of it. ***Shiver and Cringe***

I cut up the purse. I used a template I drew out on paper to cut out a piece of “leather” from the purse. The hat needed some brown on it to make it look more Steampunkish.

I glued the leather on with Aleene’s Leather & Suede Glue. I am not a fan. I like Aleene’s jewelry glue but this did not work at all. I used super glue instead and it worked way better.

When I cut out the strip to go around the back, I just left the loop with the ring on it because I thought it looked kind of cool.

Cut from Ugly Purse
front view
Side View

This poor skeleton head gets used for modeling everything. He gets decorated for every holiday too.

Except for some decorating, the hat was finished.

Goggles

cheap goggles

I sanded the sides and repainted everything. I found a hose clamp in the garage and added it around one of the eyes. I thought about replacing the elastic with something that looked like leather but ended up just keeping it.

My boyfriend had some red lenses stashed away and let me have them. They were slightly too large to get inside so I glued them onto the outside. Unfortunately I smudged a little glue on the lense. Big shuddering sobs! I tried getting it off and it made it worse. UGH!

This was the result.

DIY Steampunk Hat and Goggles with Pin

I am pleased with the results.

Now, I still have to make should armor, face masks and spats for my boots.

Steampunk Winged Pin.

This is part of my series on my boyfriend and my Steampunk Costumes. My first post was on making a masquerade mask ______.

I saw a cheaply made necklace with wings and gears at a craft shop and me being me thought, “I could totally make that.” so I picked up some wings. I already had a lot of gears. I get home and discover I already had wings too. Does anyone else do that? Oh well, I can use those for something else.

My biggest problem was what to use as a base. I searched my craftroom high and low for something I could use to glue the wings and gears onto with no luck. I searched the garage, the perfect place to look for steampunk supplies, but alas, I didn’t come up with anything. I finally printed out a two inch wide heart shape on black cardstock. I actually printed out three and glued them on top of each other for strength. The wings are pretty sturdy.

Supplies

I knew I wanted to incorporate one of the many old watches I have into the design. The one other clock is just a charm from a craft pack with gears.

After I glued the hearts together with an Elmer’s Glue Stick, I painted the heart gold and then did a light wash of black because it was too bright.

I arranged everything the way I wanted it and then started gluing. I used Aleene’s Jewelry Glue. It works immediately so make sure the pieces are where you want them.

Wings and Gear

I put a gear between the wings because the watch face sat a little wonky and needed to be lifted up.

Wings with watch

I then just put gears on it. I had painted some of them for contrast.

Steampunk Winged Time Piece

I glued a pin back onto the back so I could pin it to the hat my boyfriend will be wearing.

Back of Pendant

All done. What do you think?

Making a Steampunk Masquerade Mask for People Who Wear Glasses

Steampunk Mask on Glasses

I am going Steampunk this year for Halloween and wanted to wear a masquerade mask along with my costume but I wear glasses so regular masks won’t go over them so I made my own version. To be honest, I wear dollar store reading glasses. If you wear prescription glasses, you can still do this but don’t glue the mask onto the glasses. glue ties to the mask to connect to the glasses.

Step 1 – I found a mask I liked on the internet. There are tons out there. Just make sure that they are the right size to go over your glasses. I actually used one of my programs (Cricut) and altered my mask because I didn’t like how small the eyeholes were so I made them bigger. My, how big your eyes are, Grandmother! I cut it out on my Cricut but you can print the mask out and then trace it onto cardstock in the color you want. I didn’t have gold so I used black and painted it gold.

Cut out Mask

Step 2ish – Gather all your doodads and arrange them the way you want them. Steampunk gives you a lot of freedom to be imaginative. I have to admit, I get kind of tired of just seeing cogs and gears on steampunk gear so I just did what I wanted. My boyfriend was throwing out a pair of his pants so I took the zipper out of them and cut it really close to the metal part. I was kind of afraid it would fall apart but it didn’t. Yay! I unzipped it almost to the bottom and then glued it in between the eyes and let some of it hang where my nose would go. I took the open parts and glued them above the eyes. I cut off the rest after it was glued and dried.

I used Aleene’s Jewelry and Metal Glue. It was inexpensive and was recommended by other crafters. It worked great. Be careful though because it is a lot like super glue and sticks to your skin. My fingers almost stuck together. Oops!

