And…we have a blog!

Dressforms at the McCall Pattern Company headquarters in NYC.

Finally, right?! (Ok, so we’re a tad behind in launching a blog, but we’ll give ourselves credit for being the first pattern company to launch a print magazine devoted to sewing patterns. That would be the Ladies Quarterly of Broadway Fashions in 1867, in case you were wondering.)

We love that the sewing community has found its voice online. Friendships have been formed, new sewers enter the fray every day, and the passion for sewing is growing. We’ve been reading and following your blogs, comments, tweets, pins and photos all along, but now in 2014 we’re dedicated to making the conversation two-way instead of one-way.

This blog is a way to directly engage with our customers. Here we’ll be writing about our new pattern collections, trends and inspiration, sewing and pattern tips, behind-the-scenes looks at how we do stuff, vintage patterns, and so much more. We’re excited to read your comments and we welcome ideas for post topics. There’s tons we can talk about!

Speaking of talking, we’re also active now on Twitter (@mccallpatternco), Pinterest  (The McCall Pattern Company), and Instagram (mccallpatterncompany). On Facebook, we have pages for each of our brands: McCall’s, Vogue Patterns, Butterick and Kwik Sew. We hope you’ll follow us here and on all of our social media.

So, now that we’ve got a dialog going, what kinds of things would you like us to write about here? Leave us a comment and let us know!

We've been sewing since 1863.
73 comments
  1. i would love you to follow up on some of the excellent pinning you’ve been doing out of the vintage archives – maybe suggestions for modern substitutes? details on what goes in to re-creating the old patterns when people submit them for re-issue? highlights of some of the designer patterns that you are no longer able to offer, and what made them special? vintage techniques (smocking, shirring, petticoats, etc)? a few years ago, VPM did a great spread on interpreting the vintage re-issues in a modern way that knocked my socks off.

    you’ve been doing a great job with the social media and i am looking forward to following the blog!

    1. All very good ideas!!

    2. Good suggestions! We’re always striving to find the right balance between our new products and heritage products.

  2. Congrats on the new blog, Meg! I’ll be following along and am excited to see what you write about. 🙂 How about doing an occasional round-up of patterns in the wild, particularly the newest patterns? It’s always helpful to see other bloggers’ versions before making a purchase.

    1. I agree, I love seeing how patterns look on different shapes of people, made with different fabrics.
      I have been reading your replies on other people’s blogs, and really appreciate that you’re up for two way conversations!

      1. Definitely! As others have said, it’s great that you guys have been really digging into the online community these days. It makes a huge “nameless” company much more approachable – and of course generates great publicity for your patterns. Everyone wins. 🙂

        1. Thanks, Karen and Carolyn! We agree, seeing our patterns on real people always helps. We’ll try to do this as much as possible.

  3. You guys are doing a fantastic job with the SM stuff lately. Scuttlebutt is that we should thank Meg. 🙂

    I would love to see posts about how fabrics are matched with patterns. Starting with the information on the pattern envelope and then narrowing it down to get just the right effect.

    Or how to style particular patterns to be appropriate for different situations. Taking the same shirt pattern and making it evening-friendly vs. weekend-friendly vs. work-friendly, depending on views and fabrics and notions etc.

    1. Great suggestions! This is the kind of info I like myself when I sew. Thanks!

      1. You’re welcome. 🙂

        I’m also thinking about other techniques, like embellishing, dyeing, embroidering, beads, trims, etc., that can also make the same pattern into something wildly different. It might be fun to have sewing challenges for people to interpret patterns in different ways and see all the ideas people come up with, to help people gain inspiration for their own modifications or embellishments.

        I was thinking too about what one of your other commenters said about women ageing and having a hard time finding appropriate patterns. I can totally see that. I think part of it might be that the models on the envelopes are usually young women (it’s industry standard, I know, so that’s not a complaint, but it’s hard to visualize something that way). Maybe taking the same pattern and making it for a young women, middle-aged woman, older woman? How can people creatively interpret a pattern to make it appropriate for different stages of life?

        Good luck to you! I’m really looking forward to seeing this develop. 🙂

      2. And I’m going to bug you with one more, non-blog-related thing:

        Is there anyway to put a wish list on the pattern website? So many times I see something I like and want to flag it for later, but there’s no obvious way to do that.

