Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Do you have a Zoot suit pattern?
  2. Do you have patterns for men's?
  3. Why do you have so few pictures of men?
  4. Where are your Halloween /fancy /masked/masque/mardi gras costumes?
  5. Do you have patterns for [insert era here]?
  6. Do you have patterns for Colonial Costume?
  7. Can you tell me where I can buy a pattern for ... ?
  8. Can you tell me where I can buy a [...] costume or have one made?
  9. How should I go about enlarging your patterns?
  10. I need info for a school paper - please email me with info/point me to sources.
  11. Can I download/print/use your pictures/text for...
  12. I'd like to download one/some of your images, but I always get this popup about copyright.
  13. I would like to link to your site. Is that OK?
  14. Where are your 1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / 1990s pages?
  15. Where do you hide erotic / fetish / leather fashion?
  16. Do you have any info on Haute Couture fashion designers, such as...?
  17. I'd like to print out one of your pages, but it doesn't work
  18. How can I order your patterns?
  19. I have a stack of "Stoddard's Lectures" here; can you tell me what they're worth?
  20. You really should provide a French (Spanish, Chinese, Swahili...) translation of your page
  21. I've got this photograph/painting of my ancestor / a fashion plate which I'm trying to date. Can you help?
  22. Are your patterns in inches or in centimetres?
  23. Do your pattern include seam allowances?
  24. Which country are your pictures/patterns from?


Do you have a Zoot suit pattern?

I only have a very dim notion of what that is, actually - no, I don't have a pattern. But AFAIK one of those big pattern companies (Simplicity or Butterick?) has one.

Do you have patterns for men's?

It's awfully difficult to acquire any, because fashion journals catered to ladies. Men's clothes were almost exclusively tailor-made or later bought in shops, but not made at home. All that the ladies ever did for their men was to knit a pullover - so no patterns in the magazines. The few magazines and books that were aimed at men's tailors are so rare nowadays that they usually sell at prices I'm not prepared to pay. However, I have some patterns dating to around 1915 courtesy of a generous donor, quite a few from 1875, and one selfmade pattern for a 1730s-1750s suit. You can find them in the chapters for each century, under the heading "Patterns & Making".

Why do you have so few pictures of men's?

I've tried to include as many images of male costume as could be had, but there are difficulties: During many of the periods covered here, men's costume was very often black or dark. It's hard to make out details in the original painting even when you see it in person. In a reproduction, the dark garments become one solid patch of black. There's not much sense in including such pictures. From the early 19th century onwards, fashion magazines mostlly cater to women and hardly ever depict men. Moreover, there is so little change in men's 19th century dress that I can't date pictures unless there's a lady in it or a date given. If it can't be dated, it's of little value to the study of fashion, so I leave it out. See also the previous question.

Where are your Halloween / fancy / maskerade costumes?

If you are looking for Halloween costumes, try visiting this site offering discount costumes online

There aren't any. This is a site exclusively for historical clothing. I.e. not for dressing up in more or less historical-looking clothing, but for the real McCoy. Historical fancy/masquerade costume (i.e. what was worn for masked events in eras past) might be included if there was enough demand, but even for those I only have few pictures (1890s, 1900s). If you're looking for a modern fancy costume, you've come to the wrong site. If you want to wear something historical-looking for a mask event or theatre, the patterns and instructions here may be of help, but they are made for people who want to faithfully re-create historical fashion right down to the hand-stitched buttonhole.

Do you have patterns for [insert era/style here]?

Please check the section of this site that deals with the era in question. Either there is a "Patterns/Howto" subsection - or I don't have any patterns for that era.

Do you have patterns for Colonial Costume?

You mean North America when it was still a collection of colonies, don't you? Well, this site is focused on Europe. You might want to look at those costume books I've listed that deal with English and North American costume; the North American colonies looked mainly towards England fashionwise. Lots of US companies offer readymade patterns of the "Colonial" and "Revolutionary War" era. If you're serious about interpreting a historical persona, that persona might be a recent immigrant or someone who lived in one of the "cultural islands" where the culture and costumes of the old home country persisted for some time, so look into the costumes of the original country. Resources for German costume can be found on this site. If your persona has a Bavarian or Frankish background, I may be able to help you some more.

Can you tell me where I can buy a pattern for ... ?

