Saturday, July 27, 2013

For a Rum Dispensing the Bustle Bar

The Bustle Bar - "Peeling flowers off walls since 2010"  

I thought I'd share a little more detail about the workings of the Bustle Bar.  If you are new to my blog, I've mentioned this drink dispensing bustle contraption in many costuming posts.  We came up with the idea mostly for faires and other outings where we wanted to bring our own beverages, but not have to push or carry cumbersome containers around that would detract from our costumes.  So what we came up with consists of three rounded tanks concealed under my bustle in back.  Each tank holds 1.75 liters of liquid that is dispensed in the front. In the beginning it was all concealed, including the tubing.  The only parts that were showing were the cut-offs in the front of my corset and the pump on my hip.  If you want to see the early stages, I've posted about it here.


However, Mr Sam thought it would be more "steampunk" to expose the working parts.  He was sweet enough to redesign it for me so that everything was conveniently on a custom leather belt. In the pic above you can see the pump on the right and cut-offs on the left, along with the tubing.  Now, we just have to attach the tubes to the tanks and it's ready to dispense.


I really like what he did in the middle, which kinda resembles a bug on my back.  This is where all the hoses intersect.  He used lamp parts to support the tubing.

I've already discussed a little of the construction of the outfit I wear with my Bustle Bar here.  It's a bit of a complicated process to put the whole costume on and take off.  There is a particular order to it that goes a little like this:

  • First, I put on my under clothes including skirt and top and a belt with the three tanks attached.  (I'm hoping to eventually replace this belt with something custom, as well.)  I wear the tanks from left to right Red, Green Blue = RGB (It helps me remember which is which.).  I used colored water balloons as o-rings to seal the connectors better and also to color code the tubes and tanks.  So the water balloons match the colors of the tanks.    
  • After positioning the tanks in back,  I put on the first layer which is the reworked dress.  In this pic you can see the "parasol pockets", which were the sleeves of the old dress.  They're almost 2 feet deep!  I also cut three holes in the back for the tank openings.  
  • I then put my black bustle skirt over this to add some fluff.  Since I wear my bustle skirt with other outfits, I didn't want to put holes in it, so it just wraps around behind the tank openings and ties in front.
  • Recently, I added an additional ruffle that also has slits for the tank openings.  You can see everything is now concealed except the connectors on the top of the tanks.
  • Once the skirt layers are all situated, I lace on my underbust tabistry corset.  You can read more about that here.
  • Lastly, I put on my jacket and the bustle bar belt.  Then, we attach the six color-coded hoses.  


If you're perplexed about how this contraption actually dispenses drinks, I've tried to illustrate it below exposing the working parts without the layers:

It basically works by displacement.  You push air into the desired tanks to push the liquid out.  I have to be sure I've selected the appropriate valves for whatever beverage I desire and closed of the others.  I can also mix drinks on the fly by opening two valves at one time and adjusting the flow.  I normally fill the middle with water and the other are wine and rum, but I occasionally put mixers in one for the rum.

If anyone has any questions, or wants to attempt one of their own, I'm happy to answer the best I can.  Hope you've enjoyed reading about the Bustle Bar.  If you see me out it in, I'd be glad to offer you a drink!  There's usually more than enough.  :)  Cheers!


Lynette said...

This. Is. Fantastic.

It really is.

I am so excited to find a steampunk accessory that actually embodies the qualities of steampunk. Too many times gadgets are just painted cardboard or don't serve any function besides adding to the aesthetic. But this is practical! It serves a decent purpose! You had a problem and found a way to solve it that was clever, whimsical, and yet very effective. Plus, you incorporated it into your outfit and made your bustle even more bustle-ly. From all the steampunk accessories I've seen, I really think this might be the most steampunk. Would you mind if I wrote a blog post about this?

Sorry to enthuse so much. I was just very excited when I saw this.

mieljolie said...

Lynette, your words are very kind. I appreciate your comments and glad you like our work. One thing about steampunk that draws me to it is the challenge of making or keeping accessories functioning, and learning about the engineering and science needed to create such things. In this case it was out of necessity, but it really is satisfying to undertake the design and construction of something that works. In a world where people want instant gratification, I realize that even just making custom things from scratch can also take way more time then most would want to spend. And, it is more tempting to just take the easier route of just ornamentation (Not that that isn't fun, too.). But, I hope I can inspire other to attempt their own functional creations, especially out of things the find around.

Thanks for commenting! I'd be honored to have you write about our work on your blog!


Lynette said...

See, that is exactly the philosophy I wish more people would embrace. The satisfaction of creating something that works- from the science behind it to the skills necessary to complete it- gives us such a greater appreciation of our things. If more people created, I think there would be less of an urge to accumulate stuff. Plus, it may well be easier on the enviroment.

Here is the post:

If at any point you would like me to take it down, just let me know.

Unknown said...

Where can I find the three plastic containers for the liquid? I have no clue what would come in that shape....

mieljolie said...

Thank you, Lynette, for the write up on you blog! You bring up some interesting points to consider. It is very well written. Hope it makes others stop and think a bit on their own costumes.

In the future, I hope to keep creating useful items for our costumes. Right now my focus has been on improving my corsetry skills. Though I've been making them out of unorthodox materials, I hope to eventually try more traditional methods. :)


mieljolie said...

Hi, Jane! I found these containers at a local discount store, which sadly no longer carries them. :( I have seen similar ones at other stores, but not as large or perfectly shaped. It really was a fluke that I found them. I also considered using other smaller containers and creating a bustle-shaped basket to place them in. If anyone spots them somewhere, I really like to know where, too.

Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.


Anonymous said...

This is such a great idea, even if you only use it for water. Which was $5 a 12oz bottle at one of the last outdoor events I went to.