Costumes after Eiko Ishioka

Google doodle celebrating Eiko Ishioka's work in Tarsem Singh's The Fall (2006)
Google doodle celebrating Eiko Ishioka, 2017. Image: Google.

In memory of Eiko Ishioka, who would have been 80 this year, a look at costume patterns based on her work.

Eiko on Stage (Callaway, 2000) Image: abebooks.

Eiko Ishioka (1938-2012) is best known as the costume designer for The Cell and Bram Stoker’s Dracula, for which she won an Academy Award in 1993. Her last film project was Tarsem Singh’s Mirror Mirror, starring Julia Roberts and Lily Collins.

Poster for Mirror, Mirror (2012). Image: IMdB.

McCall’s and Simplicity both released patterns based on the film. McCall’s 6629 came in adult and children’s sizes. (Out of print, but details still on the Cosplay by McCall’s site.)

McCall’s 6629 / 240 (2012) Image: Etsy.

On the left—view D with collar E and feathered backpiece F—is Julia Roberts’ wicked queen. Ishioka’s original gown has panniers and miles of cartridge pleating:

The Queen (Julia Roberts) and Brighton (Nathan Lane) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Jan Thijs ©Snow White Productions, 2011.

The gown features white peacock embroidery and a molded basque with four-piece cups.

Julia Roberts as the Queen in Mirror Mirror. Image ©Snow White Productions, 2011.

View B (top right) is clearly Lily Collins’ Snow White, but so is view A. It’s the dress with floral basque and skirt, seen early in the film, which Ishioka topped with one of the most memorable capes in cinema.

Snow White (Lily Collins) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Image ©Relativity Media, 2011.
Lily Collins in Mirror Mirror (2012). Image ©Relativity Media / Richard Crouse.

Simplicity also offered Snow White’s dress from the film’s Bollywood finale, moving the giant bow down from the shoulders.

Simplicity 1728 (2012)
Simplicity 1728 (2012) Image: eBay.
Snow White (Lily Collins) in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Jan Thijs ©Relativity Media.

The Costume Designers’ Guild gave Ishioka a posthumous award for Mirror Mirror. (For more on the production, see Wired.) And since her on-screen version, all yellow capes seem to point back to Snow White’s.

Caitriona Balfe wears Terry Dresbach's yellow cloak in Outlander, season 2 (2016)
Claire (Caitriona Balfe) in Outlander, season 2 (2016). Image: Starz / Life According to Jamie.
Alberta Ferretti coat, Fall 2017. Images: Moda Operandi.
Jordan Prentice, Joey Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Lily Collins, Martin Klebba, Mark Povinelli, Ronald Lee Clark, and Danny Woodburn in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Matthew Rolston
Jordan Prentice, Joey Gnoffo, Sebastian Saraceno, Lily Collins, Martin Klebba, Mark Povinelli, Ronald Lee Clark, and Danny Woodburn in Mirror Mirror (2012). Photo: Matthew Rolston ©Relativity Media 2011.

Battle On, Xena!

Lucy Lawless in "Return of Callisto," episode 5 of Xena: Warrior Princess, season 2, 1996
Lucy Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess, 1996. Image: NBC Universal/Movie Pilot.

Before Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, there was Xena: Warrior Princess. The Hercules spinoff starring Lucy Lawless as a Thracian warrior became a cult hit, thanks partly to that iconic leather armour by Ngila Dickson.

Lucy Lawless' Xena: Warrior Princess costume at the Museum of New Zealand
Image: Museum of New Zealand.

Best known today for her work on Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy, Dickson won a New Zealand Film and TV Award for Xena in 1998. The same year saw both an animated Hercules and Xena and official licensed costume patterns from Butterick. (Simplicity had done unofficial Xena patterns in 1997.)

The Butterick costumes call for synthetic leather for the dress and accessories, metallic cord and marker, and cotton Lycra to make your own undershorts. Chakram not included.

1990s official adult's Xena: Warrior Princess costume, Butterick 5726
Butterick 5725 (1998) Official adult’s Xena: Warrior Princess costume.
1990s official children's Xena: Warrior Princess costume, Butterick 5726
Butterick 5726 (1998) Official children’s Xena: Warrior Princess costume.

Happy Halloween!

Lyanna Stark Costume – McCall’s 6940

Stark pin

With season 6 of Game of Thrones fast approaching, it’s high time I posted about my Lyanna Stark costume.

(If you object to seeing material from season 5, or interpretation of a book published 20 years ago, read no further. Perhaps you’d prefer my post on Game of Thrones costume patterns?)

For Halloween 2014 I went as Lyanna Stark from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Lyanna is dead by the time of the main action in the books, and the character has not yet been seen on HBO’s Game of Thrones except as a statue in the Stark crypt.

