Sewing Steampunk Clothing

What is Steampunk clothing? Inspired by the past and the future, this unusual style is becoming more popular than ever. It's a blending of Victorian fashion, the concept of steam powered machinery from the 19th century and a futuristic, post apocalyptic gadgets and gismos. Let your imagination rule and dressup costume fun will follow. 

It seems the "steampunk" phrase was coined in the 1980's and a good explanation of what it is  exactly, can be read at Wikipedia. Click here for the article.

Steampunk Inspired Fashion

Steampunk clothing
steampunk costume, mini top hat

When you are  inspired to create a costume,  look around the internet and magazines and pay attention to what type of costume trends are popular. Look to Hollywood movies for ideas to get you started. Below are some ideas to get you started. 

Steampunk dressing isn't just for Halloween. There are Steampunk weddings, Steampunk conventions, and dressup theme parties. 

Here is an outfit that I put together using Simplicity patterns and a Butterick pattern.

I used three sewing patterns to create this Steampunk outfit. I used the simplicity pattern 2172 for the jacket, and bustier. I used Simplicity pattern 2525 for the hat and I used Butterick 4954 for the skirt.

Steampunk Jacket

Steampunk clothing
  • I used dutchess satin fabric, gold buttons you see for front closures
  •  I followed the instructions on the pattern. It was relatively easy to put together and the size was not altered. I made the size 12 on the pattern.
  • I used lace for the collar and cuffs. However, instead of attaching the lace permanently, I trimmed it with bias tape and put snaps on the inside for easy removal.
Steampunk clothing
Steampunk clothing
  • For the detail at the back of the jacket, I used the same ribbon as I used on the skirt peplum.

Steampunk Bustier

Steampunk clothing
  • I used a medium weight cotton fabric.
  • The bustier is fully lined with a satin lining fabric, and has boning in all the seams.
  • The boning is for a structured fit. The back is zippered for easy on and off wearing.

Steampunk Clothing
The Skirt

Steampunk clothing, butterick skirt sewing pattern 4954
  • The skirt is from the Butterick pattern 4954. 
  • The skirt is fully lined. It's quite easy to put together.
  •  I chose this skirt instead of the skirt that comes with the simplicity pattern, because it was a nice fit, less fabric, and I had limited time to finish this sewing project.

Miniature Top Hat

miniature top hat, steampunk clothing, simplicity pattern 2525
miniature top hat, steampunk clothing, simplicity pattern 2525
  • The miniature top hat was made using Simplicity pattern 2525. 
  • It is fully lined and finished with decorative trim. I will have to add more photos to show the finish on the inside. Oops!
  • I used left over fabric and lining from the costume.
  • The embellishments were made with a scrap pieces of fabric and a button from the bustier, left over ribbon, and a small feather.
  • This was my first attempt at making a hat. It took a little time, but well worth it.

More Steampunk Sewing Patterns

Repurposed into Steampunk Fashion

Here is an example of repurposing an early 2000s grad dress into a steampunk costume. The hat was handmade, the glasses were found in a thrift store for $2.00 dollars and the choker is a piece of velvet ribbon with some embellishments.

I cut the dress to the length I wanted and with extra tulle I made a bustle for the back. I added the chain and some embellishments. Its very simple to create a costume from repurposed fashion. 

For the mini top hat, I purchased a top hat step by step tutorial and supplies from the Hatheads School of Milnery shop. My results for this top hat is significantly better than my first attempt above. It was so easy and I was very happy with the finished product. 

Steampunk Books and Movies


Steampunk  sub culture has become so popular, books are being written and Hollywood has jump on board. Below are some examples of books related to the Steampunk genre. Steampunk clothing, gadgets, and jewellery, are all part of what makes up this sub culture.


Movies are are a great way to find inspriation for fabrics and styles of historical costumes or any genre of costume. These movies I have used for great steampunk clothing inspiration.