The 1940 McCall Project

This page is dedicated to 'The 1940 McCall Project'. You may already know of my love for McCall patterns.  This has been growing steadily since I started sewing.  One year in particular, 1940 is my absolute favourite.  The styles from 1940 are so stylish, wearable and unique.  I want a wardrobe full of 1940 fashions!  Enter the 1940 McCall Project in which I will attempt to sew the entire catalogue of McCall patterns published in the year 1940!!  This is not a small undertaking. I think it will take me well over a decade to find them all and sew them but it's something I want to try and do.  No pressure but lots of fun.  I won't neglect other decades either but this will be my go-to-decade and pattern company for sewing.

How many patterns were produced in 1940?  Well, I've narrowed it down that the year starts with pattern number 3554 and ends somewhere between 4005 and 4007 (though I have found two with numbers 4043 and 4044).  That's just the main patterns.  McCall also produced a series of transfer patterns.  So, the grand total of 1940 McCall patterns is somewhere between 539 to 546 patterns!!!   I've managed to collect about a quarter of all the patterns so far.  You can view my entire collection on pinterest.

How You Can Help
I've had several people email me asking how they can help.  There's several ways:
  1. If you see a 1940 McCall pattern for sale, let me know!  Email me at: myhappysewingplace[at]googlemail[dot]com.  I've been pretty good at tracking ebay and etsy but I always missing things!  I've got my eye on a few things at the moment but have to wait until my budget catches  If you are a pattern seller, let me know if you have any upcoming 1940 McCall patterns.
  2. Do you have a 1940 pattern in your stash?  Wanna swap patterns?  I've got some really great 30s, 40s and 50s patterns and am happy to swap patterns (plus you can make a copy of the 1940 pattern before the swap--so you get the best of both worlds!)
  3. I also take presents.  hahahahaha.  If you find a 1940 pattern in your home and don't feel like you can give it the love it needs, don't hesistate to send it my way.  Just email me.
  4. I'm also interested in links, photos of any fashion or pattern related item from the year 1940!  I hope to do a bit more delving into the year including looking at other pattern companies--so feel free to email me anything you think I might find interesting.
  5. Lastly, I'm hoping to find some people who have themselves or whose family members worked at McCall's during this time period!  Send me your family stories!
Super excited to have The 1940 McCall Project featured in a Scottish newspaper in 2013!

Finished 1940 McCall Patterns:
Here are the patterns I have sewn up so far.  Check back on this page as it will keep growing!  Just click the link to go to the blog post....

Transfer Patterns:

McCall 764: The 'Birdie Blouse'

Main Patterns:

McCall 3560: The 'Birthday Dress'

McCall 3574: The 'Scottish Christmas Dress'

McCall 3580: The 'Weaving Destination Dress'

McCall 3581: The 'Scottish Windbreaker'

McCall 3588: The 'Town and Country Dress Suit'

McCall 3588: The 'Dragon Jacket'

McCall 3603: The 'Malaysian Sun Dress'

McCall 3606: The 'Collegiate Christmas Skirt'

 McCall 3615: The '1940 Sears Catalogue Replica Dress'

McCall 3619: The 'Swing Jacket'

McCall 3624: The 'Luck o'the Irish Dress'

McCall 3638: The 'Tea Dance Dress'

McCall 3640: The 'Pin-Up Swimsuit'

McCall 3641: The 'Rabbie Burns Dress'

McCall 3662: The 'Sew Bossy Top'

McCall 3684: The 'Clackett Cantina Dress'

McCall 3686: The 'Fall for Cotton Dress'

McCall 3698: The 'Shrewsbury Dress'

McCall 3733: The 'Fleur Dress'

McCall 3744: The 'Summer Days Dress'

McCall 3769: The 'Lantern Army Jacket'

McCall 3792: The 'Vintage Pattern Pledge Dress'

McCall 3820: The 'Scottie Dress'

McCall 3834: The 'Windy Skirt'

McCall 3857: The 'Kathmandu Valley Blouse'

McCall 3865: The 'Bright Side Dress'

McCall 3893: The 'Film Noir Dress'

McCall 3908: The 'First Crepe of Summer Dress'

McCall 3939: The 'Hiatus Dress'

McCall 3953: The 'Tabula Rasa Dress'
McCall 3968: The 'Jumpin' the Shark Skirt'

McCall 4043: The 'Mysterious McCall'


  1. I have the same pattern-aholic sickness for Betsy Johnson for Butterick patterns. If I see one I need to buy it. I COMPLETELY understand your compulsion, including the begging involved. I will help find you your "fix" if I can, please return the favor. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Made the top of my wedding dress from a Betsy Johnson pattern - in 1977 - fond memories. Still have the pattern (not for sale) and the Guy :-D

    2. I have the same addiction to Vogue patterns! I have found a few by scouring charity shops as well as online. Good luck with your project.

  2. What great work! I especially love 3590 & 3744. Good luck continuing your journey through McCalls' 1940's!

    Happy New Year!

  3. WOW ..I found your Blog as Link on the Blog from Peter Lappin .And have to say that this is a wonderful Project.Your Work impressing me much and I will also follow you till now

    Greetings from Germany ,Europe

  4. I've been following your 1940 McCall project, and it's fantastic! The projects are absolutely lovely.

    I found McCall's 3972 and 3961 in my pattern bin while I was clearing out a bit. If you'd like them, I'd be more than happy to send them along. They're both marked as copyright 1940. The instructions for both are in rough shape, and they have been cut. It looks like they were both intended for Mrs. Cassels, since that's the name on the envelope. I can check to see if they're complete, as well, since I haven't done that yet.

    1. Oh yes!!! that would be fantastic! Thank you SO MUCH! Email me at:

  5. I just love your blog and the style that you have. I am the editor of Victory Girls Magazine and we're looking for someone with your style to do a feature each month in the magazine on sewing and whatnot. If you're interested please email me at


  6. These are outstanding! Beautifully, Brilliantly, outstanding in every way! If I had a favorite, it might be 3678 (red dress). I'd fallen out of the sewing blog reading habit for a while. Today was my first 'dip back into the pool'. Thank you for the inspiration!

  7. New subscriber here:). I totally agree with you on 1940. I am a 30s and 503 person myself, since I don't really like the ration look of shorter narrower skirts and big shoulders on me, but I see what you mean about this particular year - it must be before the rationing broke in - the clothes look like what I love about the 30s!
    I'll have a dig in my patterns and see what I come up with if you like.

  8. Yes! This year is much more similar to the late 30s! Thank you so much for looking through your patterns! That would be awesome!! xx

  9. New vintage lover here! I've been jamming and ahhing about 1950s fashion but I'm not really digging the big skirts of the 50s, after finding your blog and this post I think I might just look into 1940s instead.

  10. Do you have 3767 ? I've just recieved an original pattern size 16 (34 bust) . . . Fantastic project.

    1. Yes...I just got this one! Thanks for checking!! Are you going to sew it up??

  11. Wow! I just found your blog and I am really impressed. You do great work and I think it is so fun you are working your way through all of the 1940 McCalls. . . . I have saved your blog in my favs and will be checking in often. Already can't wait for more.

    Jennie from

  12. Hi Debi, just read your blog and absolutely loved it. Loving the 40's era too.


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!