Another Look at the New McCall’s Archive Collection Gown

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

McCall's Archive Collection reissue of a 1930's gown pattern. M7154 sewing pattern

I think this is one of the most beautiful patterns I’ve ever seen. McCall’s Archive Collection pattern M7154 is a reissue of a 1930’s McCall’s pattern. It’s a current bestseller and we can’t wait to see your versions of it.

The key to this pattern is using the right fabric. It needs to be lightweight and have incredible drape. If you dropped it on the floor it should puddle. Silk charmeuse, silk crepe, crepe-back satin—or quality poly versions of these—would be perfect. If I were sewing this gown I’d most definitely hand-baste first before I machine-stitched. Oh, and I’d make a muslin as Step 1. The bodice should be blousy but the dress needs to softly hug your hips—not too tight or too loose here.

Karen Duffy, McCall Pattern Company associate art director/associate fashion editor, agreed to model this dress (and two more patterns you’ll also see here soon). When she first put this gown on everyone in the office swarmed around her and gushed over how magnificent it looked on her. I told her she has to buy it when we have one of our sample sales for employees.

These photos were taken across the street from our office in downtown NYC. We hope you like seeing this pattern photographed street-style. As I mentioned above, we’ve got two more street-style posts coming soon. Let us know what you think about this in the comments section.

Is it crazy that I want to make this gown—not to actually wear in public to a fabulous event—but just to swan around in at home? Pretending I’m Carole Lombard and my husband is Clark Gable? Where would you wear it?

We’ve been sewing since 1863.

  1. It really is a beautiful dress. I love the street style photos, they’re so fun, and show the garment in a different light. It looks fantastic on Karen!

  2. OMG this is so fabulous and I so want to make it just because! I have absolutely no where to go but I want to find something fancy to attend to make and wear it. Silk fabric for sure nothing less!

  3. It’s gorgeous! I’ve just received this one and will use it as my wedding dress! I have a few questions about the design, I hope you can answer them. 1. The gathers at below the waist, do they have a function? I was thinking or drafting them out. 2. The back differs from the original, is there a specific reason for that?

    1. Hi Lisa! What a great choice for a wedding gown! As far as I can tell, the gathers in the lower torso area are purely a design detail and could be eliminated. But you’re making a muslin, right, so you can see if that works or not? As far as the different back, let me see if I can get an answer on that for you. Been wondering myself.

    2. Lisa, I emailed Jackie, our McCall’s designer, about the back of this dress. Here’s what she said: “There was not much info on this dress [the original 1930’s pattern] at all, not even a brief description. All I had to go by was the [original] sketch. This dress also has a blouson effect “top” and an underneath stay. The stay holds up the entire dress and clean-finishes the front, back necklines and armholes. While sketching this dress, I happen to go to The Manhattan Vintage Show and I saw the construction of these type of 1930s dresses. Most of them had no closure (cut on the bias) or they had a snap closure. There was a lot of discussion [here at the McCall Pattern Company] on constructing this dress and we went back and forth on how to get into this dress. We felt that placing a center-back closure (invisible zipper just to modernize it a bit), would not interfere with the blouson effect of the top.”

      1. Thanks so much Meg! It’s fascinating to read, I can see that if zippers are not an option it would be hard to imagine how this would have worked. Thanks again!

  4. I think it’s fine to wear on the street but it needs something to tone it down. A jean jacket, high-tops, something to match the casual hair style. Otherwise, it is stunning gown. I, too, am interested in seeing how this dress gets made up. It would even be interesting to see this gown made as separates. It would certainly make it more versatile.

    1. Hi Mary Beth! It wasn’t actually meant to be a real “street style” photo shoot, otherwise you’re right, it needs more styling. This photo shoot, and the other two that will follow, were done so readers can see the outfits outside of our studio and on a real person who’s not a model.

      1. Though if shortened to knee length this would make a great little day dress in challis or a rayon blend.

  5. Beuatiful pattern looking forwars to different version feom the ladies. No its not weird that you want to “simply” make it, this is why we sew, an artistic outlet.

