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?



  1. I have to admit, I am really liking all the designs! Even the bloomers! LOL! I think they are adorable, but you are right, where would you wear them?

    1. lol To each their own. ;) I could see someone wearing them as pajamas and around the house, but they're not functional enough for working out in (maybe the shorts would be) and at school or work I think people would just be weirded out by them. I mean, bloomers are underwear! XD

  2. Lol for a sec I thought that 666 pattern was real and almost lost my shit. That would be awesome. I share your opinions that those patterns are out of touch and out of date. And lolitas don't diy anymore. And I've *never* seen *anyone* wear bloomers. I can see a lot of people making the 50s dress though.

    1. I would be ecstatic if that pattern were to be made lol. I don't understand why Karen Fleisch is so behind the times. S8020 looks almost exactly like another pattern I had seen back in the early 2000's, when the whole fit and flare skirt thing was popular. The blouse and skirt designs look matronly to me. The models are definitely younger than what the company normally uses, so they're clearly attempting to draw in young sewists, but they're going about it all wrong. At least McCall's has been experimenting with a variety of designers, and I mean people who are notable within the Steampunk or Lolita scenes. Hopefully Simplicity might take notice of that and try to reach out to someone in the Gothic or alternative fashion community for the next set of designs. Fingers crossed, we've made it this far! lol

    2. Yeah McCall's is a lot more with it, and they've hired young designers. Those designs up there remind me of something my grandma would make thinking "this would be perfect for my funky granddaughter. She wears such strange things!" My grandma was like that all the time.

    3. Lol omg that's exactly what it's like! Like if my mom designed it. I once saw a public access show from the states where they spoke with a woman from some big pattern company, she was a designer who described her job as just drawing out the garment and rough sketching the pattern pieces, then a team of drafters create and grade the pattern. She was the same age as my grandmother! I'm not slamming her skills or anything but I can't imagine a woman my grandmother's age designing crop tops or low cut shirts... Which I guess is the reason we don't see any of that stuff!

  3. I certainly think simplicity need to reconsider who they hire for alternative designs. As this person has no sense of fashion sense or colour coordination.

    Because of your post I've purchased 8020 if ignore the terrible and garish vomitting inducing patterns. The pattern are quite nice, except for the ridiculous hat insane embroidery. Then again I've been looking lolita style blouse to make hopefully I'll come a treet and some alteratring the sleeves

    1. I could see the blouse being adapted for Lolita stuff, and perhaps that's the style the designer was trying to channel? But you're right, that fabric is so vomit inducing it's hard to look past it to see the actual garment itself. I think sometimes pattern companies deliberately photograph their clothing in hideous, busy fabrics in attempt to cover up construction flaws in the garment. Hopefully you can salvage this pattern and make something really cute with it. :)

  4. I love the Simplicity pattern 8020 and have made the short skirt several times with different fabrics. I'm short and so I can get away with wearing the short skirt to work as it falls close to the knee on me and allows me to bend over without showing my behind! LOL! I'm no really into hard core goth style, however, I do like some of the elements as they tend to not be run of the mill boring and seen on every street corner. The pictures on the packaging attracted me to this pattern, otherwise, I would have probably passed it up.

  5. I am so disappointed that 0666 isn't a real pattern :-(

    1. Same! We should send it to Simplicity and demand that it be made lol.


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