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?

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?
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