20 Questions with McCall’s Designer Khaliah Ali

20 Questions with Khaliah Ali, McCall's pattern designer.


The McCall’s designer on love of family, her goal to design for woman of all shapes and sizes, and migrating penguins.

1. What should every woman try at least once in her life? Join a sports team! It will help you determine your life’s passion.

2. What brings you the greatest joy?  This one’s very easy—being a mother to my 15-year-old son Jacob.

3. What brings you the greatest satisfaction?  The deep emotional bonds and ties I have with my entire family, friends and coworkers.

4. What is the best advice you’ve been given? “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.” Wise words of my grandmother.

5. Do you sew? I humbly reply yes. My background is in design which has afforded me the time it requires to become a skilled seamstress.

6. What is on your bookshelf? Vogue magazine, tons of books on plant-based and vegan nutrition, and National Geographic. I love magazines!

7. What charity do you support? HELP USA , Project Sunshine, and We Are Family Foundation. I’ve also traveled to the Congo and taken part in building schools and hospitals there with my husband and son.

8. What is on your bucket list? Traveling to Antarctica to witness the penguin migration.

9. What is on your perennial to-do list? I want to continue to produce quality products for women of all shapes and sizes. I want to maintain balance and harmony in my life. Oh, and to stop hoarding gorgeous pieces of fabric that are dying to be made into garments!

10. What are the last three items on your credit card statement? Flowers, can’t live without them; sneakers for my son, whose feet grow faster than I can speak; and groceries. What can I say, I’ve got a house full of hungry men to feed!

11. What item in your closet do you wear the most? My black (of course) matte jersey dolman sleeve cinch top. I have three of them—when it works, it works!

12. Who are your heroes? My mother, grandmother, my sisters Lydia, Jenna, Jennifer and my sister-in-law Sara—the young ones keep me connected and inspired. And my dad.

13.  What is on your nightstand? A glass of water, earrings, and a stack of books.

14. What quote do you live by? There are so many it’s hard to choose, but right now my favorite word is “focused.”

15. What is your greatest indulgence? Staying in bed late on a Sunday morning surrounding myself with tons of things to read, a cup of my favorite tea, and my yellow lab Butters.

16. Who is on the guest list for your ideal dinner party? Barbra Streisand!!!!!! Paul McCartney, Oprah, Dolly Parton, Larry David, Chris Rock, Louis CK , Willie Nelson and Russell Brand… oh, I could go on forever.

17. Who are your favorite designers? Kenneth Cole: He is not only a source of inspiration but at times a mentor as well. Valentino: Such beauty and refined elegance always takes my breath away.

18. What is the one thing people would be surprised to know about you? I love flying pigs. I have one in every room of my house. “When pigs fly” makes the impossible possible.

19. What is your beauty secret? Happiness, confidence and a happy marriage.

20. What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were younger? That everything eventually works itself out. No need to rush and worry.

Fashion Fusion Video Pairs Our Patterns With Jo-Ann Fabrics

Have you seen the Fashion Fusion magazine we produce for Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores? It’s in stores now and online, and it features loads of inspiration for fall and winter sewing. Plus, it pairs McCall’s, Butterick, Kwik Sew and Vogue Patterns with fabrics from Jo-Ann that are available right now. You can see just what our patterns look like all made up, no guesswork involved. So, watch the video, grab a copy of the magazine, and let us know what you think!

Fashion Fusion magazine by The McCall Pattern Company for Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores
Fashion Fusion magazine is available at your local Jo-Ann store or online here.


