I was cleaning out my email inbox this evening and I stumbled upon this letter written to McCalls Pattern Company in 2007:
> Sent: Wednesday, July 4, 2007 5:25 PM
> To: McCall's Patterns Consumer Service
> Subject: New Fall 2007 Pattern Offerings
I received the new fall 2007 pattern offering email early this morning. It was with some trepidation that I flipped into your site. You see in May I received an email announcing your summer pattern selection and I eagerly clicked into your website to be sorely disappointed in the pattern selection for plus size women or "Large Sizes" as you put it! I wrote about my disappointment with your selection on my blog, DiaryofaSewingFanatic. I titled the post, "This is why its so hard to be a fat girl"
So this morning, I flipped into your site with some concerns and with good cause. Again, the newest, most up-to-date styles are not graded up for any sizes over 18. So again I wrote another post about your pattern offerings called, "Here We Go Again!" (...sorry about the missing photo links...)
Just in case you don't want to read my blog...I will share with you the high points of my post:
1. The newest most up-to-date styles are not featured past a size 18.
2. The patterns that are offered for a size 18 or larger are either folds and folds of fabric, or
3. Have been done by other pattern companies much better - i.e. The Twist Top Dress (McCalls 5484) - done several times by Burda World of Fashion much better, or
4. The pattern has been done to death, i.e. McCalls 5452 - the gauchos. Please I have several Simplicity patterns that are better drafted than these.
As a plus size woman, if I want fashion I have to sew. In RTW it is either outside of my price range or to "something" for me to wear. I would much prefer to purchase patterns from your website and/or at the retail level and make a garment using them than to be dismissed. It is almost like you are saying that my fashion needs and dollars should be spent at competing pattern companies because you don't want them.
Really, how hard is it to grade a jumper pattern (McCalls 5464) up to a size 24! I could do it but why should I purchase a pattern and then do what I paid you to do?! After two seasons of very disappointing pattern showings for plus size sewers, I am just wondering if you really want my sewing dollars? Do you really want me to promote your wares? Or have you tossed me over for the younger, chicer, slimmer sewer? A response to my concerns would very much be appreciated.
And this is the response I received;
Thank you for your email concerning McCall Patterns. Whenever possible, we try to provide our home sewers with the information they desire. We appreciate you taking the time to send us your comments about our patterns. It's so important for us to know how you feel about our product, and what we can do to make it better. Be assured, your thoughts and opinions have been forwarded to the proper department for review. You may want to visit our Butterick site to view the new edition of Connie Crawford Patterns, designed for plus size figures. Currently the selection is small as the patterns have only been in our catalog for 2 issues, but we do intend to add more designs with future isses.
I saved this email to remind me not to write to them again. Obviously, the links to my blog weren't used because they encouraged me to purchase the Connie Crawford pattern line...and no offense to anyone who uses them and gets good results but to me this pattern line just does not scream FASHION. I must own 4 or 5 patterns max from this line because even though the patterns have a few more seams they aren't what I turn to when it's time to recreate something I've seen on Style.com.
I think it's time I stop bitchin' about the pattern companies on my blog. After stumbling upon this email and realizing that I have exactly the same issues with them four years later...it is more than obvious that this is NOT an area that they plan on developing. I will continue to "knock-off" the trendier garments featured in the smaller sizes using my TNT patterns (ala Butterick 5566) and I will use my pattern dollars much more wisely and less often with the Big 3 (McButVog)...thanks for that Elizabeth!
I'm also going to make a commitment to use more of the Burda Plus patterns from the Burda Style magazine. I truly hate tracing all of those pieces out and adding seam allowances but I'm no longer sewing because I need a wardrobe for work...I have plenty of outfits now...I'm sewing for the joy and the creative release. This is not to say that I won't ever use a Vogue, Butterick or McCalls pattern again...cause dayum I have alot of them living with me! *LOL* But I'm through knocking my head against this wall...