McCall's Pirate & Vampire Costumes
Who doesn't love pirates or vampires? Or for that matter, vampirates! This makes me think of Halloween and anything that does that is awesome. These are your essential vampire and pirate costumes only kicked up a notch with some exquisite detail and fine construction.
Vests and Shirt
Vests and Shirt
At first I saw the cover of this pattern and thought "uhhhhh...embroidery? I don't have the machinery for that," but my concerns were put to rest when I read that the floral motifs are appliquéd on. In fact I believe this is the second McCall's pattern I've seen that utilizes the lesser known technique of couching. It's a technique I read about in couture fashion books and I've always been looking for the opportunity to give it a try (particularly on the bodice of a 1950's prom dress but we'll get into that another time).
There are two different style vests in this pattern, I prefer the longer one although the cropped vest could look quite dapper if paired with men's high waist trousers. The construction is visually appealing and I enjoy the corseting on the back. It also comes with a men's blouse - men don't wear blouses though, do they? lol! Although I feel that the appliqués used in the promo photo are a bit blocky, I'm sure that those who are fortunate enough to own an embroidery machine could come up with some more imaginative and elegant designs. Overall, I like it, I wish it had been out when my husband was interested in going as a vampire. I'm slated to go as vamp for Halloween this year so perhaps we'll do a couples costume.
Pants and Overskirt
My spellcheck just crapped itself when the word "wayfaress" hit the page lol. There's no definition for that in English either so if you're a reader overseas don't fret if it doesn't translate, to wayfare is to journey. Pirate costumes have not been McCall's strong suit. In fact their nicest looking pirate costumes aren't even pirate costumes, they come from the Vault Collection which specializes in historical costumery, and even at that they tend to flop when it comes to adequate construction. This is where you develop a true appreciation for what the Cosplay by McCall's brand is accomplishing, they're taking costume design to a new level. These are higher quality designs. I wish they would carry this level of detail into their regular costume line because Simplicity is still beating the crap out of them, but perhaps it will come in time.
I'm satisfied with this pattern. I believe the blouses you see in the promo photos are from previous Cosplay by McCall's patterns Manikin and Bow & Brine. The pants come in three styles but are all fairly similar; they're all the same length but have varying contrasts or details like ruffles, corseting and piping. I prefer look A but I feel like they should be gathered into some seriously stylized pant cuffs. The overskirt is a nice idea but there are aspects of it that I feel aren't as successful as the pants. The skirt looks a little stiff and frumpy and I believe a lot of that comes from their decision to use faux suede in the skirt material. It looks like it must've slipped around a bunch when assembling the lining because there's this bulk that's present throughout the skirt that can only be the result of poor fabric choice.
The celitc braid design is really cool looking and I'd appreciate it on a sturdier velvet fabric. I think the biggest drawback to this skirt is the overall design. In the front as it approaches the waist yoke the skirt veers outward causing the flaps to point toward the crotch, which is distracting to say the least lol. More importantly though, the waist yoke looks sloppy, even when belted. I know that the idea here is to create the impression of being over-sized. Historically, pirates would steal articles of clothing from the wealthy because fine fabrics were highly desirable, but the clothing seldom fit. Picture the garments of a fat well fed aristocrat on the emaciated weather worn form of a pirate and you can understand what I mean. This is why so many depictions of pirates show them in frumpy awkwardly fitting outfits. It's really encouraging to see a designer take that history into consideration, however, in this particular instance it is not well executed and appears as though the garment is just poorly sewn and not intentionally over-sized. I would encourage anyone picking up this pattern to redraft the waist yoke and cut the flaps on an outward angle.
I'm very pleased to see McCall's exploring classic costume designs. Their competitors have a much broader catalog to choose from and it would be nice to see McCall's offering designs of a comparable quality and selection in the future.
What are your thoughts?