V1419 Sewalong: Steps 51-63 Welt Pockets

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket detail. This week it’s all about welt pockets in our #V1419sewalong. If you’ve never sewn a welt pocket before you’re probably cringing about slashing into the coat you’re already put so much work into. Do not panic. You can do this! Just follow these three guidelines: 1. Practice first: Make your first welt pocket in muslin. You don’t have to do all the steps, just 51-56 on the instruction sheet. You can make your tests in a smaller size if you want. Once you have a perfect test muslin, then try it in a small scrap of your garment fabric or a fabric that’s similar to your garment fabric. 2. No eyeballing: Your stitch lines need to be perfectly parallel and the same distance in length. Keep your ruler handy for this stage. I love using my clear quilt rulers here. 3. Take your time: This is not the point to hurry things along because you’re already over this coat. I spent most of my Sunday working on the welt pockets and I haven’t even reached step 58! A well-sewn welt pocket is a thing of beauty and you’re going to be so proud of your efforts. In this post I’ll talk about how to make the welt pockets by following our instructions. My co-host Lauren wrote extensively about her experience with the V1419 welt pockets. Before you dive in, take a look at both our posts and go through your sewing books for more tips on welt pockets. I always rely on my old copy of this Singer Tailoring book for its clear photos; if you have favorite welt pocket online tutorials or videos please mention them in the comments for others to see. Steps 51-53, my notes: Proceed as we instruct you to. I pressed my seams open first before I turned the welt. After I turned and pressed, I machine-basted along the seam line. Then I trimmed the seam to 1/4″.

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket muslin detail.
Press your welt seams open before turning it.

Step 54, my notes: We give you guidelines where to place your welts on the front piece #2 tissue. Pin your welts in place on your coat first and make sure you like the placement. Re-adjust as necessary and mark your placement area. Baste welts in place (they should be downward, as they’ll be flipped up after everything is stitched). Make sure your welts are in exactly the same place on both front pieces—your front pieces should be mirror images of each other. Note: Just to clarify, there is no need to stitch any lines on your coat at this step or before it.

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket muslin detail.
Baste your welts in place on the coat fronts. Ignore my markings on this test muslin; they are not necessary at this stage.

Step 55, my notes: Here’s where you need to mark your lines. Transfer the markings on the pocket piece #11 tissue to your fabric pocket piece. Check that your welt will fit snugly in this rectangle area; if not, adjust the lines as necessary. Mine fit perfectly. I recommend machine-stitching on your lines to reinforce the area. Next, place the pocket on top of the welt, matching the welt seam line with the lower stitching line on the pocket. Hand-baste carefully in place using a thread that removes easily. Now stitch along the lines (which looks like a long thin rectangle), making sure that only the bottom row of stitching catches the welt. Slash carefully in the middle between the two lines, clipping diagonally to the corners. Do your slashing one layer at a time—first the pocket layer, then flip over and slash from the reverse side of your coat.

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket muslin detail.
This photo shows the pocket stitched on top of the welt. I didn’t stitch the ends of the rectangle but go ahead and do this. Then I slashed the center and clipped to the corners.

Step 56, my notes: Follow our instructions here. I turned, and pressed and pressed and pressed to get nice neat corners. I also pounded the corners with a rubber mallet to flatten them as much as possible. Then I slipstitched the welt ends in place and basted the pocket opening closed. Note: on the designer coat the pocket openings are machine-stitched closed.

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket muslin detail.
Here’s what the inside of the pocket should look like before you add the other pocket section (step 57).
V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket muslin detail.
The welt from the right side in my test muslin. My real one came out much better (yay!) but it was too late to get good photos of it for you. You can look at the designer coat welt pocket (first photo in this post) to get a better look at a finished welt pocket.

Steps 57-63, my notes: This is where I was last night at 9 pm, when I put my sewing aside to watch that edge-of-your-seat episode of Homeland. But this part of the pocket is all about adding the binding to it, and by now we’re all experts in adding binding, right? Just follow the directions here and you’ll be fine.

V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket detail.
Pulling back the welt on the designer coat so you can see what it looks like.
V1419 Vogue Patterns coat sewalong. Welt pocket detail.
The bound pocket on the designer coat. Steps 58-61.
Detail of the designer coat showing catch-stitches used to keep the pocket neatly in place. Step 62.

Next week Lauren will blog about the remaining steps in the sewalong. I know some of you have already finished your coats…how does everyone else stand? Remember, no pressure because this is a go-at-your-own pace sewalong. And don’t forget to visit our Flickr group!

Meet two important members of the V1419 team here at the McCall Pattern Company: Robin, left, did all the illustrations in the guide sheet, and Elizabeth wrote all the instructions. No easy task as I’m sure you can now appreciate!