McCalls Tween Sewing Patterns | Trendy vs Classic

McCalls Tween Sewing Patterns | Trendy vs Classic

I’m recapping some of the McCalls tween sewing patterns from this year. I’m picking them apart for style and usability. In my Sewing For Tweens Survival Guide, I give some tips for choosing patterns.

You need classic and trendy styles to sew a successful tween wardrobe. Invest in classic styles, and occasionally splurge on trendier patterns. You won’t be able to use trendy patterns as long, or with as much versatility, so get them on sale.

I’m trying to showcase a broad variety of patterns, and help you discern between classic and trendy styles.

McCalls tween sewing pattern sizes range from 8-14. They have the most variety of patterns, and the most style compared to the other commercial pattern companies. Here are some that I’d like to show you, and hopefully help give you an idea of what to look for for.

McCalls 6391 Pleated shorts, 2 skirt variations

I like the floofy skirt on bottom. This is really on trend, and would look good in lightweight, drapey fabrics, as well as thin knits. The shorts are cute too. The rise on the shorts are a little high (at least on my short waisted kid) but it’s an easy fix. The little pleats in the shorts make them trendy. Pleated pants would’ve been a fashion death sentence 2 years ago. Pleats are good, for now.

McCalls 6275 Knit tunic with sleeve and hem options, leggings

This pattern gets points for versatility. I don’t think we’ll look at it in 5 years and think its super “dated”. Leggings are going to be great forever (I hope!) and these ones have a really nice fit. They don’t bag and sag, and the waistband is right under the belly button. Comfy knit tops are always a win.

Jeans McCalls 6390 Jeans with zip-fly, front & back pockets

These pants are designed for thicker knits (think sweatpants fabric) or stretch denim. Layering little half tops over long tanks is trendy right now, but be careful doing the cut-outs. They could look really homemade if you use the wrong fabric. I think the ones on the actual pattern cover look homemade. The pants are pretty timeless though, and they have a skinny or boot cut variation.

McCalls 6786, A-line dress with straight or full skirt; neckline variations

Here’s a classic dress that will be in style forever. It’s a basic block that you can change endlessly.

McCalls 6785, Knit dress with straight or full skirt

Kids always want to be comfy. Most tweens won’t sacrifice comfort for style. This pattern is just right for that designer knit you’ve been hoarding. Because it will be worn often!

McCalls 6685, Ruffle bodice dress with bubble hem. Includes a flat bodice and layered skirt variation

I showed this variation of the pattern, because the model is bigger. It’s cute, but the other view is even cuter. If you’re shopping for patterns, you might check out the link above and see if you like the other dress option. Another cute, trendy style!

McCalls 6736, Maxi dress with options for ruffled top & hem

This is one of the pattern covers I wouldn’t show my daughter. She’s going to hate the ruffled neckband hem, and the bottom ruffle. (Tomboys don’t wear ruffles, but I adore them!) Without ruffles, you have the foundation for a basic maxi dress. It can be embellished or modified lots of ways. I’m gonna label it as classic, for it’s basic block. What do you think? It has “good bones”, right?!

McCalls 6689, Includes a crossover top to tunic, and a ruffled version as well

This is definitely a trendy piece, and it’s a little edgier. This pattern is great for a fashionista who sets the style at her school, but may not work for the kid who prefers to blend in. Usually older tweens are more fashion forward. You should look at the other view and the technical flats on the pattern back so you can appreciate it more. This McCalls tween sewing pattern wasn’t styled and marketed well, because you can hardly see the dress. I passed it over a dozen times before I realized it’s a useable and cute pattern. (Really, take a peek if you’re shopping for patterns.)

Pattern shopping tip: Always look at the technical flats on the back of a pattern envelope. They give you tons of information and details that a photograph doesn’t show!

McCalls 6690, Butterfly sleeve top or tunic

Tweens love layering sheers and delicates, especially in a fun print or bold color. I’d recommend this top for more experienced sewists, who aren’t afraid to make modifications or work with tricky fabric. I’m not sold on the sleeve, because I haven’t seen many wide sleeves on the runway. You could use my cuffed sleeve tutorial for a more current look.

McCalls 6498 Knit dress with ruffle detail & flutter sleeve, bubble skirt, and high-low tee

The bunchy leggings are too “young” for tweens. But the high-low top is cute! The flutter sleeve is popular, and I think this top would be cute with a capped sleeve too. I see a zipper in back though, and tweens want pullover tops. You will rarely find a t-shirt in the store with a zipper in back. I’d scoop the neckline a bit in order to omit the zipper.

I know I’ve been plugging the Tween Fashion Sewing board on Pinterest a ton lately, but I’d LOVE contributors. My bloggy buddies and I are compiling successful tween sewing projects, tween sized patterns, and fashion inspiration from the web there. Follow along if you like, and get in touch if you’d like to be added as a pinner for this board. You don’t have to be the queen of sewing to be a great asset. If you scour the web for tween fashion, we’d love to have you. (Or your tween or teen, if they pin!)

Also look out for more pattern round ups from some of the other commercial pattern companies, and I’ll be featuring some top PDF patterns for tweens in the near future.

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About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!


  1. Annie

    Great list! I have that 6690, but have not tried it yet. Though the pattern says “EASY,” I think it only looks great with tricky fabric like you said. I have to get that maxi ruffle dress pattern, my little one will love it with ruffle overload! :D And when she is older I will have to make one without the ruffles…
    Annie recently posted…Gauze Knit Tunic for Little MomoMy Profile

  2. Amy of while wearing heels

    I’m not a seamstress, by any means. I usually stay far away from sewing clothes but some of the patterns you are showing off make me swoon. I love that A line dress, that maxi dress and that sweet ruffled skirts. But, are pleats really back in style…like for real?
    Amy of while wearing heels recently posted…Meerry Christmas BannerMy Profile


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