Patterns old and new

Pattern suppliers & resources

Women working on patterns at McCall's Magazine, New York, 1913 (silver gelatin print) by Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York, USA; American

Women working on patterns at McCall’s Magazine, New York, 1913 (silver gelatin print) by Byron Company. Museum of the City of New York, USA; American

Like fabric the topic of sewing patterns and that of costume and vintage patterns are non ending. The list could run into hundreds of resources. I have tried to pick a comprehensive mix of suppliers, links and books. Which like all my posts as always been updated.


‘We’re Europe’s largest distributor for authentic historical sewing supplies – we fill all your costuming needs! Benefit from our knowledge and our selection of the finest costume making supplies’.

Stock all the major brands and ship world wide.

Nehelenia Patterns
Stefanie Dettmers-Piasetzki und Christina Dettmers
Hubertusstr. 6a
59199 Bönen
Germany. E-mail:


Amazon Drygoods catalog was always a treat to read. Stepping back into time flicking through it’s pages, discovering the unusual and ‘must have’ items. Period sewing patterns now form a big part of the website shop. You can still (call them) buy the catalog, better still they have placed it on the site in PDF form.

3788 Wilson Street (Napoleon)
Osgood, IN  47037

‘So Vintage Patterns where the selection of patterns is greatest from aprons to gowns! Find thousands of true vintage sewing patterns for the unique styles you won’t find in stores.From the 1920s Great Gatsby flapper fashions to the 1980s, our specialty the 1940s and 1950s and home of the largest selection of vintage Vogue Couturier and Vogue Paris Original patterns.’

P. O. Box 1632
Oroville, WA. 98844
USA (250) 292-8070


‘We sell Burda patterns, Folkwear patterns, Jalie patterns, Laughing Moon patterns, New Look patterns, Sense and Sensibility patterns and Simplicity patterns.’ just sell pattern! The website is well thought out and easy to use. After dance patterns eg leo’s this is the place.
1 The Bungalows, Furzehill
Chard, TA20 1AU. Great Britain          E-mail:

Vena Cava stocks all the top brand you need when it comes to authentic costume patterns. Topped with great service.


‘We are first in the UK/EUROPE with the latest sewing patterns.
The latest pattern catalogues are on-line at Sewdirect, normally +6 weeks before other stores. We also have a selection of recently discontinued patterns.

Want a commercial pattern or need to do some research before going shopping for fabric. Take you time to look around the website for what you need.

+44 (0)344 880 1263


Stocking Mediaeval Miscellanea patterns as well as others this website is worth bookmarking.

Valentines, Long Marston, Stratford upon Avon, CV37 8RG.  phone/fax (01789) 722434    email



‘You can get patterns to make everything you need for any historical impression (and some fantasy ones) from Reconstructing History! Reconstructing History Patterns are based on surviving garments and each pattern contains both modern and period construction techniques.’

An online store where you can now download PDF some of their patterns. If looking for historical correct embroidered pattern Coif pattern look no further.

Reconstructing History LLC
Easton, PA 18042
Phone: 1-340-201-6579



One of the most popular brands for authentic and costume patterns. Best for Men’s and corsets. Use this website to order but also click on the tab to see the retailers who stock them near you. or call 916-254-0987


‘The crew behind Decades of Style lives, eats and breathes vintage sewing patterns. Our goal is to take the amazing styles from the 1920s through the 1950s and make them available to anyone who sews! All sizes welcome.’

A small online pattern company specializing in 4 decades. 

1474 University Ave. #165, Berkeley, CA 94702.     Tel (510) 847 6234



‘The Commercial Pattern Archive database, CoPA, provides a unique tool for researchers and designers to recreate or date clothing from 1868 to 2000. There are several collections from the States, Canada and the UK represented in the database which functions like a Union Catalog of pattern collections. The cornerstone of CoPA is the Betty Williams Collection. Betty Williams, a theatrical costumer in New York City, pioneered research on commercial patterns in the early 1980s. She became a leader in the field, establishing a major personal pattern collection and encouraging others to actively participate in the collection and storage of patterns.’