Tomb statue of Lyanna Stark in the Winterfell crypt in "Fire and Blood" - Game of Thrones, season 1, episode 10
Tomb statue of Lyanna Stark in “Fire and Blood” (Game of Thrones, season 1) Image: fandom.
Sansa lights candles in the Stark crypt at Winterfell in "Sons of the Harpy" - Game of Thrones s5 e4
Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) visits the family crypt in “Sons of the Harpy” (Game of Thrones, season 5). Image: HBO.

Of the series’ many lost, dead women, Lyanna Stark looms the largest. Eddard Stark’s sister and Arya’s foremother-doppelgänger, Robert Baratheon’s first betrothed, Rhaegar Targaryen’s lover/abductee, and probably Jon Snow’s mother, Lyanna is the Helen of Troy / Guinevere figure behind Robert’s Rebellion against the pyromaniac King Aerys II Targaryen. She’s a ghost that haunts the present in memory, dreams, and visions, but always as the subject of competing narratives: both object of desire and swashbuckling she-wolf.

Costuming Winterfell: costume sketches for Ned, Catelyn, and Sansa
Costuming Winterfell: costume sketches for Ned, Catelyn, and Sansa. Image: Bryan Cogman, Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2 (Chronicle Books, 2012).

On the show, Michele Clapton’s costumes for the Starks at Winterfell involve a lot of linen, leather, and fur in northern blues and greys. The men wear leather doublets and Japanese-inspired padded linen skirts, while the women forego jewellery in favour of embellishment and enviable padded neck pieces.* Sansa finds some to wear on her return to Winterfell.

Fish neckroll embroidered by Michele Carragher for Game of Thrones
Embroidered neck roll from Game of Thrones. Image: Michele Carragher.

Lyanna’s statue wears a Stark neck roll. But what would Lyanna have worn in the south? In A Game of Thrones, Ned Stark dreams of the statue-Lyanna crowned with pale blue roses (the prize Rhaegar awarded her at Harrenhal) and weeping tears of blood.† Later in the book series, Theon Greyjoy has a dream of the dead that includes Lyanna in a crown of blue roses and a white dress spattered with blood.‡ But blood and roses do not a costume make.

As Robert’s fiancée and a court lady attending the tourney at Harrenhal, etc., I figured she would wear some kind of court dress. To save myself the drafting, and because Lyanna is effectively the anti-Cersei, I used McCall’s Cersei pattern, McCall’s 6940:

Cersei Lannister pattern - McCall's 6940 (2014)
McCall’s 6940 (2014)
Technical drawings for McCall's 6940 Game of Thrones Cersei pattern (2014)
Technical drawings for McCall’s 6940 (2014) Image via McCall’s.

I made View A (skipping the belt and appliqué) in dark blue with a pewter contrast, both from King Textiles. The main fabric was a malodorous synthetic; when pre-washed to remove the substantial sizing, it balled up into a wrinkly mess. Some of the wrinkles are still visible. But when a Halloween costume takes over 7 yards for the main fabric, I start with something cheap.

Based on the flat pattern measurements, I cut the 12 and made my usual length and grading adjustments. The fit is roomier than I’d like; I could go a size down. I didn’t get to the inside ribbon belt until after the photos, but even that requires a closer fit in the waist.

To give the court dress a northern, Stark touch, I trimmed the wrap bodice neckline with Mokuba faux fur banding. Naomi contributed some blue, artificial rosebuds and her wolf’s head brooch, which stood in perfectly for the Stark direwolf.

We photographed the dress one chilly November afternoon just after Halloween:

Lyanna Stark costume, front view (McCall's 6940)

Lyanna Stark costume, side view (McCall's 6940)

Lyanna Stark costume, back view (McCall's 6940)

I’ve never had such a problem with wrinkles at princess and shoulder seams; I blame the synthetic. Since the lower sleeves are cut on the cross grain, nap and pattern could be an issue — as is visible in the photos. Practically speaking, the dress requires an underskirt, as it’s prone to opening dramatically with little provocation.

I would re-make this in a natural fabric like wool or linen, with some fit adjustments and tweaks to the contrast details for a smoother finish. I’m also tempted to brush up on my hand embroidery and try a Stark neck roll, as well as embroidered sleeves — sleeves to lose yourself in.

* Michele Clapton quoted in Bryan Cogman, Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2 (Chronicle Books, 2012), p. 44.
† George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones (Bantam Books, 1996), p. 419.
‡ George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings (Bantam Books, 1999), p. 609.

Game of Thrones Costume Patterns

Game of Thrones costume patterns M6941 and M6940 in McCall's Spring 2014 lookbook
Queens of the Game in McCall’s lookbook, Spring 2014. Image: Issuu.

Dear HBO, Have you considered costume pattern licensing? With a new trailer for season 6, and season 5 out on DVD, here’s a look at completely official Game of Thrones sewing patterns sewing patterns inspired by Game of Thrones.

Game of Thrones / The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug costume pattern S1347 in a 2014 lookbook
Fantasy Play in Simplicity’s lookbook, 2014. Image: Andrea Schewe.
Sansa Stark / Game of Thrones costume pattern S1137 in Simplicity Summer 2015 lookbook
Dark Faerie Tales in Simplicity’s lookbook, Summer 2015. Image: 3D Issue.

