Thursday, November 2, 2017

McCall's Steampunk Patterns

McCall's has a couple of new steampunk accessories patterns.

M7705 Is a pattern by Formé Millinary with five different styles of perch hats.  There's a tricorn, bicorn, sidecap, and two other styles.  Some of these look better than others, in my opinion.  The styling as pictured is really questionable, especially the trim on the bicorn.   And I'm not sure how well-constructed any of these are.  But they might be ok as a basis for some little hats. 

M7706 has six different styles of spats.  They vary from small lacy ones, medium length ones and a couple of very tall styles.  My favorite one is the blue View C which would look a lot better if the details had been done in a contrasting color and not the exact same color.  The other long ones are just knit and look like they wouldn't stay up very well.  The others could be cute depending on fabric and decoration. 

Cosplay by McCall's has a new Lolita pattern with a really cute bustier, pannier supports, and a skirt.  The panniers would work for any 18th century pannier styled costume, so they might be useful beyond just this look.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

New Fall Sewing Patterns Megapost!


Simplicity has released a 1950's vintage pattern for a slip/petticoat.  The only thing to judge on is the drawings on the front, but they look nice and full.  But it doesn't seem to include any tulle or net to make these super stiff.  But you could add some, of course.  So it might be useful for various retro/rockabilly looks.

Along a similar line, Simplicity 8458 is a pattern for vintage skirts.  I like the button detail and contrast trim on the one skirt.  It has a vaguely dieselpunk-ish feel to it.

This cape pattern is part of Simplicity's "pattern hacking" line, which I guess means it has a lot of different details you can add?  But I like the cape with the tabs a lot, and if you do any steampunk events in winter, I HIGHLY recommend a warm cape.  My wool cape was wonderful at Steampunk November last year and I was warm for the first time at that event.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Yuri on Ice Eros Corset Cosplay

So I know I've been quiet on this blog.  I've been doing a lot less sewing and steampunk related stuff.  For personal reasons I'm not able to get out to events and cons the way I used to.  I won't be attending a single steampunk event or vending at all this year.

But I have been rather obsessed with a fandom: Yuri on Ice.  If you're not familiar with the show, it's an anime about men's figure skating.  I adore it.  And naturally, falling in love with a show made me think about how I could create something to celebrate it.  Once I learned that the creators of the show would be at Animefest in Dallas, I knew I had to attend, and wanted to dress for the occasion.  So I hope y'all don't mind that this really isn't steampunk, but it is corsetry and cosplay.  And hey, this is my blog.

The show has a lot of figure skating costumes naturally, but the most distinctive is undeniably the Eros costume.  It's supposedly inspired by "bondage and lingerie."  And as I looked at it, I started thinking about how I could turn it into a corset. I could recreate the mesh pieces in corset mesh, and find a way to shift the lines to make a more feminine shape.

So I made a sketch of how I would adapt the costume.  I'm REALLY bad at drawing y'all, so you have to excuse my terrible excuse for a human form.  The basic idea was to create the corset from black spot broche and corset mesh, and somehow attach the sleeves and yoke to the top of the corset.  The rest would just be an asymmetric skirt and leggings.

I later decided that to get the shape of the panels and mesh bits right, the corset needed hip gores, which I'm kinda terrible at.  So I started with a corset pattern I knew fit me well and had the right fit in the bust, and generally the right shape.  I made up a dirty mockup in cotton sheeting and then remarked all the seam lines to create something close to what I wanted.

My first real mock-up was extremely rough.  The patterning was weird because the whole corset is asymmetrical and I was trying to have the hip gores totally different at first.  I decided after this that the gores would have to be more traditional and I wouldn't extend the mesh all the way to the bottom of the corset.

I made a second mock-up very quickly but although the patterning was better, the mock-up was kinda a disaster.  So I made some changes and then decided to bite the bullet and start work on the final corset, because I was running out of time for the con.

