Two more in the new Cosplay by McCalls series of patterns, both by Ichigo Black. These are of the Western saloon girl/steam punk variety. They are both “piecey”, in that they are both full outfits with many odd pieces, allowing you to mix and match to your own creative heart’s desire.
McCalls 2049 Belle Rogue, labeled advanced, contains an overbust corset, a high/low tulle skirt with built-in polonaise, a detachable train, cuffs, and a bow. The whole set is built upon the idea of a harlequin parti-color look. You get to work with tulle, with a construction technique that is fun and effective. Add that to the fact that as fabric goes, tulle (and its more expensive cousin, lace) is very forgiving. It may not be the easiest to manipulate, but it’s in tulle’s nature to hide a lot of the pain and suffering endured during the construction in its many, many transparent layers.
The train is easy, with the suggested fabric to be of the pre-ruffled variety—but please do not let that limit you. The train is an opportunity to use that small length of amazing fabric you have had stashed for ages, or to use a piece that you have quilted or painted, or otherwise manipulated with some other surface design. Because of its simplicity, it’s a great “display piece” for wearable art, much like the kimono has always been. Let this be your show-stopper. Lights and other tech are also a great choice here. You can hide a lot of batteries and support items in the tulle skirt it’s pinned on—plus it comes off for cleaning. Yeah!
As open to interpretation as the train is, the corset is fussy. Comprised of 18 panels, it’s meant to make a 2-color statement. The envelope shows the standard red and black colorway, but this corset holds the promise for more than just this basic look. Far more amazing things are possible: a subtle or vibrant rainbow, the texture variations of one color way in many different fabrics, or panels of quilted or pleated —or any other manner of fabric manipulations—all on small, manageable pieces. Thank the sewing gods, this is also perfect piece to use up all of your too-expensive-to-throw-away fabric scraps that you just knew had a place on something someday.
Keep in mind that with 18 panels you have 17 seams that have to be spot-on perfect. If you are off even an eighth of an inch, that can add up to over a four inch swing that can cause your corset not to fit—by a lot. Make a mock-up, for sure. Go slow. On the bright side of 18 panels is the easy opportunity to make the absolute perfect fit at every part of the corset. Take advantage of that.
Envelope tips are “Sewing with Tulle” and some very helpful tips on sewing the corset, or any garment with many, very similar pieces.
McCalls 2050 is more “Helena Bonham Carter”, and contains a little wrap top, something they call a “fitted overskirt” which is really a waist-definer with peplum, a pair of “sleeves” that work like ballet costume arm poufs that stand in for sleeves, a layered skirt, and a fascinator.
The skirt is a standard gathered dirndl-type with a circle skirt placed on top. No surprises here. The little fitted top, however, will find a place in your wardrobe. It’s functional, exceptionably wearable, and adorable. Make about 20 of these. Wear them while you stich up cosplay. Make it in lace to wear to bed while you dream up new cosplay. Make it in that small length of silk dupioni you have been saving for just the right (small) project. It’s just one of those perfect-for-everything patterns that goes together in a snap and looks completely different in every fabric.
The “fitted overskirt,” or waist definer with peplum is a multi-size piece, as they have you stitching multiple elastic casings in the back, which allows for some give in the fit. It’s both easy and comfy—a winning pattern. You can add this to any outfit. With the elastic back, you can put it over the 2049 corset. You might even use some of that pre-shirred dress fabric you can find in the summertime to press into service for this little number, or upcycle a sundress from Goodwill. Lots of options here, so don’t be put off by all the casings.
Great little sleeves balance out the volumes of fabric everywhere else and are needed for about a million anime cosplays: a very useful thing to have in your pattern library. And who does not want to be able to make their own steampunk mini hat? This one is adorable, and you can make one to match every outfit—or make one for your cat. She’s probably lying on your fabric right now anyway, asking you for one. Meow.
Envelope tips are “Sewing with Sheers” and “Tips for Attaching Bows and Trims”. The tips for sheers are spot-on: great advice and a good pattern to learn about handling them. The “Tips for Attaching Bows and Trims” is really advice about hot glue which, happily, they only want you to use on the fascinator, as it’s not a good choice for things that will be washed.
This release of Cosplay by McCAlls patterns is a solid pair of versatile patterns that can be pressed into service for many needs: cosplay, wearable art, or fashion. They, as the others in the set, are multi-sized, and size inclusive patterns with size breakouts of 6-14, and 14-22.
The Cosplay by McCalls patterns continue to provide great, adaptable pieces with large, durable envelopes that can also house your swatches, sketches and trim samples. They offer an inclusive size range so everyone can get in on the fun. Give them a try. You can get the entire collection of Cosplay by McCalls on their website at http://cosplay.mccall.com/cosplay-by-mccall-s-brand-collection-pages-5923.php