Costume designer Michele Clapton won three Emmys for her work on the first five seasons of Game of Thrones. Season 6 will see a new costume designer for the series: April Ferry, who designed the Emmy Award-winning costumes for HBO’s Rome (2005-2007)—which also starred Tobias Menzies, Indira Varma, and Ciarán Hinds. (Read a Costume Designers Guild bio here.)

Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar in HBO's Rome (2005) - costumes by April Ferry
Still of Ciarán Hinds as Julius Caesar in Rome (2005) Image: HBO / IMdB.

Update: Michele Clapton returned as costume designer during season 6, winning two more Emmys for “The Winds of Winter” and season 7’s “Beyond the Wall.”

Daenerys Targaryen's coat from "Beyond the Wall" - Game of Thrones season 7
Costume for Daenerys Targaryen from “Beyond the Wall.” Image: Making Game of Thrones.

Given the two-way relationship between Game of Thrones’ costume design and fashion, the costumes are interesting even if you don’t watch the show. (Full disclosure: I’ve made more than a few Game of Thrones / A Song of Ice and Fire costumes, including S2 Daenerys, book Quaithe, and Lyanna Stark.)

Cersei Lannister's red and gold court dress - Game of Thrones season 1-2
Cersei Lannister costume from Game of Thrones, season 1-2. Image: Bell Media.
Givenchy ensemble, fall/winter 1997–98 silk, feathers, metal, synthetic; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Friends of the Costume Institute Gifts, 2013 (2013.564a, b)
Alexander McQueen for Givenchy haute couture, Fall/Winter 1997-98 (Eclect Dissect). Image: The Costume Institute.

McCall’s

In spring, 2014, McCall’s released patterns for the most popular women’s Game of Thrones costumes, Daenerys Targaryen and Cersei Lannister. Both M6940 and M6941 are available as printable downloads. (I made M6940 for my Lyanna Stark costume; preview here.)

Game of Thrones / Cersei costume pattern McCall's 6940 (2014)
McCall’s 6940 (2014) Cersei Lannister costume.
Game of Thrones / Daenerys costume pattern McCall's 6941 (2014)
McCall’s 6941 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen costume.

Last month, the company launched a new Cosplay by McCall’s line with three patterns including a unisex Westerosi cloak, M2016, “for those for whom winter can’t come soon enough” (press release here). Their pattern for the cross-fastened cloak worn by the people of Westeros (including Jon Snow, Eddard Stark, and the Stark children at Winterfell) includes an optional fur capelet. There’s also a hooded version similar to Sansa Stark’s hooded cloak:

Cloak X: Jon Snow / Night's Watch / Sansa Stark cosplay pattern, Cosplay by McCall's 2016
Cosplay by McCall’s 2016 (2016) Cloak X
Hooded view of McCall's 2016 - Sansa Stark cloak
Hooded view of McCall’s 2016 (2016) Image: Cosplay by McCall’s.

Simplicity

Simplicity’s Game of Thrones costume patterns emerge in full plumage, but quickly change colours to evade capture.

Simplicity Game of Thrones costume patterns, before and after - S1347 / S1010 and S1246 / S1008

Simplicity Game of Thrones costume patterns, before and after - S1487 / S1009 and S1137

Andrea Schewe’s Game of Thrones adaptations for Simplicity also started appearing in 2014. Simplicity 1347 combines three Daenerys outfits—wedding dress, Dothraki Khaleesi, and Qarth court dress—with the elf Tauriel from The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013). (Now out of print, but see S1010.)

Simplicity 1347 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen / Tauriel costume
Simplicity 1347 (2014) Daenerys Targaryen / Tauriel costume.

Simplicity 1487 includes court dresses for Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark. (Now out of print, but see S1009.)

Game of Thrones Cersei / Sansa costume pattern S1487
Simplicity 1487 (2014) Cersei Lannister and Sansa Stark costumes. Image via Etsy.

Simplicity 1246 has costumes for Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys, specifically the split dress and cape she wears as leader of the Unsullied. (This version out of print, but see S1008.)

Game of Thrones / Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys costume pattern Simplicity 1246
Simplicity 1246 (2014) Margaery Tyrell and Daenerys Targaryen costumes.

Simplicity 1137 includes two Sansa Stark costumes. Michele Clapton conceived both as showing Sansa’s own handiwork: the dress with flower-embellished neckline from season 1 and ‘Dark Sansa’ from the end of season 4. The necklace refers to Sansa’s needle—“a jewelry idea of [Arya’s sword] Needle.” (See Fashionista’s interview; for more on Game of Thrones’ embroidery see Elizabeth Snead’s article in The Hollywood Reporter and embroiderer Michele Carragher’s website.) Andrea Schewe has posted tips on making the feathered neckpiece. (Still in print with new envelope, S1137.)

