Salt Lake City First Annual Steam Fest - Fueled by Creativity

Salt City Steam Fest - Fueled by Creativity

Coming soon, for the first time on this planet, the first annual Salt City Steam Fest to be held at the Red Lion Hotel, July 27-28, 2012. It's happening and we'd love to have you over for a cup of tea and a nice, long visit!

Join local Steampunkians as we gather to learn the basics of Steampunk, how to create your own goggles, an afternoon tea, and even how to waltz! Top it all off by an evening of excitement at the formal where captains and pirates, dames and darlings put aside their weapons to dance the night away!

To purchase your pass to the past, be involved as a panelist, or even a vendor, please visit

Here’s to you Salt Lake City and here’s to the amazing world of Steampunk!

Got Aether?

Calling all Artists - Mascot Contest!
The Challenge
The organizers of the Salt City Steam Fest have decided on a group of up to 6 mascots. We want to give you the opportunity to be the designer of one or more of these sensational personalities. We want to use your art for our swag bags and in other places around the convention.

We are looking for full or half body portraits of one or more of the six mascot characters. We want artists to submit their artwork by June 6 and we will choose one whose art will be used for our convention. Whether lineart or fully rendered portraits we want to see the best you have to offer.

Announcing Artist Alley!
The staff of SaltCity Steamfest is pleased to announce that we will be holding an artist alley this year! The tables are 6 feet in length and will grace the hallways of our beloved convention around the main events area, and even the vendors room!
If you are interested in becoming an artist alley dealer, don't hesitate! There are ONLY 15 tables available and registration DOES include your registration for the convention! Artist Alley will be open Friday afternoon (starting at 5:00pm) and ending at 9pm Saturday so there's PLENTY of selling time.
If you would like to register, please visit this link for more information:

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Summer White Ruffle Skirt

I attended CondorCon yesterday, February 27th, 2010 down in San Diego in my new outfit. It was very intimate and warm; not like the huge anime cons. It was also virtually totally steam-oriented and I thought that was fabulous!

The vendors' room finally had many things that interested me. No strange, foreign anime stuff. And I don't mean foreign as in "from Japan." I mean foreign as in, "not known to me." Anyway, I digress.

The day really was wonderful and one of these days, I'm going to figure out how to stop the corset and boots from hurting and really make it perfect all around. Anyway! It culminated with a masquerade fashion show, which I was encouraged to enter. Hesitant though I was, I did. As a result, my outfit was given the name of "Summer White Steam."

It wasn't a huge show; only eight entries, so competition wasn't too tough. Whatever the case or reasons, I did manage to win a prize!

There were three categories. One was for "Best Presentation." That was won by a mother/daughter group. The daughter played the concertina, which is oh-so steamy and, as I wasn't watching, I can't say exactly what the mom did, but I think she danced/performed. It was cute from what I heard and understand.

The second category was mine entitled, "Judges' Choice."

The third category was "Best In Show," and was deservedly won by a darling outfit. She was an airship stewardess. She had an airship-styled outfit with the little envelope military cap, a bolero-type jacket with winged appliques, short bustle and ruffled panties. The coupe-de-gras was the cigarette-girl vending box/tray. You know, with the neck strap?

And so, with this, I believe, this closes the Summer White Steam ensemble.

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Well, even though I did finish EVERYTHING yesterday, I didn't make my final post on the subject. So, seeing as I have documented this the whole way and I only have one tiny more entry to add, here it is.

The final details were finished on the bustle.

The rose pins were made for the pull-up points.

And the crest/shield appliques were blinged and put on the sleeve cuffs (despite the fact that they only enhance the fact that the stupid left cuff is sewn on backwards!!!!!).

Pictures were taken, but, alas! In my laziness, I have not yet reinstalled all my various software programs, including my photo software, onto my computer, so I have nowhere to store my photos. I actually though, however, that I could save them to the generic pictures folder and then upload them to Photobucket and then use them from there. Problem is, I can't "fix" the pictures, i.e., too dark, crop, etc., which I always like to do to make the photo the best to look at.

I also tried out some hairstyles. Yay and nay. I don't love and don't hate what I've tried, but, mostly, they're too contrived and they're gonna hurt like hell by the end of the day. I need a style that will hold all day, look dramatic, but not be, literally, a pain. So, we're working on that.......

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

I am finally realizing that calling my skirt "Summer White" is going to be somewhat incorrect because, after seeing the finished product, I'm seeing virtually no white on the skirt like I originally thought I would. With the exception of the brown ruffle; however, it is still made with light-colored neutrals so, along with the white jacket and bustle, it still does have a summer/warm weather look. Anyway, back to glitch number.... is it 7 now?

I found some very cool crest/shield appliques, that I blinged up with some rivets and metal locks, that I wanted to add to the cuffs on the sleeves of the jacket.

I started ironing the jacket sleeves and cuffs to get them nice and straight for good placement of the appliques when, to my complete horror, I realized that one of the cuffs has been sewn on backwards!!!! The right sleeve cuff has the buttons facing outward so they can be seen, but the left sleeve cuff has the buttons facing inward toward the jacket itself! This is a completely unacceptable sewing error that should be beyond even the most basic of sewing people, let alone a professional company.

