McCall’s Patterns Early Spring 2020

The first release of the new year from McCall’s is here, and while we get a lot of what we would expect as far as designs go, we also get something totally new and unexpected, which is that there is now a name hashtag printed on each pattern cover. It’s… interesting. I’ll provide more thoughts in the conclusion after I’ve had some time to process this development. In the meantime, there are a lot of patterns to look at, so let’s jump in:

M8030 – #JosieMcCalls. I get the sense that shirt dresses are going to be a bit of a trend this spring. It seems like there are a lot of them in this release, and I feel like they’ve been popping up quite a bit on the sewing feeds lately. I do like a lot of the features of this pattern, including the wide yoke, the cut on sleeves, and the hem length options. It looks like it wouldn’t be too difficult to sew, and has a pretty cute result.

M8031 – #AlexisMcCalls. Learn to Sew pattern. This shirt dress looks a bit more classic in its styling, and is also marked as a “Learn to Sew” pattern, so presumably has detailed instructions for that. I like the shape of the collar and the sleeve and hem options as well.

M8032 – #BlytheMcCalls. Another Learn to Sew. Overall this looks like a pretty basic dress, but it has some nice options for ruffles and puff sleeves if you are wanting to wear such things.

M8033 – #SophiaMcCalls. This dress looks a bit “Little House on the Prairie” to me, but I think the 90s styles are coming back around, so I won’t be too surprised if ends up being a popular pattern. I do like the scoop neck and the sleeves on View A. I think the proportions of the short version with the hem detail actually work really well.

M8034 – #CoraMcCalls. This looks like a super fitted sheath dress (look at that waist curve!) with lots of seam lines, which is great for fitting. I’m not sure I love the sleeve options, and I really don’t need the pattern for the plain version (thanks stash!).

M8035 – #BrynnMcCalls. From personal experience, I’m confident in saying that this pattern just doesn’t have the best waistline placement for me, and that I’ve got better maxi dress options in the stash. I do think that the three options do look significantly different though, which just a few changes to the ruffle details and the sleeves. So that’s a nice value from a single pattern if you really like this style.

M8036 – #SashaMcCalls. I like this partial shirt/partial wrap dress hybrid. I think it has nice proportions, and I think the options for more plain, with buttons, or with ruffles also produce three very different looks, which is a nice feature again.

M8037 – #MaraMcCalls. Ok, so I have to admit that while I really like the style of this dress, I also know I’m past the point of bothering with having such a low neckline. Yes, yes, I could just sew it up higher, but at this point, I don’t need more patterns in the stash that require a lot of extra effort in the sewing. It is a beautiful dress though. I hope somebody makes it up because I’d really love to see it on the blogosphere!

M8038 – #LunaMcCalls. This is another dress pattern that is really pretty, but also really simple. While I could see myself wearing a dress in this style, I can’t see myself choosing this pattern over some of the other ones in my stash that are similar in silhouette (looking at you Designer Vogue stash…). I think this pattern could be great for using with more complex fabrics or for adding embellishments since the lines are so simple though.

M8039 – #LilyMcCalls. So I guess this is a top but it sort of looks like a jacket? I’m not really sure how I feel about it. I mean, it’s… fine?

M8040 – #EmmieMcCalls. So it really seems like the softer silhouettes and puffy sleeves are a major trend in this release. Which is great if those are the sorts of details you really love to have on your clothes, but in some ways everything starts to feel a little redundant.

M8041 – #MattieMcCalls. Of course, having just said that, then there is this very no-frills shirt pattern, and I have to admit I sort of rather like it. The more open v-neck is a nice feature, and I like the hem and collar options. It’s yet another pattern where I feel like I don’t need it, but I do like it.

M8042 – #MiaMcCalls. This blouse has some nice delicate detailing with the tiny gathers. Yet again, I feel like I could find similar styles in the stash, but I do think this would be a very versatile blouse that could look great with a wide variety of bottoms.

M8043 – #AlisterMcCalls. Ummmm, wow. Ok, this top is certainly a lot of things, but boring is definitely not one of them. It’s like trying to pretend to be a very conventional blouse but then has the super deep V in the front and is totally open in the back. While my younger self probably would have had an intense interest in this top pattern, my current self really couldn’t be bothered with engineering the sort of contraption that would be necessary to hoist my bosom into position under such a garment.

M8044 – #JamiaMcCalls. I think this sort of button detail has been a popular trend with skirts for a while now, but I do like the simple silhouette and asymmetric placement here.

M8045 – #AbbieMcCalls. Can’t say I really like the seaming on the line drawing, but I do think it looks nice on the model. Also not a huge fan of the button fly myself, but I know some people really prefer them to zips so if that’s the case this could be a nice option.

M8046 – #TrudyMcCalls. While I will say I like this jumpsuit pattern, I don’t think it’s necessarily better than other styles I already have in my stash. I do like the sort of utilitarian style, though it’s maybe not the most exciting thing.

