Sunday, 2 September 2018

Cosplay by McCall's Patterns Summer of 2018

Cosplay by McCall's Patterns Summer of 2018

I took a long time to tackle this one as I've been on vacation, trying to buy a house, and fighting problems with my computer and internet.

So at the beginning of summer McCall's released two new cosplay patterns featuring a Steampunk and Dystopian aesthetic.

WESTERLANDJacket with detachable sleeves and gloves

This is a kind of samurai inspired dystopian, Mad Max, kind of costume. It's a leather jacket with detachable sleeves and fingerless biker gloves. I'm assuming it's trying to emulate the samurai shoulder armor called "sode", however, it also looks a lot like football shoulder pads, so it's really anyone's guess. It's a fairly basic design, not much to say, it looks like something out of a dystopian universe. There's a couple of rather arbitrarily placed pockets, I think with some drafting the design could be refined.

Top, Bloomers and Overskirt

This is another Steampunk design, this time by Ichigo Black. It just gets a big "meh" from me, it seems to pale in comparison to Ichigo's earlier Steampunk attempts. I've seen the bloomers and overskirt done multiple times by both the McCall's in house design team and Simplicity when working with Arkivestry's designer Karen Fleisch. It feels painfully referential and not well executed. I'd rather recommend Belle Rogue, Belle Noir or even Hitched, and McCall's Vault Collection M2062, M6770, or M6911; all of which have more elegant design elements and more a sophisticated level of execution (some of which sell for cheaper than the above pattern). This is not my bag, but I've also steeped myself into the alternative fashion scene and I'm finding Steampunk isn't nearly as popular as it had been a decade ago. With that being said, you can only reinvent this style so many times before you end up rehashing old ideas, it makes me wonder if McCall's would be better off exploring new subcultures.  

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, 9 May 2018

New Cosplay by McCall's Patterns May 2018

Costume & Accessories Patterns

We have two new patterns to look at, one costume and one accessories pattern. They're quite different from one another and neither was what I expected to see following the progression of previous releases. Let's take a look!


Bodysuit and Leg holster

I admit, I have no idea what the inspiration for this particular bodysuit is. It reminds me of Portal 2 even though I know that's not it, or maybe a bit like the suit from Neon Genesis Evangelion (?) some anime my brother used to watch it. I'm not super interested in body suits because there are already quite a few of them between McCall's and Simplicity, and it's not something many people can pull off. It looks well constructed and the contrasting band around the sides and shoulder yoke are attractive. I'm just not sure of the costume's application as it looks very distinct but could be fun to play with and adapt for other uses.

Edwardian Chapeau

I'm surprised this didn't end up in the McCall's Vault Collection which features many historical/period costumery patterns. It doesn't feel like it has applications in the world of Cosplay. Renfaire and historical fashion enthusiasts tend to be separated from the Cosplay scene, what distinguishes them from each other is up for debate. While Cosplay is often worn for fun, historical fans might dress up for role-playing purposes or out of the sheer desire to revitalize antiquated fashions. Because this pattern is Edwardian it doesn't quite fit the Steampunk genre, so I'm trying to understand who the target audience for this pattern is. Regardless, these are a fairly accurate representations of the wide brimmed, extravagant hats that women donned during that era, and I'm sure those taken with historical fashions will be interested in experimenting with the pattern's designs.


What are your thoughts? See anything you like? 

Friday, 6 April 2018

Darling, don't you go and cut your face

Plastic Surgery and Beauty Treatments Gone Awry

This is a post that I've been intending to write for some time now, it's about beauty and it's about naivete. I wanted to share it with people so that they know that nothing in the beauty industry if ever straightforward. In our fashion blogging community we see a lot about different beauty creams, techniques and procedures, and unfortunately we only really see the filtered side of things, the endorsements and the exaggerations; we don't get to see the cold hard truths. 

While over for a visit the other day, my mother spent an entire hour prattling on about a 50 something year old YouTube vlogger who looks the same age as me. She told me that this woman does all these beauty treatments and that's why she looks the way she does. Yet, when I posited to my mother that the woman is probably bullshitting it all, because none of us can possibly prove otherwise, she instantly came to this person's defense, and I ask why? What for? There are beauty bloggers making money hand over fist by throwing some products on a screen and insisting that it's the reason they look so good. We can't contest any of it unless we try the products for ourselves, right? We have no proof to the contrary, we don't know if these bloggers are flat out lying to us about procedures (but knowing what I do about a lot of these treatments, I can spot the fakers pretty easily now). It's weird how much power we give other people, just because they're prettier or more popular than us. Frankly, it's fucked right side up.