I don't normally use any readymade patterns, so I know next to nothing about companies that sell patterns. I try to list as many names as I can find on the Purveyors Page. Do also look at the suppliers listed under "General Re-enactment Accessories" - they usually carry a range of patterns. At the Costumer's Manifesto, you may find some more. The "Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild Pattern Review" may help you in telling apart good from bad patterns.

Can you tell me where I can buy a [...] costume or have one made?

I make my own, so... see above. I list some of the better makers on the Purveyors Page, but as there are so many well-linked ones in North America, my list concentrates on European suppliers. Have a look at the Costumer's Manifesto or the Reproduction Clothing Webring for more suppliers.

How should I go about enlarging your patterns?

I know full well that it's a pain to enlarge those small-scale patterns to a usable size. I've been there myself. But a little difficulty is in order if you get the pattern for free, don't you think? Instructions are on the enlarging page and should be enough for anyone who has any sewing experience. If you don't have any experience, let me say it here and now: Acquire some in the process, or let go of all hope. Those old patterns were made for pros and are too difficult for a beginner. If you do have experience, but still encounter difficulties, please let me know and I will improve the instructions with the help of your critique.

I need info for a school/college paper - please email me with info/point me to sources

Please check my links page for other sites grouped by era, the Library pages for (guess!) books on costume and the sources page for yet more books. If your paper has a sociological subject, check out the sociology page as well. You may also quote my site as you would quote a book - and as for a book, credits are in order. Unless your request is very specific, inside my area of expertise and catches my personal interest, this is all I can give you. I often get requests along the lines of "I'm writing a paper on 18th century women's costume, please send me all the material you have. It's urgent: My deadline is next week." This is no exaggeration!
I can't write your paper for you, and quite frankly, I wouldn't reply to such general requests even if I had the time: It's your job as a student to find the proper resources, and proving that you're able to find them is part of the test, thesis or whatever.


Can I download and use your pictures/text for...

Yes to all. As long as it's for personal or educational use, and if credits are given, that's OK. Please read the Copyright Page for more info. If you intend to use the pictures for a webpage, please check the "bandwidth theft" section of that page carefully. If you want the pictures/text for commercial use, please contact me.

I'd like to download one/some of your images, but I always get this popup.

I hate this stuff myself but I had to add this popup because some people neither respect laws nor netiquette and simply use my pictures for their own website without credits or anything. Please read the Copyright Page before you take and use any pictures. When you've read it, you'll be able to download the pictures.

I would like to link to your site. Is that OK?

Common web netiquette does not require you to ask permission to link to a site. It is polite, and I appreciate the consideration you exhibit by asking, but it's not required. Unless your site is an X-rated one or of similarly "questionable morality"*, the webmaster of the linked-to site would usually be rather grateful for the link. People's wealth may be measured in money, but a website's wealth consists of the links leading to it.

If you want to use a kind of banner for the link, you can download the title picture or a smaller version of it. Please don't use other graphics without asking. If you require something different, I may provide you with a more suitable picture.

But to answer your question literally: Links to webpages (i.e if the link ends in .html or .shtml) of mine are appreciated. Links to other kinds of files, such as images (e.g. to files with the extensions .gif, .jpg, .mid) are OK if you also clearly state next to the link where the file comes from (i.e. La Couturière Parisienne, with a link back). But please never load an image or MIDI file from my site directly as an inline or background picture or as background music, i.e. in such as way that every visitor of your pages loads it, whether they want to or not. Doing so constitutes bandwidth theft, which is explained on the copyright page. Most images are incorporated into a webpage of their own to enable you to link to the webpage rather than to the image. If you want to link to an image that doesn't sit on a webpage, just let me know and I'll build the webpage.

If your site is private and informational (not commercial) you may download an image or MIDI, put it into your webspace and link to that "copy" - and again, please state clearly where you got the file from. See also Copyright Page.


You've hit on an image within that you want to use to make a point, to illustrate your research. Your website is non-commercial (that's important!), and you want to use that image on your website. You have two options:

  1. Download the picture, put into your webspace, and place a remark somewhere on your page that the image is "courtesy of La Couturière Parisienne", preferably with a link to
  2. The other option is to link to the associated webpage. I wouldn't mind that because, different from a direct link to an image, visitors actually notice that they've landed on another site. In most but not all cases, an image will have a HTML page associated, and it's not hard to determine the URL for it. If the image you're interested in has the URL
    or the URL

    then try linking to

Where are your 1950s / 1960s / 1970s / 1980s / 1990s pages?

