My favorite of the "Big 3" pattern companies for costumes is Simplicity. I think they consistently have the most on-trend new costumes and have had some great historical costume patterns over the years. I hit up their pattern drawers whenever my local Joanns has a 99 cent sale.
Their recent steampunk patterns caught my eye, particularly Simplicity 2172, because the styling on the cover was great and it seemed like a fun outfit with pieces that could work in various combinations for different styles. I really liked the red taffeta look on the pattern cover, but since the pattern called for a lot of fabric I didn't think I had enough in my stash.
From the Stash:
- 3 yards green suedecloth with embroidery and metal sequins
- 1/2 yard synthetic organza
- 2.5 yards of synthetic brown polyester lining
- 4 fancy clasps
- 1 yard embroidered rust colored taffeta for bustier (not finished yet)
- 4 yards of embroidered brown taffeta (at $3 a yard)
The pattern calls for 3 7/8 yards of 60" wide fabric for the coat. I easily made it out of 3 yards of fabric that I think was maybe 54" wide. The skirt calls for 6 yards of 45" wide or 60" wide for my size, I used 4 yards. I double checked and am almost entirely certain that I cut out all the pieces that were in the instructions. I did not use the pattern layouts in the envelope, which may have helped conserve the fabric. I'm not sure why their yardage is so much more than I used, I think it would be possible to make the whole outfit, even in the largest size, out of 8 yards rather than the 11 that the envelope suggests.
The pattern went together easily, I especially like the deep pockets in the front, they were handy for keeping leftover scones. The pleating took me about 2 hours but was easy to do. I added some pockets to the top of the skirt that were covered by my corset. Hopefully if I wear a shorter waisted top I can use those. I didn't finish the bustier because I'm considering converting it to a corset, although it might be nice to have a steampunk top that isn't a corset. It would be considerably less time to get into a top that simply zips up the back.
I wore the finished coat and skirt with my 1880s corset and a full length net petticoat under the skirt. The petticoat really helped hold out the pleats at the bottom of the skirt and make the skirt look a lot more like the pattern illustration. Although the polyester lining made it very easy to put the coat on and take it off, it was very warm to dance in and if I were to make it again I would probably line it in either rayon or a lightweight cotton. Wearing two layers of synthetics was much warmer than I had anticipated. Overall it was a fun outfit to wear, I was able to drive to the Dickens Faire already dressed, and I didn't have to try to squeeze a hoop into a tiny bathroom stall.
At the Dickens Faire