Where vintage sewing is for everyone.
Where vintage sewing is for everyone.
Print-at-home sewing patterns are the most common type of digital pattern found on the internet. These patterns are full sized pattern pieces that are essentially chopped up into smaller pieces. These print out on your home printer paper on individual pages, which you then tape together for a full-sized, ready to cut and sew pattern.
If you purchase a paper version of one of these patterns, you will receive a full paper sheet with pattern pieces ready to cut and sew just like any modern pattern sold at your local fabric store.
Our Draft-at-home patterns here at Mrs. Depew Vintage are all miniature patterns that are enlarged at home using special included rulers. These can usually be drafted in sizes from a 5 1/2”- 60” bust/ hip size.
When you buy a paper version of one of these patterns, you will receive a booklet that includes your miniature pattern, instructions for drafting it at home, and a full-sized set of paper measuring bands used to enlarge the pattern.
To see a complete tutorial of one of these patterns being used, click here.
If you have any questions about printing or drafting this type of pattern, we also have a very comprehensive FAQ page.
The Paperless - Cutting type of pattern is typically seen in 1920s to 1930s publications like Fashion Service.
This type of pattern is not the sort that you lay out on fabric and cut out. These patterns are a set of very detailed instructions and illustrations that show you how to mark out your “pattern” on a piece of fabric with chalk and pins. You use your own measurements to get an exact fit, and there is no printing, drafting, or taping involved.
This method is very economical, and very budget/ environmentally friendly as it uses less paper and saves you time on printing!
The Paperless-Draping type of pattern is also typically seen in 1920s publications. The draped patterns are similar to the Patternless-Cutting patterns above. You can tell these patterns apart because the word “draped” will always be included in the pattern name and description.
These patterns will also start by using your exact measurements for an accurate fit (which means that these can be made in nearly any size), but the measured fabric will be draped on either yourself or a dress form (an extra pair of hands at this stage will be really helpful), and then pinned, cut, and sewn.
Diagram patterns were particularly popular from the 1920s-1950s. The pattern is essentially illustrated piece by piece with measurements given for one to draft the pattern themselves. These patterns are nearly always in one size only with measurements in centimeters.
Above is an example of a French diagram pattern.
A pattern sheet is a large rectangle of paper with more than one pattern piece laid out over it. These were a popular way for vintage sewing magazines to offer more than one pattern to their subscribers without having to print or cut many pattern pieces. Each pattern piece is outlined in a different pattern so that it can be diferentiated from the others.
For our digital, print-at-home pattern sheets:
The pieces are laid out over each other on one pattern sheet that has been digitized and designed to print on your home printer. Simply print the pages at 100% scale, trim them, and tape them together for a full-sized sheet of pattern pieces. Then trace off the pattern you wish to use. They look intimidating at first but are quite easy to use. Seamstresses have been using them for over 100 years with great success!
A pattern is defined as "a model or design used as a guide in needlework and other crafts".
Patterns can come in so many different types, all of them technically patterns but each meaning a bit different in their use.
Patterns can be for sewing, embroidery, knitting, crochet, cross-stit, wood-cutting and much more!
Standard: Most garment makers are familiar with the standard sewing pattern. By this we mean a full-sized, cut-it-out, and lay on your fabric pattern made from diffeent types of paper.
At left: McCall 1169 - a standard sewing pattern cut from tissue paper with pattern markings and text printed directly onto the pieces.
These were made popular by the big 4 pattern companies over the last 100 or so years but they were not the first types of patterns used to sew. They have become so popular that many have never heard of other types of patterns at all.
Before mass-produced sewing patterns were printed, they were cut en masse from unprinted tissue paper. Unprinted patterns had perforations; tiny holes punched into the pattern tissue to indicate grainline, pattern name, markings to indicate cutting on a fold, etc.
These are still just as easy to use as the printed kind, you just have to look at the instruction sheet to learn what the symbols printed on the pattern mean.
At right: Butterick 6553 - a standard unprinted sewing pattern cut from tissue paper with pattern markings punched/ perforated into the tissue poieces.
These were manufactured in the late 1800s and were considered the standard until 1938 by most companies except for McCall's, which cleverly patented the idea in 1919 and began to print directly onto the pattern pieces in 1921. When their ptant expired in 1938, other companies bgan to print as well.
These patterns are usually for transferring embroidery or cross-stitch patterns onto fabric. However, on rare occasions, you will also see hot iron transfer patterns for cutting out sewing pattern pieces.
Very early examples of these patterns include printed hot iron transfers include the following:
One interesting thing of note: McCall's branded their hot iron transfer patterns as "The McCall Kaumagraph" until some time in the 1930s.
At right: A WWII-era military themded days of the week tea towel hot iron pattern originally printed and manufactured by Joesph F. Walker and Co. in Irvington N.J.. - Transfer No. 953.
These patterns were very popular primarily in Europe, The U.S., and Australia from the 1920s to 1960s.
The concept was brilliant. Miniature pattern templates like the one at right were enlarged using a special scale ruler unique to each system. The ruler allowed the user to accurately scale a pattern up from the miniature to a full sized pattern.
Some systems used only one special adjustable ruler and some systems had a scale ruler manufactured for each individual size.
Popular examples of draft-at-home pattern companies include the following: