Sunday, 7 June 2015

McCall's Caters to Cosplayers

New Site: Cosplay by McCall's

I'm not sure how late I am on reporting this, but I've been busy so it's news to me. Apparently McCall's now has a site dedicated to Cosplayers. I noticed a few months ago that some patterns were emerging on the McCall's site that were just bizarre. This includes the two photographs above on the left, they vaguely resemble something anime. I thought, "Oh, here we go. They've finally realized Cosplayers sew their own costumes." It's actually rather smart of them to take advantage of this. And if you're thinking the site is merely a breakdown of McCall's costume category, they also sell books and share photos of McCall's Cosplayers... and that's about it.

Although they've added a few new costume patterns to their line, the majority of the costumes featured on Cosplay.McCall are what's already available on their regular site. This new site I suppose just acts as a shortcut and makes geeks feel more special (?). 

New Patterns

Now first off, I want to tell you that I am not a Cosplayer in any way shape or form; this is for a number of reasons, largely because I don't do RPG and I hate anime (except for Ghibli). I am writing about these patterns from a sewist's perspective and not so much as a Cosplayer. Although I do get what Cosplaying is about, so that helps.

I was surprised to find that not all of the McCall's costume patterns have ended up on the site. They've only shown a handful of things. I don't see why the Steampunk patterns aren't on there, yet Renaissance and Victorian/Edwardian era stuff is. Maybe it'll grow to include more than just what's available now. I feel like in total the site only has maybe 25-30 patterns available.

The Good

McCall's 7218
Yaya Han Peacock Jacket, Corset and Skirt

I feel like I saw this chick on TV and she was an ego maniac with way too much money on her hands. I could be wrong, but I just get this feeling... And if I'm correct, that explains why this costume would be so ridiculously expensive to create. I worked at a craft store a long time ago, I know how much each individual peacock feather costs. Overall Yaya's whopping two designs from the site are interesting and look better than most of the costumes offered. That being said, the embellishments are what make this outfit look good. Without them this costume literally is a basic mermaid skirt and corset. You can probably buy those patterns separately and for cheaper from any old pattern company. This ensemble would be good for Steampunks as well as Victorian Goths.

McCall's 7141
Misses' Jacket, Blouse and Pleated Skirt

How could a Cosplay pattern stash be complete without a generic school girl uniform? When I was a little girl, I would have adored this. You can see the full pattern here. The outfits aren't awful, they could use some fine tuning, but they're workable. I could see this being useful for Cosplayers and maybe a couple of alternative fashionistas. 

McCall's 7101
Misses' Costume (Sailor Moon Knock Off)

This pattern is actually not listed on the Cosplay.McCall site. I find that odd considering it's clearly a nod to the Sailor Moon franchise, albeit a rather poor one. It looks like Sailor Moon princesses, with the massive circle skirt and the petticoat...and the weird leggings underneath. It reminds me of those cheap knock off Sailor Moon dolls you would see in the flea markets. You remember those, the hair was all wrong and the uniforms looked off. I could definitely see someone making a Sailor Scout costume with this, maybe if they make a smaller circle skirt and change the sleeves.

McCall's 7213
Floor Length Dress with Full Skirt

This is a cute little pattern for any princess related costume. I'd love to use it for a Glenda the Good Witch costume. Obviously this pattern is channeling the new live action Cinderella (I have yet to see the film but find her dress rather drab looking). There's an alternate view that could be turned into Belle's dress from Beauty and the Beast... I hear a french live action of that story is out this year as Disney makes a pathetic attempt to produce their own for 2017. Watch the french one, give another filmmaker a chance.

Butterick 5733
Mug/Ax Loops, Bracers, Greaves, Gloves and Pouch

In case you are unaware, Butterick patterns are from the parent company McCall's. That's why you will see Butterick advertised and sold through McCall sites. This pattern is from the Butterick "Making History" collection. I fell in love with it at first sight. It's good for Cosplayers and possibly Steampunks, but more importantly I'd love to use the satchel and bracers for Fae fashion. Absolutely adorable pieces.

The Bad

McCall's 7035
Children Girls' Costumes

.... WTF? Seriously, what is this?

McCall's 7176
Chaps, Harness, Pouches, Holster, Armbands, and Hats

I saw this on another blog a while back and laughed pretty hard. There might be a few workable pieces in this one if you're looking to star in your own x-rated plumber film. 


Cosplay.McCall is pretty much a watered down version of the costume categories of the McCall and Butterick sites. It's annoying that it doesn't feature all costumes (I think it should), and disappointing that it doesn't really offer anything else unique, like a forum or tutorial section. I'm also disappointed that they've acknowledged Cosplay and Steampunk but shy away from Goth and Alt fashion. Simplicity at least tired to do Goth with Arkivestry. Step up your game McCall's! 


  1. I've wandered around their cosplay site... and I completely agree with your assessment-- how they can separate the site into a "cosplay" one and not include it all with a community base, is just a waste of cyber space. I have a feeling they did it to allow more focus on Yaya Han's line. I expect we'll be seeing more of her patterns over the course. I really do hope these aren't the best she has to offer, because neither pattern makes me think "pattern of the year", unlike Gertie's vintage inspired line!

