Sewing McCall Printing Facility, Out of Commission Since Mid-October, Causes Delays

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.


McCall Printing Facility, Out of Commission Since Mid-October, Causes Delays

by Abby Glassenberg | Dec 6, 2020
sewing


The McCall printing facility in Manhattan, Kansas, which prints the tissue patterns for all of the major sewing pattern companies in the United States, has had limited operations since mid-October due to a computer systems issue. The printing plant is owned by CSS Industries, now part of IG Design Group, and is possibly the only printer in the US capable of printing the large scale tissue paper used in sewing patterns.

The Big 4 sewing pattern brands, McCalls, Vogue, Simplicity and New Look, are all printed at the facility. Many of the largest independent pattern companies print at McCall as well. This reliance on a single print factory is a vulnerability in the sewing pattern market and will soon lead to production and fulfillment delays across the supply chain.

Stacey Long, Vice President of Consumer Technology at CSS Industries, said on November 11 that the computer issue was a “network outage,” but several pattern designers I spoke with were told by the Production Coordinator at McCall that the outage was due to a malware attack on the company’s computer systems. Staff at the printing facility told these designers that the attack had rendered computers inaccessible to the point that they were unable to turn their computers on. When I called the Production Coordinator for comment she said she had been instructed not to speak with me.

The printing issues began in mid-October and have now lasted for at least seven weeks. “I’ve been told that I’m not able to get any printing jobs delivered until sometime in the new year,” says Gretchen Hirsch, owner of Charm Patterns. “The impact on my company is that we’ve run out of stock on several patterns and aren’t able to replenish as quickly as usual, and we also won’t be able to print a new design with them this year.”
McCall Print Facility

The McCall printing facility in Manhattan, Kansas prints not only the Big 4 patterns but also the tissue for most of the independent pattern designers in the US.

Molly Hamilton, the owner of Folkwear Patterns, is facing similar challenges. “We have 4-5 patterns that need printing right now and are waiting for McCalls to be able to print them. We are about to run out of several patterns that are fairly popular due to waiting on McCalls,” she said.

She explains that the shutdown is especially frustrating coming on the heels of an earlier shutdown due to COVID-19. “This is the second time this year it has happened – first for stay-at-home orders in the spring and they were shut down for nearly 2 months. And now, with their computer system being hacked (what I was told), it’s been another 7 weeks of them out of commission. I am told each week that they think they will be back up and running soon, but I don’t think the employees really know.”

Heather Lou from Closet Core is concerned about a rush that will likely ensue once the facility is up and running again. “We are waiting on a pattern and have three to print in January so I’m pretty nervous about the crush once they are able to open again,” she says “How could a hacker cause such damage?!”

Although the printing plant is able to reprint orders at this time, they aren’t able to make any new plates, a process necessary for creating new patterns or reprinting older ones if a pattern needs just a minor change. Jenny Rushmore of Cashmerette Patterns explains, “Even our reprints require a change in text to say they’re a reprint so that we can track them, so we’re out of luck on everything.”

She goes on to point out that this experience has made clear a single point of vulnerability in the whole market and a real need for another printing option. Every designer I spoke with asked if I knew of another domestic large scale tissue printer since tissue is still the most economical way to print and mail multiple large scale pattern templates.

Patrick McElwee, co-owner and partner at Sew Liberated, says, “For a while, I have wondered if anyone else would offer bulk printing on large-format tissue. McCall’s raised prices substantially around 6 or 7 years ago, and I imagine it could be done profitably. I also imagine many indie pattern companies would be happy to give them business, in order to ensure that there is more than one supplier, so we don’t suddenly find ourselves with no suppliers again.”
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
Convert to pdf and sell the pdf files at a discounted rate. I've gotten many a pattern that way. Do I like one piece tissue patterns? Yes and no. Easier to use but if I want to use them more than once I have to make sturdier newsprint copies.
As for printing pdf files, yeah, it's a bit like a jigsaw puzzle the first time. But then again, the paper is sturdier so I can use them repeatedly.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Didn't realize the pattern industry had that bottleneck.
Not a fan of tissue paper.

Last I recall, Folkwear came on heavier paper (They use too many black models, so I don't even look at their selections anymore). Would have thought they had separate printers. The ones I've purchased over the last several years have all been small companies drafting historic reconstructions (Golden Scissors, Kannik's Corner)- stays, men's shirts, 18th cent. wmn's peasant jacket (mantua?), etc. Otherwise, shifts, skirts and Viking clothing is mostly drafted directly onto the fabric from body measurements. Old clothing works well too.