For the rest of the pieces of the costume I bought some 4-way stretch lycra for the sleeve, and thin lycra for the skirt.  I wanted it to have a lot of movement like a dance skirt.  For the mesh sleeve, I used some mesh I had on hand.  It was white, but in the interests of not spending money I dyed it black with iDye Poly, which worked GREAT.  The only problem was I had less than a yard on hand, so I couldn't mess up with it.

For the crystal accents, I originally thought about casting them from resin.  If I were going to do a really serious cosplay of this outfit that's probably what I'd do.  But because all the shapes are different that would involve making a bunch of different molds, that's complicated.  Plus expensive because while I have clear resin I don't have mold making materials.  So then I considered using rhinestone crystals to create the shapes.  And then realized just how many thousands of rhinestones that would take, not to mention the time involved applying them.

So finally I found a site that sells extra large rhinestone gems.  I decided that this would be the easiest way to get an approximation of the gems on the costume.  Plus they would be sparkly.  In hindsight I should have bought more of these, but they were a little pricey.   I bought two sizes of Navette shaped stones and one pair of diamond shaped ones.  I should have gotten more of the extra extra large navettes.  When it finally came to applying these to the costume, I also used some rhinestones I had lying around to fill out the space.  As well as some clear beads I'd bought that I thought might work for this project.  I knew I wasn't trying to recreate the costume exactly, but rather making a piece "inspired by" it, so I tried to give a similar impression with my stones.

As for the top, I ended up adapting a pattern I had already.  It's a knit crop top from this pattern, which worked fairly well as a base.  I changed the front seam line and extended the sleeves down into fingerless gloves, and changed the collar.  One problem I had was working with the mesh.  I thought serging all the seams would make it secure enough, but the mesh tore easily and little holes opened up alone the seams as I wore it.  I thought of having the mesh cover my torso completely, but it made the corset mesh  much more opaque.  Which meant you couldn't see my lily-white skin as clearly and the decorative lines didn't stand out at all.  So the mesh and spandex just barely covers my breasts.

I made the skirt very hastily, and I'm not all that happy with it, since it falls weird.  But I was literally doing it the day before I left for Dallas, so there was a limit to how much I could mess with it.

As for my hair, I refuse to wear wigs.  I have a big head so they're mostly uncomfortable and hot.  So I dyed my hair dark brown (it was half bleached from having it purple) and slicked it back with large amounts of industrial hair product.  I had considered going so far as to have my hair cut into more of a boy cut, but didn't have time.  And I was doing a female version/inspired by sort of costume anyway.

So that's that.  I wore a costume that is half mesh out in public, including on public transportation(!).  The picture to the right is at the end of the day, in 100 degree heat and I'm melting.

The con itself was alright, I was very happy to get to gush with other Yuri on Ice fans and see the creators talk.  But the organization was poor, and I wasn't able to get autographs despite waiting for hours on two days.  I spent most of my time in lines.

The costume isn't perfect, in my opinion, especially the way the top and corset interact.  But for a rush job, and a really challenging corset to pattern and execute, it came out pretty good.  I hope I have a chance to wear it again to another appropriate event.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

New Steampunk Cosplay Patterns

Cosplay by McCall's has several new patterns that are a little interesting.

Foot Fetish: Gilded is a collection of "bootcovers" or spat-type accessories.  There are three versions: the cover style with straps and pleated trim, a pair with ruched fabric front and corset lacing in back, and some filigree low-top covers that go around the ankle.  They're all written to be made in synthetic leather with fabric trim and jewelry findings.

The instructions are pretty good at showing how to attach the pieces together, install eyelets and buckles, use blanket stitch to decorate and secure layers.

The main question about this pattern is whether it's really necessary.  The only one of the three designs I really like is the low-top cut-out one. I would probably leave the ruffle off it, though.  All of these are one-size-fits-all because they only cover the front of the boot/shoe and just have straps or lacing in the back.

And since I can't imagine many people wanting to exactly recreate these styles, if you're going to be adapting these to suit your outfit, it would be pretty easy to make your own basic front shape and decorate it as you wish.  So I can't see many people really would feel the need to buy this pattern.  Am I wrong? Is this pattern more useful than it seems?