M8047 – #EdieMcCalls. Create Your Own Look pattern. This is what used to be called the Create It! line I think? Anyway, it looks like you’ve got the option of 3 different tops and 3 different bottoms to mix and match here. I honestly have to say that of all the patterns in this release, this is the one I find the most tempting. I’d totally wear the asymmetric top or the wrap top, and I like all of the bottom options. I can’t say I need this pattern (at this point I really don’t know that I need any pattern), but I do really like the options here. I also love how McCall’s has chosen to showcase the design on the pattern cover – the model looks great!

M8048 – #JessaMcCalls. Ok, if the jumpsuit was the pattern I enjoyed the most in this release, this one might be a close second. The asymmetric hem will get me every time! Plus, the neon pink/blue/green pattern cover is really playing on my 80’s Barbie nostalgia and I think it’s messing with my brain. I have to keep reminding myself that this is not better than what I already have, nor am I more likely to sew this than other things I already own, BUT I will say I do like it.

M8049 – #GinaMcCalls. Ok, so I saw a post on Instagram laughing at this pattern which actually alerted me to the McCall’s release, and while, yes, I don’t see many of us needing a bright blue fur coat, I don’t think the pattern in and of itself is that bad, at least in terms of the design or style lines. Though at some level I just don’t know how I feel about patterns for fur styles anymore. I feel like there is just so much controversy about fur right now – both real and fake – that it is becoming increasingly difficult to justify sewing somewhat frivolous things “for fashion.”

And with that somewhat downer of an ending, that’s it! While I don’t think I’ll be getting anything from this release for myself, I certainly have some thoughts on the whole thing. Firstly, the hashtags. I totally get why McCall’s is trying to get in on the hashtag popularity that other indie sewing brands enjoy with their named pattern styles. However, at the rate McCall’s and the other brands in the Big4/1 release new patterns, they had better have their hands on a rather sizable baby names book. I mean, I feel like it is a bit more sustainable for an indie brand that perhaps releases 1-20 patterns per year to keep up with the naming convention, but when you release 120 patterns per year across several brands? At a certain point, it’s almost like, why? Were hashtags with the pattern numbers not working? It’s not that I’m averse to change, I just… don’t see the logic of it. Especially when the patterns are still presented with numbers on the website; that’s still how you’d have to find them in a catalog or on a web search, so the naming convention in a hashtag just seems weird.

Secondly, at the end of last year’s Kibbe series I had sort of mentioned that 2019 really wasn’t the best year for Romantic types (or Soft Gamines for that matter), but it really seems like 2020 is starting out in such a way that those trends are going to be reversed (as they so often are in fashion). (Really we just pass back and forth between the ends of a pendulum swing in some sense, and now we are heading towards the other extreme.) I’m definitely seeing a lot of 80s and early 90s influence, though I’m oddly also seeing a lot of silhouettes that I feel echo styles of the late 1800s as well? Perhaps I’ve just been watching a bit too much CosTube (historical costuming channels on YouTube) lately, but I’m really seeing sleeve shapes and waist emphasis that makes me think of a lot of the historical reconstruction pieces I’ve been watching people make. In an updated modernized version, obviously. Anyway, all this rambling is to say, it seems as though we are heading back in the direction of softer styles and away from the more simple, straight lines that were prevalent the past few years. Of course, remains to be seen what we get from the next few pattern releases, but this at least seems to be a major trend in this release.

Ok, so I think that’s about what I’ve got as far as this release goes, but I’m eagerly awaiting to hear what people have to say in the comments. I’m really curious how everyone feels about the styles and silhouettes, but also, what’s your take on the named hashtags? Will this help McCall’s crack the indie market at all? Or make a move on social media? Or do you think that at this point people are sort of set in their sewing ways and that this will just be an annoyance to anyone who is already sewing from the Big 4? Also, it didn’t look like Simplicity did this with their releases, so maybe this will be a McCall’s specific thing to appeal to the younger/hipper audience? Discuss!

27 thoughts on “McCall’s Patterns Early Spring 2020

  1. If you’ve been sewing for 40 years (I have) and you have saved most of your pattern (I have a lot), you have all of these. Except maybe those jumpsuits. Everything old is new again. Actually some are very reminiscent of more current releases. McCalls 8041 = Vogue 1323. Nothing here for me. As far as the hashtag names – I just am not going to pay attention to them. Nothing irritates me more than patterns with names. I’m a numbers person. My patterns are organized numerically not alphabetically.

    Look closely at the jumpsuit you were most intrigued by. There is something going on with that front crotch. It has been suspiciously hidden by the bag.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hahahaha :). Do we call you LC1? Do away with names altogether! I’m your age, but I still like novel patterns: there’s usually a new tweak/fabric/detail to freshen up a “see it before” garment.


  2. I’m not entirely comfortable with the 90s style coming back. I have too many awkward teen memories attached to some of those looks, and despite being able to make shirt dresses to fit my shape nowadays so that I don’t get bust gape i’m just not comfortable in them at all after so many years trying to be fashion conscious and failing for fit as a teen.

