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Paper Dress Pattern - Sewing Patterns

Ebeneezer Butterick created the first graded sewing pattern.

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Woman lays out garment pattern pieces

Woman lays out garment pattern pieces

Reza Estakhrian/Getty Images
Ebenezer Butterick, together with his wife Ellen Augusta Pollard Butterick, invented the tissue paper dress pattern in 1863. Butterick founded the E. Butterick & Company (now the Butterick Publishing Company), in New York in 1867.

History of Butterick

In 1863, Ebeneezer Butterick improved home sewing by inventing the first graded sewing pattern. Ebeneezer Butterick was a tailor, however, it was his wife Ellen Butterick that did all the sewing at home for their son.

At that time, people who sewed would lay out their fabrics and then hand draw the fabric cuts they wanted to made. Ellen Butterick remarked to her husband how handy it would be if she had some sort of pattern to guide her in making her fabric cuts, a pattern that was the correct size for her son.

Graded Pattern Sizes

Ebeneezer Butterick came up with the concept of the graded pattern, in layman's terms, he created the first standardized clothing size chart. Before Butterick, clothing patterns came in one size which took the skill of an experienced seamstress or tailor to size up or down (a process called grading). Butterick also established using tissue paper as the perfect material for sewing patterns rather than the cardboard that most of the one-size patterns were made of.

The Butterick Business

A family business was made out of the manufacturing and selling of the new sized/graded sewing patterns. Within five years, Ebeneezer Butterick was able to offer sewing patterns for adults' and children's clothing in over a dozen different sizes.

Butterick Publishing Company

According to Butterick McCall company history, "In 1867, Butterick introduced its first magazine, Ladies Quarterly of Broadway Fashions, and in 1868 added a monthly bulletin, Metropolitan. These publications were a showcase of Butterick patterns and the latest fashion news. Also, they enabled ladies all over the world to buy patterns from their home through the mail. In 1873, Butterick created a new publication called The Delineator. By 1876, E. Butterick & Co. had 100 branch offices and 1,000 agencies throughout the United States and Canada."

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