Friday, 29 April 2016

Simplicity makes an actual alternative sewing pattern?!


When I blogged about Simplicity releasing "alternative" sewing patterns back in 2014, I was kind of only telling a half truth. In reality those were costumes that appeared to be inspired by alternative fashions. I had once pissed and moaned about how Arkivestry, a Gothic design label, had created a series of trad Goth designs for Simplicity, only to have them categorized as "costumes" when they were clearly intended as clothing. I'm shocked to announce that they have released a pattern, clearly inspired by Gothic Lolita/Steampunk, described as "alternative sports fashion" and categorized in tops and bottoms. Holy hell! We're making progress.

This is a huge step to have alt fashion acknowledged as an actual fashion and not some kind of dress up joke. I've been a member of Pattern Review on and off over the years and when I post one of my projects I usually get praise, but sometimes I have some women asking, "where would you wear this?" It's like they've never seen anything alternative or Goth in all their lives. I don't blame them or anything, but why would I sew something I didn't intend on wearing? I feel like this is how Simplicity has viewed alternative fashions, like they're just a fad and people don't actually wear that stuff. 

Here are the new releases:
Simplicity 8154
Misses' Alternative Fashion

Pattern features "alternative sportswear", including camisole, bloomers and shorts with ribbon detailing. Can be found under the shorts and tops categories.

Simplicity 8020
Misses' Blouse, Hat and Knit Skirts

Features two different skirt styles, a hat, and a blouse with two different sleeve variations. Can be found under tops, skirts and coordinates categories.

Simplicity 8127
Misses' Lolita and Rockabilly

A-line one piece dress using straps or puff sleeves, with ribbon or bow details. Can be found under the dress category. 

There were also two new Cosplay/costumes released but they're nothing special and not really worth mentioning.

What do I think?

I think the Lolita and Rockabilly compilation are the most successful designs. In fact, that's probably the best attempt at Lolita I've seen from them, if from any company. Simplicity tried Harajuku street fashion and Lolita twice before with moderate success. I feel that this dress is well constructed and way nicer than their previous attempts. I always used to say that a Lolita dress is just a dress with a shit ton of embellishments on it, but it's clear to me that the designer did their research and had a solid understanding of the ever popular a-line one piece. This pattern is spot on, hats off to them! 

As for the Goth and Alt stuff...I'm not that stoked about it. In fact, I'm disappointed. For starters, Simplicity 8154 seems too reminiscent of Simplicity 2777 designed by Arkivestry. This makes sense because Karen Fleisch, the designer for this pattern, is from Arkivestry. With all due respect to Karen, I've appreciated her romantic trad Goth stuff in the past, but I just don't think she's in touch with what's hot in Goth fashion today. My biggest issue with her designs are that they're too simplistic or dated.

And why bloomers?! I mean, for Christ's sake, how many bloomers patterns do we need? Who the fuck wears these things? I've perused hundreds of Goth and alt fashion sites and I can honestly say I've never seen anyone wearing this stuff. 

In regards to Simplicity 8020, I'm just confused. Is it channeling Visual/Oshare Kei??? Is it supposed to appeal to Goths just because there's some skulls thrown in there? The hat is by far the most hideous thing I've seen, and the long skirt and top combo look as though they're Steampunk/Victorian inspired but are too lack luster and simplistic to appeal to fans of the aesthetic. I don't understand this, why don't they just reach out to people who know the genre best and say, "hey! what do you want to see?" I could tell them, no problem! As a sewist who adores Goth fashion I already know all the things I'd love to sew but don't know how, which is why I'd spend the money on a good pattern, if such a thing existed!

And here's what it would look like:

Simplicity 0666
Misses' Dresses, Harness and Fedora

The most popular things in Goth fashion currently are sheers, laces, harnesses and strappy bras, bodysuits and dresses. If you're going to make a Goth/alt sewing pattern it should use these designs. Why? Because they're the hardest thing to sew or draft. Most home sewists do not have the skills to sew sheers without a pattern and some kind of direction. Likewise, the skater dress with the strappy built in harness could be done DIY but not without considerable experimentation; I'd much rather buy a pattern of it. While it's not too difficult to make an elastic harness, the proper studded faux leather/leather ones are completely foreign to home sewists and would be totally worth making a pattern for. And if you're going to make a hat pattern, why not the wide brim fedora? It appeals to more than just Goths, the 70's revival thing is hot shit right now. 

If you're reading this Simplicity, take heed! Nu Goth is what's hot. And if you don't understand that, don't be afraid to ask. The Gothic community wants to see you succeed!

What are your thoughts?


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

New! McCall's Cosplay Corset Patterns

Mccall's Corset & Underbust Patterns

I was hoping to get to this a little bit sooner but work has had me tied up. I was recently contacted by a marketing rep about the new line and I was really excited to learn that the newest additions would be corsets. Hell yes corsets! Isn't that the staple of any gothic wardrobe? The whole bottom drawer of my dresser is corsets! Sadly most of them don't fit me, but with the opportunity to make one of these corsets I can finally replenish and replace all of my old favorites!

I've seen a lot of corset costume patterns emerging in recent years. I guess there's this fad in the cosplay scene where pop culture is hybridized with high fashion, and apparently high fashion is corsets(?). It really doesn't matter to me either way. I always welcome a new corset pattern, in particular if that pattern is well developed and not simply another "fashion" corset. I have so many of those damn fashion corset patterns and they all fit like shit!

Because I don't have the patterns in front of me, I can only offer a cold reading on how I feel about them. I plan on making either garment, possibly for my new spring wardrobe (my upcoming surgery may free up some sewing time) but which one will depend on my needs. 

McCall's SHAPESHIFTER (M2032) & LACED (M2034)

Ok, where to start? Both corsets lace up in the back and have busks in the front. In Shapeshifter, underbust B has structural shaping around the hips where A does not. The overbust corset in Laced has three different looks, with slight variations in the necklines. All corsets are lined and have a modesty panel. Does anything set these apart from previous corset patterns? I would say the shape and how the boning channels are handled are definitely new to McCall's, but other than that there's not too much of a difference. This is a step up from previous patterns which appear bulky and unrefined; in particular the "Making History" corsets which look boxy, stiff and ill fitting. What sets these apart from Yaya's corset pattern? Small details, like how the boning is placed and the bust cups.

If you're not into corsets with cups then I'd say the Laced overbust pattern would appeal to you. I'm personally hesitant to try anything with cups because I've had nothing but bad luck with them. I tried a bustier not too long ago and ran into various fit issues because of the bust cup. The Laced overbust will still require bust adjustments but hopefully with far less fuss than with a separate cup piece. I also have some reservations about the Shapeshifter underbust corset A, in regards to how it fits around the hips. I imagine it's not going to work straight out of the envelope as women's hip measurements can vary drastically depending on their body type. I'm curious to know how that kind of adjustment is made in a corset. I look forward to seeing what kind of fitting advice the instruction booklet may have to offer.

Now, to be fair, all patterns have their fit issues and it's in the hands of the sewist to make alterations. However, when a pattern becomes too complicated to make adjustments to it's a big problem. I won't know if that's the case with these corsets until I'm able to test the patterns out thoroughly. Going off of looks alone, I'm impressed with what I see. I like that the overbust has an option for a lace overlay; I've been dying to replace an old corset that has pink satin with a black lace overlay. I like the shape of the underbust, too. They look sexy, they're nicely designed, and unlike other McCall's corsets they're not popping off the body awkwardly at the hem or bustlines.

Tell me what you guys think! Are you still digging corsets or have they gone the way of the dinosaurs?


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