    Otherwise its all a bit plain for my liking. Still too many ruffles and too cutesey. Not much seems very practical to wear. The Luna is super lovely, but I don’t have any occasions to wear something like this and like you, I go to my designer vogues first.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I like the shirtdresses but I have similar in the pattern collection already. I saw these a couple days ago and was so flummoxed by the hashtags I almost ignored the patterns. I think the hashtags are really an unnecessary overcomplication when people were already tagging their makes with the pattern number. Now McCall’s is going to start duplicating names that other pattern designers have already used (Jamie, Trudy, and Mia spring to mind) and confuse things. I’ll stick with the numbers.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly! There are only so many pleasantly generic names that exist (no offense to anyone rocking these names and this is totally coming from someone who has a rather generic name to begin with). I mean, yes, the pattern numbers double up after several decades of releases, but really I still think it’s much simpler.


  4. The only one that interests me at all is 8036 with the button down wrap. No costumes since they’re being moved to their own book, no ‘crafts ‘…guess they’re moving to Kwik Sew too. No children’s clothes…so where are they being moved to?aince I’ve been sewing almoat 50 years I could dig out my old patterns and probably fit right in. Except you couldn’t pay me to repeat most of them! LOL I’m wondering since costumes will have their own catalog whether they’ll be included in the pattern sales? If all ‘crafts’ are moved to Kwik Sew they’ll rarely be on sale. If all the releases have this much yawn factor I guess I’ll be saving a lot of money and will concentrate on my sizable stash…good thing? Hmmm 😉 P.S. skip the #names. I’ll never use them.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Correction…my daughters would love the jumpsuit so might get that. Also ao sorry for my terrible editing. I’m going to blame it on late night typing….


  6. Almost every single one of these reminded me of a Burda pattern I already own…they’re not bad, just not different enough to be worth adding to my stash. The long turquoise dress made me smile – I made pretty much that exact dress about ten years ago and it was lovely. Sadly the fabric didn’t wear well.

    I’m with you on not seeing the benefit in the hashtags – I never had a problem with pattern numbers and I suspect the dual naming will get confusing. Do one or the other, not both 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I had seen a striped jumpsuit on a TV show last fall. The woman was curvy and it looked terrific. I have been considering trying one if I could find the right one and the right fabric
    Fabric is still a no show but 8047 looks like it might work…Although I don’t know if I can actually purchase anything with the cutsey Edie’s McCall’s label
    The hashtags make me want to avoid all of them
    I want MY McCall’s not someone else’s

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m with you on the names. I prefer the numbers although I can see why they are trying names out. I do like the look of the new envelopes, though. I also can pass on most of these because I have a sizeable stash, although I really like 8035 View B. I like the ruffles and puffy longer sleeves in general and am interested in trying some wrap styles.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Another vote for numbers instead of names… Not much speaks to me in this set, though the v-neck blouse/shirt is nice. But I already have a Burda paper pattern nearly the same. The button pants with the seaming details are interesting, but I’m way too chicken to try – I find the pocket position interesting, maybe it works better for those of us with tummies? Whenever I’ve sewn skirts with those types of side pockets, they always stick out. Anyway, my stash includes nearly 6 patterns for various legging styles, so I’ll try those first.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Pure disappointment for me. Nothing here I will buy. Nothing for men or girls which I sew for also. Hashtags? I think business is still trying to figure out how to utilize them to their best advantage so this experiment should be interesting.

    I know that you are short on time and was wondering if adding a quick sentence or two to each pattern with a Kibbe connection might kill two birds with one stone.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I think the hashtags are genius. It’s much easier to remember a named pattern than a number. Anyone know the Ogden? ha ha. I think if the Big 4 up their game it will really keep Indies on their toes. Good for everyone! After sewing with Burda magzines for the last 5 years, this year I want to use more Big 4. I still love Burda but need to shake up my sewing routine.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. M8048 has the kind of asymmetric hem that ends up in the toilet on me. I made Vogue 8907 with a similar hem and had to square it off for this very reason. No, apparently I cannot remember to just lift it up before I sit down.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. There’s maybe 1 or 2 patterns that appeal, but by the time my Joann’s gets them, we’ll be at least 2 releases past. 🙄

    I think that adding a hashtag was smart, as I’m never sure what to do for the big 4 on Instagram when I make those patterns– just M(number)? McCalls(number)? And this adds some consistency. Using women’s names may not have been the best choice to correct that, but it likely will increase their exposure on social media.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. In 2018 Dutch pattern magazine Knipmode started using names instead of numbers. With 20+ new patterns each month they ran out of ideas a little over a year later and changed back to numbers. We’ll see how long McCalls will keep this up,

    Liked by 2 people

  15. 8043, 8049, 8037 good for me!
    The jacket, I’m thinking I must have similar pattern.
    The fabric is the highlight.


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