Thursday, 25 February 2016

First Impressions of Cosplay by McCall's Patterns

Trenched, Cloak X & Flight

Wait, hold up, did I not just blog about this? Well that's before I received a set of the patterns for myself. I was offered these as a marketing promo but I didn't want to mention it in the event that it fell through. I received them quite promptly and I have to say that I am blown away by the packaging on the new McCall's Cosplay patterns. The envelopes feature high quality printed images on card stock. They measure approx. 7 ¾" x 10" which makes them a fair bit larger than your standard sewing pattern envelope. There's a lot more information available on these envelopes, too. On the back flap of the envelope there are diagrams and images of the completed garment. On the underside of the flap there are helpful tips, like how to sew synthetic leather and cut faux fur. On the outside of the envelope there's the size chart, complete with suggested materials and notions. Inside you still get your large folded sheets of pattern paper, this time in white which makes it easier to read (or at least in my opinion it does). The instruction manuals are also slightly larger, they have a little more detail to them and are printed on a much higher quality paper. Overall, I'm very impressed with the quality of the patterns, you get a lot of bang for your buck. They cost the same as your typical costume patterns but you get something that will store well and hold up for continued use. In a way, they're kind of like collectibles.

I've read over the instruction manuals and I appreciate that they made the effort to provide a lot of detailed diagrams. Each pattern is categorized as advanced or intermediate. Surprisingly, Trenched (M2014) is the only advanced pattern. I suppose this is because it requires 8 meters of synthetic leather and that can be tricky stuff to work with. That being said though, just from reading the booklet I felt overwhelmed by Flight (M2015). You've probably been curious as to how the whole thing fits together. There's a harness that holds up a hinged wooden foundation that the wings are wired into, then the wings are covered in material. I think it would be cool to see this completed, but out of all the patterns this one requires the most notions and it has a long list of instructions accompanying it. I don't see it as being an easy weekend project, it's for someone who is really into perfecting their costume. I think the harness/foundation could be tweaked to look different, as it stands I'm not hot on how the wings connect, I think it requires a more seamless integration into the harness. Cloak X (M2016) is the pattern I hope to tackle very soon. It looks to be the easiest, it's skill level is "intermediate" but I could see advanced beginners accomplishing this one. I'm using it for my man's costume, he said he'd be cool with going as a viking for Halloween this year. Two years ago we purchased a battle axe prop in a Halloween clearance sale and I think it would look bitching with a viking costume. Hey, it's not historically accurate but he'll look sexy as hell!

These are really cool designs but I should warn that these projects can be costly. The Cloak X pattern is an unlined cloak, so there's no need to buy additional lining fabric, overall I could see it costing between $80-$100 depending on what you're using. Trenched will cost a fair bit of money, especially if you're using synthetic leather, although I could see someone using coating wool and that could be more cost effective. As for Flight, it depends on what you have already. I don't think the foam underlay would cost that much money, however, all the little hinges, drill bits, and tools could cost you if you don't already own them. I would say each project could possibly cost upwards of $100. You could find ways around this by using cheaper alternative materials, buying hardware from rehab stores, that kind of thing. 

These patterns give you good value in terms of quality. They're well printed and designed, and they offer more than your standard costume patterns. Overall, I'm really impressed and I look forward to seeing what else McCall's comes up with. The battle between McCall's and Simplicity's Cosplay continues, I'll be posting about the new Simplicity patterns shortly. Who will win?! I don't know! I guess we'll have to wait and see.



  1. I was really wondering what set apart their new cosplay line from their regular costumery patterns; the diagrams and higher quality paper answers it! Heheh.

    I wish I could say I had a strong desire to cosplay, but it's not something I'm convinced I like... I know, shocking coming from someone who loves to sew and worships Halloween.
    I mean, I like dressing up and all but I fear my anal nature would keep me from truly enjoying the process instead of worry about looking too costumey and not accurate enough, haha!

    1. I'm very much the same. I adore Halloween and I'd love to go to a costume ball or party, but I'm not a Cosplayer. I had a friend who was trying to get me into this stuff but I argued that 1) it's expensive 2) it's far too competitive and 3) I'm not big on pop culture. When it comes to costumes I tend to make things rather than characters, like a pirate or vampire. I love costume design though, which is why I've been following these pattern collections so closely.

  2. That was an excellent review!! Thank you!!!


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