Never heard of New Look. Who the Hell are they? Where is Butterwick?
 
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Martinhouse

Veteran Member
Faroe, I was wondering where Butterick was, too! I have a hazy recall that they were part of Simplicity and so maybe just phased into one entity?

I always wanted to transfer all my favorite basic patterns onto something thin and non-woven, like maybe some interlining. But I never could afford to buy the bolts of the stuff I'd need and time just passed and the idea went bye-bye. I hate patching old patterns that have so many pinholes that they are nearly disintegrated around the edges.
 
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packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Last I recall, Folkwear came on heavier paper (They use too many black models, so I don't even look at their selections anymore).
I'm in quite a few sewing groups on Facespy and the majority of the sewists that are incredibly talented are black women, followed by asian women and then caucasians. there's one black gal in one of the groups I'm in that is so talented that she has people flying to her home in Memphis to be measured and have clothing created for them... and she only took up sewing garments something like five years ago.

the stuff I see older caucasian women sewing is not what I would classify as beautiful clothes, but it is definitely comfy, mainly moomoo's you can wear in public and the like. Big poofy dresses with no shape, ditto on the tops, skirts, and pants.

Some of the younger white women are now being mentored by some of the more talented black sewists and are learning how to create wedding dresses, gowns, beautifully tailored dresses, the kinds my grandmother wore back in the 40's and 50's. One young white lady lamented her mother's only interest in clothes was leggings and tee shirts.

So it wouldn't surprise me in the least that the pattern company was targeting black and asian women.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Faroe, I was wondering where Butterick was, too! I have a hazy recall that they were part of Simplicity and so maybe just phased into one entity?

I always wanted to transfer all my favorite basic patterns onto something thin and non-woven, like maybe some interling. But I never could afford to buy the bolts of the stuff I'd need and time just passed and the idea went bye-bye. I hate patching old patterns that have so many pinholes that they are nearly disintegrated around the edges.
JoAnns still sells that pattern interfacing stuff, I bought a bolt with a 50% off coupon one year for my favorite patterns.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Faroe, I was wondering where Butterick was, too! I have a hazy recall that they were part of Simplicity and so maybe just phased into one entity?

I always wanted to transfer all my favorite basic patterns onto something thin and non-woven, like maybe some interling. But I never could afford to buy the bolts of the stuff I'd need and time just passed and the idea went bye-bye. I hate patching old patterns that have so many pinholes that they are nearly disintegrated around the edges.
Sometimes, the clothes you sewed with the pattern are all that is left of the pattern. That can work too. At least by then, you are assured the *pattern* fits well. I've thought of interfacing too, along with posterboard, but I always end up deciding on changes in the next version so not really worth it to me to make some durable Master Pattern when the last piece I sewed is just a easy to work from - in my case, the designs are mostly peasant rectangles anyway.

That said, interfacing at WalMart is inexpensive. I've always wondered how that clear vinal (spell??) they sell on roles at the cutting desk would work for permanent patterns.
 

summerthyme

Administrator
_______________
Faroe, I was wondering where Butterick was, too! I have a hazy recall that they were part of Simplicity and so maybe just phased into one entity?

I always wanted to transfer all my favorite basic patterns onto something thin and non-woven, like maybe some interling. But I never could afford to buy the bolts of the stuff I'd need and time just passed and the idea went bye-bye. I hate patching old patterns that have so many pinholes that they are nearly disintegrated around the edges.
That's what I did with basic patterns from newborn to adult sizes... when Joanna fabric used to have patterns on sale for 99 cents, I'd buy multiple copies (so I had all sizes appropriate for the family). Then I'd iron on the cheap iron-on interfacing, which I'd also get at Joanns, usually with a half off coupon.

I really prefer that to having to trace off each size off the heavier plain paper patterns, but I've done tons of that over the years, too.

Summerthyme
 

Faroe

Un-spun
I'm in quite a few sewing groups on Facespy and the majority of the sewists that are incredibly talented are black women, followed by asian women and then caucasians. there's one black gal in one of the groups I'm in that is so talented that she has people flying to her home in Memphis to be measured and have clothing created for them... and she only took up sewing garments something like five years ago.

the stuff I see older caucasian women sewing is not what I would classify as beautiful clothes, but it is definitely comfy, mainly moomoo's you can wear in public and the like. Big poofy dresses with no shape, ditto on the tops, skirts, and pants.

