Here’s how our Tinkerbell Steampunk costume came to life. Every year towards the end of August I ask my three daughters what they would like to dress up as. Then we spend much of the month of September planning and creating. This year my thirteen year old had trouble deciding on her costume. She knew she didn’t want a wig or elaborate make-up, since she did that last year and it turns out that wigs can be itchy. But she loves dresses with flounces and ruffles and long skirts that have some twirl-ability. She started looking at Victorian and Edwardian style dresses, but she was still unsure about a costume, since she also wanted some fun and whimsy.
That’s how we came up a Tinkerbell Steampunk costume idea. She could have some ruffles and poofs, and plenty of fun and creativity. First we went to the local thrift store since my sewing background consists of making a pillowcase in seventh grade and watching tutorials on Youtube. I thought basing her steampunk costume on a Disney character might make her more recognizable and give us some parameters to work within. She found a beautiful dark moss green velvet blouse, and the idea of a Tinkerbell Steampunk costume was born.
We modified and added on from there. I made lacy sleeves from another thrift store find as well as an insert in the neckline. I shortened and dyed the skirt a bright apple green, then found some lacy additions that could peek and poof. I made the corset from craft foam and faux leather with jewelry box closures for the clasps. I made leaves from different types of fabric and gathered acorns from under an oak tree to embellish the skirt. Then I added furry pom-poms to the boots which were also a thrift store find.
The fingerless gloves are more faux leather with a repurposed belt for cuffs. I only had to make the gloves three times before I figured out that cutting off the fingers completely was the only way for the non-stretchy fabric to fit over her hands. What can I say? I’m super smart.
The wings were made from wire hangers, iridescent cellophane with craft foam gears. It turns out that ironing the cellophane (under a towel, of course) does a better job at shrinking it and tightening it than heating it with a blow dryer. Also, making sure your kitchen table is a crumb-free zone before you lay down a sheet of cellophane coated in spray adhesive is another life hack for you.
My daughter was worried that no one would understand her costume and be able to tell who she was, but people immediately recognized the puffs on her feet and the wings on her back as Tinkerbell and the corset and gears were just enough to add the steampunk tie-in. We went to a park to take photos and she got so many smiles and compliments that she was put at ease.
Making this Tinkerbell Steampunk costume has been one of favorites, since putting a twist on a character leaves so much room for interpretation and imagination. The possibilities are endless!