When we dress for steampunk and if we are not wearing specific outfits (for example the Alice in Wonderland or vampire outfits), my husband usually wears a pretty basic gentleman's dress (vest, hat and cane required). Most of our outfits are very specific and and have very specific props, but it is nice to have a fairly basic outfit that one can easily throw on. Of course then the accessories become super important. Since tea dueling is so popular in steampunk circles, one should always have their teacup at the ready. To help my husband do this, we made him and teacup holster. I could not find very much on how to do this on the internet, so I am including step by step information here and feel free to ask me any questions. I will try to help if I can.
First, we bought antique teacups. Most people use china cups which are super beautiful, but my husband is really rough on his stuff. We found a set of old teacups or possibly punch cups made of thick glass at a bargain antique store. I thought these would be better for him and far less likely to break. We then went to the leather supply store and my husband picked out his closure. The closure dictated the shape and size of the straps, particularly since he picked one that was so large.
To make the pattern we used thin craft foam. Thin craft foam works far better for mocking up leather projects that cloth or paper and is still very cheap. First, I pushed the cup with the open side down into the craft foam to give me the size of the cup. This allowed me to draw out the shape of the back piece. Then we played with the craft foam and duct tape until we had the straps the way we wanted. The image to the left shows the closure, one the glass cups and the craft foam pieces all taped together. If you use duct tape to tape the pieces together, be careful pulling them apart as the craft foam can rip.
Here is an image from the side, showing the craft foam pattern taped together. The two straps currently sticking up, we patterned to overlap and fit the large closure.
Here are the individual pattern pieces. The pocket shaped piece is the back piece and if you look closely you can see the indent from where I pushed the cup into the foam. The long strap goes all the way over the cup horizontally to keep the cup from slipping out the sides when the holster is closed. The straps with the curved ends are the top and bottom straps. The top strap has a cut out to accommodate the handle of the cup.
The only piece not shown here are the straps that allow the cup holder to be attached to a belt. We actually did not make pattern pieces for this, just measure the length of strap needed. You could either put straps flat on the back of the back piece which will cause the holster to ride high up on the belt. Or you can have the holster sit below the belt, by loops from the top of holster that the belt will run through. My husband opted for the second option. So we measured where he wanted the holster to sit in comparison to his belt and made 2 leather straps just short of 2x that measurement. I will explain in a second why they were shorter than 2x.
We then traced the pattern pieces onto the leather and cut them out. We wanted stiffness so we used veggie tanned tooling leather we had laying around. Once the leather was cut, we edged all the pieces to make a nicer finish and then stained the leather a brown. To the left is the stained, edged leather pieces ready to assemble. The pieces could be assembled by stitching or by riveting. The closure was designed to be riveted on and we decided to rivet the whole holster together.
The riveting is why the pieces forming the loops were slightly less than 2x the length. The rivets we had on hand were only thick enough to do 2 thicknesses of leather. If the loop pieces were cut 2x the length we would have needed to rivet through 3 thicknesses, the back piece and the loop pieces twice. Instead, we riveted the loop piece to itself to make the loop and left a small overhang at the end. The overhang was then riveted to the back piece. We could always have gone back out and bought longer rivets, but we decided to just use what we already had on hand.
Here is the final teacup holster. This was actually a really quick project and we are pretty happy with the results. I think the total project was maybe 2 hours of actual work with drying time for the leather after the edging and after the staining. The two hours even includes the pattern making time. I am excited for my husband to wear this the next time he needs to put on quick steampunk attire, or the next time the local group hosts a tea duel!