Who am I?
In the steampunk world, I am Lucretia Strange, the Baroness Strange. I run the Promethean Society, and do a variety of presentations at steampunk conventions.

In the real world, I am Cassie Beyer and a historian with a blog, History, Interrupted, devoted to history, steampunk, costuming, popular culture and other eclectic interests.

You can best reach me through the Promethean Society or through Cassie@AlterEgoDesign.netAlterEgo is my freelance web design endeavor focused on small businesses, individuals and organizations.


Simple Overskirt

Severe Black and White Steampunk OutfitThis was the first overskirt I created, and I did it in two steps. The first is to ruch the front. I do this in two places in the front. I knot a thread and weave it though the fabric vertically, then pull it tight so the fabric buckles and folds. Then I knot the other end for the thread. Because gravity will pull the fabric folds downward, I then took a strip of cloth, placed it against the wrong side of the rushing, and sewed the ruching to the fabric, careful to space out the folds relatively evenly.

For decoration, I then added three buttons along each ruching line, for a total of six buttons. They have no functional purpose.

Note that in the diagram below, the ruching stitches do not go all the way to the waistband. I'm expecting to always wear this with a corset, and I don't want a lot of ruched material squashed under a corset.

Overskirt Front Ruching

The second step pushes most of the fabric to the back of the skirt. I simply picked up two points – one on either side of me – and attached it to the back at the level of my butt. You can sew the pieces in place, or you can use hook and eyes, which might make it easier to get the skirt on and off over a bustle pad.

Simply Overskirt Side View Bustling

You'll need to experiment to find the best two points to use, and if you're using a dress form or someone else as your model, I would suggest pinning things in place and trying it on yourself before actually sewing.

I strongly suggest safety pins over straight pins for these projects. Since we're folding fabric and fighting gravity, straight pins have a habit of falling out.