McCall Pattern Company Interview & Giveaway

31 Jan McCall Pattern Company Interview & Giveaway

 McCall Pattern Company founded in 1870 is a mainstay of the home sewing industry.
Through the years, the pattern companies have undergone numerous business changes but they are still here! I had the privilege of touring the Manhattan company headquarters in 2013 which was very impressive.  I was guided through the conception to realization of its pattern process, and the company truly runs like a well oiled machine.


Today the McCall Pattern Company is owned by CSS Industries, and sells sewing patterns under the McCall’s®, Butterick®, Kwik Sew® and Vogue Patterns® brand names.

In support of the 2018 RTW Fasters, The McCall Pattern Company is serving as the official pattern company of the 2018 RTW FAST by featuring a pattern giveaway to one lucky Faster each month!


If you have ever wondered who is behind the scenes of The McCall Pattern Company Instagram, Facebook, Blog, Sewalongs, and other online content, meet Meg McDonald, the Social Media Manager for CSS Industries.  (Photo below from Instagram. Meg models Vogue 9289 – post here.)

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Meg took the time to answer a few questions about her job and the company at large. Read on…

Your job looks like fun! Can your share your job description with us?

I do social media and marketing for CSS Industries, the parent company of McCall’s. So that means I create and publish social media content, and I engage with our consumers online. I’m a home sewer myself and a former sewing blogger, so talking with people about sewing all day long is a pretty great thing to do for a living.

Aside from the incredible longevity, what distinguishes the McCall pattern company from the indie patterns popping up in such abundance?

One of these days I’m going to write a blog post about this, because it seems like everyone wants to talk about this so-called duel between the “Big 4” and the indies. I guess a short answer would be that McCall’s and Simplicity offer far more pattern options each year than the indies do, and at more affordable prices. We did a survey recently where we asked questions about commercial patterns and indie patterns, and many respondents felt that the Big 4 were much more “consistent” than the indies.

How long does it take a current fashion trend to appear as a pattern?

Our production schedule dictates that we work about nine to 12 months ahead, but we can fast-track a trend if necessary to get it into consumers’ hands faster. We also anticipate trends by following the top designers, so we know ahead of time what will be hot next year.

I have found your sew alongs to be very helpful. Do you have any planned for 2018?

Yes! The #RoyalWeddingSewAlong is kicking off very soon and will be lots of fun. We’re planning it now with our colleagues from Simplicity, so stay tuned!

Susan Khalje told me that a pattern is a blueprint for your design, and customizing it is up to the sewist. I agree with her statement, but customizing takes planning and requires a vision. What advice can you offer for taking a pattern to the next level?

By the way, we love it when people put their own creative spins on our patterns. I try to do this myself. I keep a Pinterest board filled with all the designer outfits I’m inspired by. I’ll find a pattern that’s close enough to the designer original, and then I’ll try to incorporate the things I liked about it. I’m not skilled enough to make radical design alterations to any pattern, so I focus on small things that give a designer touch. Like quilting a cuff or finishing an edge with custom bias binding, or changing the length of a bodice or sleeve. Little touches like those can make all the difference.

What is your best selling pattern for 2017?

Two of our top sellers for 2017 were also just named “Best Debut” patterns by PatternReview: Vogue Patterns V9253 


and McCall’s M7542.
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Since Butterick Patterns originated in 1863 we have watched the popularity of home sewing rise and fall through the years. What is the state of fashion sewing in the 21st century and what current sewing trends have you observed?

Even though we’ll probably never see the amount of home sewers that we did in the previous century, I personally feel hopeful about the state of fashion sewing. My Instagram feed for McCall’s is filled with young sewers. I see sewing schools and sewing workshops popping up everywhere. Sewing is cool again. Collectively we need to reach out and mentor new sewers, so they get hooked on sewing and become passionate about it just like we did. Let’s not let fashion sewing die out!

What is next up on your sewing table?

Right now I’m trying to finish my Isabel Marant-inspired jacket that I’ve been working on since before the holidays. After that I’ll probably start working on a dress for the Royal Wedding Sew-Along. Pattern to be determined!

The photo below is from a McCall Pattern Company Instagram post. Meg credits the cape she made in the photo with her return to sewing. Read here,


Thank you, Meg for providing us with a little insight into one of sewing industries leading companies, and a huge thank you to The McCall Pattern Company for serving as the official pattern company of the 2018 RTW FAST!

Congratulations to Faster#510, winner of the first pattern giveaway!

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Please send your contact information to by Friday, February 2 to claim your prize or a new winner will be selected.

Until Soon 🙂

  • Barbara Barrett
    Posted at 10:38h, 31 January Reply

    Great interview Sarah. As always thank you for such interesting posts!

  • Lone Star Couture
    Posted at 10:44h, 31 January Reply

    Great post Sarah! I especially love that Meg is right in there sewing in the trenches with us. She is very active and accessible on social media and is always supportive of all makes, not just those from her company. She’s a great ambassador of this mainstay of the pattern industry. Brava!

  • Liane McConnell
    Posted at 11:11h, 31 January Reply

    Great post.