  6. I haven’t been sewing in AWHILE, but if I made this: FIRST, it would be TRICOLOR TONAL (light to dark); I would use A SILK CHARMUESE for the bodice to the LOW DROP WAIST, the LOWER BOTTOM & BACK TIE (?)would be DOUBLE LAYER CHIFFON so it will FLOAT across the floor.

  7. If I was going to make my wedding dress all over again, I would choose this pattern!

  8. I want to make this so badly! I have absolutely nowhere to wear it though.

  9. Karen looks like Victoria Beckham in one of those photos. Not for me but I’ll let my youngest daughter, who’s getting married next year, see it.

  10. The minute I saw the first photo with the model and her greek NYC coffee takeout cup (coffee and ivory satin – noooooo!), you had me in stitch–I was laughing a lot. Hey, and for those of you who want to make this dress but don’t know where to go, I suggest you follow the model here: lunchtime smoothie break!

    Thanks so much! Lovely dress, btw!

  11. This design caught my eye immediately when I saw the new release but, alas, I’ll have to admire it from afar and on others. This is a gorgeous gown for the tall and slender types of which I am neither.

  12. Stunning dress. I hope this is the start of more such vintage re-releases.
    Love the idea of making this to wear around the house – why the heck not! I’m contemplating making it to attend weddings this year, but in something patterned and dull not shiny. Wouldn’t want all the attention to be on MY dress after all! Teehee
    Enjoyed the urban photo location too – keep pushing the boat out team!

  13. I bought this pattern just cause its so pretty. hopefully an event will come up where ill get to make it. even maybe with a shorter midi hem for a cocktail party for more of a flapper look? love it either way!

    1. I agree. Cocktail dress!

  14. Love the street photos. My favorite photos are the 2 with the coffee cups. That gown is absolutely gorgeous. I am tempted to purchase the pattern even though I likely will never make it.

  15. Stop tempting me to make this!!! It’s perfect!

    1. You must make this dress. I command you.

  16. Since I have no black tie events to attend, I really want to make this in a soft cotton, maybe a small floral or geometric print, and wear it to summer weddings. I would (sadly) eliminate the train in this case, but I think it could make a great fancy summer maxi dress! Will probably start tracing pattern pieces and making a muslin next week.

  17. I would’ve done the photo shoot differently. One at Radio City Music Hall, or another of the famous indoor art deco landmarks. Another in a park, or being carried over the threshold of an older home with a bouquet and a ‘period’ appropriate veil. Another swanning about the house, as your writer put it. 🙂 Even if you can’t fit all these images onto an envelope, they sure would advertise well. Posters for the windows of stockists, and if they’ll agree to keep track of requests for these images, (even tally marks on the back of the poster would do.) you could then find out if inspiration posters like this would be worth producing.

    Am getting carried away, sorry. 🙂

    1. Hi Mary! Yes, it would have been fun to shoot this in some NYC art deco landmarks, but we were really just operating on the fly. Karen, who’s modeling here, has a full-time job at the McCall Pattern Company as an art director and is very busy right now. So we only had time to run across the street and grab a few shots. Maybe in the future if time and budget allow we can go big…

  18. I was captivated by this dress pattern at first site!! I plan to make this dress for my wedding this year. Thank you for showcasing it.

  19. I have a niece getting married in a year or so, this made shorter with a simpler back would be great for me to wear in my roles as guest, family member, and wedding planner. Hopefully I can get a copy in the 3 for $5 sale today!

  20. This is such a beautiful dress – I am so tempted to make it, but would never have anywhere to wear it!

  21. Looks like McCall’s needs to start organising black tie events so people have a reason to make beautiful dresses……

  22. RE: MP344 and M6886 – This is the same pattern with two different numbers. My friend tells me that the MP344 number designates the pattern as Misses/Petite sizing for people 5’4″ and under, while the M6886 number denotes Misses sizing. I have purchased the MP pattern numbers not knowing and thinking that they were exactly the same. I should know the answer but do not – feeling sort of dumbfounded; but if I never ask I’ll never know. Please help. Thanks!

