Simplicity have been one of my favorite commercial pattern companies for years. Not only do they offer a variety of stylish patterns, but over the years they have had inspiring costume patterns. I love that they fold like a dream, allowing you to store the pattern back into the envelope with ease. My only complaint is that, of late, their historically inspired costume patterns has left much to be desired.
(Listed in order by pattern number)
Simplicity 2638 – It’s So Easy
I love this pattern! This is (as the pattern line suggests)very easy. It is very simple to construct, and looks great when finished. This pattern has a very flattering shape. I did modify this pattern to put the zipper in the side, rather than in the back, and that was for the purpose of wanting to be able to put it on without help. I did have to modify the back, as this pattern was designed for the zipper to stop at mid-back, and to have a key hole opening with a button at the top. But, besides this pattern being easy, it was very quick to construct. I will be making a few more of these, in several different fabrics. This one was made with fabric that was 108″ wide, and 100% cotton, the bodice being lined with white poly cotton broadcloth.
For more information on the dress in the picture above, please visit the project page for Women’s Summer Dress.
Simplicity 2843 – OOP
This pattern offers 4 different styles from the same era. I made view C, or as I call it, the “Nellie Olsen” dress. This style looks mid to late Victorian for young ladies, and does include instructions to use the skirt panels to make a separate petticoat. I made this dress for my youngest. I do believe that this pattern may tend to run a little small. For other commercial patterns, I usually cut her a size 7/8. For this dress, I cut her a size 10, and it was almost too snug. I will be using this pattern again, and I will be cutting a size 12. Also, I did have some issues with the square yoke for the bodice, however, I think this was a personal issue, as I have little to no experience with this type of yoke. I was able to work around it, in my own way, and it still looked very good. I used some left over fabric that I used to make a contrasting yoke, and make a sash to tie around the waist into a large bow in the back. At a later date, I will be making view A – the Ranch style dress with the jacket, and view B – the School Marm style dress with a draped overskirt.
For more information on the dress in the picture above, please visit the project page for Victorian Girl’s Outfit.
This patterned was designed for Simplicity by Buckaroo Bobbins. This is truly a nice pattern. This pattern consists of a shirt, a waistcoat with a collar and no collar options, and a frock coat. For my husband, I made the shirt and waistcoat with the collar. I have not seen the original instructions from Buckaroo Bobbins, I have only seen the instructions from Simplicity. I did have to read the instructions several times over, as is the case with most commercial patterns I use. I was able to make the shirt in under a day’s worth of sewing. The waistcoat was the same. I used a 1/4 yd of satin to improvise a tie that looks like the one on the pattern envelope. I will be making the frock coat in the near future, to go with the rest of the garments.
For more information on the garments in the picture above, please visit the project page for Victorian Men’s Outfit.
Simplicity 3623 (0663 or 8855) – OOP
This is a pattern that I have used before. However, it was 10 years ago, under pattern # 8855. Let me say that I love this pattern. It uses absolutely no elastic. The construction is straight forward, and the directions are actually easy to follow (even though I don’t really follow instructions, I only refer to them as needed). I did find that if you follow the sizing chart, then the bodice comes out a little larger than needed. My recommendation is the use a size or 2 smaller than you would normally make, as I ended up having to take it in by about an inch, and found that once it was finished and on, it could’ve been taken in by another half inch (I made the size 20, as my bust if 45″, but the pattern measurements only go up to a 42″ bust). The overall finished look is great, and easily recognizable as Scottish and/or Irish. The few deviations that I made from the pattern was to use Kilt pins to hold the shawl to the bodice, instead of buckles (as it was hard to find the proper size this time around), and to purchase a length of tartan for the shawl, instead of cutting the shawl by the pattern piece. This is a pattern that I easily see myself using again and again.