        1. Hi! Each pattern website has a wish list feature. Look in the upper right corner in small print.

          1. Oops! I can’t believe I never saw that before.

  4. Other blogs that are based out of pattern companies do really well discussing wardrobes for different lifestyles and exploring self-expression through sewing. You could have a sseries and do occasional integration with patterns you provide.

    Another idea is to do sewalongs, which are another insanely popular blog activity. Also tutorials for trickier aspects of patterns (like designer or vintage patterns, which are usually on a lot of peoples wish lists but never get sewn because the complexity fills them with intrepidation).

    You could also appoint liaisons in various cities and have them do sewing meet ups, and have the liaisons do guest blog posts recapping the event.

    Hopefully a few of these ideas help out. Looking forward to watching the blog develop!

    1. **trepidation. I hate typing on a phone…

    2. A sew along would be great, I’m trying to find one for newbies.

    3. Thanks, Morgan! We are definitely planning on a sew along soon, might even get one underway in August. And we love the idea of being present on a local level, as you suggest. Watch for developments on this front too!

      1. That would be fantastically fun. Would this be just US, or would you branch out to other countries too?

  5. Excited about your new blog! Like another post commented, I would like to see Vintage patterns either re-issued or updated a bit for today’s figures. I sew for a lot of PLUS-SIZE clients. Usually, they will find a pattern that they like, and ask me to “enlarge” it to fit them. Sometimes, this is an easy fix. Other times, I must take one of your LARGEST-SIZED patterns, and I must enlarge it considerably! I know your company sizes patterns to fit the most popular ranges of people, but how about adding a SMALL section for EXTRA- extra large patterns.(Possibly call it “The Goddess/Hercules Collection”)-or something of that nature.– I’m talking 4X-7X sizes! Up-to-Date Tops/Blouses; pants; shorts; skirts; and a dress or two for ladies. For the men, pants, shorts, Casual shirts and T’s. Possibly add a couple of patterns for TEENS, too. Trendy and Modern styles would be FABULOUS!! (Some of my clients must spend $40-$50 on a single T-shirt to get it to fit!) I know that I am dreaming, when I ask for this request, but the average person nowadays, is PLUS-SIZED. Thank you.

    1. Hi Cynthia! We hear you on this. Plus-size designer Khalia Ali has just joined us as a designer for McCall’s, and she has some new patterns coming soon. This demand for larger sizes is on our radar.

      1. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!!! My clients will be esepecially excited to see the new patterns!!

  6. Well, hurrah! I can’t wait to follow, check frequently, etc etc etc. I can’t wait to have a “first notice” on new patterns. My biggest challenge is fitting for age changes. And finding fabrics and patterns that are pretty, trendy, edgy–AND age appropriate. Plus toss in new techniques, new hints, new accessories–oh, goodness, thanks for doing this!

  7. I’d love to see you feature great things people make with your patterns — how they express their personal style using your patterns as a base, especially if they do something a little unexpected or tweak the pattern pieces in some way. I love seeing patterns on real people, like you do on Facebook.

  8. Woo hoo, new blog. I’m excited to see what will be showcased here…

  9. This is so exciting to read everyone’s comments! Thanks so much, they’re all great.

  10. I would like to read and discover tools that will help me with my sewing and up the quality. I’m looking forward to following the blog!

  11. I would love to find out how a pattern is made, from the very first sketch to the final product. How long does it take and where do you generally find your inspiration? Congratulations on launching a blog, Meg — excellent idea!

  12. Yay! I have also been enjoyng your Facebook posts – they always stoke my sewing mojo 😉
    Hey maybe you’ll venture out into having guest posts on this blog … I will keep my eyes open 😉
    Keep up the great work Meg!

  13. This is so exciting! I’ve already added your blog to my feeder! Since we’re in the same office building and all, I’m volunteering for anything that involves petting patterns and/ or fabric!

    Barbara

  14. Congrats! I would like to know about converting regular patterns into using my new serger. Or do you just follow the same directions?

  15. I would love to know more about the pattern production process! I’m very interested to know more about how an idea for a product is developed (do you provide guidance to your designers or do they come up with stuff independently? I know that may vary depending on whether they are designed by your folks or the independent designers) and what kind of collaboration occurs during that process. Way to go on starting a blog!

