Monday, 12 March 2018

Simplicity Alt Fashion and Cosplay Patterns

New Simplicity Patterns

I admit, I haven't been actively looking at Simplicity patterns in the last little while. I sneak a peek now and again but largely it's been vintage repro and none of it looks that good (like honestly, unless you're hurting to find something in your size, I recommend looking for cheaper authentically vintage patterns on Etsy). Not having seen anything inherently goth, lolita or cosplay in awhile I had sort of forgotten about Simplicity. I still get hundreds of search results for these kinds of patterns, I'm already into 80,000 page views total now, but how many of those numbers are people actually looking for goth, alt and cosplay sewing patterns remains unclear. I'm guessing at least 10%. If you happen to be one of those readers, you might be stoked to see these two patterns, or you might be disappointed. Let's discuss.

Simplicity 8626

Another Arkivestry pattern, and because it's only corsets I guess Simplicity felt it was "safe" enough to plug in the apparel category. As I've mentioned on here before, it's clear that Karen favors the 90's, trad goth kind of aesthetic. It feels dated. Whether that's your scene or not, a corset is a very versatile garment as far as style is concerned. You're free to adapt this to any look you like. Many still consider the corset a classic alt wardrobe staple, but I've lost interest in them over the years. Mine are still sitting in a box, collecting dust, in a closet. I haven't worn any of them since I moved here two years ago and I already sold off one or two, so from my personal viewpoint I think corsets are becoming overrated. That being said, if I had to review this pattern I would tell you as far as corsets are concerned this one lacks adequate construction. You can see from the close up shots of these corsets that they lack stability. I'm uncertain as to why that is, perhaps it's the material they chose? It's very frumpy, bumpy and hangs off the model in various areas. Corsets are not held up by boning alone, fabric strength and stability is important, likewise, how the pieces are cut also influences the stability of the garment. Either they forgot or didn't care and otped in favor of "trendy" fabrics. They also apparently forgot how to lace the corset up the back in the photo below.

In any case, this is a fairly mediocre corset pattern and there are better options out there from both Simplicity and McCall's.

Simplicity 8630

It seems only fair to mention this Jackie Craft Cosplay Amor pattern from Simplicity, and unlike Becka Noel's three piece pattern set, this has everything you need in one place. And bonus: NO THERMOPLASTIC! For those of you who had difficulty sourcing that material you can opt for this pattern which utilizes EVA foam. Yeah, it's the shit you can get at hardware stores. What I find interesting is that although this pattern is about as simplified as Becka Noel's, this looks way better for some reason. I'm not sure if it's the paint technique, or the proportions, but it's far more visually appealing. My only critique is how badly it's been photographed. Where was the photographer? On holiday? Did they shoot in the dark? Why is there so much noise? It's like someone took pictures on their cell phone. Totally confusing, but it doesn't detract too much from this fun pattern.


I have to say it's quiet over at the Simplicity brand, but knowing what I do about the company it's probably going to take a couple of months before things pick up. I'm hoping we see more unusual patterns from them, it seems they're going full on vintage, and considering how much the vintage scene has died off in the last five years I'm not sure if that's the best decision.

What are your thoughts? What would you like to see? 

Cosplay by McCall's March 2018

March 2018 Patterns

I wasn't expecting this wave of patterns to come so soon but I was giddy as fuck to see McCall's partner up with Joshua Hart again. He has such a solid design aesthetic and I'm happy to see that he's modeling his own dress in this one (I'm a bit jealous that he makes a hotter chick than I do).

Nightfell Herbalist
Jacket with mock corset and skirt with attached petticoat

I'm curious if this can be made minus the mock corset? The trick here is that the belt is not included and I'm under the impression that it's what's cinching the waist inward (complimented by the voluminous full skirt). I can't imagine it would be difficult to adapt this as an overcoat to be worn with an actual corset. There is a tulle and net petticoat built into the skirt however it's probably easier and more effective to purchase a ready made petticoat instead. My only critique for this costume is the button, I hate it, I'd rather a bow there or a gorgeous brooch, and seeing how it's not an actual closure but only a mock one it gives you ample room to play. I'd probably ditch the overlap and cut it as a singular piece. There are princess seams shaping the back of the bodice but the front is shaped using darts which can sometimes result in a looser fitting garment so fitting adjustment is probably necessary. I like this pattern a lot, it has a Lolita vibe without going too far into the genre, I'm looking forward to playing with it someday.

Calista Knight III
Bracer, Hand Armor, Wrist Armor and Shin Guards.

I'm assuming this is the last installation of the thermoplastic series. Again, it's nothing special and probably could have been worked into either Calista Knight I or II.


Honestly? I just want more J. Hart.
Tell me what you think? Have you sewn up any Cosplay by McCall's patterns?