Hand-Eye Coordination is a pattern for four different glove styles and three different eye patches and finger armor claws.  The "leather" portions are faux leather fused to cloth with fusible web.

The instructions in this pattern are actually pretty good at showing how to attach the various pieces using rivets, blanket stitch edging, and jewelry findings.  There is a paragraph encouraging using found objects to embellish the eyepatch in an individual style.

I do like some of the gloves, like the fabric gloves with laced bracer covering the wrists.  The claws aren't my style and I wonder how well they would hold up since they are just held together with interfacing.

But if you prefer you could use these patterns with actual leather, stitching or riveting it together mostly in the same way.

So whether this pattern appeals to you is mostly a matter of style, I think.  It also works as a plain glove pattern, so that could have uses in other types of costuming.

Becoming Emelie is a lolita style pattern for a bonnet, circular purse, and cape with tufted shoulders.  I love the bonnet, and I don't know that there's another commercial pattern for this style of hat. The pattern uses thick sew-in interfacing and the wire from a wire hanger to stiffen the hat.  That would probably work pretty well.  I especially love the gathered lining.

The purse zips closed and has a chain strap.  It uses batting for padding.  I'm not sure how sturdy the finished bag would be, but it is cute.

The cape is a really nice shape, short in the front and longer and full in the back.  It is fully lined and has lace edging.  The shoulders are tufted and beaded.  Personally I'm not wild about the shoulders, but you could leave that off the cape easily.

Finally the pattern includes a pattern and instructions for making fabric roses to decorate the bonnet and purse.  I love these kind of details and they look fun to make with scraps.

So I think this is another excellent lolita pattern from this brand, and one you probably definitely want if you make lolita outfits.  The cape would be great for steampunk, and with some different embellishments the bonnet and bag could as well.

Red Reign is a pattern by Ichigo Black that includes a corset, bolero, hoop and skirt.  This is one I didn't get a review copy of, so I can't say how the instructions are.  Which is too bad given it's a corset.  I did like the previous patterns by Ichigo Black, though.

I like the style, especially the jacket, skirt and hoops.  The corset is almost a bustier since it's so short and straight.  I would probably just use a different corset pattern that's curvier and extends further onto the hips.  (I like the corsets in this same pattern line as one option.)

Finally there is Eventide, which includes two different jackets with puffed shawl collars.

Without checking this strikes me as a design that looks like it's from Once Upon a Time.  Except for the collar, the cover version is just a nice feminine version of a frock coat and would work well for any pirate-themed outfit.  It could also work for a variety of different cosplays.

The shorter version is a little plainer, more of a bodice with the only really noticeable elements being the collar and the giant sleeves.  In both versions, I really hate the puffed collar.  I would automatically replace it with something more normal looking.

So I think the first version of this coat has a lot of possibilities for cosplay, steampunk, pirate, or goth wear.  (Minus the collar.  Sorry, I hate it.)

(In the interest of full disclosure I was provided review copies of these patterns at no cost.)

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Summer Steampunk Patterns from Simplicity and Cosplay by McCall's

Simplicity has two new steampunk patterns in their new collection.

Simplicity 8408 is a pattern for a man's shirt and two vests.    The shirt has two collar options: a band collar or wing style collar.  Other than that, it's a fairly plain shirt.

There are two styles of vests, as pictured on the front.  There's the long single-breasted one and the shorter double breasted vest.

Honestly I love everything about this pattern.  There really aren't enough men's steampunk patterns, although vest patterns are exactly rare.  But I like both vest looks and the shirt is a great addition to make this more than just another vest pattern.  The details on the vests with multiple pockets and nice collars all look nice.

Simplicity 8409 includes a bolero jacket and skirt, both with two variations.  

I'll admit on first looking at this, I wasn't very impressed.  It's a confusing look, especially the blue and red version.   But on studying the pattern a little closer, it's not that complicated.  The bolero jacket is nice, with some interesting details.  It's different from other steampunk boleros in other patterns at least.  (But I'd suggest wearing a shirt or corset or something under it. I don't think the bare skin look really works.)

