So, anyone who knows me in real life has already seen these, but I just thought I would share with you my drawings for the LeFay outfit I have been working on – mainly because I am hoping to get some critique on my sketches and ideas on how to better my sketchbook work, if I can!
Because LeFay is more of an original concept from British myth, I decided to work the entire concept on a Steampunk theme, as that is the area in which I am most comfortable at the moment. This is the first complete clothing project I have ever embarked upon for myself, my first projects were a coat and waistcoat for my partner, so I am taking it fairly slowing in terms of planning and making.
LeFay started as a multi-purpose project, with one or two linking items pulling together three overall outfits to be worn at the Asylum Steampunk Festival. The designs were supposed to be simple for me to put together, but I never ended up making them as I chose to focus on the coat and waistcoat projects for my partner instead.
The linking items of the original designs were the lace vest top and the apron-train. The whole idea was that, by keeping these items as a constant, all I had to do was add or subtract individual elements, such as the waistcoat and bloomers, to change the outfit into something different. I started making the apron and train, but ultimately, because my partner was unable to make the coat and waistcoat himself, I chose to stop working on it and do his instead.
I picked the project up again at the beginning of this month, when I finished off the apron and train section with the addition of hand-stitched crystals and pearls (a close-up of which you can see as the featured image at the top of the post). It was at this point that I decided to make this my MCM Birmingham outfit, and I proceeded to redesign the entire outfit to focus on a warrior goddess styling of LeFay (she is the guardian of Avalon so it would make sense for her to be somewhat battle-capable), taking a few ideas from the previous drawings and incorporating them into the new concept. I also added a few new ideas that I had picked up over the two months I had not been working on the project.
The apron-train and lace top still feature, though I have now decided to use a long-sleeved lace top instead of a vest design. I have also swapped the corset for a bustier and included the bloomers from the Ambassador design, though I am thinking of having them as more of a capri-legging style of bloomer. I also added a more extensive series of armour designs, predominantly chain-maille and leather. While I am intending to buy the shoulder piece and the holster-belt, I will be making the chain-maille myself.
This section is the part of the outfit that is pretty much finished. I am halfway through making the bustier and will start on the chain-maille and accessories once I have finished that. The bloomer ruffles are also separate pieces, instead of attached to the leggings. They were easier to make that way and it makes them a little more multi-purpose.
I have, in the past, received a lot of negativity regarding my use of chain-maille in Steampunk. I have been regularly told that it simply “isn’t Steampunk”, however, I feel that it has a certain aesthetic quality that gives it a grimey, post-apocalyptic edge. I tend to use modern chain-maille designs instead of traditional armour ones in my jewellery, and I feel that the use of brass jump rings and repurposed wire more than counteracts the era difference between Victorian and Medieval times. Besides, I like the way it looks, and if I have learnt anything from Steampunk, it is that if you like it, then do it!