  • Jana Duplantis
    Posted at 11:56h, 31 January Reply

    Great post! I love the patterns shown and they are on sale today through BMV!

  • Yolanda Fastle
    Posted at 12:29h, 31 January Reply

    Thank you for a great post! I love all the pattern companies and this was fun. How do we follow the Royal Wedding post? That sounds like fun as I have always loved Megan Merkle in Suits.

  • Thelma Black
    Posted at 12:33h, 31 January Reply

    I often wandered why there was so much talk about Indie vs. Big 4 patterns. Although I have not sewn one of the Indie patterns and the Big 4 are my go to patterns (McCalls has the best fit for me) I am interested in purchasing an Indie if I can find a good buy. I don’t normally purchase patterns at regular price. I enjoyed reading about Meg’s journey to her position at McCalls and her interest in sewing/blogging. Thanks Sarah for the posts.

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 12:38h, 31 January Reply

    A dream job or what?! Thanks for the interesting interview. I use McCall’s patterns often for tops because they seem to be cut fuller in the shoulders than the other 3.

  • Denise Thompson
    Posted at 12:49h, 31 January Reply

    Great interview! Does Meg realize how many people would love to have her job?! LOL!

  • Mary Anne Chambers
    Posted at 13:44h, 31 January Reply

    Very interesting interview, and thank you to McCalls for sponsoring the pattern giveaway!

  • Julie Starr
    Posted at 13:56h, 31 January Reply

    Thanks for the great interview, Sarah. It’s pretty remarkable to think that little more than five years ago it would have been impossible to imagine home sewists having a direct connection to The Big Four in this way. Kudos to Meg for being such a big part of their evolution into the digital age. A side note – her Anna Wintour Halloween costume was one of my favorite Instagram posts of all time!

  • Laurie
    Posted at 14:27h, 31 January Reply

    I have both those patterns but still need to make them!

  • Molly Hayden
    Posted at 15:53h, 31 January Reply

    Very interesting interview, thank you for sharing! I’m glad she mentioned Simplicity since it is now under the McCalls umbrella. Fashion sewing has changed so much over the years and I’m glad the pattern companies are working so hard to stay on top of the trends.

  • Marvel Donovan
    Posted at 16:18h, 31 January Reply

    I do stick with the Big 4 patterns. I have tried some indies with mixed results. I think the major selling point for me are the variety available. I am so grateful for the rapid inclusion of athleisure wear because these are mainstays of my closet. I do wish there were more YouTube videos and discussion about fabric options. Living in a rural area limits my available fabric choices; and online orders make me wait for delivery. Consider more videos, please.

  • Dani Malloy
    Posted at 20:12h, 31 January Reply

    I see Meg’s post pop up on Instagram all the time and find them really inspiring! Great interview. It’s so nice to meet the person behind the socia media account.

  • Vanessa Thomas
    Posted at 20:32h, 31 January Reply

    Thank you for such great information! I am always fascinated with the creative process for the Big 4!

  • Marnie Keith
    Posted at 20:45h, 31 January Reply

    Congratulations Marianne! Nice post!!

  • peggyleah
    Posted at 07:53h, 01 February Reply

    All those wonderful patterns available to us and so few physical
    fabrics stores out there!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:14h, 01 February Reply

      Order online. I find it far more relaxing than sitting at a dirty table under florescent lights 😀

  • Karen Mulkey
    Posted at 09:25h, 01 February Reply

    I enjoyed this interview. I met Meg when she worked for Mood Fabrics several years ago and was a faithful follower of her blog. She is a thoughtful sewist planning and executing each garment with care. She has great sew alongs..

  • Meg McDonald
    Posted at 10:22h, 01 February Reply

    Aww, thanks everybody! XOXO! —Meg

  • KS Sews
    Posted at 14:42h, 01 February Reply

    I am a firm lover of the Big4! My pattern stash is incredibly expansive. Shhhhh! 🙂

    I’m not a RTW faster (about 90% of my wardrobe is handmade but I will buy something if I love it.) but am enjoying many of the 2018 challenges.

  • LInda Galante
    Posted at 19:51h, 01 February Reply

    I have been such a fan of mccalls for a long time aNd am so glad that they’re joining the fun of the RTW fast…great info here, thanks!

  • Linda LaMona
    Posted at 09:01h, 03 February Reply

    Great post about the McCall Pattern Company. I remember reading Meg’s blog when she was a blogger and surprised and happy to realize that she is the Social Media person for the company! Great interview with her.

  • TC Ferrito
    Posted at 20:15h, 04 February Reply

    Most of my sewing is the big 4. There is much more selection and I rely on designers like Palmer/Pletsch, Sandra Betzina and the Tiltons. If I need a dress to wear to a special event, I always turn to Vogue or McCalls. I know what alterations I need to make on the big 4. However, many of the indies are available as pdfs. If you want instant gratification and to start sewing right away, pdfs are the way to go. If the big 4 can make their patterns available as downloads, I think attitudes will change.

  • Cara Combs
    Posted at 13:34h, 09 February Reply

    Very interesting interview. Thanks for the insight!

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