Some of the younger white women are now being mentored by some of the more talented black sewists and are learning how to create wedding dresses, gowns, beautifully tailored dresses, the kinds my grandmother wore back in the 40's and 50's. One young white lady lamented her mother's only interest in clothes was leggings and tee shirts.

So it wouldn't surprise me in the least that the pattern company was targeting black and asian women.
Sewing and knitting is for everyone, but some of the blatant virtue signalling has gotten under my skin recently.

I hate seeing traditional European motifs modeled by women in hijabs. Quince and co. can follow that market if they want to, but they aren't getting much from me anymore. Lately, it seems a black woman ALWAYS has to be on the cover, and usually someone who looks like she just got off the boat from Africa - very dark and "edgy," and not showing any connection to what she is wearing. There is a black gal in England who has designed some gorgeous pieces (featured sometime ago on Fruity Knitting), and I would purchase and knit one of her patterns, but there is an in-your-face component to much of the published work lately that is strongly off-putting.
 

packyderms_wife

Neither here nor there.
Sewing and knitting is for everyone, but some of the blatant virtue signalling has gotten under my skin recently.

I hate seeing traditional European motifs modeled by women in hijabs. Quince and co. can follow that market if they want to, but they aren't getting much from me anymore. Lately, it seems a black woman ALWAYS has to be on the cover, and usually someone who looks like she just got off the boat from Africa - very dark and "edgy," and not showing any connection to what she is wearing. There is a black gal in England who has designed some gorgeous pieces (featured sometime ago on Fruity Knitting), and I would purchase and knit one of her patterns, but there is an in-your-face component to much of the published work lately that is strongly off-putting.
The thing is there are more black women sewing than white women, mainly because like fat white women they cannot find ready to wear clothing to fit their bodies the way they desire. So if your customer base is primarily black then the company is going to target them... even if you don't approve. If you don't like it then contact the company and let them know about your feelings.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Not about my approval or not! They should go after the market that is spending the money.

Folkwear just pissed me off one day with some e-mail photo shoot. I can't remember it clearly, but they are rather....goodie-two-shoes anyway, and I was just like...oh, shove it, and Go Away already! And, short on patience with the more-PC-than-thou knit people who, in a sudden about-face, want us all to "move forward together, and heal" Gah! What happened to that iconic fist gripping the stabby knitting needles??? Oh, now we are to HEAL... Kumbaya! Eff 'em. I have Folkwear's English workman's smocking stitched smock, and a traditional men's linen shirt (IIRC, that one is theirs), so I'm good, and don't need anything else right now. Not going to engage with these people (I know it comes across as peevish, but I'm still pissed) so, simply unsubscribed to the e-mails (theirs, and several others - some of whom I've done business with for years).
 
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Martinhouse

Veteran Member
That Walmart vinyl might stretch at first, but once it's unrolled it starts to shrink along the grain of the roll. Any that I've tacked up for winter covering on porches or animal pens has shrunk so much by the time it should come down, that it has often torn where the tacks, snaps, or screws were.

The clear vinyl I bought from my supply company when I was still upholstering lasted years before it finally shrank and brittled.

I don't think even the thinnest grade of clear vinyl would lie smoothly once it was pinned to a piece of fabric.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
That Walmart vinyl might stretch at first, but once it's unrolled it starts to shrink along the grain of the roll. Any that I've tacked up for winter covering on porches or animal pens has shrunk so much by the time it should come down, that it has often torn where the tacks, snaps, or screws were.

The clear vinyl I bought from my supply company when I was still upholstering lasted years before it finally shrank and brittled.

I don't think even the thinnest grade of clear vinyl would lie smoothly once it was pinned to a piece of fabric.
Looked like it had potential. Yeah, never tried it. Thanks - don't need to now.
 

nomifyle

Has No Life - Lives on TB
Back in the mid 70's to the early 90's I sewed all of my clothes, made pjs and shorts for my sons. I had to cut back because I really made my back hurt to lean over a sewing machine. I had a huge supply of fabric and notions. I donated a large portion of the my fabric stash because I had nowhere to store it. But I kept the notions, which I lost in Katrina. I did replace a lot of them from ebay, but I've never even sewn on a button since then. DH had a lose button on a shirt and he ended up repairing it himself. I do still have a madress plaid piece of fabric that my mother bought when I was still in high school. Not sure how it made it through Katrina but it did. Its still in nice condition, but its unlikely I'll ever make anything with it.