Zipper and mask

I have a lot of doodads. I have a drawer full of buttons and charmie thingies so I had plenty to choose from. I put a snap above the zipper in the middle. I added the obligatory steampunk gear in one corner and clock under the eye, then realized I really did not like the wings on the mask so I cut them off. I added keys and shiny crystals and called it good.

Finished gluing on doodads

Step 3 – Paint your glasses. I just painted the arms…errrr…the temple pieces that go over your ears. It took three coats of gold metalic craft paint and another coat of copper and then I lightly brushed black on top.

painted temple pieces

Step 4 – Glue the mask to the glasses. I only glued in a few spots. I used binder clips to hold everything in place. The glue dries almost immediately though.

I’m not sure what happened but I can see a little bit of my glasses through the eyeholes. I measured and put the mask over it before but I must have glued a little crooked but I am still happy with it.

Steampunk Masquerade Mask

I will be adding more posts on the rest of my outfit and my boyfriend’s outfit so look for those soon.

Feeling Groovy

Organizer Book

I briefly tried my hand at applique. It was not for me for several reasons; it was super time consuming. It gunked up my machine and I’m not that great of a seamstress so I sewed all crooked.

I thought I would share what I made and what a pain in the bazooka it was.

Step 1 – Find a template. I found a cute photo of a VW bug and printed several copies out because I needed to cut an outline and the individual parts.

Step 2 – Cut it out. Cut the outline. Cut all the individual pieces.

Step 3 – Choose your fabrics and cut squares a little larger than each piece. Actually, cut the squares at least a half inch larger on all sides.

Step 4 – Cut squares of double-sided heat bond paper a little smaller than your fabric squares. This saves your iron from getting gunked up.

Step 5 – Iron the fabric onto the heat bond. There’s instructions on the paper. Usually, the smooth side of the paper faces down and the fabric goes on top of the rougher side.

Step 6 – Take a nap because the first five steps took an eternity.

Step 7 – Pin the paper templates onto the fabric pieces and cut them out. This step was pretty easy because the heat-bond made everything stiff.

Step 8 – Start assembling your design. Iron each layer or individual piece onto the outline piece and sew around each piece in a zigzag stitch or satin stitch.

Step 9 – Iron and sew it onto whatever you want to put it on. I sewed it onto a white piece of fabric because I had no clue what I wanted to do with it. I had an idea to do something for a friend who likes VWs but that was it.

I had to clean and oil my machine because the glue on the heat-bond paper gunked my machine up. Apparently, I hadn’t cleaned it all up because I saw the stain after I finished sewing it. I wanted to cry.

Ugh! An oil stain.

I had made a needle book for my needles for when I do hand sewing projects and posted it on FB and the aforementioned friend asked if I could make her a fabric book for her so I did. She loves anything tie-dye so I made the following book. If you want details on how to make it, I will make a separate post.

Front of book
Inside page with pockets
Inside pages with zipper and more pockets

Making the book was fun. Appliquing was not.

Upcycle Pill Bottles

Boring statistics first. According to Statista, 4.38 BILLION prescriptions were filled in the United States in 2019 and most were not recycled. Most bottles can be recycled but it is up to the local garbage company. Yeah Yeah! I know there are fancy names for the people who take your garbage and recycling away but it’s a garbage company to me.

I had a ton of pill bottles that I was just throwing in a basket because I thought, “Hey, I can do something with those someday.” I get myself in trouble doing that because I end up with too much stuff but not enough time to do anything with it. Does anyone else do that? Anyway, I have been on a mission to organize everything in my home lately so I started using my pill bottles to store things in my junk drawers in my kitchen. Yes, I have two. That’s kind of embarrassing to admit. I started putting tacks, rubberbands and paperclips in the bottles. They work great because they are see-through.

Random thought – Why are pill bottles so ugly? Why are they made that horrid school bus yellow color?

I wanted to store some of my small craft and sewing supplies in the bottles but I am weird about the way things look and if they match so I decided to pretty the bottles up.

I didn’t really take a lot of pictures of my process but I will try to explain the best I can without them. I’m really sorry. I just got caught up in the moment.

I painted the tops of the actual bottles pink. School bus yellow makes me want to hurl. I just painted the part that would peek through under the cap. I wasn’t even neat about it.