And the long fringe on the one bolero style?  Well, it probably could work ok with the right outfit.  It'd be good for belly dancing.  But mostly I'm not in love with it.

The skirt comes in two lengths.  I naturally like the longer skirt much better, but that's really personal preference.  Although I'm not sure a really short skirt really screams "steampunk" but I'll try not to judge.  The corset-style belt is built into the skirt.  Obviously it's not actually a corset, just decorative, but I like it.  The skirt itself is made up of handkerchief style pieces, which is a neat look that would look very different in different fabrics.   The skirt would really be good for a casual steampunk look.

So although I wasn't super excited about this pattern on first glance, I'd say it's really kinda neat.  I don't like the way it's styled in the photos that well, with the bare midriff and clashing colors.  But I think it could look cool and be a good steampunk wardrobe addition.

I'll include a mention of Simplicity 8411 which is a version of the red dress from Outlander, obviously.  It's 18th century rather than 19th, but I figure some of y'all may be interested.  It's a pattern from American Duchess, which explains why it looks pretty nice.  The design isn't historically accurate, and I hated that bust in the show, but this is not a bad looking pattern.

In addition to the boned bodice (the pattern calls for cable ties!) and skirt, the pattern includes panniers, which could be very useful.  Maybe I just like panniers.

There are also a couple new Cosplay by McCall's patterns.  The first is Hat Madder which includes this skeleton mad hatter hat, bow tie, collar, and cuffs, and this flower/unicorn horm headpiece.

This pattern is freaking weird.  Just need to get that out there.  The mad hatter hat doesn't look very good in my opinion, mostly because the brim appears to have nothing to stiffen it, so it's just floppy all over the place.  It doesn't give the impression of a top hat so much as a trash can on top of a tortilla.  Like, I think this design could be neat, but it looks like someone tried it out and made a prototype and just said "meh, close enough."

The rest of the pattern is ok, and I like the weirdness of the unicorn horn thing, but I'm not sure any of it is really vital enough to require a $14 pattern.

Secondly there is Abigail by Anachronism in Action.  When I first looked at this pattern I said, well, it looks nice, but I have no idea what it's supposed to be.

The pattern is for a lined and boned vest/bodice, skirt, and petticoat.  From looking at the pattern it seems to be well-constructed.   But I remained confused as to exactly what period this outfit was supposed to represent, and neither the pattern envelope or the website really gave me much of a clue.

I had to go to Anachronism in Action's FB page to actually figure it out.  First she calls this a Renaissance-inspired outfit.  And then she also has an album of the outfit made up in a few different looks.  The album calls this a 16th century style.

So, great, mystery solved.  I can't really comment on the historical accuracy of this, since I don't know a great deal about 16th century costume.  But seeing some of the different renaissance festival stylings of this outfit makes me like it quite a bit more.  It could be a good option if you want a Renaissance outfit that doesn't look like everyone else's.

And I would say that if you're the kind of person who blends Renaissance and steampunk, this could be a good set to have in your closet.  I can picture either the skirt or the vest working with a steampunk outfit.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

New Cosplay by McCalls patterns for steampunks

So I have been out of touch on this blog and in general.  I haven't even sewed anything in over two months.  While I'm trying to figure out what to do with this blog as I try to reorder my life, I'm still a pattern addict.  And I got the two Cosplay by McCall's patterns in the mail a couple days ago.  Both of them are aimed pretty clearly at a steampunk market.

First let's talk about Thirst.  This is a gothic/Romantic styled men's pattern.  The pattern includes the shirt and two different styles of vest.  The shirt is nice, but the billowing sleeves with ruffles at the wrist aren't very Victorian.  It's really more Regency, but since I'm not really up on early 19th century men's styles, I'm not sure if it's accurate at all.  It's would work fine as goth fashion, and no one would kick you out of a steampunk con, but I thought I should mention it's not Victorian-accurate.  I do really like the collar style, though, and I might, if I ever get up the courage to try a men's shirt again, use the collar at least.