Corsets: Historic Patterns and Techniques

by Jill Salen (Paperback)

Drape Drape by Hisako Sato (Paperback)

Patternmaking for Fashion Design
by Helen Joseph Armstrong (Paperback)

Pattern Magic 2
by Tomoko Nakamichi (Paperback)

Pattern Cutting (Portfolio Skills)
by Dennic Chunman Lo

Draping: The Complete Course
by Karolyn Kiisel (Paperback)

Vintage Swimwear Patterns: Historical Patterns and Techniques
by Jill Salen (Paperback)

Men’s 17th and 18th Century Costume, Cut and Fashion by Ron I. Davis, William-Alan Landes

The Cut of Men’s Clothes: 1600-1900
by Norah Waugh (Hardcover)

Corsets and Crinolines
by Norah Waugh (Paperback)

The Cut of Women’s Clothes
by Norah Waugh (Hardcover)

FIT FOR REAL PEOPLE 2ND EDITION: Sew Great Clothes Using ANY Pattern (Sewing for Real People)

Sew Over It Vintage
by Lisa Comfort (Hardcover)

Famous Frocks: The Little Black Dress: Patterns for 20 Garments Inspired by Fashion Icons by Dolin Bliss O’Shea (Hardcover)

Period Costume for Stage and Screen, Outer Garments, Book II: Dominos, Dolmans, Coats, Pelisses, Spencers, Calashes, Hoods and Bonnets Bk. 2: Dominos, … Spencers, Callashes, Hoods & Bonnet​s
by Jean Hunnisett (Hardcover)

Patterns for Theatrical Costumes: Garments, Trims and Accessories from Ancient Egypt to 1915
by Katherine Strand Holkeboer (Paperback)

The Tudor Tailor: Reconstructing Sixteenth-Cent​ury Dress
by Jane Malcolm-Davies, Ninya Mikhaila (Paperback)

Men’s Garments, 1830-1900: Guide to Pattern Cutting and Tailoring
by R.I. Davis (Paperback)

Patterns of Fashion 2
by Janet Arnold (Paperback)

Patterns of Fashion: 1660-1860: Vol 1
by Janet Arnold (Paperback)

Period Costume for Stage and Screen: 1500-1800: Patterns for Women’s Dress by Jean Hunnisett (Hardcover)

Period Costume for Stage and Screen: 1800-1909: Patterns for Women’s Dress by Jean Hunnisett, Janette Haslam (Hardcover)

59 Authentic Turn-of-the-ce​ntury Fashion Patterns by Kristina Harris (Paperback)

Historic Costumes and How to Make Them (Dover Fashion and Costumes)
by Mary Fernald, Eileen Shenton (Paperback)

Victorian Fashions: A Complete Lady’s Wardrobe (Dover Fashion and Costumes) by Michael Harris, Kristina Harris (Paperback)

The Edwardian Modiste: 85 Authentic Patterns with Instructions, Fashion Plates, and Period Sewing Techniques
by Frances Grimble (Paperback)

Creating Historical Clothes: Pattern Cutting from Tudor to Victorian Times
by Elizabeth Friendship (Paperback)

Patterns of Fashion: C1560-1620: 1560-1620 v. 3 by Janet Arnold (Paperback)

Reconstruction Era Fashions: 350 Sewing, Needlework, and Millinery Patterns 1867-1868 by Frances Grimble (Paperback)

Fashions of the Gilded Age, Volume 2: Evening, Bridal, Sports, Outerwear, Accessories, and Dressmaking 1877-1882 by Frances Grimble (Paperback)

Pattern Cutting for Men’s Costume (Backstage) by Elizabeth Friendship (Paperback)Historic Costumes

The Victorian Tailor by Jason Maclochlainn (Paperback)

Seventeenth Century Women’s Dress: 2 (Dress Pattern 2) by Tiramani Jenny (Hardcover)

Draping Period Costumes: Classical Greek to Victorian (The Focal Press Costume Topics Series) by Sharon Sobel (Hardcover)

Seventeenth-Cen​tury Women’s Dress Patterns (Womens Dress Patterns 1)
by Jenny Tiramani (Hardcover)

Pattern Cutting for Lingerie, Beachwear and Leisurewear by Haggar, A. Haggar, Ann Haggar (Paperback)

Fabrics and Pattern Cutting
by Winifred Aldrich (Paperback)

Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear by Winifred Aldrich (Hardcover)

Sewing Patterns: 200 Questions Answered by Sophie English (Paperback)

Fashion Pattern Cutting: Line, Shape and Volume by Zarida Zaman (Paperback)

Pattern Making by the Flat Pattern Method by Norma R. Hollen, Carolyn J. Kundel (Plastic Comb)

Pattern Cutting for Clothing Using CAD: How to Use Lectra Modaris Pattern Cutting Software (Woodhead Publishing Series in Textiles) by Maggie Stott, M. Stott (Paperback)

