Types of Patterns

Mrs. Depew Vintage is proud to offer both reproduction and original sewing patterns in both digital and paper forms. These patterns are sourced from many different eras and even languages, so naturally, they might come in different types to. Here is a quick guide to the types of patterns available:


Diagram patterns were particularly popular from the 1920’s-1950’s. 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.

Here is an example of a diagram pattern (in French):

un etui pour sa pipe

draft at home

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.

01-ECP 3

patternless cutting

The Patternless-Cutting type of pattern is typically seen in our 1920’s sewing patterns. 

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 laid out on your table. You use your own measurements to get an exact fit, and there is no printing, drafting, or taping involved.

One hour Dress Pattern Drafting

You can read more about this type of sewing pattern on our 1920’s Dress Patterns FAQ Page.

patternless draping

The Patternless-Draping type of pattern is also typically seen in our 1920’s sewing patterns. 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.

Draping Dresses

You can read more about this type of sewing pattern on our 1920’s Dress Patterns FAQ Page.

Print at home

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.

print-at-home sewing pattern

To read more about digital sewing patterns and e-books, and why you might like them, check out this post from our blog, A Few Threads Loose.

pattern sheet

A pattern sheet is a large rectangle of paper with more than one pattern piece laid our 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. Sseamstresses have been using them for over 100 years with great success!
A pattern sheet might look a bit like this:

pattern sheet test example mrsdepew.com

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