Dating sewing patterns

14 May

By the turn of the century it was standard to include seam allowances in the patterns, though patterns of earlier times may not have included seam allowances. Mc Call Pattern Ad, 1907 -Mc Call Patterns- Mc Call Patterns originally included perforations for pattern markings, like their other competitors, but they eventually joined the competition that was part of the new, popular, tissue paper patterns, and fought to develop new technology that would give them the edge over other companies in the field.The first pattern company to introduce printed patterns was Mc Call, who started printing directions on their patterns in 1919, and held the patent rights to their printed pattern technology until 1938.It dates from the Edwardian era and what you see on the back cover is all you would get in terms of instructions.There are a few illustrations, which was somewhat rare for patterns this early, as most were text only.In fact, many times, a person would take this to their dressmaker and have them made for them, rather than making them for themselves at home.Tissue Paper Patterns & The Technological Battle for Printed Patterns In 1863, Butterick created the first mass produced, sized, tissue paper home sewing pattern.Over the next nearly hundred years, home sewing patterns went through a transformation with top companies competing fiercely to be the first to bring new technology both in the way the actual patterns were made and presented to the instructions that aided the home sewer.In this post, we’ll primarily at Mc Call, one of the two big companies who led the innovation in the early home pattern market- Mc Call and Butterick.

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All of these types of patterns did not include seam allowance, grainlines, notches, or other markings- other than the occasional mark for a roll line of a collar and, very occasionally, button placement.

Even after the end of their patent, other pattern companies were slow to adapt to the new pattern printing technology and most didn’t print their patterns until the mid to late 1950s, so don’t expect that a vintage pattern you buy will have printing like those of the Mc Call patterns, unless you know for sure that that company used printed patterns.

Usually they will say “printed pattern” on the cover, but they may only be partially printed.

I hope this will be a multiple part series, to help you understand how to use vintage patterns, as well as learn a little about their history.

I’ll also use this as a tool to help explain what I do with Wearing History patterns, since they’re often called “reproductions”, but, in actuality, after you follow through the series, you’ll come to see how pattern companies that offer “reproductions” differ from each other and also from the original source materials. If you’ve ever pulled out a vintage pattern that has holes instead of printing, it may seem like a giant puzzle piece.