Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Cosplay By McCall's Pattern Review: Trenched

This is part two of my review of the brand new "Cosplay by McCall's" pattern line.  Part one, which goes over general characteristics of the patterns and the Cloak X pattern is here.

Today I'm going to talk about M2014- Trenched.  Like all the patterns in this line it's only available from the website and isn't available in stores.  The list price is $17.95 and I don't know if there will ever be any discounts or sales on these patterns.

The pattern comes in one size which ranges from Small to XL: 34-48 inches chest measurement.  It's a unisex pattern so I have to assume there's very little shaping to the coat.

There are three styles of coat included with the pattern: the elaborate one pictured on the front and two more plain styles.  One is a simple long coat with front zipper and no detailing.  One is a shorter simple coat with front zipper and buckles across the zipper.

Because Cloak X was so clearly based on an existing costume from a popular fandom, I felt like the View C of this pattern (the cover photo) probably was as well.  But I had to reach out to my friends to identify the source.  It's a very close recreation of Vash the Stampede's coat from the anime Trigun.

That actually makes me a bit disappointed, because I really like the style of the coat and think it would work pretty well for steampunk costuming, but wouldn't want anyone to confuse me for a Trigun cosplayer.  I guess it would be less obvious if it weren't red and maybe if you leave off the buttoned-up collar.  But it's something to take into consideration before recreating that version of the coat exactly.

This pattern is labeled "Advanced" difficulty.  And that's probably pretty accurate.  The plain coat is pretty simple, though.  Using vinyl or faux leather, as the pattern recommends does up the difficulty, but the basic construction isn't that difficult.  View C is a LOT more involved, though, with lots of little pieces to cut out and assemble.  The front button placket is actually a faux covering that snaps closed over a zipper.  But you still have to sew all the little rounded tabs, notch them and flip them inside out, press them smoothly, and sew them to the placket.  Then handsew all the buttons in place, before attaching the front placket to the coat and hand-sewing snaps into place to hold it closed.  That's a lot of fiddly work.  But it does look pretty cool, so maybe it would be worth the effort.

As I mentioned last time, I haven't actually made this pattern, so my ability to review it is a bit limited.  I don't know how smoothly the pieces go together or how the finished object fits.  But the instructions do look pretty clear and detailed.

I'm not entirely sure how useful this pattern is in a general sense. I'm sure cosplayers who need some kind of long coat can modify this pattern to fit their needs, but then again aren't there other, cheaper patterns out there they could use as a base?  I do like the front-placket-covering-a-zipper construction of View C and you could pretty easily change the decoration of the placket with buckles or different tabs or even a painted or embroidered design or appliqued design.

As another fault, the sizing of the pattern is a bit limited.  According to the charts, I'd need to make an XL to accommodate my bust measurement which means anyone more plus sized than a 48" bust/chest is out of luck.   I also know if I made this pattern I'd want to make it more fitted in the waist which would require significant modding.
So ultimately, I don't know.  I'm left still fairly hesitant about the high price of the pattern.  It's great if you're looking for this particular look, and seems to be a well-made pattern.  But if you're going to be heavily modding it, it seems kinda unnecessary to start with such an expensive base.  I wish these patterns were more versatile, really.  If there was a fitted women's version and maybe a double-breasted or single breasted, buttons or zipper options, then maybe I could say this would be a necessary part of any cosplayer's pattern collection.  If you're going to make a specialty line, it seems like more thought to adaptation should be put into the patterns.  As it is, this is just another costume pattern, like many put out by the Big 3 except way more expensive and inconvenient.

I have one more pattern in this line to review, but it's going to take a little longer to get to it.  Not only because the wing pattern is way more complicated, but because I'm intending to actually put part of it together to evaluate it.  (Not the giant wings, mind you.  There's another version that is just a harness and I want to test it.)

1 comment:

  1. The sizing is very disappointing. I'll be honest - I wasn't planning to buy any of these, though I thought about the wings one and that might be more easily adaptable. IF I come up with a cosplay where I need or want wings, I'll probably consider that, because I suspect the harness could be better than what I could find on Milieux. But the down side is not being able to see the pattern in person to check whether it is, in fact, better than what I could find on Milieux. But if the sizing is that limited, I'm not sure why I should bother. As you've said, this isn't all that different from an existing pattern (and anyone who could make this, by the sounds of it, could also mod an existing pattern to be what they want) so I'm not seeing a compelling reason to buy something that I would also have to alter for sizing.

    I really hope they take your reviews and the reviews of others they've contacted and consider carefully the feedback. I would probably support this line if the patterns were actually more varied and therefore more easily customized, and if they came in a larger size. If all I had to do was change the collar and lapels for a cosplay in this coat, rather than collar, lapels, size it larger, shape it for a female body, I'd be interested. Someone at McCalls should go to a few comic cons and see the body shapes that go to cons.