This pattern was designed by Sense and Sensibility Patterns for Simplicity. To get a correct fit with this pattern, you will need to go by the bust measurement. There were parts of this pattern that I liked, and parts that I did not. Let me start with what I liked. The bodice of this pattern in very nice. It calls for the bottom of the bodice to be gathered, however, I did not gather, I darted the bodice. The sleeves are nicely designed, even though I had to expand the cuff to compensate for my cushy upper arms. I like the button feature for the closure at the back of the bodice, it lends to a very period look.
Now, for the part I didn’t like. The skirt. This skirt was designed in two panels, one for the front and one for the back, calling for seams down the sides and the back to be cut in the center back, and a piece of fabric to be sewn into place around the edge of this opening. I would have rather had a seam at the center back, than to cut it. Another issue I had with the skirt is that there was not enough fabric to pleat at the back as the pattern called for, and as would be correct. For the two dresses, I cut a size 16 bodice and a size 20 bodice, but size 20 skirts for both. Once the skirt was pinned to both bodices, there was not enough fabric to pleat, even for the size 20 skirt on the size 16 bodice. In short, I will gladly use this pattern again, for the bodice, adding my own skirt to get the correct look.
I used parts of this pattern for my hubby’s 18th century costume, and for Katie’s riding habit. For the hubby, I used the pants pattern. This pattern is fairly close to historically accurate, and goes together easy. I highly suggest making a mock up of the pants in scrap fabric. This will give a beginning sewer a chance to practice the front flap, and will make sure the size you’ve chosen is a good fit. I went by my husband’s measurements for the first mock up that I made, and found it to be two sizes too large. I cut an 1X, and found that he only needed a medium.
For more information on the garment in the picture above, please visit the project page for 18th Century Men’s Outfit.
As for the shirt pattern, it is fairly straight forward. I did cut an XS for Katie, but since it is a men’s shirt, I still have do down size some to give her a comfortable fit under her Riding Habit jacket. And, I did notice that with a few adjustments, this shirt can easily be made with a Regency look. I will definitely be using this shirt pattern again.
For more information on the garment in the picture above, please visit the project page for 18th Century Riding Habit.
Simplicity 7756 (OOP)
This is the very first costume pattern that Angie and I used, way back in 1998. I don’t remember what drew us to this pattern, other than it was along the lines of the Renaissance costumes that I remembered see in 1994. This is pattern is currently out of print, and has been for many years. I still had my original copy tucked back in my pattern boxes. When looking for something to make for my birthday/Dinner in a Costume event, I decided to revive this pattern. This pattern is as easy as it looks. It consists of a blouse, skirt and overdress. Options include an apron, 2 styles of hat and removable over sleeves. I only used the blouse and the bodice of the overdress. I draped my own skirt, and the panels of the overdress, as I wanted skirts that were much fuller than the pattern offered. I used broadcloth for the whole outfit. I will probably use this pattern many more times.
For more information on the outfit in the photo above, please visit the project page for Celtic Outfit 2011.
Simplicity 8318 (OOP)
Tonia – Recommended (OOP)
I purchased this pattern about 10 years ago to make a quick Halloween costume for Kathleen when she was 4. This pattern has since hung around in my pattern boxes, awaiting the day that I might find it useful, again. It’s a very easy pattern, but I modified it in several ways to accomplish the Regency Era look. I enlarged the bodice to omit any closures in the back, allowing it to slip over the head. I shortened the sleeves to just a cuff below the puffed shoulder area. I did not use the skirt piece, but opted to use a couple of pieces of fabric to create the correct skirt for the Regency look. And I shortened the bottom of the bodice to effect the Regency l
Simplicity 8735 (OOP)
This pattern was inspired by the movie Ever After. I made this gown in 1999. I had to add expansion pieces in the bodice, under both arms, as this pattern is not designed with well endowed woman in mind. But the over all look was nice. I used velvet for the main parts of the gown, with costume satin for the under skirt and sheer for the sleeves. This gown has been worn many times over the years, by several different people, and it has held up remarkably well.