The Art of Fashion Draping
by Connie Amaden-Crawford (Paperback)

Draping for Fashion Design
by Hilde Jaffe Professor Emeritus, Nurie Relis Retired (Paperback)

Integrating Draping, Drafting and Drawing by Bina Abling and Kathleen Maggio (Hardcover)

The Essential Guide to Stretch Pattern Cutting: Dresses, Leotards, Swimwear, Tops and More… (Essential Guides)
by Martin Michael Shoben (Paperback)

Essential Guide to Dress Pattern Cutting: How to Adapt the Basic Block Pattern into Ten Classic Styles (Essential Guides) by Martin Shoben (Paperback)

Pattern Magic: Stretch Fabrics
by Tomoko Nakamichi (Paperback)

Pattern Cutting for Menswear
by Gareth Kershaw (Paperback)

Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear
by Winifred Aldrich (Hardcover)

The Practical Guide To Patternmaking For Fashion Designers: Menswear
by Lori A Knowles (Spiral-bound)

Vintage Lingerie: Historical Patterns and Techniques by Jill Salen (Paperback)

How to Use, Adapt and Design Sewing Patterns: From Shop-bought Patterns to Drafting Your Own: A Complete Guide to Fashion Sewing with Confidence by Lee Hollahan (Paperback)

The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen (Paperback)

Make Your Own Dress Patterns
by Adele P. Margolis (Paperback)

How Patterns Work: The Fundamental Principles of Pattern Making and Sewing in Fashion Design


Well, bust my buttons!

Buttons suppliers & resources

UIG538681 Button Maker: Stamping out metal buttons. Blank held in place and weight holding die for pattern being work was raised by rope and pulley wheel and dropped on blank. Dies for different sizes and patterns on floor. Buttons would need finishing by removal of burrs and imperfections. Hand-coloured woodcut from The Book of English Trades London 1823.; Universal History Archive/UIG; out of copyright

UIG538681 Button Maker: Stamping out metal buttons. Blank held in place and weight holding die for pattern being work was raised by rope and pulley wheel and dropped on blank. Dies for different sizes and patterns on floor. Buttons would need finishing by removal of burrs and imperfections. Hand-coloured woodcut from The Book of English Trades London 1823.; Universal History Archive/UIG; out of copyright

Don’t hit the panic button! Here I have for you a festival of button links for you to rummage through.

First things first – traditionally buttons are measured by a unit measure called Linge. You will also have them seized and sold in mm and inches. Having a button size chart will help when it comes to placing orders and designing. M&J Trim have a PDF size chart true to size with all 3 (Ligne, mm, inches) measurements to download.

Back up – Ligne, where does that come from and mean?  It comes from both German and French origins and means line. A unit of measurement applied to the diameter of of the button. Made a universal standard measurement in Europe in the 18th century by German button makers. Used by French and Swiss wristwatch makers to measure the size of a watch movement it is a precise and strict unit. A ligne equals exactly 1/40th of an inch of the diameter of a button or a snap.

12 Ligne-6 mm
13 Ligne-7 mm
14 Ligne-8 mm
15 Ligne-9 mm
16 Ligne-9.5 mm
17 Ligne-10.5 mm
18 Ligne-11 mm
19 Ligne-12.5 mm
20 Ligne-13 mm
21 Ligne-13.5 mm
24 Ligne-16 mm
28 Ligne-18 mm
30 Ligne-19 mm
32 Ligne-20 mm
34 Ligne-21 mm
36 Ligne-22 mm
40 Ligne-25.5 mm
44 Ligne-28 mm
45 Ligne-29 mm
48 Ligne-30.5 mm
50 Ligne-32 mm
60 Ligne-38 mm
64 Ligne-40.5 mm
65 Ligne-41 mm


M&J Trim not just for buttons buckles too! – and trim – Shop online or visit the store in NYC. There website is full of information check out the ‘How to buy buttons‘ page.

M&J Trimming
1008 Sixth Avenue
(Between 37th & 38th St)
New York, NY 10018      1-800-9-MJTRIM


Yes the website and stock is as cute as the name as the business. Also the service is hard to beat. Making this one of my top resources.

‘As Cute As A Button was opened in 1993 in San Diego, California because we needed a good selection of quality buttons. I was a clothing designer and could not find great buttons for the beautiful fabrics I was working with. Over the past 20 years our selection of buttons has grown to over 8000 styles. Most of our buttons come from Italy, Germany, England, The Czech Repub
lic, South America and the USA. Some of the online competitors say they can undersell us but they are selling inferior buttons from China. Many of the Glass, Natural and Hand Crafted buttons I purchase from individual designers or small companies….’ 