God is good all the time

Judy
 

skwentnaflyer

Veteran Member
Sewing and knitting is for everyone, but some of the blatant virtue signalling has gotten under my skin recently.

I hate seeing traditional European motifs modeled by women in hijabs. Quince and co. can follow that market if they want to, but they aren't getting much from me anymore. Lately, it seems a black woman ALWAYS has to be on the cover, and usually someone who looks like she just got off the boat from Africa - very dark and "edgy," and not showing any connection to what she is wearing. There is a black gal in England who has designed some gorgeous pieces (featured sometime ago on Fruity Knitting), and I would purchase and knit one of her patterns, but there is an in-your-face component to much of the published work lately that is strongly off-putting.
This is from the historybounding group, they kind of fell off the cliff with this crap about a month ago.
Run time 4:37, transcript is on YouTube.
You feel her suffering more if you listen.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ-jQLB_Yi4
 

Faroe

Un-spun
This is from the historybounding group, they kind of fell off the cliff with this crap about a month ago.
Run time 4:37, transcript is on YouTube.
You feel her suffering more if you listen.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JQ-jQLB_Yi4
I'm not sure what anyone is supposed to do about her complaint. She says she doesn't feel included, that she isn't listened to...

The historical dress "influencers" I'm familiar with are nerdy bunch with varied public personas, and sometimes big personalities. It is a bit cliquish, but that's women for you, and most of them are women. She says she feels like an outsider - well, so do I, and I'll bet most of us do - even those vaunted "influencers." No one has any special obligation to her, there is no overall organization dictating behavior in the historical dress commumity. People like Abby Cox (18th and 19th centuries) bend over backward to be PC and use inclusive language, and she DOES work with a black woman (a big lady with also a big - and sunny - personality).

People have to find their own way in the YT space, and it can be a very harsh environment even for the daintiest and prettiest blondes (Jenny, Solid Gold - fish, not clothes). Bernadette Banner (Edwardian Era) has spoken about how shy she felt when she started out. YT is unforgivingly public, but making the videos and sewing the clothing is a solitary endeavor.

If this gal wants more friends to share her hobby, maybe she can recruit among the friends she already has, or look in the sewing circles Packy mentioned. Friendship is a spark - it doesn't happen out of a misplaced sense of obligation.
 

kyrsyan

Veteran Member
Ummm... when I did sewing for historic events, SCA, and LARP, no one gave you anything. You got customers because you created things for friends and word spread that you were willing and able to do costumes for other people. For a while I had a good following of folks who would buy because they could be certain that the items they bought from me would hold up. I lost count of how many would get into battles and expect to find damage on their pieces afterwards, only to find no damage. The other bonus, for SCA and LARP, was that I put thought into the designs so that the pieces were practical for battle.
But influencers in sewing and design? I must be getting old. And people caring what your skin color was if you were good at sewing? Um, no. There just weren't enough of us to be picky about what someone's skin color was. The quality of work was what they looked at. And if it fit their style.
 

Faroe

Un-spun
Well, while everyone is waiting on McCalls to figure out their computers, consider drafting your own fitted patterns.

The basic sloaper is the classic fitted, sleeveless bodice with darts, slanted armscyes, sloaped sholder, and a back panel that rises to the base of the neck. Measure tape, long ruler, a large sheet of paper, and table space are the required tools. Older blogs have some very good tutorials, so, you can find a useful one faster than sifting through endless video YT's. Ugly unwanted quilting fabric, cheap muslin or non-woven interfacing works for the mock-ups. Good basic skill set to put 3-d measurements down on a flat paper in half piece sections.

A dress form that actually conforms to you is handy, but not essential (I don't have the $400 for a good one, nor the space, and am probably too long in the torso for any purchased models anyway). If one is up for a BIG project, consider making the dress form. Morgan Donner has a good video on making hers. It is a two person job, is messy, is completed over the course of a few days while foam cures, and requires about $100? worth of materials. At the end of it, you get YOU!
 
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