Dawn's Costume Guide

Commercial Costume Patterns

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Where to buy the patterns

McCall's Patterns


McCall's now offers a "Renaissance" section in some catalogs. While many of these patterns are suitable for Renaissance Faires, several are American Colonial, Empire, Victorian, or just plain modern in style. Be careful that what you select is appropriate to the time period you want to portray.


Passion Play. Basic tunics and wraps for adults in a biblical setting. See also #2339.


Come All Ye Faithful. Basic tunics and wraps suitable for a biblical play. Similar to #2060.


Lord of the Stars. Tunic, pants, hat and robe in mens and boys sizes. Meant to fill the demand for Star Wars and Lord of the Rings costuming, it is almost too generic to do either well. Still, it works as your basic early medieval or fantasy menswear. A good starter set for those of you who need a LARP costume or some really simple basic costume pieces to expand on.


Create Your Own Renaissance Skirts. Basic modern skirt pattern with 3 variations. Nice fitted lace-up waistband (no elastic). Like the other patterns in this set these are obviously designed for Renaissance Fair use.


Return to the Renaissance. Chemises in 2 lengths. You almost don't need a pattern for this, as you'll see when you lay it out all the pieces are nearly squares. The set-in sleeve is a little strange, but overall this pattern is an excellent place for a beginner to start. Modern-fantasy styling, these garments aren't based on any known historical clothing, but underneath your other clothes, who will know?


Create Your Own Renaissance Bodice. Princess seamed bodice, front or side laced with variations for shoulder straps, skirts or tabs, shoulder rolls, and a ribbon sleeve. 8 combinations are shown in the intructions, more are possible. This is a fantasy pattern, designed for ren-fest use.


Princess dress with sleeve and neckline variations. This is a basic modern style dress which can be made in a variety of fabrics and trimmed out to make a nice fantasy dress for LARP, ren-fair weddings, and other non-historical venues. View C would make a passable underdress for a sideless surcote.


Trained princess dress with sleeve variations. This is a basic modern style dress which can be made in a variety of fabrics and trimmed out to make a nice fantasy dress for LARP, ren-fair weddings, and other non-historical venues.


Mens Renaissance Doublets. Basic doublet with sleeve variations and trimming options. Aside from the darts in the body it's pretty good for a commercial pattern. Either draft the darts out or cover them (front and back) as shown in view C. I'm not sure about the split sleeve (view D&E) but it's probably ok for most SCA and Ren-Fest events.


Misses' Renaissance Tops. Modern fantasy renaissance styling with sleeve variations. The squared neckline is nice, if a bit low on the bosom. There's some evidence for side-laced bodices, but not when you also have back lacing, and you only need it on one side. All the sleeve variations are pretty much fantasy. If you want to make this into something approaching historic costume, work with view D, the solid colored bodice and straight sleeves. Move the sleeve slash to the top, as in view D of mens 4695. Use sewn-in ties for the shoulders and sleeves instead of grommets. View E might also work (with single color sleeves), but the amount of lacing needed makes me feel like I'm in a bad bondage movie.


Misses' Capes. With or without a hood. Romantic Victorian styling.


Mens Hats. These are all pretty decent hat patterns. Buy this before it is gone from stores.


Misses' corsets. Five variations, front, side, and back lacing corsets for fantasy and renaissance festival costuming. Not based on any historical garment that I know of, but can be adapted for a variety of costumes where accuracy isn't important. The lack of shoulder straps can be a problem for larger sized ladies.


Mens shirts. Four variations on a fantasy or ren-fest shirt, losely based on the mid-victorian drop-shoulder style.


It may look silly, but what you have here is a basic men's set with dropped-shoulder (Victorian) shirt, pants and a long vest. Made up in nice fabrics it would be quite suitable for renfest or LARPS.


Misses' Tops. Princess cut bodice with a cropped option suitable for gypsy or dance wear. Multiple sleeve variations. The long straight sleeve might work for more historical costumes.


Misses' Renaissance Dress. Front laced "Irish" dress with fantasy angel-wing sleeves. Front bust darts. Uses (OMG!) 13 yards of fabric! Very wasteful.


Misses' Renaissance Dress with belt and sleeve variations. Pseudo-renaissance, probably best left for fantasy events. 2006


Mens and boys Musketeer and Prince costumes. The Musketeer casaque looks all right as is. The Prince tunic is more fantasy than anything, but if you shorten the skirts you have the basis for a man's 16th century doublet (minus darts). The white sleeves should be part of a separate shirt. 2006


Misses' Renaissance Costume. This costume is a one-piece dress, made to imitate the layers that would have been worn in real clothing. It also has bust darts, which are not appropriate to the Renaissance, and the instructions have you using a lot of lace trim, which -- again-- is not appropriate. On the plus side, the lacing up the back is a nice touch, unless you're in a hurry to get out of it. The dress by itself would be nice, without the false layers, but you'll have to find patterns for a chemise and under gown or skirt. 2007


Men's and boy's pirate costume. This set is a basic shirt, pants and vest suitable for fantasy and non-historic events. I'd avoid Coat A, because it just looks silly. 2007.


Misses'/Children's/Girl's Medieval Costumes. Two variations, one a two-piece dress, and a pointy hat. Princess seams make this a modern cut, but if you're using it for theatre or LARP, it's not so important. View A/C is a modern interpretation of historical style, view B is fantasy. 2007


Men's and boy's knight, prince and samurai costume. The key word here is 'costume'. You have a loose pull-over tunic with variations, and some accessories. Great dress-up costume for play, or a child who isn't ready for more accurate costumes.


Misses' and Women's Renaissance costumes. Single piece dress in two variations, very loosely based on Italian styles. Laces up the back, but has elastic sleeves. Might be suitable for theatre where you don't want to fuss with layers. 2008.


Misses' and Men's medieval costumes. Tunics in various lengths, with accessories. Great for LARP or theatre, but as these are all cut on modern lines they will not pass muster at any serious medieval event. 2008.

Discontinued McCall's Patterns

All text and artwork copyright D. Duperault. Pattern images used on this page belong to their respective manufacturers and are used for review purposes only. NOTHING on this site may be reproduced or distributed by any means without my written permission. This information offered in good faith, and worth only what you paid for it.
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