  16. Glad to see your new blog! Good luck with it.

  17. All I’m saying is, I want to see a 70s sundress pattern reissued.

  18. This is great! I’m glad to see you guys creating a strong social presence online. I really look forward to it!

  19. I’ve been watching the conversations McCalls has been having with sewing bloggers for months and I’m really pleased McCalls has developed a blog. And with a very capable blogger too. Looking forward to seeing what’s coming up next. Congratulations.

  20. Congrats on the blog. I started mine a 8 months ago, so I felt a little behind the eight ball but really glad I did it. If you could put a little button to add this blog to my Bloglovin’ and/or Feedly feed, I would really appreciate it.

    1. Will add a button ASAP! Thanks for the reminder!

  21. Yay! I’m super excited to see the upcoming posts and tutorials. I think this is great to reach out to this community, and have a two way conversation like you said! 🙂

  22. Guys, we are loving these comments! We are so thrilled you want to read and engage with our new blog. Onward!

  23. Awesome! It was fantastic when you finally joined twitter (I had asked at the ASE focus group if you were on twitter because I couldn’t find you and the answer was no–so happy you’re tweeting now!) Having a blog is just icing on the cake!! I love all the insider info, like when you commented on Lladybird’s post and said you’re not allowed to reissue certain designer patterns, and that the designers pick their fabric. Would love to hear more about that. Also love that you have a sense of humor and a thick skin. 🙂

  24. Yay, blog! As a history nerd I’d love to see how your company has evolved over the years. Seeing how the pattern design process has changed, how you reached your customers, etc. in the past 150 years would be pretty cool I think. It might also be neat to highlight unusual pattern instructions from your older patterns. Sometimes bloggers share a neat technique they’ve found in vintage patterns and you really learn some neat “new” tips that way!

  25. Unlike most who have commented here, I am not really intersted in blogging, following tweets, going on FB or any of that other stuff.

    So, why am I posting on a blog?

    It may be the only way to be “heard.”

    I am more interested in substance, than I am in superficiality. While a blog may be great for some, I would prefer to see patterns, especially those for men, where men are not treated as an “after thought” and are primarily included on patterns for “family” pajamas, or “unisex” patterns.

    I would also like to see shirt patterns that do not have the armscye hanging down to the bottoms of our rib cages. And I would like to see more than “t shirts,” “pajamas” and “lounge wear” for men. Yes, we do wear more than that. And while not everything needs to be “fitted,” there is a vast difference between “fitted” and the slovenly look that most patterns, and RTW, give us.

    I look on the Burda site (Burda.de – German, not American) and wonder why the “Big 4” doesn’t offer the variety, and quality, of patterns that Burda offers.

    If anyone is listening, and if anyone cares, the men of America do want to look better, have our clothes fit better, and we SEW.

    Hopefully this won’t be deleted for not following the “band wagon.”

    1. Anonymous, we will never delete a comment that offers criticism, as long as it’s not slanderous or profane. I’ll pass along your comment about more menswear to our merchandising team. Thanks!

  26. I’ve really been enjoying your tweets/ grams and love seeing you chime in on blog discussions – so congratulations on starting a blog!

    I’d be very interested to read about how patterns are developed, maybe following a particular pattern, where the size ranges come from, what the designers intend with their patterns- and would love if you could highlight some of the interesting Vogue sewing that’s going on around the place, maybe with mini interviews within the post. I don’t know about guest bloggers though – I think you need to establish your blog personality first 🙂 plus I think you guys are the experts on Vogue patterns really… It’d also be great to have in-depth sewing ‘how to’s relating to design details on some of the harder patterns. Oh and a look back at the evolution of styles over time – nothing is really new!

  27. Congrats on your new blog. I think the open lines of communication will be very helpful for all parties.

    Will you be featuring photos non-blogging customers at the bottom of your blog? Also, will all women be represented? I noticed a certain bias to a particular shape and size frame. Additionally, lets get some photos from the men out there that sew. That is something that would really interest me.

    1. Good comment about photos of our customers, Judy. Our coming post on Thursday may help us with this. Having a good quality photo is really our main priority in choosing customer photos for our social media. I think I may do a post on how we choose the customer photos that we do…

      And would love to show photos of men who sew, but besides Peter, those are harder to find. But I’ll keep looking!