I sent an email to FanPlusFriend, which is who I bought the jacket from, to see if they will pay me to take this jacket to a tailor to have this problem fixed. I bought this jacket almost two years ago, so I'm sure they're going to use this as an excuse not to work with me, but I made a point to them that this sort of gross error should be exempt from any time constraints. I hate and detest, with every fiber of my being, mending, repairs and tearing apart things. This jacket is lined and the cuffs and sleeves are a bit intricate in their design. Yes, I could fix the problem, with a lot of trouble and swearing, myself, but I'm sticking to my guns that, in conjunction with the big price I paid for this jacket, this is a problem that F+F should pay to fix without consternation to myself.

So, as I planned on wearing this outfit this coming Saturday, I'm going to have to wear this jacket as is for now, but hopefully, F+F will be nice and pay to have this jacket fixed. We'll see.

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Oh, where to begin.

It took Dell 4 days, at about 3 hours for each session, to fix the problems with my computer and get the new software installed. I'm not going to even go into any details. I will say, though, that, with the addition of an earpiece and attaching my cell phone to my waist, I was free to work on my skirt.

During these various sessions, I was able to cut out the second tier of skirt and prep the third row of ruffle. I, again, had to hand-pin the ruffle to the skirt to ensure it was straight all the way around, but suffice it to say, it's on and the skirt is completely done.

I also returned and exchanged the buttons as I previously discussed. Those were all sewn on the jacket during one of my sessions with Dell, as were some pull ups for the back of the jacket, which has a long, gored tail. Pulling the jacket up this way will allow me to add a bustle to the back of the skirt.

I just finished the bustle this morning. It was made with the remaining white bedskirt fabric that I used for the second tier of the skirt, stuffed with a couple of yards of foundation netting and some craft pellon. It is a separate piece that attaches with its own waistband. I reinforced the waistband, so the bustle would extend out nice and straight, with a plastic strip I cut from one of those gallon ice cream buckets.

The only detail remaining for the skirt is to make two pins with the brown and tan silk roses and brown tulle I bought that will be placed at the pulled up points on the front of the skirt.

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Glitch numbers 4, 5 and 6 were discovered when I chose to sit and remove the old buttons off my jacket and sew on the new ones whilst watching the Olympics.

When I emptied out the box with the buttons, I discovered 4 of the old buttons that I had exchanged laying loose in the bottom of the box. They had, apparently, fallen out of the bag during the exchange. Yes, I could just keep them and say what the hell. But, as a true believer in karma, I am as honest as I can be. Always. So, I had actually decided to just stick them in a plain envelope and cheaply mail them back.

Oh, and I also discovered that they gave me too many of the smaller buttons. They were supposed to give me 16 and they actually gave me 19. So, those would need to be returned as well. I'm not even going to count this as another glitch because those could've been mailed back along with the other buttons. So, we'll now move on to glitch number 5.

All my new buttons are bronze military reproductions. They're actually very nicely made buttons. One of my large buttons looked like it had been zapped clear through by a military grade laser. Big honkin' hole right through the middle. These, of course, they didn't give me too many of. SO! This was no longer a matter of the U.S. Mail. I would need to go back downtown. .....sigh......

For visualization purposes, my jacket has six 7/8" buttons running down in a row on each side of the front jacket. There is an attached vest with five 5/8" buttons and there are five 5/8" buttons on the cuff of each sleeve. I was planning to make all these buttons the same bronze military button.

Glitch 6 was when I decided that putting the bronze buttons in the smaller size down the attached vest was just too much metal and that they would need to be less visible, even, in fact, just leaving them as they are now; just plain white buttons.

I wanted to exchange the remaining buttons for some really fancy white ones, but I didn't see any white buttons the store had that floated my boat so now I don't know what to do about that. Keep them and say, "whatever...." or return them and cause the store even more trouble by making them have to refund some of my money.... sigh.......

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Slow-going day and glitch number.... uhm.... 3?

Biggest chore of the day was cleaning the aquarium. The other chore was assisting (more like sitting while watching) Dell in installing some new software and the last chore was supposed to be coloring my hair.

Dell calls at 12:00 p.m. instead of 2:00 p.m. while I was up to my elbows, literally, in aquarium water. "Call me back at 2:00 (LIKE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO!!!) please." "Yes, that's right. 2:00 p.m. PACIFIC time."

I finish the aquarium. Too late to start my hair before Dell is supposed to call, so I have lunch and wait. And wait. 2:00 p.m. passes. 2:30, 2:45. "Okay," I think, "if they don't call by 3:00, screw 'em!" 3:00 p.m. comes. Nothing, but I don't notice the time until 3:11 p.m. I'm going to finish up this one thing and then I'm doing my hair. I literally get up to go to the bathroom and 'ring, ring!'

Well, it took 2 1/2 hours for Dell to, basically, just get started. They'll have to call back tomorrow to finish up. Whatever.

But, while I was on one, no, actually, a total of three, of my many holds whilst waiting for a process to finish, I did manage to sew the second ruffle of my skirt. So, even though I didn't get my hair done, I did get that done.

