Where vintage sewing is for everyone.
Where vintage sewing is for everyone.
All of our Draft-at-home patterns have D-A-H at the beginning of the page title so that you can tell them apart while navigating MrsDepew.com.
The draft-at-home patterns in the shop are sourced from a very old, very hard-to-find French 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 sewing enthusiast to draft themselves. The patterns included no instructions beyond drafting the pattern properly to one's size.
Wrap a regular measuring tape (not included) around the bust/ chest at the fullest point and note the measurement in centimeters. This is the number of the measuring band that you should choose from those included with your pattern. If you're making a skirt or pants, use your hip measurement in cm instead.
Cut out the measuring band from the special set included with your pattern.
This will be either your chest or hip measurement taken in step 1.
If you can't find your size, be sure to look at BOTH ends of the tapes, as there are TWO sizes printed on each measuring band.
Have a table with a large sheet of paper big enough for your pattern piece.
Cut out your mini pattern template and fix it to your table edge with tape. (Put a small square or two of cardboard between your table and the mini template to protect your table from pin holes!)
Stick a tack or pin through the circle at the bottom of your measuring band, then pierce that tack through the pattern directly through the cross at the center.
Your measuring band can now rotate from that point around the table as needed.
Start with the garment FRONT pattern piece.
Work from right to left in a clockwise fashion. Line up the measuring band LEFT edge with the first line radiating away from the RIGHT side of the pattern. That line will have a number telling you where on your measuring band to make a cross or dot.
(Tip: label each dot and cross as you go so that you can keep track if you get lost.)
Trace the outlines of the pattern, joining crosses with straight lines, or with curved lines where a dot is marked. The outline will look like the miniature pattern in your template.
You will need a ruler or yardstick, and a french curve and waist curve will come in handy.
(You can also just free-hand the curved lines).
Measure the back length of the intended wearer. You can measure the center back from neck to waist, or waist to hem depending on what pattern piece you are drafting.
Repeat the process with the garment BACK piece, making any note of length.
To lengthen, measure the back of the wearer and then that of the pattern.
If the pattern length is shorter than the measurement of the wearer, the pattern is lengthened by simply elongating the side seams downwards.
Then the same lengthening may be done to the front pattern piece so that the two side seams match.
Trace a copy of your pattern and test the half pattern on the wearer. Make any necessary adjustments before cutting out your fabric.
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.
Below I have tried to answer your most commonly asked questions, I hope this makes the experience easier for you.
Q. How do I choose my measuring band?
A. Wrap a regular measuring tape (not included) around your bust at the fullest point and note the measurement in centimeters. This is the number of the measuring band you should choose from those included with your pattern. If you're making a skirt or pants, use your hip measurement instead. If you can't find your size, be sure to look at BOTH ends of the tapes, as there are TWO sizes printed on each measuring band.
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 underwear, pants, or skirts, use your hip measurement in cm. If you're drafting a blouse or full dress, use your bust measurement. For example, if your bust circumference is 100 cm, use the band labeled 100.
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. Which measuring band do I use if my pattern templates are NOT marked with a P or H?
A. For any draft-at-home pattern where the H or P is not present, you use the measuring band for your bust size. This rule applies to dresses (use the same band for both bodice and skirt pieces if there are any), blouses, etc.
The only exception is for skirts or anything only worn from the waist down; then you would use your hip measurement.
Q. What is the largest size that I can actually draft?
A. Technically, the sky is the limit! This pattern system includes measuring bands/ rulers and instructions to draft from 5.5 -inch to 60-inch bust/ chest sizes.
However, that’s not the size limit. If you want to make a pattern LARGER than a 60 inch chest, simply use a measuring band HALF the desired size and DOUBLE each number that you draft from your miniature template.
Example: to draft a pattern for an 82 inch chest (208 cm) chose the 104 CM measuring band and when the pattern tells you to mark at 30, you mark at 60 instead.
Q. I want to make these patterns for a barbie doll. Which measuring band do I choose?
A. Barbie’s bust is usually about 5 1/4” so you should choose the smallest ruler labeled 14.
Q. Do these patterns work with the Lutterloh tape?
A. No, though the principle is similar, the Lutterloh tape is designed quite differently and will not work with our draft at home patterns.
Q. I have already bought one of the 1930s patterns and measuring bands. Can I use the same measuring bands for my 1950s draft-at-home patterns too?