  28. I think people would love to see pictures of their interpretations of a McCalls pattern on the blog. It will take some setting up, but maybe features once a month or so. Also, how to fit some of your patterns – especially pants – I think many of us find them baggy in the leg area.

  29. I was really excited about this (and shared it on my Facebook page) and can’t wait to see where it goes. I just love the old patterns and the modern versions so please do some of these.

  30. Congratulations, Meg. Some of us have followed you in different venues for a number of years and are pleased to see that you’re now the social media voice of McCall’s. One thing that I hope you can bring us is information. I’d love to know the whys behind some of the things that happen. Tell us why certain designs end up as designer patterns. Let us know why a particular pattern might be released. For example, why do we have M6996 when it is so similar to M6844, a pattern that is very popular and not that old in the catalogue? And what in the world is McCall’s doing with Kwik Sew? A lot of us loved the practical patterns despite the horrible cover art. We’re mourning what seems to be a drawn-out death as KS descends into craftdom. Why, Meg, why? Please keep us informed.

    1. Hi! Yes, we will definitely give you posts on how we do what we do. It’s fascinating! And we hear you about Kwik Sew. We have a new designer on board and are adding more fashion patterns to the mix.

  31. Congratulations on setting up a blog. What a great idea! I would like to see more of the pattern making process and also articles on the most popular patterns for each decade for each company.

  32. Looking forward to seeing what you get up to on the blog. I am a lover of Vogue for over 40 years and would love to see more older patterns reissued if possible.

    As for content there are some great suggestions and I look forward to maybe some of them here.

  33. I am very happy you are opening two way communications. I do hope you listen to the masses. I also hope you know what you have done (I do mean that in good spirits).

    As a new sewist to patterns for me and not my kids (now that my skills have improved), I would love to see a sew a long or something of the sort where I am shown how measurements on the back of your envelope are used to fit the model on the front of your envelope with a beautiful garment which is fitted well and not falling off her.

    Also, I would love to have patterns for my son and not just pj’s and an after-thought pair of shorts once and a while.

  34. I’d like to see a blog on how the person/people write the directions for patterns.

  35. I +1 all of the suggestions made above and I’m excited to read what’s to come!

  36. I love that you have created a blog! I started my sewing experiences back in 1960, when I turned 10. My Grandma, who had the patience of a saint, was my teacher. Sewing became a pastime with a huge learning curve at first until I gained confidence and skill, but then became a real passion…something I looked forward to whenever possible.

    As the years progressed, my frame changed and I went from pattern size 8 in my 30’s, size 10 in my early 40’s, and size 12 in my mid-late 50’s. Now, I can’t use standard pattern sizing as printed on the pattern envelopes because I’m multiple sizes and I’m altering patterns to fit those new curves.

    The real problem I find is that there are very limited styles in patterns for “mature” women. Every time I look at patterns these days, there are more styles for younger women than there are for women over 50. We can’t wear the styles that the younger women wear, our bodies are a bit fuller. Besides, many of these styles just don’t look as attractive on us as they do the younger women. We have areas of our bodies that we want to cover up more than they do 🙂 I also noticed earlier today while looking at the blouse patterns, that the number of styles in just blouses has been reduced significantly compared to even 5 years ago! However, I must give you kudo’s for making some patterns available with cup size differences! Finally, us non-B cup women can fit patterns to our appropriate size. Yay!

    What I’d like to see is that McCalls pattern designers create some styled patterns for the women who have been pattern customers for the past 40-50 years. A lot of us still make our clothes, we like style (age appropriate of course) and we sew for the enjoyment that comes from the experience. I realize the pattern companies are trying to attract younger sewers, but those of us who have been around for decades don’t want to be forgotten!

