Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Cosplay by McCalls Nov. 2017

New Patterns for November 2017

Looking for project ideas for this winter? Look no further, McCall's has released three new patterns for November. A Lolita pattern called "Charm School", a Fae pattern called "Pixie Sprite", and a Steampunk pattern called "Romantique." Shall we look them over?

Charm School
Jacket, Skirt with Suspenders, Necktie

I actually love this pattern. I can rarely commit that much affection to anything but I'm very impressed with this jacket and skirt combination. It's from their in house design team, and it's very well structured. I'm not noticing any glaringly obvious flaws or poor aesthetic choices, it just looks polished, like something we'd see in Lolita ready-to-wear. The only exception that I might make is that the armscye on the jacket looks like it could be very steep, and an armscye that sits too low will create tension across the back and problems when lifting the arms. It's obviously one of those fit issues that each individual will have to tailor to their specific requirements, but it is something to be aware of. This is what I want beginner sewists to take note of, when you look at a pattern be critical of how it fits the model because it can help you identify problem areas before you even start sewing.

Bed Jacket and Cami Tops

This is an odd choice, you can see the third top here, it's apparently like sleepwear/negligees for Steampunk enthusiasts?? I'm not sure why you'd be cosplaying as a Steampunk going to bed, but someone might find this of interest. The bed jacket is nice but it has a distinctly 1920's or 30's vibe to it. If it wasn't pictured on a saloon girl I wouldn't make the connection with Steampunk at all. The other two camisole tops do have a Steampunk vibe, they're pictured with bloomers from Prelude (M2082). The tank cami isn't terribly flattering but then again I don't find bloomers flattering either, so it's clearly a personal bias. If I had to choose between the two I'd go for the vest like cami, which I imagine (minus the flat collar) could even be paired with a sheer blouse underneath for every day wear.

Pixie Sprite

This is another design from Ichigo Black. There are good parts and bad parts. The underskirt is okay, there are rather large round circular tiers  (shown in white above) that don't fit with the handkerchief layering. I would omit them completely, it would look great without them. Likewise, the pleated overskirt just looks odd. I think what bothers me most about it is that I couldn't imagine a fairy wearing something as formal as a pleat. When we think of pleats we think about office attire, school girl outfits, structure, it just doesn't fit into the world of Fae. I'm not even sure what to replace it with, other than perhaps continuing the handkerchief layering into a yoke with a basque shape or an over-hip corselet, something with a hard edge to maintain a good contrast. The top is okay, I like the ruffled edge across the bust, I feel like there could have been more play with texture in the straps.


Overall not bad, I think I even like the Charm School jacket better than M2084 Papillion.
What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

New! Halloween Costumes from Cosplay by McCall's


I know that my last post was a bit dreary, I had to not only vent my frustrations but put a voice out on a subject that I think is being greatly overlooked. I've been reading hundreds of articles by economists and I'm floored with how incredibly naive some of these people are. Can you believe one woman defended the minimum wage raise saying that it'll work better for the economy, prices generally won't inflate at a quicker rate - except for housing. While she acknowledged that the housing/rental market will continue to balloon she somehow, mind blowingly, failed to make the connection that these minimum wage workers would continue to find affordable housing just out of reach. If people are spending well over half their income on their housing, and the hydro rates continue to climb, exactly when is it expected to balance out? Laughable, isn't it?

But you can rest assured, we're not in such dire circumstances that we'd take up residence in the mold infested college house we just looked at (with the body hair, the stench of weed and the ceiling peeling and crumbling). We'll sit and wait and hope for a break in the storm. Until then I plan on busying myself with many a sewing project. Winter will be upon us faster than we think and I'm in need of a new wardrobe.

And what better time than now with the release of four new Cosplay by McCall's patterns? Halloween is just around the corner and I've taken up my fairy costume once again (despite not having any plans). Perhaps some of these pattern might inspire your next costume?

Top, detached sleeves, skirt and belt.

Another design from Seattle Cosplay, although I'll be damned if I can tell you what it's from. Some kind of high flying Kung Fu film no doubt, but if you're into Wing Chun this might be the style for you. The costume features a top with keyhole front, frog closures and appliqués; detachable matching sleeves that also have appliqués and bias trim; and finally a belt and skirt. Overall the design is aesthetically pleasing. I like the asymmetrical cut of the top, dupioni wouldn't be my first material to choose from (more like brocade) but it's still nice.

Wings, stockings, hat

This is another accessories pattern, this time for a fairy. My first thought when I saw this was that I liked the organza skirt, however, it's not available in the pattern, bummer. I thought using a bustier for this photo shoot was an odd choice, it looks like a bra lol, like someone forgot to give the poor girl a top. The stockings are hideous. I don't get it. It's just some elastic trim carefully applied to some pantyhose, you could do this at home without needing a pattern, it truly feels like an afterthought. The pillbox hat is decent, I have seen better elsewhere, but this is the first of its kind in this series.  The wings are quite nice, but I'd be tempted to refashion the way it sits on the back, the exposed wire is rather home-made and unpleasant looking. It wraps around the shoulders and back around the waist. The selected material kind of works against it, if you view it from the side like here, it loses definition. Maybe organza would have been better? Overall it's an okay pattern, you'd really be buying it for the construction of the wings.