I grabbed some duct tape, cut it to size and wrapped it around the bottle.

Polka dot duct tape

I have a handy dandy Cricut machine so I cut out white vinyl circles to stick to the tops of the lids. You can just paint them white or cut out a circle of vinyl or duct tape. I can never make a perfect circle on my own.

I found an old metal bobbin that went to one of my old sewing machines and I just glued it on top. It looked lonely so I added some flowers.

I cut out card stock for the two other bottles and glued them on. I had a wooden thread spool that I covered with lace and stuck buttons over it and then clued that to the lid. This one keeps falling over because it is top heavy.

The pin cushion was an epic fail because it is lopsided. i tried to cover it up by gluing flowers under it. I always tell on myself when I make mistakes. It’s a design flaw in my DNA.

Here’s how I made it.

I cut out a 5″ circle of felt.

I basted lightly around it twice and pulled the strings to close it partially.

I stuffed it and then pulled the strings all the way closed. They didn’t want to close because the felt was so thick so I just sewed it closed anyway and it looked like a ragged mess. At this point I was wanting to toss it but I continued, thinking I could save the poor deformed thing. I used a embroidery thread and went up and down through the whole pink tomato and made sections to make it look like a tomato. I sewed the button on last. Then I tried to shape the poor thing and glued it to the top of the lid. I stuck flowers where it was really lopsided to try to hide that it was lopsided. Ya gotta do what ya gotta do!

And that is basically it. It was all pretty fast and simple except for the tomato monster.

Upcycled Pill Bottles

If you have any questions, I’m always happy to help. I mean that.

How to make a coffee can into an organizing caddy.

I’m all about keeping organized. Okay, maybe I suck at it but I’m always trying to improve because I cannot work or function in a mess.

I needed something to organize my junk stuff on my bedroom side table so I decided to use a coffee can and some fabric to make a caddy to organize things.

Let’s get right to it.

Tools needed:

A can – you can use a coffee can or a paint can or anything round.

Fabric – I used three different patterns and white for the backing.

Scissors

pins

Glue – school glue or Mod Podge

sewing machine

I grabbed a bunch of fabrics with a Frenchish theme and mixed and matched until I found three I thought looked nice together. For me, it was the hardest part of this process.

I measured the can from top to bottom which was 7 1/2 inches.

I measured it around and it was 19 1/4 inches.

The first piece of fabric needs to be big enough to cover the can plus allow for seam allowances. Most people add a quarter inch on each side but I never could get the seam allowances down that small so I cut it larger.

I cut two pieces (the front and back) 8 1/2 x 20 1/2. The extra quarter is to over lap when it’s on the can at the end of the process.

I cut the next color or patterned piece and the backing 7 1/2 X 20 1/2

I cut the last front and back at 6 1/2 x 23 1/2 because the pockets have to have a little wiggle room. After it was all done, I realized the pockets could have been a little larger so I would suggest 6 1/2 x 25 1/2.

sew each piece to the backing by putting right sides together and sewing the top, bottom and one side. Keep one side open to turn it right side out again but iron it first to set the seams.

Once it is turned right side out, iron it again.

Do this with the other colors too.

Now, stack the first two pieces on top of each other with the pretty sides facing up.

Sew the two sides together. You don’t have to do this step but it gets annoying if it moves during the next steps and pins just get all pokey.

Next, put the last piece on top.

I pinned each side so that the fabric was like a tent when it was pulled up, not that I did that 😉.

The next step is kind of confusing but pretty simple to do. Take the fabric and make little folds, like pleats, and pin them into the size pockets you want. I did all of mine the same size except the end pocket which I wanted bigger.

I ended up using a ruler and a fabric pencil to mark straight lines as I pinned.

Sew, starting at the top of the middle piece of fabric to the bottom of the top piece of fabric. The bottom should look like the this now.

I flattened each pocket out and pinned the extra on each side. Then sewed the bottom closed.

I wrapped the fabric around the can but didn’t like the silver of the can so I spray painted the top and inside black.

After it dried, I painted on Mod Podge and glued the back of the organizer to the can, starting with the unfinished edge. The finished end overlaps it and hides it. Glue it closed.

Voila! (Get it, it’s French themed?)

Done!

Coffee Can Organizer

Done!

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