Steampunk Utility Belt: The Sewing (Stage 2)

Project 8, part 4 – Tempest in a Teacup (Part 1, part 2, part 3 here)

I’d like to once again call out how excellent the Steamtorium pattern is – I never once had any confusion about how to sew this!

Welcome back to the Steampunk Utility Belt project! To my surprise I was able to completely finish the belt and accessories this week. Also to my surprise, I fell totally in love with it. That’s not to say that I didn’t think it was pretty up until now, but I really wasn’t sure I could see myself wearing this outside of very specific events (which are mostly not running due to the current state of the world). Now that I’m finished, though, I’m really happy with it. The lush purple florals are so pleasing to look at, and all the padding and stitching make it a tactile pleasure as well. I have lots of the fabric remaining, as well as some D- and O-rings, so I’m considering drafting a pass case/badge holder to clip on in place of one of the fan pouches, as well as some other fun accessories! For now, though, I’ll be happy reveling in a finished project. 😀

My worktable and floor were absolutely covered in pattern pieces and fabric chunks during this project.

During my last sewing session I’d almost completed the fan pouches, so I started with those for an easy win. Turning them right-side out was a bit of a challenge, and I was mildly dubious that they would really be big enough, but when I finished them they were perfect:

Although to be honest I would probably put them reversed into the pouches, even if it meant more fan emerged from the pouch – who grabs their fans from the top?!

The two pouches were even more crazy with multiple layers that needed to be sandwiched together, stitched, and then inverted to reveal the finished product.

Thank goodness for my Wonder Clips! I 100% could not have completed this project without them – they let me skip basting stitches which really speeded up completion.

I ran into a weird mental hitch with the pouch when I got to the end of sewing because it simply would NOT look finished no matter how much I tried to convince myself that it was done. I kept looking at it while I was working on the teacup holster and finally I realized that the flap looked too bare with no decoration. The pouch images in the pattern all had an octopus or other fun charm on them there! As soon as I’d identified the issue, I had a solution in mind – a piece of embroidery I completed positively ages ago. It’s the logo for a draconic miniatures army that I used to play called the Legion of Everblight – but unless you happen to play that particular game, it just looks like a super sweet dragon emblem which is perfect for me! (I am just a little bit obsessed with dragons, and even had one hanging out on my wedding cake!) Better yet, the colors were absolutely ideal:

Cell phone for scale! Big thanks to my friend Dave of the amazing board game YouTube channel All Games New and Old for suggesting the scale. If you like board games and aren’t subscribed to his channel yet – what are you waiting for?!

With my mind set at ease on that front, I could finally turn my attention to finishing the teacup holster. Why a teacup holster, you may be wondering? Well, aside from how convenient it is to have a teacup to hand, there is a fun steampunk game called tea dueling that requires both participants to have their own weapon…er…teacup to participate! Rather than fencing with swords (which might put me at a distinct advantage), or barbarically using pistols (which might put me at a bit of a disadvantage), civilized neo-Victorians settle their differences by brewing a cup of tea, submerging a “biscuit” (cookie, for us American types) in the cup, and then attempting to cleanly consume the treat without losing any chunks in the process. Per the Honorable Association of Tea Duellists:

“The goal of tea duelling is to get a clean “nom”, which is when you put the biscuit in your mouth and bite it without having lost any pieces along the way. This sounds easy, but as the biscuit has been submerged in hot tea, it will want to immediately fall apart, presenting difficulty in achieving a clean “nom”.”

Coffee and hot chocolate are strictly forbidden by the official rules, and there are a variety of strategies for achieving victory over your opponent such as selecting a particular type of biscuit, angles for dipping that require the least disturbance to remove, and practicing regularly to ensure one’s hand doesn’t shake at a critical moment. And really, doesn’t practicing having tea and biscuits regularly sound delightful? 😀

Why did I have purple cord in my stash already? Honestly I’ve no idea, but it was extremely convenient for fabricating the ties!

So at last, my utility belt is completed! This was a really fun project to work on, and I really do look forward to making some more swappable accessories for it as time permits. I’m awaiting a package from Japan containing the dress I intend to model this with, so join me in the final installment for the reveal – and perhaps, a cup of tea!

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