Bouquet de Fleur
Corseted top, apron, skirt and panniers

This is a really intricate pattern from J. Hart Designs. It's rated Advanced and we can easily see why. I love the choice of materials in this pattern as well as the trim and embellishments. Lolita girls I believe would adore this ensemble, although it might be a bit short and sexy for their liking. The top is made separate from the skirt, which is cool because you could just use it on its own. The overskirt and apron are attached as one, and the panniers made separately. This outfit is well constructed, it has boning in both the top and the panniers. Perfect for a Marie Antoinette costume, Queen of Hearts, exaggerated period costumery or Lolita. Well worth the money!

Vest, detachable hood and tunic

Ummm, another viking man costume? I'll assume it's inspired by Vikings, or GOT. Something I don't watch. This pattern features a vest with detachable hood and tunic. I'm surprised those boot covers didn't make their way in? They look easy enough, just some fur leg warmers wrapped and tied on, but still, easy enough to include? I guess I'm nit-picking, I tend to want an entire outfit when I buy a pattern, but I don't know the rules at McCall's, maybe that would've been slightly over budget? The vest has a lot of trim and embellishment. I'm not a fan with how open it is in the front, it doesn't have a smooth transition to the tunic and it feels bulky. It's just too wide and blocky, the small princess cap sleeves add to the weirdness of this design, and the choice of blue suede makes him look more like a gnome and not a badass viking warrior. My thoughts: ditch the damn cap sleeves, go sleeveless but keep the trim, make it in a more appealing colour, and redraft the contrast front to flow with the curve of the chest with a steeper angle as it opens outwards. The contrast also appears to cut too highly, in terms of practicality a warrior would probably want his belly protected and kept warm, I feel like it should be at least four inches longer. Overall it has potential, it just needs refining.


It's nice to see such a variety here. I know that men don't make up a huge percentage of home sewists but I'm always pleased to see men's costumery. I know I would love to make something for my husband and I can easily see myself using an amalgamation of all the Viking/fantasy warrior patterns I now have in my stash. I loved to see J. Hart Designs ensemble and I'm curious to see if they release any other collaborations with this designer in the future.

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Run, don't walk, away from Ontario.

Our economy is going to fucking collapse.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one who sees this... I try to talk to people about it but no one seems to care, or maybe they don't want to think about it? Maybe they're deliberately pushing it out of their minds? Or maybe they're in denial?

We're trying to find a place to move to. We'll never be able to afford a house of our own, especially at this rate, we've come to terms with that, but we must have a house of our own to rent, with our own property, our own separate walls. This communal living shit has got me borderline psychopathic. I cringe whenever we drive back to our townhouse, this place is hell. I hate our neighbors, they're a bunch of self centered dickheads with disgusting habits. I've been scouring rental listings HOURLY because I'm so desperate to find something worth while. We're hoping against hope, we need a house slightly cheaper than what we're paying now, so that we can start to save money and build towards an at least somewhat stable future. That's pathetic isn't it? To hope for the mediocre. But that's my generation's reality. We have to hope for a lower standard of living.

I have come across countless ads showcasing beautiful homes, and I think "that's the house for me!" but alas, there's always a catch. We recently visited one listing that seemed so promising. A nice area, great charm, it has it's own driveway, and the price was exactly within our budget. What gives? It wasn't until after we had viewed the house that the "bomb" was dropped - someone else lives in the basement, it's a duplex. Why wasn't that disclosed? That's why the place is so cheap, you're sharing a space with someone. This is exactly what we're fighting to get away from! But you'd be surprised at how many asshole landlords pretend that you're viewing a house, only to shock you with the reality that it's only the front end for rent, the main floor, the basement or the attic. They take selective pictures to manipulate you into thinking that it's better, bigger than it actually is. They carefully use the word "home" instead of "house", they forget to talk about the driveway or backyard, or laundry room when you ask. Is that even legal? To hide the fact that it's a shared living space? 

This is a reflection of the real estate market. A few years ago things were booming, houses were cheap, people were buying them up, flipping them, or converting them into rentals (particularly because we're in a college town and students will pay anything for a place to stay). It was so popular, in fact, that we had a bunch of dickhead "public speakers" visiting the city, bi monthly, to lecture on how awesome it is to be a landlord and to flip your properties, so on and so forth. Now we're seeing a surplus of these awful duplexes and triplexes surfacing; they're post war houses, houses that were already too fucking small for a single family to live in, butchered and sliced up into four apartments, so even more people can be crammed into a piece of shit tin can. And how much do they want for it? More than an apartment! And most apartments have far more space inside of them. Try $1400 a month to live in 1/4 of a post war house - but wait, it's inside a house! Surely that makes fighting tooth and nail over the narrow driveway with four other families completely fucking worth it?!

It gets worse. Any detached house that's not shared living is either two times the amount of money it was three years ago, or they have some bullshit stipulation like no pets (they can't even legally ask this) or no driveway but "you can have it if you pay us extra."