Friday, 23 February 2018

New Patterns from McCall's FEB 2018


Two new patterns from the Cosplay by McCall's brand, another armor/accessories pattern and a rather fancy looking historically inspired Elizabethan dress.

CALISTA KNIGHT II, Headpiece and Pauldron

Calista Knight 2
Headpiece and Pauldron

I'm not going to go over the thermoplastic again. It's pretty straightforward, this is a continuation of the last pattern, M2114. You can read about it here in the last post I made. I really don't like the design any better, I'd say this is probably worse than the last, although when I googled the word Pauldron I saw some really cool examples of that kind of armor that you might like better than this! I don't see why these two patterns were made separately, it could've gone in with M2114, unless it was an issue of printing costs, it just seems unlikely that someone would purchase this pattern over the first one which has the breast plate. I don't know, maybe that's just me. If I said the first one was too niche than this one is practically unsaleable, I feel like very few people would actually buy it. 

STIRLING REGENT, Top, Detachable Collar, and Skirt

Stirling Regent
Detachable collar, top and skirt

Now this is pretty cool. Not as luxe as some of the historical patterns you'll find in the McCall's vault but good none the less. What I appreciate about it is that it's a complete look. You would have to purchase a petticoat and hoop skirt to get the right shape, but that's the case with all of these types of costume. I feel like the contrasting panel across the bust could be more shapely and perhaps narrower but that could be a fit issue. The level of embellishment is well balanced and aesthetically pleasing. This could be adapted to multiple different styles of costume. It looks like an intense sew but could be a lot of fun to wear!


If they're going to continue with the thermoplastic thing I really hope they get a better cosplay designer on board. Becka Noel looks like she's completely out of her element with this stuff, which is odd because some of her cosplay armor looks good, some of it looks like shit too, it's just plain confusing. How the hell did she go from this to what you see above? Weird.

Anyways, I hope all has been well with you dear readers. I've been sluggish in the blogging world because I've been hard at work with other things and I'm looking to move out of the city, so it's a very busy year for me. Most of you know me through other social media platforms, which I spend more time on anyways. I'll still pop in around here on occassion. 


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

McCall's December 2017

 Two New Patterns 

 I'm late to writing about this, gah, I've been fighting off colds, we lost a family friend but I couldn't even attend the funeral because I felt so shite. Winter, it's always such a bitch for us, we notoriously lose someone around this time of year, but I tend to wonder how much of it has to do with old age and flu season, and now we've got some kind of Australian super flu spreading into North America. Due to my illness the pharmacist has always been hesitant to administer me the flu shot, so for my sake people GET YOUR FLU SHOT. Maybe you'll help protect folks like me!

 Anyways, I did receive these patterns and have been meaning to write about them for some time. They're both similar in style, one features an underbust waist cincher and neck corset, the other has a a breastplate and circlet. Let's analyze.

Misses' Waist Cincher and Neck Corsets

I kinda want to make the wide version of the neck corset but I'm skeptical as to how comfortable it would be. I suspect depending on fabric choice it could feel like I'm being strangled. It has a deliciously gothic vibe to it, though. The shorter neck corset is not as elegant and looks a bit harsh and clunky, it definitely helps to wrap it out around the shoulders. I imagine this takes some intense alterations to get fit just right but I'd still like to try my hand at it some day. I suppose to make the pattern more worth while they threw in a waist cincher which is decent in shape and design. They have a couple of corsets in the Cosplay by McCall's collection so there's no shortage of options.

Breastplate and Circlet

This is another Becka Noel. I'm not impressed with it, it looks cheap, like you'd be better off buying some armor from a costume shop. However, it is introducing McCall's home sewists to a specialty material, Worbla's FineArt Thermoplastic. This is a plastic material that can be shaped and bonded to itself by using heat. It is a pretty versatile material, it can be used in a variety of projects but it certainly has its limitations. Like all plastic it can break. It becomes brittle if exposed to extreme cold, it warps if exposed to extreme heat, it'll break if you fall on it, and it's probably sweaty as fuck to wear. I thought it might be cool to use it for making jewelry and found out that they do have tutorials for mold casting, but this made me laugh:

"The Worbla products are not meant as a replacement for resin casting and we will never suggest they will give you the same result!"

At least they're honest! You basically need to accept that it's a fun, gimmicky material and not intended for long term use. In other words, it's costumery. While I'm not a fan of this pattern's design, I can acknowledge that it would be a good starting point for anyone new to using thermoplastic. You could probably play around with it and adjust it to suit your costume needs.

Here is a link to Worbla's website so you can see where to purchase it and the various prop and costume tutorials available.


I'm impressed to see a new material being utilized in McCall's pattern designs. I feel as though it'll be too niche to make substantial sales for them, but it's interesting to see it. I like the neck corset, obviously I embrace anything remotely gothic in nature. It'd be cool to see some more gothic stuff but that's just me lol.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever worked with thermoplastic before?
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