Five Tips for Costume and Cosplay Sewing

McCall's costume patterns

At this time of year we’ve got costumes on the brain. Last month we enjoyed a flood of amazing cosplay pictures from San Diego Comic Con, and more pop up every week from conventions around the country. New York Comic Con and Halloween are just around the corner, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve already got piles of fabulous inspiration for your next costume project. But where to begin? Here are our top five tips for cosplay sewing.

So…A Sewalong?

sewalongs hosted by The McCall Pattern Company

Now that we’ve got this blog up and running, it’s time for us to get serious about hosting a sewalong. Help us get an idea of what kind of sewalong you want (or don’t want) by taking this brief survey below. You can also leave a comment here with any additional thoughts about sewalongs, or, suggest a pattern you think would work well for a sewalong. Thanks!

Please take our survey about sewalongs.


  • Garment most interested in sewing? Dress, followed by jacket, then top or pants. But all close.
  • Difficulty rating? 63% picked average
  • Brand preference? 68% said it didn’t matter as long as they liked the pattern
  • Likely to participate? 60% said yes to a sewalong in September or October
  • Participated in a sew along before? 65% said not yet

Sew Our New Ralph Rucci Patterns

Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns; V1404 and V1419

These two new Vogue Patterns by Ralph Rucci are top sellers for us, and I think it’s easy to see why. The designs are fresh and flattering, and they’re challenging just enough for sewers who are tired of making basic patterns all the time. Thinking about sewing one yourself? First read our tips to ensure success with V1404 dress and V1419 coat, then scroll through the detail photos we’ve posted here:

1) Be sure you like the fit ‘n’ flare style on yourself first. You do not want to go through all the effort only to discover you’re more of a sheath person. (Ask me about my peplum debacle of 2012.)

2) Make a muslin! I hear you groaning but this is practically mandatory for these two patterns. You want a slim fit through the shoulder and bodice. If you can’t bear the thought of sewing an entire muslin, just do what we do here sometimes and only make the bodice and a little bit of the skirt.

3) Use the right fabric if you want to closely mimic the designer originals. The V1419 coat is made of a heavy, water-repellent gabardine bonded to some kind of flannel. “Think techno fabrics,” advises Penny Payne, McCall Pattern Company fabric editor. She likes denim and gabardines for this coat—anything that is firm and tightly woven. You want the fabric to have stiff folds to it.

The V1404 original designer dress is made of ultrasuede, a soft-to-the-touch fabric that makes stiff folds. We love denim or a thicker wool crepe for this dress. You might be tempted to choose a lightweight dress fabric but keep in mind the end result won’t hold that flare shape of the designer original.

4) Take your time with these patterns. I just looked over the guide sheets for both patterns and we instruct you to sew them in the same way Mr. Rucci did—your interior dress or coat will look just the same as the designer garments. Which is a really cool thing and should make you proud that you are constructing your garment the same way a noted couture designer does.

Details photos:

Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1419 coat.
The original Ralph Rucci coat from which V1419 is drafted. Note how the fabric makes the sleeves form distinct bells.
Interior of Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1419 coat.
The inside of the designer coat. No lining, just beautifully finished Hong Kong seams.
Interior of Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1419 coat.
Another interior shot of V1419 for you.
Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1404 dress.
The designer original dress for V1404. Note how the ultrasuede fabric makes stiff folds even on the hanger. That’s what gives it the distinct fit ‘n’ flare shape.
Interior of Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1404 dress.
Interior of V1404 dress, specifically the lining side of the quilted hem.
Interior of Ralph Rucci for Vogue Patterns V1404 dress.
V1404 dress turned inside-out. We instruct you to finish your version just like this.

Visit our new Pinterest board for even more detail shots for these two patterns, plus several more photos of the new Vogue Patterns fall collection. People have been telling us how much they love these detail photos, and we’re thrilled to hear that. We’ll do our best to post more images like this.