Steampunk Scotsman and Lady in Red Dress 

Red Ensemble

This article discusses the female costume on the right.  The practical Scotsman on left has his own write-up.

Approximate Cost

Bolero, underskirt, red overskirt, black and red overskirt,  gloves: $60

The steel-boned corset is the most expensive piece here and not included in the above total.  It could easily be replaced by a blouse or fashion corset.


  • Semi-formal look
  • Able to be worn throughout a day
  • Minimally bulky as the overskirts easily squish down as needed


The bolero was cut out of a super-ugly polyethylene-over-polyester shirt.  In small doses, the material roughly mimics polished leather. (In large doses, it's magnificently terrible.)  $5.

Read more: Shirt to Shrug


The gloves are from Claire's, a modern accessory store that caters to teenagers.  They've got quite a steampunk theme going on right now.  $5.


I bought the black velour underskirt about 15 years ago for $30.  I've worn it both as parts of costumes and as everyday wear, so I could just pull it from my closet.

The red overskirt is a circle skirt created from a Goodwill tablecloth. $5

Read more: Skirting the Issue

The black and red overskirt in back was created with fabric from Jo-Ann Fabric and safety pins.  The only required sewing was the hems. $20-$30.

Read more: Sewing Basics


Steel-boned corset from  $80.


I created the bracer from two stretchy bracelets and a panel of pleather.  One bracelet was from Goodwill ($7), while the other was at JCPenny ($10).  I snapped the elastic bands and sewed each piece individually to the pleather.

Pleather is inexpensive (about $9/yrd, with each project requiring a small fraction of that) and great to work with.  It doesn't fray, so you don't have to hem it.  It's heavy enough to take a lot of weight, but a needle still easily goes through it (unlike leather, which can be really hard to work with).


I can't tell for sure, but I think I'm wearing one bought on clearance for $7, torn apart and reassembled with additional beads.


I don't buy a lot of stuff at Steampunk conventions.  Such things are handmade and, thus, much more expensive than most of my other sources.  However, the lovely double-strapped belt shown here has a built in pouch, and I got the whole thing for $40-$50.  I added a larger pouch (for my gigantic cell phone) for another $20.