Game of Thrones Sansa Stark / Dark Sansa pattern Simplicity 1137
Simplicity 1137 (2015) Sansa Stark costumes.
Sansa Stark dress, bodice flower detail
Sansa Stark costume, Game of Thrones, season 1. Image: Michele Carragher.
Dark Sansa collar detail - goth Sansa / Alayne Stone costume in "The Mountain and the Viper," episode 8 of Game of Thrones S4
Dark Sansa collar detail, Game of Thrones, season 4. Image: Fashionably Geek.

Game of Thrones meets Star Wars in Simplicity 8074, a pattern for season 5’s Sand Snakes Obara and Nymeria with Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) (still S8074):

Game of Thrones + Star Wars / Sand Snakes + Rey costume pattern Simplicity 8074
Simplicity 8074 (2016) Warrior costumes: Sand Snakes and Rey.
Sand Snakes costumes from Game of Thrones S5
Sand Snakes costumes from Game of Thrones, season 5. Image: Making Game of Thrones.

HBO is owned by Time Warner, which has existing pattern licensing for DC Comics. Do you think HBO should license Game of Thrones patterns? I’d be first in line for a King’s Landing halter dress or Varys’ kimono.

Update (June 2018): Game of Thrones and Star Wars meet again in S8718 — season 7 Arya Stark with Rey from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017):

Game of Thrones + Star Wars / Arya Stark + Rey costume pattern Simplicity 8718
Simplicity 8718 (2018) Warrior costumes: Rey and Arya.
Arya Stark sketch for Game of Thrones, season 7. Image: Making Game of Thrones.

Update (August 2018): evil queen Cersei and Dragonstone Dany were among Simplicity’s fall costume patterns:

Cersei Lannister and S7 Daenerys costume pattern Simplicity 8768 by Andrea Schewe
Simplicity 8768 (2018) Cersei and Daenerys costumes.
Queen Cersei pattern S8768 - Simplicity catalogue Autumn 2018
Cersei Lannister costume on the back cover of Simplicity’s Autumn 2018 catalogue. Image: Simplicity.

And Burda’s new Renaissance costumes work for characters like Sansa Stark and Tyrion Lannister. Game of Thrones wedding, anyone?

Sansa Stark wedding dress pattern Burda 6398 (2018)
Burda 6398 (2018) Image: Simplicity.
Game of Thrones men's costume pattern Burda 6399 (2018)
Burda 6399 (2018) Image: Simplicity.

Update (September 2018): Just in time for Halloween, McCall’s released Game of Thrones season 7 costume patterns for Dany, Arya, and mad queen Cersei. Winter is coming…

Game of Thrones S7 Dragonstone Daenerys Targaryen costume pattern McCall's 7854
McCall’s 7854 (2018) Daenerys Targaryen. Image: McCall’s.
Game of Thrones S7 Arya Stark Winterfell costume pattern McCall's 7855
McCall’s 7855 (2018) Arya Stark costume. Image: McCall’s.
Game of Thrones S7 Cersei Lannister costume pattern McCall's 7856
McCall’s 7856 (2018) Cersei Lannister costume. Image: McCall’s.
Battle of the Throne: Game of Thrones-inspired costumes in the McCall's Fall 2018 lookbook
Battle of the Throne: Game of Thrones-inspired costumes in the McCall’s Fall 2018 lookbook. Image: Issuu.

We Can Be Heroes

Lynda Carter in the Wonder Woman tv show, 1975
Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman, 1975. Image: Warner Bros / Getty Images via IMDb.

Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman isn’t set to open until 2017, but audiences will get a glimpse of Gal Gadot as the Amazon princess in Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). Marvel’s feminist superhero, Captain Marvel (originally Ms. Marvel) will also get her own movie in 2018. (Guardian story here.)

Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977): Onlookers:
Panel from Ms. Marvel #1 (1977). Image: Talking Comics.

Since the 1930s and ’40s, when Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman made their first comic strip appearances, superheroes have occupied a special place in popular culture. The 2008 Costume Institute exhibit, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, explored the influence of superhero costumes on fashion.

Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy exhibition catalogue by Andrew Bolton (with Michael Chabon)
Andrew Bolton with Michael Chabon, Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy (Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2008) Book design: Abbott Miller, John Kudos at Pentagram. Image: John Kudos.

With Halloween around the corner, here’s a look at licensed superhero costume patterns from the 1960s to today, with a focus on the place of gender in children’s costuming.

1960s

In 1966, the Batman television show premiered on ABC; just the year before, the 1950s television series Adventures of Superman, starring George Reeves as the Man of Steel, had returned to the airwaves in syndication.

Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) in the 1960s Batman show
Robin (Burt Ward) and Batman (Adam West) in Batman (1966) Image: Wikipedia.