I'm thirty now. I know that's a baby to some, but I've entered what has often been referred to as "the danger zone". This is an age when women are at their sexual peak, it should be fun, yet we tend to feel disempowered because it's also the time when we (allegedly) begin to rapidly lose our good looks. We're constantly reminded of how our youth is draining away and that, unless we buy products x, y, and z, we'll end up as the oldest looking woman in our group of friends.

It's sad because I think it's a time when we could be supporting one another and carrying each other through the difficult years. I mean fuck, we think the 30's and 40's are distressing, wait until menopause. I make jokes at my mom's expense all the time but in reality it's not very funny being over 50. She has conversations with me about bladder control and that her pubes are turning white and not growing anymore. Seriously.

Yet, despite my own growing awareness of how bullshit and fucky the pressure to look good is, I still fall victim to it every single day. Any time I see a wrinkle get a deeper groove, or my skin looks thicker and drier, or my hair falls out some more, I'll be on my phone googling remedies. I can't kick it. I've even gone as far as concocting my own rules for dieting and skin care regimes (and no, it's seldom worked in my favor).

Yes, I'm aware it's like body dysmorphia. As a former anorexic I admit that most days I'm playing with fire. Whenever I teeter on the brink of losing control I try to ask myself if what I'm doing is causing more harm than good. That's why when I calorie count I'm not depriving myself but making sure what I'm putting into my body is healthy, or when I'm working out I'm not doing it to the point of physically breaking. I know the boundaries, but it's never enough. Nothing is.

My own experiences

Here's where I want to share a few of my own experiences with beauty treatments, so that you can understand it's not all it's cracked up to be. 

Laser Hair Removal - We all have hair in unwanted places. Whether it's the back of your knuckles, or neck, or your top lip. For me it was my vagina. I was sick of catching my pubes in zippers and doing the maintenance myself (through shaving or waxing). My techniques were only causing long term irritation, so I said fuck it, I'm getting it permanently removed. I was in school and working part time, and had no reason not to try laser hair removal. During the referral I was evaluated by the aesthetician who said I was a perfect fit. She even adjusted a payment plan so it was easier to afford on my minimum wage salary. I was told how baby smooth and perfectly hairless I would become. After a year of bi-monthly sessions and $1200 CAD I was kicked out of the shop, completely disillusioned with a patchy crotch. We had reached a point where the asethetician felt we could go no further and with no real discussion beforehand she cut me off. She said that my hair was too troublesome and that "it doesn't work for everybody". A complete change in tune from her initial claims that everything would go perfectly. It turns out that there's no such thing as permanent laser hair removal, it's referred to clinically as laser hair reduction, because it's results are so inconsistent they can't make any guarantees. It's been years and I still have to shave down there, but since the procedure I do have less to shave and therefore I almost never have to worry about ingrown hairs, but I feel ripped off and mistreated. I've never stepped into a beauty spa again since. 

Braces - I had an accident as a child which left my teeth disfigured. I had an overbite, crowding and one of my teeth had damn near turned completely backwards. My parents were low income and - according to my mom - couldn't qualify for enough coverage to get me braces. I had to wait until I was an adult in my early 20's to pursue dental work. I really wish that I had had it done it as a child, when people used to wear metal braces... Unbeknownst to me, I was entering into the ever popular "Invisalign" phase of dentistry. This is where dentists with damn near zero orthodontic experience can take a mold of your teeth, send it off to California, and have braces trays made up for you to wear daily (changed bi-weekly). I wasn't given the option for traditional braces, as you will see in many dentist offices these days. It costs the same, but I guess dentists are fucking lazy and can't be bothered to do it the old fashioned way. The truth is that Invisalign is incapable of doing 50% of the work, it can shift teeth but it can't rotate them, and your dentist will probably leave it to chance and wait years before finally calling it quits and strapping on metal braces to finish the job. Thankfully my dentist has never charged me extra for their orthodontic miscalculations, but it hasn't made up for the social duress of being an adult woman with braces for six years. They're a bitch to clean and they hoard bacteria worse than my old tongue piercing, they make my breath stink. I'm happy that my teeth are straighter than before, I don't cover my mouth when I smile any longer, but the journey to get here was a fucking joke. They could've easily done this in two years on normal braces. I'm told I'll only be able to wear Invisalign retainers which I hear don't actually retain anything and will inevitably lead to the need for braces again later in life.

