McCalls Pattern Book, circa 1953

In the finest American business tradition, McCalls Pattern Company recently proved to me that customers matter.

Remember my post about Vogue 9005 and how the draft seemed wrong?

Since McCalls Patterns is now active in social media (best business decision ever), I sent a direct Twitter message about said draft and, was thrilled to see an immediate response (see their comment on the above referenced blog post) with a contact e-mail to send the details of my pattern problem. I did, and got a reply from Laurie at  Vogue Patterns Customer Service; she knew exactly what I was talking about, and that she had forwarded the issue to their grading department. Them pattern companies know their stuff…..


This post is dedicated to McCalls Patterns where I’ll briefly show you something I own, which the company probably has in it’s archives.

Read on, all sewing history nerds….


McCalls Pattern Book, Spring 1953, Fabric Issue

Let’s take a peek inside.


Editor was Marion Corey. In any magazine, one of my favorite pages is the editorial staff listing. I always want to know who created the deliciousness on paper.

Ed page

Inspiration: It is 1953 and the inspiration seems to be Christian Dior, especially in the look on the left.

The much coveted European look, non?

Dior-like European

Tailoring was king, even in spring. I love this outfit with the lace collar.


The dolman sleeve is rampant, especially in the “jiffy” patterns. The “tube jersey” dress, top of left picture is so easy, it may not even need a pattern. Click on the picture to read the text.

Jiffies IMG_1376

An advertisement for Avondale – chambray never had it so good!  On the right, an ad for the new Slant-needle Singer sewing machine. Ergonomic machine from the pioneering Singer Company. Readers, did you, your mom or grandma own this one?

Chambray Slant Needle Singer

I am now coveting this gorgeous parasol print on the left by Bates.  On the right, um, no politically correct ads, please.


Parasol print IMG_1377

 There’s much more in this precious pattern magazine, detailing spring colors, sewing questions and answers and more. I’ll save that for another post. 

McCalls Patterns, thank you for years of sewing enjoyment!


PS: not sure at all why the font changed on me…


17 thoughts on “McCalls Pattern Book, circa 1953

  1. What a really fun read! So happy to hear that Vogue/McCalls was interested in the drafting issue. Look forward to hearing more.


    1. Janith, sometimes I think I may donate these things to a museum such as the one you’re involved with in New Hampshire. I don’t think they can be preserved in a private home.
      The Costume department of the Houston museum is extremely inactive 😦


    1. It’s a feeling of relief to know that real business people and pattern experts are behind the big pattern company name. Sometimes we begin to wonder — LOL.


  2. How great that you got an immediate response from McCall’s!
    So glad you posted these fashions. I’m not much of a retro-wearing fashion gal myself, but I do love looking at the photos and illustrations from that time. 🙂


    1. I can’t imagine sewing with a slanted needle either. I guess some customers liked it a lot. I wonder what the inside assembly of the machine looked like — everything had to be slanted, I guess.


  3. First, what an amazing little treasure you have! Bet you are having fun turning those pages . But there is something that has alwAys bothered me and that is why no credit to the illustrators?? Even today no credit to artists that make those lovely drawings. Especially those old ones, I get lost in thought just looking at them. Still a lovely find you have there. I hope you tell us more.


    1. I’m looking at the book and see that one of the illustrations – the red coat-dress featured above is signed but not credited in print. You can see the signature if you enlarge the picture. That’s a good point you brought up – now I’ll always look for illustration credit. Thank you.


      1. The minute I started following Cameron, spam comments went through the roof. Unfollowing. Maybe your blog got hacked??


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