Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Simplicity Caters to Cosplayers

New Simplicity Costumes for 2015

Look out Cosplay.McCall, Simplicity has opened up a can of Cosplay whoop ass, and what great timing too. Simplicity has released a handful of Cosplay related sewing patterns for autumn of 2015 and I'm pleasantly surprised at what I see. It's rather interesting following this month's earlier post, McCall's Caters to Cosplayers, where I discussed McCall's recently debuted, and rather anemic, Cosplay website. Simplicity has certainly stepped up their game with these pop culture influenced patterns! Let's take a look at what they have to offer.


Cosplay Patterns


Simplicity 1092
Misses' Costumes with Built-in Knit Bodysuit

If Simplicity wants to rock the Cosplay scene, then releasing a Sailor Moon inspired pattern was their best decision. I'm not a Cosplayer but I've known many, and I think all of them started their hobby by Cosplaying as a Sailor Scout. Compared to McCall's 7101, this pattern is far more accurate in regards to its original source of inspiration (even if they don't have the licensing, we can clearly tell what it is). I like how the pattern description calls these costumes anime-inspired, as if it could be any other anime lol. 



Simplicity 1091
Misses' Super Villainess Costumes

I don't know if Batman fans will swoon or cringe at these. I'm not a exactly huge fan, so from an outsider's perspective I think these designs are decent. The Harley Quinn costume is the most successful and visually pleasing, the other two could use some tweaking. I really like the bustle and the underbust in this pattern, but when I consider the entire collection of Simplicity costumes, there isn't much that actually separates this pattern from the Steampunk patterns. It suffers from that "generic sexy girl" costume problem, where it's always the short skirt and corset combo. I'm not against that personally but I feel that the styling of this pattern is what's selling it. You could probably create the same thing using any old costume pattern, hell you might even own something like this already! I'm interested in seeing how the construction holds up, so I'm looking forward to reviews of this pattern. If it has better construction overall I wouldn't be opposed to owning it.



Simplicity 1095
Misses' Costumes

This is a corset-skirt rendition of Dr Who's iconic Tardis or Dalek. I've had friends who were big fans of the show and would probably gush over these, but as an outsider I'm not seeing as much potential in this pattern for different characters. In this case the skirt and bustle layering looks off to me, like it doesn't sit right. The corset and capelet looks cute though.



Simplicity 1093
Misses' Cosplay Costumes

Sick of the corset-skirt combo yet? I might be... Like the Batman pattern, this costume is on the more generic side and can be fashioned to suit other characters. For example, a Steampunk Tinkerbell, that proves my point entirely lol. The underbust cincher on Snow White doesn't look as visually interesting as the other versions in this pattern. Her whole look is a little plain for me but perhaps that's a good thing for those who are just starting out in Cosplay.



Other Costumes


Simplicity 1138

Misses' Dark Faerie Costumes

I included this one even though I don't think it's very pretty. It's actually very ugly lol. Simplicity is way too reliant on the corset-skirt thing, aren't they? I think this pattern demonstrates that the use of just a corset and skirt don't always equate success. This pattern looks poorly constructed and not worth the price. 



Simplicity 1301
Misses' Victorian Circus Costumes

Now compare this dark faerie to the previous one and you get way more bang for your buck. This pattern includes a cincher, blouse, skirt, pants, gauntlets, boot covers, I can go on. Whereas the last pattern only had half of that. This goes to show that it's important to shop around. I just love that this cincher has a little peplum, so cute!



Simplicity 1247
Misses' Flapper Costume

Arkivestry makes another appearance in the Simplicity costume collection, this time with flapper outfits. It's a jump from their previous patterns which were mostly Boho Trad Goth. It sort of saddens me to see them return only to do something entirely different in style. I guess I was hoping for more contemporary Goth fashions... If you're really into the flapper thing this could suffice but construction wise it's very costumey (something Arkivestry patterns are known for). My friend is going to a 1920's themed dinner at some point, this probably would work okay for her.



Simplicity 1137
Misses' Medieval Fantasy Costumes

I'm not sure if this pattern is supposed to be referencing anything in particular, it looks pretty generic. I'm disappointed that it doesn't have more renditions, most costume patterns do. I like the dress on the left but the one on the right looks like an alligator handbag. It's so boring and lack luster, I don't know why they didn't give it a belt or an overskirt, or dare I say a corset; it just looks very underdeveloped.


