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Project: Make a boy’s steampunk engineer costume

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Project: Make a boy’s steampunk engineer costume
Boy's steampunk / train engineer costume

A boy's steampunk / train engineer costume isn't hard to make. Choo choo!

So, my boys love trains. My kindergartener is convinced he’s going to be a train engineer when he grows up. He plays with trains every day and has so many different kinds and sizes of toy trains that I can’t keep up. Naturally, he wants to be a train engineer for Halloween (like last year, but that costume is too small). My son is tall for his age, though, and I couldn’t find a decent engineer costume in his size. I knew I would end up making an engineer costume — easy enough — but I thought, why not add some steampunk flair?

The main part of an engineer costume is a pair of overalls, which are easy to make. And I just happened to have some denim on hand.

First, I traced a pair of my son’s pants to get the right size.

Trace and cut pants for overalls

Trace and cut pants for overalls

There are two ways that I know of to sew pants. I chose the method of sewing the outer seams of each leg, then putting one leg inside the other (right sides together) to sew the middle seam to attach them.

Sew the pants seams together

Sew the pants seams together

Then I hemmed each leg and the waist.

Hem the overalls pants

Hem the overalls pants

The pants part of the overalls were done!

The pants of the overalls completed

The pants of the overalls

I later stretched a piece of elastic to the inside back waist and sewed it in place so the pants wouldn’t gape open in the back.

To make the bib of the overalls, I cut two squares of denim using one of my son’s T-shirts as a guide for the width and height. One square is for the front of the bib, and the other square is for the back (or the lining). Then I put the squares together, folded them in half (so the left and right sides would be symmetrical) and tapered the outer edge.

Size and taper the bib of the overalls

Size and taper the bib of the overalls

Overalls need a front pocket on the bib, so I drew a little pocket shape and cut it out of denim. I used an iron to press the edges under, then sewed the pocket to the front of the bib. I pressed and sewed the pocket wrong side out just for a little contrast.

Sew a pocket on the front of the bib

Sew a pocket on the front of the bib

Then it was time to sew together the front and back (or lining) of the bib, right sides together. I left the upper edge of the bib open so I could turn the bib right side out, and also so I would have a chance to insert the overalls straps there.

Press under the upper edges of the front and back sides of the bib

Press under the upper edges of the front and back sides of the bib

I attached the bib to the front waist of the pants and sewed them together, then added some topstitching so the bib front would look smooth.

My husband had made some vinyl straps for another project, and we had extra lying around. So I used those for the overalls straps. Leather-look straps definitely make the overalls appear more steampunk and less farmer in the dell. I had to cut and sew the straps to fit.

Sew on leather or vinyl straps for the overalls

Sew on leather or vinyl straps for the overalls

The straps cross in the back and are sewn to the back waist

The straps cross in the back and are sewn to the back waist

Every good steampunk guy has gears somewhere on his outfit, so I sewed some gears onto the bib pocket. (And later I sewed on one more near the strap to ‘punk it up even more.)

Decorate the overalls with gears

Decorate the overalls with gears

I got a bag of these little gears on Amazon. You might find them at a craft store.

My little steampunk engineer needed a shirt to wear under the overalls. I found a regular oxford-style shirt at Crazy 8 (could have found it at a thrift store), got a size bigger than my son is, and carefully cut off the collar.

Cut off a shirt collar

Cut off a shirt collar

I could have dyed the shirt in tea to make it look aged. I still might….

Good steampunks also wear goggles. So taking a cue from this steampunk goggles tutorial, I found some inexpensive welding goggles on Amazon and spray painted them.

Bronze paint

Some bronze paint goes a long way to a steampunk look

A bit of tape covering the lenses protected them from getting painted, and it was easy to peel off after the goggles were dry.

Painted steampunk (aka welding) goggles

Painted steampunk (aka welding) goggles

I had already removed the much-too-modern-day-looking straps from the welding goggles and sewed them onto the front of a newsboy-style cap, also from Crazy 8.

A pair of work-style boots (on which I was tempted to add more gears), and my son’s steampunk engineer costume is ready!

I know this costume isn’t full-on steampunk — there are some amazing steampunk outfits out there — but for a little boy’s Halloween costume, this is easy to make and looks mechanically cute.

  1. Wow – I didn’t realize you made it! Turned out great and he looks great in it too! : )

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