Thursday, October 18, 2018

1940 McCall Sewalong Week 1: About the Pattern

Welcome to week 1 of the 1940 McCall Sewalong!  Today we will be taking a peak inside the 1940 McCall pattern we will be using, pattern number 3863.

All the early 1940s McCall patterns are very similar.  The first place to start is the back cover instructions.  This is where you will find 1) the different styles included in the pattern, 2) the pattern size conversions, 3) fabric requirements and types of fabrics they recommend for the pattern and 4) a view of all the pattern pieces.

This pattern has multiple versions.  There are three sleeve options: 1) View A sleeves which are full length and tapered to be tighter towards the wrist, 2) View B sleeves which are often called 'bracelet sleeves', which is a 3/4 length looser sleeve and 3) View C sleeves which is the short sleeve version.  There are also two skirt lengths included: just below knee length or ballgown floor length.

There are also two options for the front: 1) one bow on the neckline and a simple waist (see version C drawing above) or 2) two bows as seen on the pattern cover:

One of the interesting things is that the McCall pattern company had the patent for printed patterns since the early 1920s.  So all the patterns are printed compared to other patterns from the same time period that don't have any markings on the pattern pieces.  The seam allowance is also different for older pattners-- 1/2 inch is allowed around the edges compared to today's 5/8 inch seam allowance.

The 1940 McCall patterns all come with a one page diagram with instructions for how to sew the pattern.  One of the coolest things is that the seams are numbered both in the instructions and in the pattern pieces for the order in which they should be sewn!

I know for those who might be more used to modern patterns, the instructions may seem sparse but there is a lot of information packed onto this one page and I really like the accompanying pictures which are way better (in my opinion) than modern patterns.

Here is the marking of the order of the seams and the markings on the pattern pieces:

The instructions also contain small boxes for common techniques (hemming, inserting a 'slide fastener' or zipper--also very innovative for 1940, inserting sleeve padding, etc).  We will cover each of these extra techniques--both with vintage methods and also modern approaches--throughout the sewalong.

So that's a sneak peek into the 1940 McCall pattern.  Don't forget you can order a copy of this pattern from Lady Marlow on Etsy and use 'Debi15' at checkout for a 15% discount on the pattern.

Next week we are going fabric shopping to explore the potential fabric choices for this dress! I can't wait!


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