Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Free Historical Patterns from the Library of Congress

from the Manual of Apparel Drafting and Sewing, by Mattie Kunz, 1913

While browsing a used bookshop this past weekend, I came upon a reprint of a garment cutting manual from 1908.   It was full of basic shapes and formulas for how to adjust them for any figure - and it turns out there was a long history of such things.  (Which makes sense in retrospect, but I had never come across such a thing before.)   Anyhow -- not only were there quite a few of them, but the Library of Congress has scanned them and made them available for reading AND downloading - free of charge.

To access them:

1) http://archive.org/details/library_of_congress   (or click here)
2) type 'garment cutting' into the search bar on the top left.  (dress making and tailoring also provide good results)
3) go nuts.

The archives include both men's and women's clothing and range from the early 1800's to the early 1900's (that I've found thus far - my search was hardly exhaustive)   Quite a few of them talk about 'difficult figures' and how to deal with wonky posture.  I do enjoy the illustrations....

from Garment Cutting in the Twentieth Century, by Gunther Hertzer,  1833


  1. What what?!?! That's AMAZING!!! Thank you for sharing this incredible find with us - I am off to browse "the stacks" now :)

  2. Wow, excellent find!! Thanks for sharing!!1

  3. What a great find! Thanks for sharing!
    BTW, "garment drafting" is also great!


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