Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New Simplicity Steampunk Sewing Patterns (and a bit more)

It's all sewing patterns all the time around here, but there are lots of exciting things coming out from pattern companies now that they've figured out costumers and cosplayers are their best customers.

Simplicity has a bunch of really interesting new patterns.

First up, this pretty darn awesome design from Lori Ann Costume Designs.  The one on the left has an obvious Jane from Tarzan feel, but in general this is a nice generic steampunk design.

The pattern includes a double layer long skirt with ruffles, a hi-low skirt as seen on the left, a bustled overskirt, and a smaller rear bustle as seen on the right.  So two different long skirts and two different bustle styles.

Plus the really very lovely corset.  There isn't another yoked corset pattern out there, and this one looks curvier than the corsets in Lori Ann's last patterns.  I'd of course like a closer look at the corset pattern before making a judgement.

My only concern with it is that it seems to be too high to be an underbust, so it's trying to be a weird hybrid of underbust and mid-bust.  Which in my experience tends to lead to uncomfortable fit and usually also immodest or unattractive spillage.  So if I were making it, I'd probably cut it down to make it fall under the bra line like a proper underbust.

Next up is this very interesting set of "Misses Alternative Fashion Sportswear Pieces."  That description makes me chuckle because I think Simplicity wasn't sure how to classify these pieces and neither am I.  They are basically steampunk underwear, but mostly too decorative not to be seen.  The black set is pretty close to some historical early 20th century underwear, really.  And the pale set is cute, but really strikes me as something meant to be worn under something.  The brown and black version, though, is very definitely steampunk and could make a super cute summer or beach outfit as-is.

I realize my reactions to these as skimpy and something I wouldn't ever wear in public makes me old.  That doesn't mean that there aren't plenty of young ladies who can pull these off.  OR some of the pieces would make very nice options to wear under skirts.  The bloomers are super cute, and I can see them working great for burlesque costumes as well.  So while a bit bemused, I'm happy to see this pattern.  And maybe some of y'all just need really goth or steampunk gym clothes.

I REALLY like this Rockabilly/Lolita dress pattern.  These are both styles and subcultures I admire greatly from afar.  So I love both versions of this.  I like the fullness and length of the skirt, not to narrow or too short.  I know there are some Lolita purists (ok, maybe a LOT of lolita purists) who will be quick to say this isn't Lolita because it's too low-cut.  Well you could always wear something under it if you are concerned about breaking the rules.  Personally, I'm a steampunk so as soon as someone tells me there are rules, I want to break them.  I'd really love to do a steampunk version of the Lolita dress, actually....I wish I had time for all my ideas.

So Simplicity has added to the rapidly increasing number of mainstream corset patterns with this "Easy Waist Cincher Corsets" pattern.  I'm a little wary of a corset pattern labeled "easy" as that smacks of poor quality construction. And the pattern calls for featherweight boning, so my fears seem justified.  (NEVER use featherweight or Rigiline.  If you're looking for cheap, easily available boning in plastic, use heavy duty cable ties, please.)  The shape of these is okay, I guess.  But honestly, if you can buy a plastic boned corset with this shape for $15, why bother making one?  If you're going to make something, make it right.  Spend a little more money on materials and time researching corset construction.  

And then I'm stepping a bit outside normal steampunk period for a bit to share a couple of other new patterns that might be of interest.  American Duchess has released two patterns inspired by the first season of Outlander.  These are really pretty nice modest 18th century outfits.  I've been watching the show recently and admiring all the costumes so I appreciate the existence of these patterns.  
Of particular interest to me and my readers is the undergarments pattern, including some really lovely stays.  There aren't nearly enough patterns for 18th century stays out there, and the ones that exist aren't very good, as I discovered last year. Moreover, the designer has promised a detailed series of tutorials on her blog on how to use the stays pattern with more historically accurate techniques to make really accurate and lovely stays.  
Personally, I am thinking more and more about bringing steampunk aesthetics and philosophies to other time periods of costume and dress, and 18th century is very exciting to me right now between Outlander (which I watch almost exclusively for the costuming), Hamilton the musical (I'm super obsessed) and a French series of mysteries I've been watching called Nicolas Le Floch.  So again, I have more ideas than time to make, but I'm thinking very seriously about some Rococo punk.


  1. I once saw a lady who made full-on Victorian undergarments and over it wore a Victorian dress made of transparent material. Of course, Victorian skivvies are as modest as modern sportswear, but you can bet she attracted a lot of attention.

  2. I've bought s8159 for the corset: huge dissapointment! It's not yoked, the contrast piece is an overlay without a real function. Corset has 2 patternpieces for front, and 2 for the back. Cute costume pattern, but no real substance, imo. Love reading you reviews, so hope the
    Is is helpful.

  3. "Alternative Fashion Sportswear Pieces" has some potential as a distinctive bathing suit.