Draft-at-home Patterns F.A.Q.

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The draft-at-home patterns in the shop are sourced from a very old, very hard-to-find French mail order system. These patterns, though illustrated beautifully in full detail, are sometimes a tiny bit more basic than they appear. The system assumed that experienced home seamstresses would be using these patterns, and therefore often didn't include things like facings, pockets, sashes, etc. These were considered easy enough for the sewer to draft themselves. The patterns included no instructions beyond drafting the pattern properly to one's size.

As mentioned in the listings, these patterns are intermediate to advanced and while sewing, you may get stuck momentarily on which seam to sew next or which way to drape something.  Please know that you are always welcome to email me with your questions, but please also know that in any given day, between the blog and the shop, I get nearly 100 emails. I try to answer everyone's printing or drafting questions as quickly as possible, but when it comes to the sewing and assembly of these patterns, there just aren't enough hours in the day. I truly wish there were because I love to help, but the chances of me getting to your question in time are slim.

Please keep that in mind when you purchase these patterns. That said, this should in no way discourage you from trying these patterns! They are wonderful and once you get used the the system, the fit of the designs, the beautiful shapes and silhouettes are such a treat! 

For a complete tutorial on drafting your pattern including photos, check out this blog post. It really takes something a bit intimidating and makes it quite easy!

Below I have tried to answer your most commonly asked questions, I hope this makes the experience easier for you.

xoxo    ----Mrs. Depew----


Q. How should I print the patterns, should I adjust my printer scale or margins?

A. Always print the measuring bands at 100% scale. Never adjust your margins. The bands will print accurately to both A4 and U.S. letter sized paper at 100% scale. The pattern pages themselves are a bit different. If you find the small numbers had to read, then you can enlarge and print those pages. It doesn't matter the scale of the pattern itself, only the measuring bands.

Q. The pattern squares are a bit small for me to read the pattern very well. How can I make the squares bigger?

A. The measuring bands can be printed only at 100% scale if you want your patterns to be sized correctly but the pattern page with the squares and half-circles holding the pattern can be printed to any size. Try adjusting your printer settings so that the pattern prints to say, 200% scale. If this won't work, you can take the pattern to your local copy shop and have them blow up the images for you (it's not usually very expensive.)


Q. Which measurement do I use to choose my measuring band, my bust, hips or waist?

A. That should be indicated on the pattern page itself. If you are drafting a pair of tap pants or trousers, use your waist measurement. If you're drafting a blouse or full dress, use your bust measurement. 

The 1950's patterns all have an indicator of which band you should use to draft the pattern piece. For patterns marked with a "P" use your bust measurement (P=Poitrine, French for Bust). For patterns marked with an "H" use your hip measurement H=Hanches, French for hips).

Q. I have already bought one of the 1930's patterns and measuring bands. Can I use the same measuring bands for my 1950's draft-at-home patterns too?

A. Sorry, but no. The bands changed a few times since the 1930's versions so using your old 1930's bands with your new 1950's pattern will scale the pattern much differently. Use the bands that come with the pattern itself to draft your pattern. I have my own sets colored with two different highlighters so I can easily tell the difference.

Q. I'm looking at the pattern and some points are marked with an X, and some are just dots. What is the difference?


A. The x's mark major corners of the pattern and the dots just mark secondary things like curves. There really isn't much of a difference to worry about.


Q. I'm not sure how these two pattern pieces fir together… what am I missing?

A. The best advice I can give at this stage of your sewing project is to suggest that you cut a muslin/ test fabric piece for each and drape, pin, and test until it makes sense to you. Through trial and error you will most likely find an answer to your own question long before I can answer any emails asking for help.

--We hope to be able to provide a forum of sorts in the future where you can ask these questions, and hopefully, others and myself who have also sewn some of the patterns can post answers that you and future sewers will find helpful.

Copyright Mrs. Depew Vintage 2014.