From 1966, McCall’s 8398 is a pattern for “Girls’ or Boy’s Batman, Robin and Superman Official Costumes.” The pattern is copyright National Periodical Publications, Inc., an early version of DC Comics:

1960s Girls' or Boys' Batman, Robin and Superman official costumes McCall's 8398
McCall’s 8398 © National Periodical Publications, Inc., 1966. Girls’ or Boys’ Batman, Robin and Superman official costumes.

The Fall 1966 McCall’s Home Catalog promoted McCall’s 8398 with McCall’s 8562 as “Magical Costumes for the Wonderful World of Make-Believe.” The text reinforces the idea that these superhero costumes were intended for imaginative, active children, regardless of gender: “Now that active young lad or lass with the vivid imagination can be Batman, Robin or Superman at the switch of a colorful costume. Only McCall’s has official patterns for the costumes of these swashbuckling heroes of comic books and TV…” (click to enlarge):

Magical Costumes for the Wonderful World of Make-Believe - McCalls Home catalogue, Fall/Winter 1966-67
McCall’s 8398 in McCall’s Home Catalog, Fall-Winter 1966-67.

1970s

In 1978, the Wonder Woman TV series was still running, and December saw the release of the first Superman movie starring Christopher Reeve.

Christopher Reeve as Superman against the New York City skyline, 1978
Christopher Reeve as Superman, 1978. Image: Keystone / Getty Images via IMDb.

That year, Simplicity released two patterns for children’s superhero costumes: Simplicity 8714, Batman, Robin, and Superman costumes for children and boys, and Simplicity 8720, Catwoman, Batgirl, and Wonder Woman costumes for girls. (‘Child’ often refers to unisex pattern sizing for younger children.) The introduction of female superhero costumes seems to have prompted a sex-division on the pattern envelopes—although the categories could always be subverted by individual children and their parents:

1970s children's Batman, Robin, and Superman costume pattern - Simplicity 8714
Simplicity 8714 (1978) Batman, Robin, and Superman.
1970s Catwoman, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl costume pattern - Simplicity 8720
Simplicity 8720 (1978) Batgirl, Catwoman, and Wonder Woman.

1980s

Later official superhero patterns tend to be movie or TV tie-ins. As in contemporary popular culture, the balance shifts toward male superheroes, but there’s also an oscillation between strict gender categories and more inclusive costuming. The 1980s were the decade of Superman and Supergirl: Supergirl opened in 1984, and there were three more Superman movies ending with Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987).

Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984
Helen Slater as Supergirl, 1984. Image: Pinterest.

In 1987, Butterick released two superhero patterns, both with iron-on transfers: a Superman and Supergirl play suit for small children (sizes 2 to 6X), and a Superman costume for men and boys. I couldn’t find a corresponding women’s and girls’ Supergirl pattern. The small children’s is a pyjama or jogging suit-style top and pants for stretch knits, with separate cape and skirt; the men’s and boys’ is a spandex stirrup jumpsuit and briefs:

1980s children's Supergirl and Superman playsuits Butterick 5862
Butterick 5862 (1987) Supergirl and Superman playsuits. Image: Etsy.
1980s Superman costume pattern - Butterick 5874
Butterick 5874 (1987) Superman costumes.

(With thanks to Jan Lamm.)

Tim Burton’s Batman (1989) launched a new superhero franchise. Late 1980s Batman pattern Butterick 4201/6313, for men and boys, appears to have been timed to the Tim Burton film, but reflects the now-retro Batman. Like the Butterick Superman, it’s also a stirrup jumpsuit and briefs for spandex blends:

1980s Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6313
Butterick 6313 (1989) Bat Man costumes. Image: Etsy.

1990s

Butterick licensed costumes from Batman Returns (1992) and Batman Forever (1995): Batman, Catwoman, and the Penguin, and Batman, Robin, and the Riddler. The Batman costumes reflect the movies’ increasingly hypermasculine armour, while Catwoman’s sexy, home-sewn catsuit is the only design for women and girls.

Batman Returns Batman costume pattern - Butterick 6377
Butterick 6377 (1992) Batman Returns costumes. Image: Etsy.
Batman Forever Batman costume pattern - Butterick 4172
Butterick 4172 (1995) Batman Forever costumes. Image: Etsy.
1990s official Batman Returns Catwoman costume Butterick 6378
Butterick 6378 official Batman Returns Catwoman costume (1992) Image: Etsy.

Maybe because the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aren’t human, this Ninja Turtles pattern is gender-inclusive, labelled as for both girls and boys. The design is called a playsuit, not a costume (click the image for envelope back, or see it made up on flickr):

Girls' and boys' Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle playsuit pattern - Butterick 5143
Butterick 5143 (1990) Image: Etsy.

On the other hand, this Captain Planet pattern for children and boys includes a grotesque ‘muscle’ suit. The second character is called Verminous Skumm:

1990s Captain Planet and Verminous Skumm costume pattern - McCall's 5642
McCall’s 5642 (1991) Captain Planet costumes. Image: Etsy.

