Pavlina: Life is Not For the Living

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Costume pattern? Really?

February 23rd, 2011 by Pavlina

McCall’s, we need to talk. Seriously.

McCall's 6343

Isn’t that pretty? It looks like a fancy prom dress. Oh wait a moment, McCall’s wants to call this a COSTUME pattern. See, this is why serious apparel seamstresses/tailors have NO respect for costumers. Rubbish like this. Now, what kind of costume is this? From the silhouette I MUST assume they mean it to be Tudor, but I can’t say I recall Tudor fashion having a strapless bodice!!! Seriously!

First of all, strapless! Princess seams on the bodice! No. The bodice laces closed, so it is not a corset and it laces in the back, not really Tudor. Those “sleeves”. Non! Sleeves like that exist only in fairy world.
Now, the skirt. It doesn’t look nearly wide enough, but that’s okay. I use this cheat of having a contrast panel on the front, which isn’t period, but it does simulate the look of a split dress. Hey, in fact, that skirt looks a lot like


I have that pattern and if you are anything like normal size, then the skirt isn’t wide enough for a Tudor-early Elizabethan era dress. It does work well for a petticoat, but really does anyone really need a pattern to make a petticoat? I also found this pattern to be very wasteful of fabric, and I converted all those weird curves into straight lines and also had to extend the tops for a proper pleating ratio as they wanted you to gather the skirt to the waistband….*sigh* the waistband is also way too wide. Oh, I misspoke. It looks like the skirt is pleated to the waistband, so all is not lost.

So nice try McCall’s, but you FAIL!

To even add insult to injury, they put this in the Historical section instead of the regular crappy costumes section.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nuchtchas May 22, 2011 at 6:19 pm

    I had the same problem with a pattern, there were so many jagged edges that I wasted tons of fabric and ended up cutting it off and modifying it myself. I gave up on the costume patterns after that.

  • 2 Pavlina May 22, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    Well, the good costume patterns are truly diamonds in the ruff. They are out there and they do exist. Sometimes it’s just takes a bit of…effort? I always go to The Great Pattern Review for costume related goodness, it has never failed me.