    1. Being a maturing lady too, I sympathize with Shari. But I think we need to define what we mean by “age appropriate”. Maybe if McCall can set up a community pinterest board where us older ladies can pin inspirations to show what we mean & we can all vote on what styles we like best for us older ladies? Then it would be easier for the pattern brands to design more suitable patterns. (I’m a lucky & naughty one so far in that the middle age spread hasn’t affected me too much yet & even when it does I plan to sew & wear exactly what I like and not let other people dictate what is “age appropriate” for me! 🙂

  37. Finally!!! What a fantastic move. Really interested to watch this blog develop. I would love to see tutorials that are guaranteed to be on point. Through this blog I’m going to be pushing for more up-to-date sewing patterns, ones that follow the trends from one Season to the next.
    Lee

  38. The occasional errata post would be nice. I have encountered a few errors in BVM patterns along the way and I’m never sure if I am doing something wrong or if the tissue is wrong. It would be nice if all the errors that are reported were collected and disseminated regularly. You could even make a special folder to look up erratas on the blog.

  39. I have a kooky suggestion. Burda aeons ago used to do a reader submitted design. I have no such design. But, it might be a fun contest to run. One in each new collection.

    Would love to see interviews with the Vogue designers who submit their patterns.

    I really like what you’re doing with social media.

    1. Thanks, Renee! You always have creative ideas so keep ’em coming! —Meg

  40. I’d love to hear about the pattern development process. And also see you showcase what people have done with the patterns. So pleased you’ve got a blog!

    1. Thanks, Catherine! We’re happy to launch this blog too/

  41. Im delighted to see McCall PC have joined the social era. I { LOVE } that the sewing community is getting bigger & stronger as each day passes. Cant wait to read all the ideas & things to come.

    1. Thank you! We’re very happy to be involved with the online sewing community.

  42. Congrats on the blog! Would like to see some sew-a-longs and tips for couture techniques and fitting.

    1. Definitely!

  43. I’m thrilled about your new blog! I love the suggestions on content that have been posted, and at this point don’t have further suggestions to add. Looking forward to lots of good info you will be sharing.

  44. Congrats on the new blog, and on your new social media efforts! From what I’ve seen here, on Instagram and through your comments on Lladybird’s blog post on the fall Vogues, you’ve got a great, positive, humorous, hip tone. What a great move by an old company!

    I second a lot of these content suggestions, like fabric characteristics, fabric/pattern pairing, and pattern development. I would also love some sewing skills information. One of the great thing about indie and smaller pattern designers/publishers is that they assume that each pattern will be a sewing lesson for the sewist. I love that attitude, but I’m not a newbie anymore, so I’m beyond the lessons they offer. I would love to make some tailored things, like a perfect blazer, and the big four seem to still be the only ones offering those kinds of patterns, but I don’t know where to start. Some tutorials for those of us who are intermediate and ready to go advanced would be great.

    Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks, Meredith! Great suggestions. We will definitely try to add more tutorials for those sewers in that middle place.

  45. I’m so glad you guys now have a voice in the online sewing community. I was feeling sorry for you not being able to publicly respond to complaints about over-generous or inconsistent Big4 sizing! Can you do a post about how your sizing systems work nowadays?

    Are all fashion patterns still based on your fitting patterns / slopers (V1004, V1003, M2718, B5627)? Are the fit styles’ ease descriptions still accurate? Why do some styles seem unexpected oversized while others seem fine? What’s the latest recommendations on size selection – do you still stick by full bust measurements or should we ideally go with using high bust / chest as the bust measurement (as recommended by Palmer/Pletsch)? Some experienced sewers even recommend going by neck & cross-front / cross-back measurements as it’s harder to alter those areas to fit than to change bust, waist, hip circumferences. What are your views on these recommendations? Why are alteration lines / marks missing from some patterns (eg the Donna Karan dress I made)? And relating to other request for bigger sizes, why are the patterns still designed with a B-cup assumption even though the population in general have become larger with fuller bust?

  46. Please… Age appropriate? How to raise necklines, to cover these unwanted, ugly, “excess lines”.

  47. I LOVE that you guys have started a blog! I started learning to sew using Big4 patterns but it was always kind of difficult not really knowing where to turn for questions about ambiguous instructions or that extra piece you cut out that you’re not sure where it belongs. Being able to directly interact with (either via blog or emailing) a designer, especially to clarify something about their pattern has been one of my favorite parts of sewing with indie patterns and I love that you guys are jumping in and being more active in the online community!

    I also love the idea of featuring other people’s interpretations (and of non-bloggers too!) of what’s always felt like faceless patterns. I’m nosy and I love seeing what other people are sewing. 😉 Anyway, super excited about this!

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