Conclusion

So there you have it, some costumes are new and shiny, others somewhat underwhelming. Comparatively speaking, if I had to crown a Cosplay winner I'd give it to Simplicity. I think this is a sign of things to come and that perhaps we may see more male and female Cosplay costumes in the future. I still think that McCall's has some potential too but I feel that design wise they're a little dull overall. 

What are your feelings? Any costumes you like or dislike here?

18 comments:

  1. Ehh...to be honest, most of these look more like Halloween costumes to me, especially because of the disappointingly generic corset - miniskirt - thigh highs combo. The quality seems much better, than that of McCall's', but the designs themselves are terrible.

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    1. Lol to each his own. But to be fair, these *are* Halloween costumes, they're just marketed towards Cosplayers. You're never going to see a deluxe, super detailed Cosplay pattern from either company. Even Yaya's designs, although coveted by many, are on the generic side and probably wouldn't get the same amount of hype without her endorsement. That's marketing for you! They did the same thing with the Arkivestry patterns, which weren't quite Goth or costume either.

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  2. I too got the vibe of Halloween costumes. :D I have thought the point is to recreate as well as possible the looks of the character you are cosplaying. Hence, if you sex it up (aka. make a mini skirt for Disney's Snow White with a visible GARTER like in 1093) it is hardly cosplay. :D

    The Doctor Who inspired outfits are weird yet cute in the same way as a puppy with a development disorder.

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    1. I think many of the costumes presented here are actually taken from real outfits by Cosplayers, I know I've seen the Dr. Who and the Harley Quinn costumes before. I always thought the whole point of Cosplay was to recreate a costume exactly, but I've since seen people at comicons making outfits more like these ones. Cosplay is literally "costume play", I suppose it can be anything you want it to be and not necessarily referencing a particular character in a film, show or graphic novel. Sort of like a costume ball.

      I don't mind that these patterns have the Halloween look, as I had mentioned before, Simplicity is marketing them as Cosplay to make more sales. The company still has to make the patterns easy to sew and accessible to regular sewists and not just the Cosplayers, and I think this is why it isn't as good in terms of quality or design. But really, if you're looking to compete in Cosplay you wouldn't be using a pattern anyways because it wouldn't be original, and to my understanding originality is what counts most in Cosplay.

      I personally prefer the more classical interpretations of characters and not the crazy oversexualized ones lol.

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  3. I really, really hate "ballgown" versions of costumes. Like nothing else. As a former cosplayer, my favorite thing about cosplaying was getting in touch with the character... Being the character. So... That person wants to be a dancing tollbooth? Wtf? I've got a friend who does these and I cringe every time. One was basically a Disney princess dress but in black and she wore Darth Vader's helmet. Like, what is she going for? Did she see the movies? Lady cosplayers, you don't need to make lady versions when you crossplay. Esp fancy lady versions

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    1. Lol yeah that dress sounds pretty fruity. I've never been apart of the cosplay scene, so I'm not familiar with it enough to know if there are existing terms for these "out of character" characters. I guess you could call it abstract cosplay. Just think, maybe someday comicons will hold contests for the most abstract cosplay outfits, it might be interesting to see how far people take it lol.

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  4. The Snow White costume is beautiful though!

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    1. It is cute, if I bought it I'd fix the collar up and not use satin, satin is evil!! lol

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  5. I didn´t know, that there are so many interesting costumes from simplicity and i love the purple medieval costume <3 Nice greetings!

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    1. Greetings! Simplicity has some great costumes to choose from. I like the purple dress too, I hope to make something like it one day. :)

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  6. I think it is awesome that they offer so many costume patterns, for people who just are starting or don't know much about how to create patterns on their own these are perfectly fine! Of course, 100% detail is not included but it is a nice start! I think if I remember right my very first cosplay costume was sailor alumina seren (no premade pattern was used since it is not a regular sailor costume and i had some decent skills in creating my own patterns back then) <3 probably will create one again one day! (but first: Zombie Misty, need to get some use from the new haircolor *lol*)

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    1. This is exactly how I feel, the patterns are good for what they are. They're costumes, so you can't expect much from them, but compare them to Simplicity or McCall patterns from like ten years ago and they've improved in leaps in bounds. If I were into cosplay, I'd still rather buy a pattern that I can adapt rather than trying to draft from scratch. Drafting is awfully difficult unless you have the know how and a beginner could easily get overhwelmed and burn out if they try without proper guidance.
      :) I would've loved to see your Sailor Alumina Seren costume!

