McCall’s Pattern Reviews

McCall’s patterns are generally easy to use, and do occasionally have an issue with some pieces having been drafted longer than some of the others. As with their sister company, Butterick, I have a major dislike for how these pattern fold to go back into the envelope. They are folded oddly, causing the tissue sheets to  be too bulky to fit back into the envelope easily.

(Listed in order by pattern number)

McCall’s M3514 (OOP)



This is a dress that I made for a Surprise Sweet 16 party in 2005. I made a total of 3 of these dresses. The theme for this one was Roman Fire Fairy. We wore the black dress, velvet half masks and huge flame colored wings. This pattern went together very well. It was simple and gave a nice finished look. And the finished gowns were a hit.

McCall’s M5135 – Sassy Girl


I picked this pattern up to make some summer clothes for my youngest daughter. This pattern is very easy to use, the sizing is dead on, and goes together quickly. Taking my time, I was able to put together a shirt for her in a lazy Sunday afternoon. I will be making more of these for her, including the pants that are in the pattern.

McCall’s M5414 (OOP)


As with most other McCall’s patterns, this was easily constructed. This was a quick, two evening project. I did very little fitting for this and inserted a zipper, as it was needed for an in school play, and needed to slide on over street clothes. With some fitting and tweaking, this would a nice for a child’s living history gown. This gown was made with poly/cotton broadcloth, polyester lace, and organdy ribbon. Oh, and Annie was the envy of her class.

Updated Review

I wanted to offer an updated review. I have used this pattern again, but I have modified it to get a historically correct look. For this version, I only used the bodice of the pattern. I made it so that the bodice opened in the front, instead of the back. I did not use the skirt panels at all. I used 4 panels of 45″ wide fabric, sewn together along the lengths. I attached the center seam to the center back of the bodice, and pleated the skirts in the manner of an overskirt, ending about 5″ from the center front on each side to leave the front of the skirts open. I also used 4 panels of 45″ wide fabric, in a contrasting color, to make a petticoat. I constructed this petticoat in a historically accurate manner. I sewed 2 panels together for the front, and 2 for the back. I attached the front to the back at the sides, leaving the top 8″ open on each side, and attached ribbon for the waistband. By modifing the pattern in this manner, it gave the look of a robe a la anglaise. I then used white lace, pink satin and organza ribbon for the trim. I am very pleased with how this dress turned out. I will be using this pattern with the same modifications for a school theatrical version of Martha Washington.

Fore  more information on the dress in the photo above, please visit the project pages for Annie’s Federal Ball Gown and Mini Martha Washington.

McCall’s M5574

Highly Recommended

I made two dresses from this pattern, one for my youngest daughter, and one for my niece. I used view A for both dresses. This pattern went together nicely, and very quickly. Each dress went together in about four hours time. I did hand sew the trim, so that did add a little extra time. The fit of the pattern is dead on. My daughter liked this dress so much, she has asked that I make her View D in her favorite color. This make this pattern a big hit in my book. :)

For more information on the dress in the photo above, please visit the project page for Girl’s Sun Dress.

McCall’s M5850 – Create it!

Highly Recommended

This pattern is a “mix and match to create” pattern. It offers two bodice styles (one that can be used with or without the shoulder straps), two styles of midriff, and three skirt options. The instructions are straight forward, and the pieces go together easily, and quickly. My only complaint is all the gathering, but that is a personal complaint, as I just hate to gather. lol. One note, the sizing runs just a tad large. I made a size 18, per the instructions on the envelope, and had to take it in a bit. A size 16 would have done nicely. For the dress I made, Katie picked the bodice with the shoulder straps, the shirred midriff, and the bubble skirt without hem band.

For more information on the dress in the photo above, please visit the project page for Home Coming Dress 2011.

McCall’s M6557

Highly Recommended

This pattern makes the perfect summer dress. I made view C to wear to a lavender festival we were attending. This pattern went together beautifully, and the sizing is just about dead on. I made a size 22 based on my bust measurements. I had to make one small adjustment when putting the zipper in, and that was to trim off about an inch at the center back to get the correct snug fit. The only modification that I made was to make the midriff pieces in the same fabric as the rest of the dress, and I used the tie back pattern piece – adding 6″ and cutting 2, sewn together end to end, and then following the directions to sew and turn out – to make a removable sash. The purpose for making this modification is so I can make a sash in whatever color I need, and I’m not limited to accessorizing to match the color of the midriff. I can easily say that I’ll be making another dress (or two) from this pattern. ;)

For more information on the dress in the photo above, please visit the project page for Women’s Sundress.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Alyssa says:

    Love 6557! Just ordered it and I want to see if I can make a summer bridesmaid dress for an outdoor wedding. What fabric do you recommend I look into using?

    1. Tonia says:

      Hi Alyssa! Thank you for the comment. 6557 is a really nice pattern to work with. I used a 100% cotton print broadcloth for my dress. The pattern also suggests Charmueuse, crepe de chine, and chambray. I would also be willing to use a nice matte bridal satin for this pattern. I do want to add that since this pattern has a circle skirt, that you will want to make sure the skirts hang for a couple of days before hemming, to let the bottoms of the skirt drop out properly to keep the hemlines from looking wonky. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please feel free to ask.


  2. Alyssa says:

    You think a shantung would look nice and hang well?

    1. Tonia says:

      I think shantung would look very nice. I am a fan of shantung, and it has a nice drape to it. I used it to make Butterick B5556 (a retro 1950’s style dress), which also has a circle skirt. If you want to see how that turned out, you can find it on the side bar under Retro Tipsy Tea: 1950’s Dress. I am very interested in what fabric you decided to go with. Please keep me updated. 🙂

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