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?

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