This city is going to utter shit. My husband and I are struggling to stay afloat in this crappy overloaded townhouse complex but we dream of privacy, a good night's sleep, a backyard. Thanks to Wynne we don't have to worry about our rent being hiked up the ass, but it's also brought it's own share of problems.

They capped rental increases in Ontario at something like 2.5%. Before that, landlords (also known as ASSHOLES) would entice tenants into their lavish, newly built apartment buildings, only to double the rent when the leases came up for renewal. Can you imagine moving your family into a new place, which was a bitch to find, and you're finally happy and comfortable, only to move again because your landlord is a money hungry whore?! It happened to a lot of people. Which is why rent control became a necessary thing, to protect tenants and keep them from becoming homeless. It's not without it's flaws. Landlords are complaining that they can no longer increase rent to reflect the rising costs of their mortgage(s) or property taxes, or what have you, they have to swallow these costs as a result. Yeah, that sucks, but so does gouging tenants who are already lower on the food chain than you are. Dicks.

So, as a result, developers are feeling less enthused about building "purpose built" properties (apartments or townhouses), so they've switched to selling them off as condos to those who can afford them. This in turn displaces the middle class who have no freaking place to rent. This is a big problem in the GTA, and now all the GTA dwellers are flocking to cities outside of the Toronto area, like my city. Which is displacing people from my city, because it's driving up both our buying and renting prices and now we have to drive an hour to work because some other dickhead is okay with driving three hours to Toronto and paying five times of what we're willing to pay to live here. 

Rent in my city is double of what we were seeing four years ago when we first moved in together. This is because a) landlords are pissed about the rent control so they're asking way more money to protect themselves in the future b) rentals are scarce as fuck so people are capitalizing on the demand c) minimum wage will be increased from $11.50 to $15/hr which in turn will (or already has) convince landlords that they can charge more for their rentals. 

Minimum wage increase. Oh fuck. That's another mass contributor to our downfall. Give the poor more money so that they can be stable, but what stability is there if landlords are all increasing rent to outlandish prices for new leases? The term "failure to launch" will be about as common as butter and toast, no one will be able to move out of their parents' house! And what's more? The middle class will be poorer as a result, my husband doesn't get a wage increase. My only hope is that maybe we might qualify for welfare because surely they'll have to change the annual income cut off to reflect the new wages.

But not just that, think of all the small independent businesses who were already struggling to stay afloat, already complaining that they couldn't employ more people and had to go understaffed, effectively providing a worse customer service experience for their buyers. There's no way in hell they'll be able to afford the wage increase. Unless we start cutting them some serious tax breaks. You'll see it, our unemployment rates will grow, people will be laid off. It's too high an increase, too fast, and it's only helping out one group of people, not all of them, it's the same problem with the rent control, it's not addressing all concerns for all parties.

This is going to blow up in our faces. We will face the greatest economic crisis of our time.
I honestly don't even know what to think any more.  

Saturday, 5 August 2017

New McCall's Cosplay Patterns for Late Summer

New Cosplay Patterns!

McCall's has released three more women's costume patterns for your enjoyment; a women's harem style gypsy girl in BEDLAH BEAUTY, a sexy armored warrior in POWER BRACE, and unique headdresses for the mysterious evil villainess in HORNERY.

Bolero, Top, Belt and Skirt

I like that this gypsy costume features a whole lot of embellishment and texture. While I'm down with a cage bra I don't think it fits this ensemble, it's a little too contemporary to make sense here. The slouching midriff cut top has a 70's boho vibe to it, and the layered skirt comes across as very successful with it's mixture of textured fabrics, however, I imagine with that much velvet has some weight to it, which might not me the most practical choice for a character that dances.

Halter Top, Overskirt, Leg and Arm Armor

This makes me think of Mortal Kombat, although I don't know how comfortable you would be fighting in a full length underbust. The underbust comes in two sizes attached to a fabric halter bikini top. The overskirt fits over purchased shorts. The arm armor consists of two bands each with snap closures. The two leg armor accessories have corseted backs which look sexy as hell but I imagine are a bitch to put on. This one is designed by Seattle Cosplay. I like the aesthetic, the execution could stand some refinement.


Now serving Power Ranger realness, if you're looking to emulate the villainess, Rita, this pattern could be right up your alley! Pattern features two different styles of headdress and one cap with organza dreads! Let's get real here, I'm not feeling Look A, it looks like a hot mess, especially from the back with the sloppy hand stitching and the tubes going every which way. I'm sure it looked good on paper but execution wise it looks like a busted robot costume. I would appreciate it more without the weird silver ram's horns and dangly earrings. It's overkill. I'm also not a fan of the unicorn dreads which look too arts and craftsy for my tastes. However, I am interested in the handcrafted vinyl horns, they have a fetish ball feel to them and if handled by an adequate craftsman they could look pretty sick.


Not a bad set, nothing stands out as a clear favorite of mine, maybe some of the accessories in POWER BRACE. Overall it's interesting and definitely different than what we've seen before which is always welcome.

What are your thoughts?
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