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!