Monday, 28 May 2012

World Steam Expo 2012

Yes, folks, Steampunk! We only went for one day of the event, but will likely take in more next year. It was a very popular event at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, MI. To find out the details, check here World Steam Expo .  I'll just give a few of my impressions as well as the costumes we went in.

People-watching is one of the main events at a convention like this. People of all ages attended, most in costume. Believe it or not, we didn't take any pictures at the convention itself! (more on this later). Standouts were: the baby carriage (occupied by a baby in a sweet little suit) decked out as the gondola of a hot-air balloon, with the balloon suspended above! An older gentleman eerily authentic as a silent Bismark. The young lady with the da Vinci-esque wings that could unfold and flap. The spitting image of Tom Baker's Doctor (why Dr. Who was there? A Time Traveller fits anywhere, my dear!). Late 19th century cowboys, military, gentlemen, ladies, pirates, all tweaked out very steampunky; a 1920s-era zeppelin stewardess. The thing I really love about SP is that you're not simply buying into a ready-made character like one does at Anime Cons: you have to create your own character. I have to say there were no two people dressed alike at this con, and the variety was astonishing!
There were some really incredible costumes. We didn't have any, so I set about making ours about a week before. Having been the head costumer for our elementary school Drama Club, I learned how to make something from absolutely nothing. Mind you, our costumes weren't anything too special, but the only thing I had to buy were the hat forms. Everything else (including the 200 or so grommets) I had hanging around the house....yes, it is an unusual house. I decided on a ladylike pseudo-pirate and Mike was going to be a photographer to show off one of his antique cameras; then I set to sewing, gluing, cutting, forming, attaching, detaching, hammering grommets and transforming. Here we are in a vintagy-looking pic:

You can't really see many details here (like the cool buttons and working pocket watch on Mike's vest, his spats or the lacing in the back of my jacket or on my bodice). However, here are some closeups of some of our gear:

Mike's camera and hat. The camera actually had film in it and works. He took pics with it. When they're developed (we send them off to a specialty place), I'll post some. The clockwork hat was especially fun to make! A few people actually commented on it!

My tricorn hat (with little veil down the back) which matched my skirt and the piece de resistance - my camera purse! Mike generously gave me one of his old cameras that was beyond repair which I gutted, took the top off and hinged it as a lid. A strap and buckle closed it, and I put on a gold buckled chain as the strap. The flower matched the one on my hat. The purse was small, but big enough for credit card. ID, rolled up cash and a lip gloss! I love that purse!

We checked out the merchant hall (drool, drool!). All I could afford to buy was a bar of Edgar Allen Potpourri soap. Maybe next year...I shall budget! We checked out a movie made in the industrial wastes of Detroit: it was an alternate WWI thing with lots of zeps, etc. (the location was perfect as wartime wastelands). Next, a panel on Vegan Steampunk (all that leather, you know). Then a quite fascinating talk on the actual airship sightings, "Mystery Airships of 1897". I knew nothing about these and will do more research. The speaker did a great job and held our interest. Our friend Randy M. from the dojo came with us and he focussed on the many martial arts offerings. You could learn anything from "Flashing Fisticuffs" to "The Martial Mechanic: Crowbar and Hammer fighting for Airship Crews" as well as "Combat in Corsets: Hand-to-hand Combat for the Well-dressed Victorian Lady", LOL! A board game room was well-used and they also had a video game room. Hold it - way too many things to list, so check out the link to the expo itself.


  1. Very cool Deb! I love the outfits!

  2. Great work on those costumes, cool clockwork hat! Wish I could have been there - maybe next year.