’90s costume patterns start to show the influence of Japanese television shows—Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, Masked Rider, and Sailor Moon. This Sailor Moon costume pattern came in children’s and girls’ sizes:

1990s children's Sailor Moon costume pattern McCalls 7859
McCall’s 7859 / P310 (1995) Sailor Moon costumes. Image: eBay.

Marvel doesn’t seem to have ventured into pattern licensing until the 1990s, when Simplicity’s children’s costume patterns were gender-inclusive. Simplicity 7543 is a child’s Spiderman costume with sleeve webs made from fishnet:

1990s children's Spiderman costume pattern - Simplicity 7543
Simplicity 7543 (1991) The Amazing Spider-Man costume. Image: eBay.

Before the X-Men and Spider-Man movie franchises of the 2000s, there were ’90s animated TV shows based on the comics: X-Men from 1992 and Spider-Man from 1994. In the mid-1990s, Simplicity released several more Marvel patterns, all labelled as unisex Child’s costumes: Spider-Man and Venom (Simplicity 7241), Wolverine and Storm (Simplicity 7246), and Cyclops and Magneto (Simplicity 7251). Wolverine and Storm is my favourite:

1990s X-Men costume pattern - Wolverine and Storm - Simplicity 7246
Simplicity 7246 (1996) X-Men costumes. Image: Pinterest.

Current patterns

This fall, Simplicity released five licensed costume patterns for Marvel and DC superheroes. The women’s DC costumes are featured on the cover of the Halloween catalogue: Wonder Woman (Simplicity 1024) with Batgirl and Supergirl (Simplicity 1036):

Saturday Spooktacular! Simplicity costumes for Halloween 2015
Simplicity Costumes 2015. Image: Simplicity.
Women's Wonder Woman costume pattern - Simplicity 1024
Simplicity 1024 (2015) Wonder Woman costume.

The women’s costumes match those of the comic-book characters, but for the corresponding children’s pattern (Simplicity 1035), all three costumes have been altered to become knee-length, long-sleeved dresses. Batgirl loses her catsuit and Wonder Woman is virtually unrecognizable. What message does this send to children comparing the comic-book illustrations on the envelopes?

Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl pattern Simplicity 1035
Simplicity 1035 (2015) Supergirl, Wonder Woman, and Batgirl pattern. Image: Etsy.

The two Marvel patterns, Captain America (Simplicity 1030) and Thor (Simplicity 1038), have a different format. Both from Marvel’s Avengers, the adults’ and children’s sizes share the same envelope, which includes an illustration of the Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America down the left-hand side and a superimposed image of the pattern pieces with the text Sew It Yourself. Both are labelled as boys’ and men’s. The Thor should really be unisex if he’s now a woman:

Marvel Avengers Captain America costume pattern - Simplicity 1030/0225
Simplicity 1030/0225 (2015) Captain America costume. Image: eBay.

(S0225 is the advance version; the S1030 envelope seems to have some strange retouching of the man’s crotch.)

Marvel Avengers Thor costume pattern - Simplicity 1038
Simplicity 1038 (2015) Thor costume. Image: Etsy.

It’s great to see Wonder Woman making a comeback, and the increasing popularity of costuming means we’re likely to see more licensed superhero patterns in the near future. Here’s hoping there will be a Black Widow or Mystique—and it’s not a dress.

Update: Simplicity released several new DC patterns for Fall 2016, including an official Joker pattern and three DC Bombshells patterns—Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and Supergirl:

Official DC Comics The Joker costume pattern - Simplicity 8195
Simplicity 8195 (2016) Joker costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Wonder Woman pattern - Simplicity 8196
Simplicity 8196 (2016) DC Bombshells Wonder Woman costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Batgirl pattern - Simplicity 8197
Simplicity 8197 (2016) DC Bombshells Batgirl costume. Image: Simplicity.
Official DC Comics Bombshells Supergirl pattern - Simplicity 8185
Simplicity 8185 (2016) DC Bombshells Supergirl costume. Image: Simplicity.

Update, summer 2017: Simplicity’s Early Fall catalogue added more DC patterns: Harley Quinn and DC Bombshells Black Canary, Stargirl, and Batwoman.

Simplicity early autumn 2017
Authentic costumes from DC Comics. Simplicity catalogue, Early Autumn 2017. Image: Simplicity.
Harley Quinn costume pattern Simplicity 8434
Simplicity 8434 (2017) Harley Quinn costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Black Canary costume pattern Simplicity 8431
Simplicity 8431 (2017) DC Bombshells Black Canary costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Batwoman costume pattern Simplicity 8432
Simplicity 8432 (2017) DC Bombshells Batwoman costume. Image: Simplicity.
DC Bombshells Stargirl costume pattern Simplicity 8433
Simplicity 8433 (2017) DC Bombshells Stargirl costume. Image: Simplicity.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Simplicity 8720 detail

(For more see Dorian Lynskey, Kapow! Attack of the feminist superheroes, and Jill Lepore, The Last Amazon.)

* As I wrote this post, spellcheck failed to recognize the names of female superheroes. Please fix this, WordPress!