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  7. Love these! Oh it's amazing the things you can make! Not the things I can make because I wouldn't have the patience to sew in a million years. I wish I were rich and could hire a seamstress to make me every pattern I ever dreamed of ;)

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    1. Lol I can sew and I would still rather hire a seamstress to make everything for me!

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  8. Interesting to see someone else's perspective on these. I generally agree about the generic corset+miniskirt=girl costume formula. Though I really like 1138; I've bought it to use for a cosplay that includes an underbust vest and will require very little alteration from the pattern as-is. I think the utility of these patterns ends up coming more from what you can see yourself doing with them than from how they're presented on the package, if that makes any sense. But then I can never leave well enough alone and just follow a pattern exactly!

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    1. I get what you mean, I like to adapt patterns to suit other designs. I'd say roughly half the time I make "franken patterns" where I hybridize two or more patterns together.

      There have been a few cosplay patterns emerging from both McCall's and Simplicity, and I don't like everything I've seen. If a pattern has a garment in it that I really like, or I'm interested in understanding how the look/technique is achieved, I'll buy it, otherwise I wait until a better pattern is published.

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  9. The last pattern is suppose to be replicating Sansa Stark from Game of Thrones. ^_^

    Yeah once you get one generic corset+mini/bustle skirt costume formula, you've seen them all. Simplicity 1092 is the only pattern that I'm making the complete costume as advertised, only because it's obviously Sailor Moon and I'm cosplaying as a sailor scout in the future.

    As for other patterns - like the ugly faerie pattern 1138 - it's really just a mix and match sort of thing. I got that pattern only because I intend to use the sleeves and the bustier thing as a base for another costume. Personally, I've seen people using the non-costume patterns more often when adapting it to their cosplays - including myself. XD I do like a lot of the steampunk and historic patterns, and the Simplicity cosplay catalogue showed some alternative images of what you can do with patterns aside from what is advertised, like making Sweet Lolita clothing from an assortment of patterns and using nicer fabrics; in fact, some of these patterns would look pretty nice if they weren't advertised with cheesy-looking Halloween costume fabrics (like the Dias de los Muertes patterns).

    I guess patterns like these are a mixed bagged: companies are trying to get on the cosplay band wagon more (despite the fact that they've always been making character costumes before the term "cosplay" became a buzzword :/) but most of the patterns aren't exactly holding your hand through the entire process. I can even say that patterns like these really *can't* hold your hand because of their generic nature (there are just too many specific, detailed, and niche character designs), and a lot of these pattern sets don't even represent a fraction of what a lot of people cosplay as (like, you're more likely to see an anthropomorphized Pokemon cosplay than a TARDIS or Dalek cosplay, and those sort of cosplays tend to be pretty personal anyway), and I don't think the majority of these pattern designers are cosplayers or are very familiar with cosplay.

    But, these patterns are a useful tool for those who are just getting into sewing their own cosplays and costumes in general, and I'm pretty content that there are a lot more patterns with generic clothes and accessories to chose from, so it takes less time with drafting your own patterns from scratch. But at the same time cosplayers still have to use their own innovative skills in order to get the actual character detail in.

    As for non-cosplayers who just want a sexy-steampunk-Belle costume for Halloween, go for it. 8)

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    1. I've been corresponding with a McCall's rep and I can say that their Cosplay line has been developed in part with actual Cosplay/Loli designers and fans. I can't speak for Simplicity though. I think they're relying heavily on their in house design team or the few third party designers they've used in the past for their general costume patterns.

      Their stuff is very generic for the most part. I was surprised by the release of the more specific designs, like the Sailor Moon uniforms or the Zelda pattern. It works alright in the Sailor Moon pattern. I mean how many anime shows or films just regurgitated the whole ensemble, including Rini's uniform? It's all easily adapted for other uses. The Princess Zelda costume, however, was too specific and gave little wiggle room for personal interpretation and transformation.

      I don't Cosplay, I Goth, lol, I take costume patterns and butcher parts of them until I have something I can use for general apparel. I've always felt that Cosplayers want to be individualists and would rather make something entirely their own than purchase a mass produced pattern or RTW costume. With these generic Cosplay designs, pattern producers can allow for more creative license and individuality for buyers. This will appeal to the more competitive Cosplayers who are hell bent on having the very best, most unique costume, but it will also appeal to a greater clientele, including your average home sewists who happen to be Simplicity's and McCall's target consumer. So that being said, you probably won't see many more specific character designs in the future.

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