Sewing Patterns

A sewing pattern is a guide for sewers at all skill levels to make clothes, gift items and home décor accents with ease.

The pattern is tissue paper guide that is pined to fabric and then cut along guide lines to assure that each piece is cut to the proper size, guaranteeing a perfect fit.

free patternsbutterick patternsburda patterns
Free patternsButterick patternsBurda patterns


simplicity patternsembroidery patternsonline patterns
Simplicity patternsEmbroidery PatternsOnline Patterns

History of Sewing Patterns

Sewing clothes, gifts and home décor items is much easier these days with the detailed patterns that are available nearly every place where fabric is sold.

However, patterns were not always readily available or as easy to use as they are now. In the early days of home sewing, using a sewing pattern properly required some rather high level math and geometry skills.

sewing pattern

An example of a sewing pattern

When Ebenezer Butterick introduced paper sewing patterns in the 1860s, the sewing pattern became easy to understand and use.

Sewing Patterns in the 21st Century

Over the years, sewing pattern companies have come and gone. Some, however, have withstood the test of time and retain permanent homes in sewing rooms the world over.

The most popular companies for the American home sewer are: Simplicity, McCalls, Butterick and Vogue. Some other brand names have also earned places of honor as well.

They include Palmer Pletsch, See and Sew, and even patterns from t-v sewing diva, Nancy Zieman whose program, Nancy’s Notions, is the longest running sewing show on television.

Nancy’s Notions

Nancy’s Notions

As you visit various sites on the internet, you will find sewing patterns from many different sources. Most of these patterns are well thought out and measured to accurate scale.

I caution anyone who uses these patterns, however, to first test the pattern by making the item in muslin or some very inexpensive material to make sure the fit is accurate.

My personal experience with these patterns has for the most part been very positive. There was one occasion, however, when I made a jacket using an ‘off brand’ pattern that I received free of charge.

As it turned out, the ‘medium’ jacket was in actuality a small. To salvage the fabric, I converted the jacket to a top by removing the sleeves and adding a dart beneath each arm.

As I was sewing, that little voice inside kept telling me that this jacket seemed to be a bit too small, but I didn’t listen to my own intuition and continued to sew.

Next time I use this pattern, I’ll do what I always tell others to do and am suggesting again here that … MEASURE TWICE AND CUT ONCE.

Had I heeded my own advice on this one and taken the time to measure the pattern before pinning it to the fabric, I would have had a really nice khaki jacket.

Instead I now have a sleeveless khaki top. Thank goodness it turned out as nicely as it did. Here I am wearing it while reading from my book, Don’t Invite Me to Your Pity Party at a recent writers’ conference and retreat in Ft. Lauderdale.

Until this very moment, no one had the slightest idea that this top is really a jacket gone wrong that I happened to be able to save.

Related Articles

Adjusting a Pattern to a Larger Size – How I adjusted the size of the Vogue 7305 pattern to fit my needs: a step-by-step guide.