Star Wars Costume Patterns

Trisha Biggar's Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars
Trisha Biggar, Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars (Abrams, 2005) Image: Abrams.

Anticipation is high for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which opens in December. For fans of costume design, it helps that Michael Kaplan, who began his career with Bob Mackie and Blade Runner (1982), is designing the costumes for the new film. (Read Vanity Fair’s post here.) Here’s a look at Star Wars costume patterns.

Audrey Marnay in a costume from "Star Wars Couture," photographed by Irving Penn, 1999
“Star Wars Couture,” Vogue, April 1999. Model: Audrey Marnay. Photo: Irving Penn. Fashion editor: Phyllis Posnick. Image: TFS.

Star Wars’ costumes must be among the most discussed in cinema. In 2005, LA’s Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) organized the exhibit Dressing a Galaxy: The Costumes of Star Wars, accompanied by a book by Trisha Biggar, the costume designer for the prequel trilogy (Abrams, 2005; still in print). Last year saw the publication of Brandon Alinger’s Star Wars Costumes: The Original Trilogy (Chronicle Books, 2014). And a new travelling exhibit, Rebel, Jedi, Princess, Queen: Star Wars and the Power of Costume, will open in New York next month.

John Mollo's final sketch for the costume of Obi-Wan Kenobi, 1976
John Mollo’s final sketch for the costume of Obi-Wan Kenobi, 1976. Image: Alinger/Chronicle Books.
John Mollo's design for the samurai warrior concept of Darth Vader, 1976
John Mollo’s design for the samurai warrior concept of Darth Vader, 1976. Image: Alinger/Chronicle Books.

John Mollo’s costumes for Star Wars, which won an Academy Award in 1978, have immortalized a certain strand of ’70s style. Compare Princess Leia’s iconic hooded dress with a 1976 Dior evening gown available as a Vogue pattern; both were made in white silk crepe de chine:

Karen Bjornson in Vogue 1553 by Dior, photographed by Chris von Wangenheim; Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia
Left: Karen Bjornson in Vogue 1553 by Dior, Vogue Patterns, November/December 1976. Photo: Chris von Wangenheim. Right: Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia. Image: PatternVault on Twitter.

(I’ve made the Dior in red; photos coming soon.)

The year after The Empire Strikes Back (1980), McCall’s began releasing children’s costume patterns licensed with Lucasfilm.

McCall’s 7772 includes costumes for five characters from the first two films: Chewbacca, Princess Leia, Yoda, Jawa, and Lord Darth Vader. (Update: the young Jennifer Connelly played Leia for McCall’s.) The Vader view calls for one single serving cereal box. I have several sizes available in the shop:

Vintage 1980s licensed Star Wars pattern - McCall's 7772
McCall’s 7772 (1981) Image: PatternVault shop.

Update: a customer used McCall’s 7772 to make these Jawa costumes:

McCall's 7772 Jawa costumes
McCall’s 7772 Jawa costumes. Image: Erin Griffith via Etsy.

After Return of the Jedi (1983), McCall’s released a children’s pattern for Ewok costumes. And not just any Ewok: the envelope back names “Wicket the Ewok”:

1980s children's Ewok costume pattern - McCalls 8731
McCall’s 8731 (1983) Wicket the Ewok costume. Image: Etsy.

Update: A 1984 McCall’s Crafts counter catalogue presents both patterns with Return of the Jedi backdrops. The Wicket costume is shown with the Ewok village celebration scene, and instead of a wampa cave, the earlier costumes have Jabba the Hutt:

Star Wars pattern McCall's 7772 in McCall's 1984 Crafts catalogue
“May the force be with you!”™ McCall’s 7772 in the McCall’s Crafts catalogue, 1984.

In the 1990s, Butterick took over the Lucasfilm licensing. Butterick 5174 and 5175, official Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker costumes for adults and children, included an order form for the wig and light sabre:

1990s Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker pattern - Butterick 5174
Butterick 5174 (1997) Leia and Luke. Image: Etsy.
1990s children's Luke Skywalker and Princess Leia pattern - Butterick 5175
Butterick 5175 (1997) Children’s Luke and Leia. Image: Etsy.

Butterick also released two official Darth Vader costume patterns for children and adults. Butterick 5176 and 5186 included instructions for breastplate appliqués made from coloured, foam sheet remnants, and an order form for the helmet and light sabre:

1990s boy's Darth Vader costume pattern - Butterick 5176
Butterick 5176 (1997) Children’s Darth Vader. Image: Etsy.
1990s men's Darth Vader costume pattern - Butterick 5186
Butterick 5186 (1997) Darth Vader. Image: Etsy.

There were only unofficial costume patterns based on the prequel trilogy. The year of Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), McCall’s released McCall’s 2433, a “Space Nomads” pattern for adults and children with a version of Sith warrior Darth Maul:

McCall's 1990s Space Nomads pattern, McCall's 2433
McCall’s 2433 (1999) Space nomads. Image: Etsy.