    1. It does seem like a waste to me, the site looks empty. They split all the costume patterns up into subcategories (like dresses or tops) which contain mostly repeats from other categories. I hope they plan on expanding to include more on the site. A forum would be wonderful but I doubt they have the patience to monitor it.

      I don't know Yaya very well, but I think if McCall's sees success with this website they'll probably ask her to design more patterns. And you're right, her designs are nothing special. I already have a pattern with that bolero and a mermaid dress, I could probably replicate 7218 easily. It's all about the styling and photography. If you look in the website's photo gallery there's an example of someone using 7218 and it scarcely resembles the original design.

  2. Interesting! I really liked your analysis on how workable the patterns are and what is actually listed on cosplay section. I too do not watch anime, mostly because characters tend to yell all the time and especially female characters yell with really high-pitched voices and it makes my ears bleed. :D

    1. That's exactly why I don't like anime lol. I don't like that they scream all the time, they overreact and whine. It's like watching a group of annoying teenagers. It also bothers me that the characters all look so damn alike, like how does an entire nation get away with plagiarism?! If I drew something that looked like The Simpsons, only with a variation on the eyes and hair, people in North America would attack me for it! I guess it's a totally different culture. It's not to say I don't like Japan though, I find some of its stuff really interesting and beautiful.

      And I'm glad you enjoyed this post. :)

  3. Cosplaying is a trend these days, so obviously, they acknowledge it, but I've checked the site and I'm not sure about these patterns, they look tacky to me...

    I guess you saw Yaya on Heroes of Cosplay...I've been following her for a few years and she doesn't come off as an ego maniac to me. She's just very good at what she does and I guess, she knows it. The peacock costume might be a simple mermaid skirt and a corset, but it's very well done, just like the rest of her designs. If there's something, that intrigues me on the site, it's her stuff. :)

    1. I guess the reason I'm disappointed with her dress is because it doesn't seem much different from other patterns I already own. From a sewists perspective, I won't buy a new pattern unless it's dramatically different in some way, and this dress from Yaya actually looks like some of the out of print patterns from McCall's. I also wonder if Yaya actually had a hand in developing the pattern itself or not. I heard an employee from one pattern company explain that she draws the garment and sketches out the pattern pieces and then the company hands it off to a pattern grader/drafter who interprets the design. I'm curious to know if that's what's happened here, and if McCall's has recycled an older pattern but tweaked it slightly to suit Yaya's design - although I doubt they'd ever admit to that. I'd like to see more from her than just two patterns, two it's not a great selection.

      I agree that some of McCall's costume patterns are on the tackier side. Butterick has some great stuff with the historical collection, and there are few good period costumes under the McCall's label. I always preferred Simplicity costume patterns because they had better construction and far more interesting designs whereas McCall's had clunky simplified designs. Sadly I can no longer buy Simplicity in Canada because they raised their prices and all the stores refused to carry them any more.

      I'm not sure if the girl I remember is Yaya, I never watched that show. All I know is that I saw a cosplay doc and there was a young asian chick with a whole lot of money and a snarky attitude lol. I wouldn't be too thrilled buying patterns from someone like that.

  4. Love those bags! And the Cinderella gown! How fabulous!

    1. I know! I plan on getting the bag pattern some day, the fringe is so cute. :)

  5. it feels very beta. there's a lot of new sewers who are entering the sewing world through cosplay, and i feel like this is a temporary way to draw them in. it's totally redundant with their regular patters, which have far better costume and historical pieces. Why not repurpose those? probably back-end metadata problems or something. Maybe they'll expand the site more? They did get Yaya, who's the biggest name in cosplay today or ever. That's some crazy celebrity backing---every cosplayer knows who she is. I almost feel like they created this whole brand for her line.

    1. I feel like the whole concept is very underdeveloped and rushed. They opened up an Instagram account where they've been promoting Yaya's new patterns and posting a few photos from some convention. People are very excited about this website, and I don't blame them, it's a neat idea, I just wish there was more to it.

      It's funny that you mention the site being created solely to plug Yaya's line, her patterns aren't available at all through the regular McCall's site. Seems like a lot of work for only two patterns, maybe it's the start of a larger collection, which would be nice. As you said, she's a big name in Cosplay, it's good that they've chose a designer with some relevancy for this (I've always questioned Simplicity's choice to use Project Runway contestant Suede, I hated his designs lol so boring). I'm going to keep an eye on Cospaly.McCall and see where it ends up, might be worth revisiting in my New Year's recap.

    2. * I forgot to mention, I wrote McCall's immediately after this post and requested they make a Goth or Alt street fashion collection, I never heard back from them. Guess we'll just have to wait and see lol.

    3. I doubt it. Goths don't sew as much as they used to. Not as much as cosplayers and historical people/steam punk. Even lolitas are more into brands than diy.

    4. Lolitas are brand crazy, it seems to be more of a pissing contest with them. I've actually noticed a lot of Nu Goths taking an interest in sewing and DIY, especially when it comes to accessories. I haven't seen much in the way of Punk or Trad Goth though, and they used to dominate the DIY scene. Still, Simplicity gave Arkivestry a chance when the Goth scene was relatively quiet. I'm hoping to see at least one single pattern that reflects today's Goth fashion trends, even if it's Boho.


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