A. Sorry, but no. The bands changed in 1948 to a new version so using your old 1930s bands with your new 1950s pattern or vice-versa 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. 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. I need to make my pattern in more than one size, but that's a lot of rulers for me to print. Do you have an already printed set of rulers?
A. Due to popular request, yes, we do! We got to work and created a full size, printed version of the rulers. All you have to do is cut out the ones you need!
Q. I have printed my measuring bands and not all of my measuring bands have increments in centimeters. Have I printed them wrong?
A. The measureing bands ARE NOT Centimeter rulers. The increments on the measuring bands will measure differently for each different sized band. This change in increments is what allows the pattern to be scaled into a different size for each band. When we refer to the measuring bands as “being in cm” we’re referring to the number at the end of the measuring band. This number in cm is meant to correspond to your bust or hip measurements. As long as you have printed to 100% scale, your measuring bands will be the correct size.
—you can also look for the inch marker on the pages you’ve printed to confirm that your printer scaled to 100%. The inch marker should be the ONLY thing you need to measure when printing.
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.)
This is a quick and dirty tutorial on how to draw up your draft-at-home sewing pattern from Mrs. Depew Vintage. This is for our Type 2 sewing patterns. This tutorial uses Depew #355, a 1940s corselette pattern. To show you how to draft a pattern, I have chosen one of our slightly more complex patterns. Most of our draft-at-home patterns are much more simple than this one.
This is part two of our draft at home sewing pattern tutorial. In this tutorial, I show you how to draw the lines and connect the dots that form your sewing pattern seems. A French curve, yardstick, and waist curve tool may come in handy.
In this third installment of our draft-at-home home pattern tutorial series, I show you how to finish drawing your lines and how to separate the pattern lines into different pieces (if your pattern needs it). You will need to cut these pieces out or retrace them and add a seam allowance after the fact. Alternately, you can lay your pieces out on fabric and then trace a seam allowance around them with chalk.
Choosing which ruler/ measuring band to draft with, and making sense of patterns with a lot of numbers in close proximity to each other.
In this tutorial I show how it can be useful to trace pattern pieces from your original draft to protect your original. Then we add seam allowances to our pattern pieces and they are ready to cut out!
A. The X's mark major corners of the pattern and the dots mark secondary things like curves and tracing lines between the X's. This can be really helpful when you're filling in your pattern lines later becasue 2 X marks are usually joined by a straight line unless there is a dot in between them.
Always be sure to mark dots and crosses as you draft.
A. This will depend on the pattern, but the best advice is to follow your instincts. If it looks like two pattern pieces with a seam, then it may need to be done that way.
This is often the case with side seams, or with blouse front and back pieces. These patterns were often drafted with front and back to one half-circle, and you're meant to first draft the pattern, and then trace front and back off separately.
Sometimes the original designer numbered them to indicate separation, and sometimes they didn't. One great way to tell is to look for a dart. If there is a dart on the front but not on the back ON THAT LINE, then it should be a seam.
A. The patterns don’t show any markings for closures beyond the occasional “fermeture” (or closure) written next to a seam. This does not mean that the garment will just slip over your head.
It is up to you to add your own zipper, buttons, or hooks and eyes to the seam of your choosing. Side seams are a great place to add them.
A. This straight dotted line is an indicator of grain-lines, if it is in the middle of a pattern piece. If the dotted line is on a straight seam line, then it is an indicator of grain, as well as an indicator that the pattern piece should be cut on a fold.
A. In the drafting instructions of your pattern, we clarify which of these patterns contain seam allowances and which don’t. You will also find this information in capitol letters at the top of the page containing the French translations.
For all lingerie patterns, seam allowances are included. The original source material never indicated just how much was included but through extensive testing, we have found that a 3/8” allowance works best.
When in doubt, just add a seam allowance before you test the fit. It's easier to trim it off if you don't need it, than to add it later if you do.
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..
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 we get many emails each day and can't always respond quickly.
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 them! 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!
Are you stuck? Post your sewing question in the Mrs. Depew Vintage Sew and Tell group on Facebook and we'll try to help you puzzle it out!
For how to draft a facing, you may find this article helpful.
For a complete youtube tutorial for drafting these patterns, click below! 1: https://youtu.be/H9dyTDxjxcUPart