Now the vests.  The vest on the cover is...ok?  Maybe?  It looks really short and I don't really like the seam at the waist that makes it look strangely 18th century, while not being right for that either.  It could evoke some period vests that were pretty short, because men's trousers came up above the waist at the time.  But since very few modern men are willing to wear period-accurate trousers, it just shows the shirt, as you can see in the photo.

And then there's the other vest style.  Which is just the same vest, but without the bottom half.   This is so incredibly bizarre and unattractive I posted the picture up to my friends to see if anyone had any explanation for it.  Maybe it was referencing some TV show I hadn't seen?  Maybe an anime?  Who freaking knows.  Everyone else was as put off by it as I was.

I mean, I guess it's an equal opportunity crop top?  Even on this model it doesn't really look good and he has to have the ideal figure.  On most men it would just be downright terrible.  Highlight the beer belly, gents!  One of the nice things about vests is that they are flattering on a range of male body types.  But, yeah, not this one.

Seriously, I feel like I need a gay man over here to explain fully everything wrong with this vest.  I can't do it justice.

Anyway, the actual pattern envelope and instructions don't give any clues about the intentions of the designer.  I really...can't understand where they're coming from with this one.

Luckily I like the other new pattern better.  Wayfaress is a pattern for three styles of bloomer-styled pants and an overskirt.
Let's start with the skirt.  It's strange.  Not a full skirt, but about 3/4 of a skirt, with no means of attaching it except to use a purchased belt.  So it's kinda like a cape with belt loops.  While I think using a belt to hold the overskirt on is a neat idea, I wish there was an alternate method of attachment.   Ties or buttons or something.  Because not every outfit lends itself to a belt.  And it requires a fairly skinny belt, based on the size of the loops.  I'm not sure a standard renaissance faire leather belt would work.  Also you need a belt without a bunch of stuff on it, like my steampunk belt.  I couldn't use my belt because it's both too wide and has too many things attached to it that aren't easily removable.

Having said that, the shape of the skirt is pretty nice, and it has a really lovely trim design sewn onto it.  The instructions are pretty good about giving tips for topstitching and attaching the trim.  Frankly if I wanted to achieve this look I'd probably go looking in my closet or a thrift store for a similarly shaped skirt and attach the trim and hike up the front of the skirt.

Moving on to the pants.  There are three styles, all basically the shape shape with different embellishments.  The plainest is the ones pictured on the envelope front.  These just feature some piping and topstitching but are otherwise plain.  They don't really do anything for me, but I guess they are the most masculine.

I do really like the styling of the other two views.  View B has decorative corset-style lacing on the side panels, buttons and chains on the front and some ruffles at the leg openings.  The lacing is run through cord loops stitched into the seams, which is a nice look, but which wouldn't show at all if worn with an overskirt.

View C is my favorite and has stitched on contrast stripes and large ruffles at the legs. The stripes as pictured are raw-edged and intentionally frayed, which is actually a pretty steampunk detail.  Though the pattern notes you could use ribbon or a non-fraying fabric for these if you don't like the frayed look.

My one concern with all of these pants is that they are fairly close-fitting, moreso than bloomers really are.  They look good on the models, but I'm a little concerned that they might not work great for those of us who have larger hips and rears.  Especially in a woven fabric, I'd be afraid of having a seam blow out when sitting or crouching.  Now I haven't actually tried the pattern, but they do seem pretty slim in the hips/stomach in the photos.  Just something to keep in mind.  Also the fact that the closure is a zipper means there's not a lot of room for error in fit as opposed to normal bloomers that have a drawstring or elastic waist.  These are definitely "meant to be seen" and not underwear, but the comes with some trade-offs in comfort.

So what's my opinion overall of this pattern?  If you fall in love with one or more of the pants style, then it's worth having.  The overskirt is more of a pattern bonus than really enough to cause someone to buy the pattern on it's own.  And I'm not sure any part of the pattern is really versatile for more than one look.

So that's it for this wave of Cosplay by McCall's.  If anyone figures out what the hell is going on with those vests, let me know, ok?