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

A couple of years ago, I bought a white jacket from Fans Plus Friends for a different costume application; however, that project never materialized and so, the white jacket was never worn. It has set in my closet, with the tags still on it, no less, for these last 2+ years. This jacket was probably the biggest catalyst for wanting to make my white summer outfit.

This jacket has simple black buttons, which, for a summer white Victorian/Steampunk outfit, just don't cut it. So, I decided to replace the buttons with a bronze military button. I needed 12 7/8" buttons and 15 5/8" buttons. Add one more point to the disaster list.

I found some buttons online that were cool and came in small bulk quantities, thus keeping the price very low. I ordered them and then AFTER placing the order, discovered that this web store also had a physical store located downtown in the fashion district. Duh!

I have one of the most fabulous, greatest fabric, notions, beads, and other sewing and crafting supply areas in the world only a relatively short distance away and I almost never go there and take advantage of it, probably because you feel like you need to pack a lunch and plan on finding a place to camp because driving the LA freeways is such a nightmare. Anyway, I digress....

So, the buttons had to be shipped ALL THE WAY from downtown LA to me over in West LA. I get them and the damn 7/8" buttons are ONLY 3/4"! These buttons must make a dramatic statement and the 3/4" buttons were just too small. If anything, I'd rather go larger than smaller.

So, I decided to just drive there and return and exchange them. It took the sweet, but extremely slow little guy FOREVER to figure things out, but I did, finally, get some very cool, and actually, better, buttons.

I also dropped into Michael Levine's and picked up some tassels for the lower corners of the jacket and some brown and cream silk roses to tuck into the pulled up skirt bunches.

I have not done anything on my skirt for two days! I had other errands and chores I had to do yesterday. If I want to get this outfit done in time for CondorCon on the 26th, I'd better get my arse moving!

EDIT (and update): I started pinning the second ruffle at about 5:30 p.m. I just finished the pinning and it's about 8:25 p.m. Trust me, I'm not an idiot when it comes to sewing. This is just how massive a job it is to pin on a 10 yard strip of fabric onto a <4 yard, circumference diminishing circle of fabric. And get it straight and the gathers evenly spaced! Will I sew it tonight? that remains to be seen..............

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Finally! I got the ruffle pinned on perfectly! Even and level off the ground; hovering a mere 1/2" off ground level all the way around, all gathers perfectly distributed. Sew that baby into place!

Wah! Disasters, take a ticket and stand in line! Even though I padded my mannequin as closely as I could to my own body, it is IMPOSSIBLE to make any mannequin mimic the human body completely. One thing in my favor, again, thank God!, is that my mannequin stands higher than I do.

I tried on my skirt and the front and sides layed on the ground by an almost good 2 inches, while the back hovered off the ground, as planned, perfectly. At least it wasn't the other way around. Perfect in the front and the back too short. That would've constituted grounds for a very large hissy fit. As the saying goes, "thank God for small favors...."

Skirt pattern manufacturers simply do not take into account women's asses! Heck! Clothing manufacturers in general. How many times have you seen a heavier woman walking down the street with the back hem of her skirt jacked up a good 4 inches higher than the front?! We have asses, people!

Okay, fine. I can't necessarily blame this one on the pattern makers as I modified it myself, but every single other historical pattern I've ever made, I've had to make adjustments in the back because the hem rode higher in the back than the front. Anyway!

I was not about to touch the ruffle! Not even close! That ruffle might as well have been sewn with steel thread as far as any consideration in unpicking it. So, the only option was to unpick the waistband and pull up the front of the skirt at the waist. This endeavor was not actually all that difficult considering everything else.

So, here I am, finally, with my skirt done to the point of the bottom ruffle sewn on and hitting the ground properly all the way around.

Two more ruffles and one more layer to go. And of course, the drawstrings to bustle and gather. No matter what disasters are in store, and I anticipate more as sewing a costume is pretty well synonymous with problems, they cannot be as exhausting as this one was.

We will see........................................

Summer White Ruffle Skirt

Okay, so! Onto the grumbling.....

After picking apart the ruffles from the flat underbed fabric, I had to modify the length of my skirt pattern up by 14" to allow for the ruffle. Not hard, right? Cut off 14" from the bottom of the pattern, right? No. One must take into consideration the radial curve of the skirt so that, when done, it hangs correctly and evenly all around. So, I did my modifications, adjusted the curve (I thought), allowed a couple extra inches just in case(thank God!) and cut. Sewed together the skirt, no problem. Got the bottom ruffle gathered, no problem. Marked the ruffle in 4 sections so it gets evenly distributed around the skirt.

I put the skirt, sans ruffle, on my mannequin and, damn!@*#, the bottom edge was uneven! Arrgh! I am no freakin' math genius and this was just proof of my incompatibility with numbers. So, it then became a matter of hand-fitting the ruffle to the skirt. The front and back of the skirt were too short; the sides too long. I had to piece in some fabric in the back, the front barely managed.

Has anyone ever had to hand-fit a 10 yard piece of gathered fabric to the uneven edge of a 4 yard skirt?! It all seemed so simple..........