20th Century

Kerry’s steampunk burlesque bustle

Kerry approached me after the talk on historical underwear I gave back in February, wanting a Steampunk-inspired bustle based on my 1870s bustle petticoat to use in her burlesque performances.

The inspiration - my 1870s bustle petticoat

After nailing down design ideas, we had lots of fun picking fabric.  Because Kerry is using this for performances, and needs to be able to have it cleaned frequently, we went for synthetics instead of natural fibres.

Together we found a really nice, heavy, bronze-coloured satin:

The base fabric

It is being contrasted with a truly lovely rayon with slightly irregular black and silver stripes:

The trim fabric. Aren't the imperfect stripes perfect for steampunk?

The whole outfit is about contrasts: shiny with matte, stiff with flowy, structured with draping, masculine and feminine.  Steampunk is the perfect foil for these contrasts, as steampunk is all about the contrast between modern technology and the less industrial, handmade aesthetic of pre-assembly line days.

There are lots of fun things going into the bustle:

Bias binding boning channel stripes

Cord gathering

Lots and lots of ruffles

Metres and metres of bias binding

And as the obvious follow on to that:

Some really clever hems finished with a variant on bias binding

I hope you enjoyed all the sneak peeks!  On Saturday for my finished project I’ll show you the completed bustle.



  1. Tamsin says

    What a gorgeous combination of fabrics – I can’t wait to see it.

    • Aren’t they fabulous? The unusual bronze/black/silver grey mix was totally Kerry’s idea, and I think they are so unusual and fantastic together.

  2. Stella says

    Whoa! I can’t wait to see this finished. I love the stripes.

  3. Oh My! I love the bustle petticoat… is it wired by itself or do you have a bustle underneath it? the fabrics you are going to use are fab too… such an inspiring blog you have – pity I have so little time… can’t wait to see the finished article.

    • The bustle is wired by itself – there is a wire at the top of most of the ruffles.

      And thank you for your comments on my blog 🙂

  4. Natalie says

    Eeeeek I can’t wait to see it finished!!!!!

  5. Oh my! That’s fabulous. My mind is swimming with visions of the finished product… but I’m sure it’s even better than what I’m imagining. 🙂

  6. It’s looking fabulous! I hope it’s turning out fabulous, too. 😉 The bronze fabric is fantastic…

  7. Love the tempting photography, very clever, and sumptuous fabric combinations, lucky girl who is going to get to wear the fabulous outfit, well done all around.

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