Re: Simplicity Men's Patterns
Of course, as soon as "Simplicity" gets mentioned, folks get ansty--and rightly so! It's not been a traditional source for accurate patterns. LOL
The designer actually did some great research for the Fashion Historian line, and it does stand up to scrutiny very well. The men's patterns appear to hold up to that same standard, with decent period shapes, etc.
The downfall of the Simplicity patterns is that certain portions are "dumbed down" for mass consumption, and those flaws have to be recognized and corrected for the items to be true historic clothing, rather than really high grade costumes. But, the issues aren't major... stuff like appropriate seam finishes instead of pinking shears, basting in a collar on a woman's dress instead of using snaps, etc.
They also refuse to publish 20 pages of construction notes and documentation, so the patterns don't function in the same way as, say, Past Patterns, but they make a workable base. The trousers aren't Chris Daley, but they're not Sutler Row or remade Levi's, either... and they're not meant for the military. Vest has good lines, trousers appear to be cut high enough, and the layout diagrams show a shape that is consistent with period shapes. The shirts are very decent--Miles ahead of the "Olde Tyme" shirt with wooden buttons!
I've yet to buy copies of the men's patterns, just perused them at the shop, and so have not done a full review, but I have read the opinions of others who I both respect and trust... general opinion being, the Simplicity versions are going to get a person closer than Period Impressions. (Calling Carolann Schmitt!)
Short answer--yes, Simplicity, with THIS particular style line, has indeed come a long way. The other stuff is still worse than dreck, but this particular designer is doing some interesting work. I'd not recommend them for a newbie who doesn't realize there are gaps between period correct and costume, but for someone who generally knows what to look for, and is willing to ask about other aspects, they may work well... and at least no one has an excuse to be wearing "liberated" military clothing in the civilian world, as these patterns will be cheap.
Like any pattern line, it carries one main flaw: the purchasing public. This pattern *could* be made up to fool a trained eye for period appropriateness, or it could be done in tiger-print polarfleece.
The other downside... the styles are basic and recognizable, and many folks will make them up exactly as shown, same as with the women's dresses... which leads to a VERY cookie cutter look. Additional personal research is needed to make sure style variations are in keeping with established norms.
I'd love to see Chris Daley or another one of the very competent makers review the construction in the patterns.