Sunday, 2 November 2014

Simplicity 3618 - Costume Review

My Pirate Costume

Although I typically wouldn't review just a costume pattern, I do believe that this pattern has the potential to be adapted for other means. For example, the blouse and circle skirt are great fundamentals that can be altered for a variety of projects. I also wanted to review this pattern simply because it's Halloween related and who doesn't love Halloween?!

For this project I used Simplicity 3618, it's just described as a Misses' Costume. It has 28 pattern pieces - woah! This pattern features designs for a saloon girl/cabaret dancer, a 50's diner waitress, a candy striper/nurse, a french maid, Little Red Riding Hood and a pirate. This is a very versatile pattern, which is something that I look for when I'm pattern shopping. I could see this pattern being used to create an Alice in Wonderland costume, a princess costume, and even a clown costume if you chose to use just the blouse. 

The pattern contains a cape, a circle skirt, bloomers, an underbust vest, a blouse, an apron, a headpiece and two different hats.

How did I do it?

I chose to be a pirate this year out of convenience. I had something like four or five costume patterns that contained pirate designs. I settled on this one because it looked the easiest and required the least amount of materials. To make things simple, I decided to tackle each piece of the costume separately. I knew that this pattern would have a crazy short skirt because I had used the circle skirt in another costume from the year before. That's why Simplicity includes a pair of bloomers in this pattern, because otherwise your ass shows! It's not difficult to lengthen a circle skirt, which might be to your preference; it's easier to add a few inches to a skirt than to sew another garment to go with it.

Last year I made a very girly costume with a short skirt but this year I wanted something warmer, more comfortable and not "sexy". So instead of the skirt, I wore a pair of warm leggings. The blouse was surprisingly long, I used this to my advantage. I turned it into a tunic by finishing it with a narrow hem at the bottom - I completely disregarded the hemming instructions which probably called to draw up the hem an inch or more. I followed the instructions to make the plain ruffle on the blouse, as seen in versions A,C,D and E. I tried to follow the instructions for the lace views (B and F) but the lace didn't sit properly and it looked crappy. Instead I chose to sew the top of the lace onto the garment right beneath the fold of the ruffle. I then sewed the neckline according to the instructions. Afterward I sewed the bottom of the lace beneath the elastic casing, so it wouldn't get caught and ruin my neckline. It worked really well! The lace looks nicely gathered and isn't popping up because it's tacked down. I used gold cluny lace which looked a little lack lustre so I spent a few hours hand stitching sequins onto it to give it some sparkle.

I was going to sew the underbust vest, but time did not permit this. Instead I used a waist cincher that I already owned. It still looked fabulous! I made my sash using a meter long rectangle of blue satin. I serged the edges using a contrasting red thread. I also made a sash for my fiancé's costume, which I'll talk about shortly.

My hat was based off of a hat that my brother owns. I purchased thick brown felt from the fabric store. I combined a variety of tricorn patterns that I found online. I tweaked their design flaws and adjusted the pattern until it was perfect. After a few drafts I was ready to sew my hat. I used a leather needle because the felt was so thick it would have broken my other needles. It was easier to sew than I thought it would be, although I had to struggle when attaching the brim. After sewing the hat I stitched a gold braided trim along the edge of the brim. I also created a sash using the meter of blue satin, which I stitched onto the edge of the inside of the hat. I then made double bows to attach onto the sides of the tricorn. I seriously love my hat, it looks better than anything store bought and I would totally make it again!

After pairing all of this with my plastic sword and a bunch of temporary tattoos, it really came together! I love this pirate costume and I hope to wear it again in the future. Here's a photo of me wearing it!

What did I like about this pattern?

Again, I really enjoyed that this pattern contained so many different items. I would love to use the cape in the future, I think with some adjustments it could look really good. I think the blouse works well as a tunic, the fit was right on. When I'm not wearing the cincher it looks more like maternity wear, but I could see it being used to create a vintage clown costume as it drapes well, all it needs is three large pom poms and baggy pants!  I think anyone who is a fan of renaissance period clothing could take this pattern and use it in their work. If you plan on making a tunic out of it I recommend leaving open a few inches at the side seams for ease of movement. Other than that, it was easy to make and you could probably get it done in an hour or so.

What did I dislike about this pattern?

Considering I made one item from this pattern I don't have much to complain about. As I said before, the circle skirt is horrendously short, but with the bloomers maybe it looks okay. Although the blouse was easy to sew I was disappointed with the ruffled lace neckline instructions. The instructions could have been a little more clear, they always seem like they were written by aliens... I won't make any further critiques until I've sewn more from this pattern.

What did I learn?

I learned that if you put your heart into it, even the most simplistic costume can look fantastic. I also learned that I can make a hat, this tricorn was my first attempt! And that sewing sequins onto something by hand is a huge pain in the ass... especially when you accidentally melt them with an iron and have to start over again.

What would I change if I could sew it again?

I would use a different colour scheme. I would give my hat a feather or feather trim, apparently Michael's no longer carries quill feathers and it was too late to order anything from online. I would have also used a large bow instead of having to make double bows to compensate. I would maybe use a nicer material than broadcloth for my blouse, but I don't dislike the result I got with it. I would also try to make the underbust.


I love this pirate costume! If you're in a crunch and need a quick costume this one is super easy to put together. Even if you don't have a waist cincher, you could easily acquire a large waist belt and wear that. The instructions were fairly easy to follow, although you should always read them carefully, in this instance I felt the diagrams were more helpful. I strongly recommend this pattern and I hope to use it more in the future!!

If you're wondering how my fiance's costume turned out, here's a photo. I used the tutorial I created in my Frightful Fridays - What to Wear post. I also made his vest from tracing another vest he owned. The hat is my brother's hat, we borrowed it, it's also the hat I modeled my own tricorn off of.

I don't think I ever want to sew using cheap costume braid or buttons again, it came out really wonky even though I tried my best to carefully pin them down. He looked fantastic wearing this but sadly he was too tired to have his photo taken by the end of the night. 

Check out my Pattern Review to see my Bo Peep costume from last year!
And today is the Day of the Dead!! I hope you're celebrating. :)

Kind regards,


  1. Awesome job! You looked gorgeous! Mighty short though I totally am with ya there, your bum would have definitely been showing without the leggings hehe!

    1. Thank you for such a lovely comment!! Actually this is just the tunic, the skirt isn't pictured, but it was used in my Bo Peep costume. Even when I was skinnier the skirt was too short!! Now that I've got a bigger bum I wouldn't stand a chance of wearing it lol.

  2. that's some awesome sewing there.

  3. Fantastic costume! You are an excellent sewer!!


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