Rhinoplasty - It's something a lot of people forget I've had done. I underwent a septoplasty/rhinoplasty/scar revision procedure for my deviated septum. I requested that we make a few cosmetic changes, as there were flaws in my nose that I wasn't happy with and septoplasty only actually covers the realignment of your septum and not any deformities. We agreed to get rid of the hump and pick up my drooping tip (which in turn would reduce the bulbous appearance of my nose). The surgery went swimmingly, at first. I healed faster than any of his patients and we were both pleased with that. I remember my mom was freaking out saying that she didn't recognize me because the swelling made me look like some kind of freaky sub-human creature. It wasn't until a year later that I experienced the dark side of rhinoplasty, the shit you never hear about. For starters, turning the tip up revealed my nose hairs which I now have to trim, gross and a pain in the ass. Secondly, my mucous runs out of my nose at unprecedented speeds. You know when you have a runny nose and you feel it coming so you grab the tissue box? Not for me, now it just comes out and sometimes I'm not even aware of it, it'll crust up around my nostrils and I look like a slob. And that's not the worst of it.

In order to lift the drooping nose tip, he used my existing cartilage and shifted it forward, projecting just a little too far as now it's poking through my skin. On really cold days the right cartilage appears as a large bump, almost like a cyst or pimple. They call it the "shrink wrap" effect, when an implant or part of the nose has shifted or the fascia hasn't managed to cover it, the swelling goes down and the skin shrinks back around it. I told my doctor immediately and he initially dismissed it. When I returned to complain a second time he told me that it probably was happening and that it could get worse in ten years and that I should wear makeup, focus on my smile or my eyes. I don't know if he was fucking with me or what. He's hot and I like the way he talks to me but completely dismissing my concerns has eroded any confidence that I had in the man. He also shrugged off the fact that the dorsal hump, which I believe he forgot to close up properly, is showing as a dark oval in my photographs on the bridge of my nose.

I discussed my options with him, he told me he could revise but we run the chance of only making things worse. Okay...why the fuck didn't he mention that before? When he was all fucking chipper pre-surgery and said if there were any problems after a year we'd work through it together ♥.  Now he's evasive and doesn't want to commit to surgery. I can tell he's scared shitless. You see he's not a plastic surgeon, he's an ENT, he's does some pretty amazing shit for people, nose jobs are just like a hobby he picked up, he generally does them for medical reasons and not cosmetic. You can find the reverse issue when you go for a surgeon who is strictly cosmetic and forgets to sustain the structure of your nose, which is why there are countless stories of men and women with severe breathing issues after a botched nose job. I forgot to mention, statistics have indicated that 1 in 20 nose jobs fail, and given the high volume of nose jobs preformed each year you can only imagine the sheer volume of crooked, collapsed and deformed noses.

Because my surgeon is nervous and reluctant to help, I'm hesitant to use him but at the same time I'm painfully aware that revision surgery elsewhere is impossible for me to afford. He offered to waive his surgical fee (this is commonplace) but I'd still have to pay $2000 for the anesthesia team and operating room. If I pursue a surgeon specializing in rhinoplasty revision I'll be paying their fee plus the operating and anesthesia fees, and as far as I can tell these specialists will cost me in the neighborhood of $10,000. My original surgery fee was $4000. I just can't afford to fix it. I might be stuck with my busted nose job forever and it will only get inevitably worse as my skin ages.


Please hear what I'm trying to tell you, I have spent roughly $20,000 CAD on self improvement procedures and they all have had drawbacks. Nothing is as perfect as these assholes online like to make you believe. You could buy the creams, the rollers, the injections, and you'll never look sixteen again, you'll never look like Angelina Jolie or some fucked face Kardashian. You'll just end up sore, broke, and wanting more.

Always wanting more.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Simplicity Alt Fashion and Cosplay Patterns

New Simplicity Patterns

I admit, I haven't been actively looking at Simplicity patterns in the last little while. I sneak a peek now and again but largely it's been vintage repro and none of it looks that good (like honestly, unless you're hurting to find something in your size, I recommend looking for cheaper authentically vintage patterns on Etsy). Not having seen anything inherently goth, lolita or cosplay in awhile I had sort of forgotten about Simplicity. I still get hundreds of search results for these kinds of patterns, I'm already into 80,000 page views total now, but how many of those numbers are people actually looking for goth, alt and cosplay sewing patterns remains unclear. I'm guessing at least 10%. If you happen to be one of those readers, you might be stoked to see these two patterns, or you might be disappointed. Let's discuss.