Based on costumes from Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002), Simplicity 4433 includes Padmé Amidala’s combat suit, which doubles as an Aayla Secura costume (but two-sleeved and without the headpiece):

Andrea Schewe women's Star Wars combat pattern - Simplicity 4433
Simplicity 4433 by Andrea Schewe (2005) Padmé and Aayla Secura. Image: Etsy.

Although Padmé’s Peacock dress was cut from Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), it was widely seen in promotional materials for the film:

Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) in the Peacock dress
Senator Padmé Amidala (Natalie Portman) in the Peacock dress. Image: Pinterest.

Andrea Schewe produced two versions of the Peacock dress and headdress for children and adults, Simplicity 4426 and Simplicity 4443. The adults’ pattern includes both Padmé and Princess Leia, while the children’s has Leia, Padmé, and young Anakin and Obi-Wan:

Padmé, Leia, Anakin, and Jedi costume pattern - Simplicity 4426
Simplicity 4426 by Andrea Schewe (2005) Children’s Leia, Padmé, Obi-Wan, and Anakin. Image: Etsy.
Women's Padmé and Leia costume pattern - Simplicity 4443
Simplicity 4443 by Andrea Schewe (2005) Padmé and Leia. Image: Etsy.

Men’s costume pattern Simplicity 4450/059 includes Anakin and Obi-Wan Jedi costumes, together with an unidentifiable warlock Tion Medon:

Anakin Skywalker, Jedi tunic and cloak pattern - Simplicity 4450/0579
Simplicity 4450/0579 by Andrea Schewe (2005) Anakin Skywalker, Tion Medon, and Obi-Wan Kenobi. Image: Etsy.

Based on Padmé Amidala’s nightgown in Revenge of the Sith, McCall’s 4995 is a dress with boned bodice, separate drape, chain or bead trim, and tassels made with three sizes of beads:

Padmé nightgown pattern - McCall's 4995
McCall’s 4995 (2005) Bedtime Padmé. Image: eBay.

Now that Disney owns Lucasfilm, perhaps there will be more licensed Star Wars patterns…

Update: Irving Penn’s 1999 editorial was not the first Star Wars-themed shoot in Vogue magazine: see Ishimuro’s “The ‘Force’ of Fur” in Vogue, November 1977. (Thanks to Devorah Macdonald for the reference.) Vogue recently posted some outtakes and reminiscences.

300073_orig
Simplicity 8074 by Andrea Schewe (2016) Rey + Sand Snakes.

Update 2: Simplicity 8074, a Game of Thrones / Star Wars costume pattern (Sand Snakes / Rey) adapted by Andrea Schewe, suggests that Disney hasn’t licensed costumes from The Force Awakens (yet).

McCall's The Force Awakens patterns - M7421 and 7422 (Rey and Kylo Ren)
McCall’s 7421 and 7422 (2016) Rey + Kylo Ren. Images: McCall’s.

May 2016: McCall’s has released two patterns based on costumes from The Force Awakens: Rey (M7421) and Kylo Ren (M7422).

December 2016: in memory of Carrie Fisher, the New York Times published a gallery of readers’ Princess Leia costumes: see Amanda Hess, “Your Photos as Princess Leia, a Rebel and Role Model.”

June 2018: Simplicity’s Fall release includes a pattern for Arya Stark and Rey from Star Wars: The Last Jedi (S8718). There’s also Rey’s cape (S8721) and a children’s version (S8724).

Last Jedi Rey and executioner Arya costume Simplicity 8718 (Andrea Schewe)
Simplicity 8718 (2018) Rey + Arya Stark. Image: Simplicity.
Simplicity 8721 and 8724 (2018) Adult and children’s Rey costumes. Images: Simplicity.

Unisex flight suit pattern S8722 doubles as a Ghostbusters boiler suit. Works for resistance mechanic Rose Tico or X-wing pilots like Poe Dameron:

Unisex flight suit costume pattern (Star Wars, Ghostbusters) Simplicity 8722
Simplicity 8722 (2018) Unisex flight suits: Rose Tico, Poe Dameron + Ghostbusters. Image: Simplicity.
Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma, photographed by Annie Leibovitz for Vanity Fair, 2015
Gwendoline Christie as Captain Phasma in Vanity Fair, June 2015. Photo: Annie Leibovitz. Image: Vanity Fair.

Preview: Lyanna Stark Costume – McCall’s 6940

Stark pin

This Halloween I went as Lyanna Stark. Full post to come when I’ve had the chance to do a real photo shoot…

If you’d like to see a preview, I used a commercial pattern, McCall’s 6940, so was eligible to enter McCall’s Halloween costume contest. You can find my photos here.

McCall's 6940 with White Walker mini figurine

If you’re on Facebook, you can view and vote for the entries on McCall’s Facebook page. (The entries are divided into 3 categories: adult, children’s, and infants/toddlers.)

Hope everyone had a great Halloween!