1910s | 1920s | 1950s | Pattern Drafting

Free Vintage Patterns and Vintage Sewing Books

February 10, 2015

Looking for something to read on the bus? Check out these free vintage dressmaking books, including a pattern drafting system from the 1950s that looks rather nifty.

If you’re not familiar with how the pattern drafting systems work, it’s like having small pattern guides (think of the pattern piece schematics on the back of your sewing pattern envelope) that you scale up to your individual measurements using a specially marked ruler or measuring tape. In the Dressmaking at Home book here, you’ll find the details for the ruler on page 7.

Edit: these might look a little quirky on mobile. If you’re having trouble, jump on an actual computer.

Dressmaking at Home (pattern drafting system from the 1950s)

The New Dressmaker by Butterick Patterns (1921)

The American System of Dressmaking (early 1900s)


Home Dressmaking and the Art of Good Dressing

A note about copyright: I didn’t make any of these documents available on Scribd and Scribd’s terms of use specifically prohibit the upload of works for which you do not hold the copyright. I haven’t dug down far enough into the murky world of copyright infringement to be able to say if these works are infringing or not, so I’m taking Scribd at their word that these works are not infringing anyone’s copyright. Copyright holders can file a takedown notice on Scribd here.

  1. Wow! These are so lovely… That first book, “Dressmaking at Home” looks very similar to the Lutterloh system even in things like the lay-out of the pages and the way in which the system is explained. Although Lutterloh is metric. Could this be an American version?

    1. Yes, absolutely – Lutterloh is the super famous one (and still active today, I think?). I have a 1980s Lutterloh book somewhere in my stash but I don’t have the ruler for it. Everyone always loses the ruler 😉 The Dressmaking at Home book was published in Australia by the looks of the title page.

  2. Does anyone out there know where I can buy a Lutterloh 1954-1957 drafting book? I have their modern system, but love the dresses/coats from the “50’s. While I could spend hours drafting patterns from combinations of their patterns, I think it would be much simpler to go by the ’50s versions. I’m comfortable with the system, just want to spend my time actually sewing.

  3. I love dressmaking at home! I was wondering if you could upload it to Box. I would love to print this book out!
    Thanks, Pania

  4. The tape is for inches, for patterns in Dressmaking at Home. Where can I get the tape.
    Can I make at home? It is like Lutterloh system. But their tape is in cms.

    Thank you. God bless .you.


  5. Hello, I would love to try using the book Dressmaking at Home, is there anyway to make or find the ruler that goes with it? Thanks for posting!!

  6. Another great, helpful article, thank you. I’ve been buying patterns in PDF format with notes on how to scale up, taken from the ‘Australian Dressmaking at Home’ 1950s and 1960s books from an Estate seller. I’d love to buy them all, I. E. the whole 1950s book system as I’m experimenting with variations on 1950s based fashion design for women and children to compliment the fabrics I design. Do you have any idea where I could buy a copy of the book either in print or PDF – my budget is very low as I’m a disabled stay at home mum and every bit of profit I make from my fabric designs goes to children’s health and disability charities, so the book will have to be SUPER CHEAP! I am in the UK. Thank you xx

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