Simplicity 8626

Another Arkivestry pattern, and because it's only corsets I guess Simplicity felt it was "safe" enough to plug in the apparel category. As I've mentioned on here before, it's clear that Karen favors the 90's, trad goth kind of aesthetic. It feels dated. Whether that's your scene or not, a corset is a very versatile garment as far as style is concerned. You're free to adapt this to any look you like. Many still consider the corset a classic alt wardrobe staple, but I've lost interest in them over the years. Mine are still sitting in a box, collecting dust, in a closet. I haven't worn any of them since I moved here two years ago and I already sold off one or two, so from my personal viewpoint I think corsets are becoming overrated. That being said, if I had to review this pattern I would tell you as far as corsets are concerned this one lacks adequate construction. You can see from the close up shots of these corsets that they lack stability. I'm uncertain as to why that is, perhaps it's the material they chose? It's very frumpy, bumpy and hangs off the model in various areas. Corsets are not held up by boning alone, fabric strength and stability is important, likewise, how the pieces are cut also influences the stability of the garment. Either they forgot or didn't care and otped in favor of "trendy" fabrics. They also apparently forgot how to lace the corset up the back in the photo below.

In any case, this is a fairly mediocre corset pattern and there are better options out there from both Simplicity and McCall's.

Simplicity 8630

It seems only fair to mention this Jackie Craft Cosplay Amor pattern from Simplicity, and unlike Becka Noel's three piece pattern set, this has everything you need in one place. And bonus: NO THERMOPLASTIC! For those of you who had difficulty sourcing that material you can opt for this pattern which utilizes EVA foam. Yeah, it's the shit you can get at hardware stores. What I find interesting is that although this pattern is about as simplified as Becka Noel's, this looks way better for some reason. I'm not sure if it's the paint technique, or the proportions, but it's far more visually appealing. My only critique is how badly it's been photographed. Where was the photographer? On holiday? Did they shoot in the dark? Why is there so much noise? It's like someone took pictures on their cell phone. Totally confusing, but it doesn't detract too much from this fun pattern.


I have to say it's quiet over at the Simplicity brand, but knowing what I do about the company it's probably going to take a couple of months before things pick up. I'm hoping we see more unusual patterns from them, it seems they're going full on vintage, and considering how much the vintage scene has died off in the last five years I'm not sure if that's the best decision.

What are your thoughts? What would you like to see? 

Cosplay by McCall's March 2018

March 2018 Patterns

I wasn't expecting this wave of patterns to come so soon but I was giddy as fuck to see McCall's partner up with Joshua Hart again. He has such a solid design aesthetic and I'm happy to see that he's modeling his own dress in this one (I'm a bit jealous that he makes a hotter chick than I do).

Nightfell Herbalist
Jacket with mock corset and skirt with attached petticoat

I'm curious if this can be made minus the mock corset? The trick here is that the belt is not included and I'm under the impression that it's what's cinching the waist inward (complimented by the voluminous full skirt). I can't imagine it would be difficult to adapt this as an overcoat to be worn with an actual corset. There is a tulle and net petticoat built into the skirt however it's probably easier and more effective to purchase a ready made petticoat instead. My only critique for this costume is the button, I hate it, I'd rather a bow there or a gorgeous brooch, and seeing how it's not an actual closure but only a mock one it gives you ample room to play. I'd probably ditch the overlap and cut it as a singular piece. There are princess seams shaping the back of the bodice but the front is shaped using darts which can sometimes result in a looser fitting garment so fitting adjustment is probably necessary. I like this pattern a lot, it has a Lolita vibe without going too far into the genre, I'm looking forward to playing with it someday.

Calista Knight III
Bracer, Hand Armor, Wrist Armor and Shin Guards.

I'm assuming this is the last installation of the thermoplastic series. Again, it's nothing special and probably could have been worked into either Calista Knight I or II.


Honestly? I just want more J. Hart.
Tell me what you think? Have you sewn up any Cosplay by McCall's patterns?

Friday, 23 February 2018

New Patterns from McCall's FEB 2018


Two new patterns from the Cosplay by McCall's brand, another armor/accessories pattern and a rather fancy looking historically inspired Elizabethan dress.

CALISTA KNIGHT II, Headpiece and Pauldron

Calista Knight 2
Headpiece and Pauldron

I'm not going to go over the thermoplastic again. It's pretty straightforward, this is a continuation of the last pattern, M2114. You can read about it here in the last post I made. I really don't like the design any better, I'd say this is probably worse than the last, although when I googled the word Pauldron I saw some really cool examples of that kind of armor that you might like better than this! I don't see why these two patterns were made separately, it could've gone in with M2114, unless it was an issue of printing costs, it just seems unlikely that someone would purchase this pattern over the first one which has the breast plate. I don't know, maybe that's just me. If I said the first one was too niche than this one is practically unsaleable, I feel like very few people would actually buy it. 

STIRLING REGENT, Top, Detachable Collar, and Skirt

Stirling Regent
Detachable collar, top and skirt

Now this is pretty cool. Not as luxe as some of the historical patterns you'll find in the McCall's vault but good none the less. What I appreciate about it is that it's a complete look. You would have to purchase a petticoat and hoop skirt to get the right shape, but that's the case with all of these types of costume. I feel like the contrasting panel across the bust could be more shapely and perhaps narrower but that could be a fit issue. The level of embellishment is well balanced and aesthetically pleasing. This could be adapted to multiple different styles of costume. It looks like an intense sew but could be a lot of fun to wear!


If they're going to continue with the thermoplastic thing I really hope they get a better cosplay designer on board. Becka Noel looks like she's completely out of her element with this stuff, which is odd because some of her cosplay armor looks good, some of it looks like shit too, it's just plain confusing. How the hell did she go from this to what you see above? Weird.

Anyways, I hope all has been well with you dear readers. I've been sluggish in the blogging world because I've been hard at work with other things and I'm looking to move out of the city, so it's a very busy year for me. Most of you know me through other social media platforms, which I spend more time on anyways. I'll still pop in around here on occassion. 


Wednesday, 17 January 2018

McCall's December 2017

 Two New Patterns 

 I'm late to writing about this, gah, I've been fighting off colds, we lost a family friend but I couldn't even attend the funeral because I felt so shite. Winter, it's always such a bitch for us, we notoriously lose someone around this time of year, but I tend to wonder how much of it has to do with old age and flu season, and now we've got some kind of Australian super flu spreading into North America. Due to my illness the pharmacist has always been hesitant to administer me the flu shot, so for my sake people GET YOUR FLU SHOT. Maybe you'll help protect folks like me!

 Anyways, I did receive these patterns and have been meaning to write about them for some time. They're both similar in style, one features an underbust waist cincher and neck corset, the other has a a breastplate and circlet. Let's analyze.

Misses' Waist Cincher and Neck Corsets

I kinda want to make the wide version of the neck corset but I'm skeptical as to how comfortable it would be. I suspect depending on fabric choice it could feel like I'm being strangled. It has a deliciously gothic vibe to it, though. The shorter neck corset is not as elegant and looks a bit harsh and clunky, it definitely helps to wrap it out around the shoulders. I imagine this takes some intense alterations to get fit just right but I'd still like to try my hand at it some day. I suppose to make the pattern more worth while they threw in a waist cincher which is decent in shape and design. They have a couple of corsets in the Cosplay by McCall's collection so there's no shortage of options.

Breastplate and Circlet

This is another Becka Noel. I'm not impressed with it, it looks cheap, like you'd be better off buying some armor from a costume shop. However, it is introducing McCall's home sewists to a specialty material, Worbla's FineArt Thermoplastic. This is a plastic material that can be shaped and bonded to itself by using heat. It is a pretty versatile material, it can be used in a variety of projects but it certainly has its limitations. Like all plastic it can break. It becomes brittle if exposed to extreme cold, it warps if exposed to extreme heat, it'll break if you fall on it, and it's probably sweaty as fuck to wear. I thought it might be cool to use it for making jewelry and found out that they do have tutorials for mold casting, but this made me laugh:

"The Worbla products are not meant as a replacement for resin casting and we will never suggest they will give you the same result!"

At least they're honest! You basically need to accept that it's a fun, gimmicky material and not intended for long term use. In other words, it's costumery. While I'm not a fan of this pattern's design, I can acknowledge that it would be a good starting point for anyone new to using thermoplastic. You could probably play around with it and adjust it to suit your costume needs.

Here is a link to Worbla's website so you can see where to purchase it and the various prop and costume tutorials available.


I'm impressed to see a new material being utilized in McCall's pattern designs. I feel as though it'll be too niche to make substantial sales for them, but it's interesting to see it. I like the neck corset, obviously I embrace anything remotely gothic in nature. It'd be cool to see some more gothic stuff but that's just me lol.

What are your thoughts? Have you ever worked with thermoplastic before?
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