Contact Kym Milburn, Founder and Owner. 1286 University Ave. #857,San Diego, CA, 92103
(By Appointment Only)  619-223-2555


Totally Buttons  stock over 3000 different styles, colours and sizes, adding new materials including: Swarovski Crystal, Italian Glass, Metal, Fabric & Beaded, Jeans, Sewing, Glitter & Diamante, Multicoloured, Suit & Shirt and Coat Buttons.’ 

Take a look at the coat buttons category for anyone making military uniforms.

PO Box 976
RH12 9QF    01403 598014



‘Harlequin is a specialist manufacturer making bespoke accessories and garments for couturiers and dressmakers. We are famous for our fabric belts, covered buttons and ties, which bring the world’s top designers to us looking for our superb quality, exceptionally fast turnaround and our passion for what we do’.

Harlequin, Shop Road, Little Bromley, Manningtree, Essex CO11 2PZ, UK.       +44 (0)1206 396167

‘D.M.Buttonholes has been established in the heart of London’s Soho for nearly 100 years. We provide a comprehensive buttonholing service and we manufacture and supply quality covered button in various styles and sizes. You provide the fabric and we make the buttons.’

A gift from the Costume God’s are D. M Buttons.

11b Wardour Mews
D’arblay Street
London W1F 8AN

Tel/Fax: 020 7437-8897  Email:  OPENING TIMES MONDAY TO FRIDAY 7.30AM TO 3.00PM


A feast of buttons and notions  are available at Minerva Crafts. Did I menshion their wonderful prices.

Our buttons range is absolutely huge which includes every kind of button you can image. They vary greatly in size, shape, colour, weight and price, we’re sure we’ll have the right kind to suit your every need.’

Minerva Craft Centre,
Minerva Fabrics Ltd.
Atlas Road,
BB3 3BY         +44 (0)1254 708068


Part of the JHB mega button compay Button is the online store for Blumenthal Lansing Company. Here you will find all the same brands that JoAnnas and Hobby Lobby sells maybe cheep and in the amounts you need!

‘Welcome to Button Lovers! For over 130 years, our company Blumenthal Lansing has been the destination for wholesale buttons and retail buttons, sewing buttons, novelty buttons and craft buttons. Now, online buyers finally
have access to the world’s best buttons!’

1929 Main Street
Lansing, IA 52151
Phone: 563-538-4211 / 800-553-4158


Vintage covered buttons resource Bee Lignes has a hoard to chose from.

Bee Lignes, Inc.
121A 107th Avenue NE
Bellevue, WA 98004
Phone: 206-420-1307


Lace Heaven located in Mobile Alabama has a is a little shop with a big supply. Wholesale to the us common people. Also use for trims and embellishments.

‘Lace Heaven is your only stop when looking for wholesale sewing buttons online. You will easily find a wide selection of clothing and crafting buttons, with great bargains and deals.’

Lace Heaven Inc.
2524 Dauphin Island Parkway
Mobile, AL. 36605



Buttons: The Collector’s Guide to Selecting, Restoring and Enjoying New and Vintage Buttons

by Nancy Fink (Hardcover)

Buttons: a Collectors Guide

by Houart (Hardcover)

50 Heirloom Buttons to Make

by Nancy Nehring, Marcus Tullis (Kindle Edition)

Buttons and Trimmings: From Snowshill (Fashion & Sty​le)

by Althea MacKenzie (Hardcover)

The Button Industry in the United States

by Edward Louis Newberger (Paperback)

Old Buttons

by Sylvia Llewelyn (Paperback)

Buttons (Shire Album)

by Alan Meredith, Gillian Meredith (Paperback)


by PEGGY ANN OSBORNE (Paperback) .

Buttons : A Passementerie Workshop Manual

by Gina Barrett (Paperback)

Dorset Buttons, Handstitched in Dorset for Over 300 Years

by Thelma Johns (Paperback) .

Local Militia Buttons

by Howard Ripley, Bob Moodie (Hardcover)

Buttons of the Regular Army 1855-2000

by Howard Ripley, Denis Darmanin (Paperback)

Beautiful Buttons

by Beate Schmitz (Paperback) .

Buttons and Fasteners 500BC – AD1840

by Gordon Bailey, Greg Payne (Paperback)