    1. Hi Faye! The MP indicates you bought this pattern at a store. There is no difference in sizing.

      1. Thank you so much for responding Meg! It’s good to know for sure about the sizing. When you refer to “being purchased in a store” do you mean other than a fabric store? I purchased both patterns from my local Hancock Fabric Store.

        1. Here’s a better late than never answer. She meant bought from one of their counter displays as opposed to getting it out of the pattern drawer. They have a different numbering system probably to track the effectiveness of the displays.

  23. I adore the design and I know it would work on my very svelte daughter.
    I wonder though if there may be fitting issues with the close fitting style lines on the skirt section.
    I made a vintage style for myself Meg….made a toile first which was a perfect fit. I bought expensive silk charmeuse but it was a totally different fit and is in the wardrobe now until my 19 year old daughter grows a little to wear it….what went wrong, I would really love to know. I made a 1931 style Vogue 2241, so similar in the figure hugging skirt style. I really adore the style lines of your pattern and would love to know how to ensure a perfect fit as I am not an expert at altering patterns.

  24. I love the front of the dress. However, the back would in my opinion call for ‘trouble’ on anyone not as svelte as the model, e.g. myself. I would remove the gathers at the back and sides, as well as the train just below the bum

  25. I love it. I put this dress on my purchase list as soon as it came out. I don’t attend enough “special” events to wear such a dress but I just may start sewing them up anyway. Yes, thanks for the street style photos.

  26. Lovely! What is the underwear situation? Can you wear a bra with a back that open?

  27. I saw the original pattern envelope from this design. It appears that the original was 2 pieces, a slip on crop top which has 3 scallops on the front, and and a spaghetti strap top slip that is not seen when the garment is worn connected to the skirt which ends in scallops at the hemline. I actually prefer the original. I am sure one of the reasons why the original pattern with scallops was not drafted for the average sewer is because to sew the scalloped pattern on the bottom of the crop top and the skirt hemline in silk charmeuse would be something only an expert sewer could execute well without having the hem stretch out of control on the bias. I did sew one vintage 30’s pattern with hemline scallops in chiffon by hand and it was quite challenging to make them all look uniform.

  28. What exact fabric did ya’ll use for this gown?

    1. Hi! Silk charmeuse.

  29. I’m actually working in this dress right now and hope to have it finished by a Mardi Gras party I’m attending this Saturday night. Definitely make a muslin! Maybe 2… And I discovered the instructions never explain how to attach the front fabric bands to the top middle front section, figured it out though! :).

  30. Can any of the underbodice pieces be out of lining fabric ? Why are they cut from the same fabric as the rest of the dress?

    1. Hi Misty! This is a vintage dress pattern, so I’m guessing that’s what the original pattern directed. If you are making this dress out of something very lightweight like silk charmeuse or silk crepe de chine, underlining in self fabric makes sense. Feel free to email us at if you’d like more help with this pattern.

  31. I agree, this is a beautiful gown. I tried making this dress 3 years ago and ran into problems making the top, so I turned it into a skirt, every body loved it. I like it so much, that I am taking another shot at sewing it for our couple’s dance ministry at my church the Sunday before Valentine’s day, and our the pastor will perform a re-commitment ceremony for those of us in the ministry as well as other congregation members. Which is great for us because our anniversary is 2 days later.
    I wish there was a video tutorial for making the top. I am excited bout making ot again, wish me luck.
    By the way, I used sort of a stretch taffeta the last time, it was pretty, but it does not flow as well as it would with satin, so I am using crepe back satin this time.

  32. I’m actually sewing the skirt of this pattern for my wedding dress with a different (not as flowy) top that I’m constructing myself. I’m wondering how you guys managed to not have it be too see-through with this very light colour fabric. I’m using a beautiful silk satin and I’m starting to think I’ll most likely need an underskirt to prevent people from seeing parts of me they’re not supposed to.
    Any ideas about that? Would that make the perfect and awesome flow of the dress any less beautiful?

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