There aren't any - the pictorial info on this site only goes up to 1939, the additional info (text, howtos etc) stop even earlier. Why? Copyright again! I can only legally show pictures if the copyright holder hs been dead 70 years or, in the case of an anonymous publication, it has been published at least 70 years ago. However, you will find a few post-1930s pattern illustrations in the database.

Where do you hide erotic / fetish / leather fashion?

I don't: There isn't any. There also are no naked people (quite contrary: clothing is what this site is all about) of either sex to be seen. You may have been led here by a link from someone who mistyped the URL (there's a fetish site with the domain name , or who linked to me because I have pictures of and patterns for corsets. But I have those only because they were, at some point in history, worn as part of everyday costume, which is what this site deals with. Nothing presented here has ever served erotic purposes beyond helping the wearer to comply with the beauty ideal of the time.

Do you have any info on Haute Couture fashion designers, such as...

... Dior, Chanel, Worth, Fortuny, Poiret, Schiaparelli, Lagerfeld, Versace, Gaultier etc?

No, not specifically. I'm concentrating on everyday fashion, the kind of stuff you'd find (or would have found back then) in normal boutiques and fashion magazines, on normal people's backs.

I'd like to print out one of your pages, but it doesn't work

Let me guess: The problem is that the page is black and the text light. Printers don't particularly like that. I've played with the thought of providing printable versions, but with almost 3000 pages, that's impossible. Here's a workaround for Netscape (I don't know IE that well):

Edit -> Preferences -> Appearance -> Colors
Check the checkbox "Always use my colors...". The default colour setting gives you a white background, black text and blue links. IE has a similar setting, but the menu path is different. Please play around until you find it!

Another workaround: Save the page to harddisk, open it in notepad and remove the line(s) at the top where it says <body bgcolor=.....>. Be sure to delete everything between < and > , including the brackets, but nothing else. Save, and open the changed file in your browser. Now you should get a white background and black text.

How can I order your patterns?

You can't. I don't know why, but people frequently mistake my site for a business that sells patterns. Believe me, it isn't!

I have a volume of "Stoddard's Lectures" here; can you tell me what it's worth?

Apparently my site is one of the few that comes up if you google for "Stoddard's Lectures". It's become so that I get asked this once a week, and it's really getting on my nerves. Come on now, folks, does my site look as if I was a rare books dealer? You could just as well walk into the bakery round the corner and ask what a brick costs. Take the stuff to a used books dealer, please.

You really should provide a French (Spanish, Chinese, Swahili...) translation of your page

I agree, and actually I've tried to provide a French one years ago. But my French isn't up to it, the few kind volunteers who'd offererd to translate felt exhausted after 5 or 6 pages (out of a couple hundred), and most importantly it's hell just trying to keep two language versions of each page up to date. Whether I have to keep 2000 pages updated or 4000 is a bit of a difference. Je suis désolée.

I've got this photograph/painting of my ancestor / a fashion plate which I'm trying to date. Can you help?

As for willingness, I'm game. I quite like the detective work involved in dating a picture, so you're welcome to try me. As for ability: maybe. It depends on the quality of picture you can provide, whether it's a man or woman, how much of the costume is visible...The only reward I ask is the permission to use the picture(s) on my site. The family name can be left out of it if you like. Contact me.

Are your patterns in inches or in centimetres?

Depends. There are some 19th century patterns I've scanned from Peterson's Magazine and other American publications which are, of course, in inches. In those cases it usually even says "6 IN" in the pattern. The majority of patterns, however, is from European publications and therefore metric. The patterns I've taken from original garments or made myself are also metric. One inch is 2,54 cm.

Do your pattern include seam allowances?

Unless otherwise stated, they don't. This also goes for other allowances, e.g. where something folds back (closure edges, wrist or skirt hems and the like). Including allowances seems to be an American habit, so in case of some patterns from American late 19th century magazines (see question above) I'm not sure. But those patterns are extremely vague and one-size, so you'll have to fit them anyway.

Which country are your pictures/patterns from?

Depends. I have pictures and patterns from various sources - see also the two questions above. In most cases such enquiries relate to 19th century fashion plates and/or patterns and come from people who either are researching the fashion of one certain country or the differences between countries. I've said it on various occassions that from at least the mid 19th century on, the country is of no importance at all, except in some rural pockets. See also this page.



*) Questionable morality? Just what is that? I was speaking in general terms there, i.e. what most webmasters probably think about links to their site. Since I'm Continental European, I don't have any problems with erotic/kinky/homo/cross sites unless they're crude.