Patterns Review

On this page I will give my own honest opinion on the patterns I have bought as I use them. As a novice historical dressmaker, I make no claim to much prior knowledge so a more experienced seamstress will almost certainly have a different experience with these same patterns.


  • 18th century Shift pattern by Marquise: Free, easy to follow and very informative. Suggests cutting layout, and period accurate length and width. Based on a contemporary 18th century tailor's pattern.
  • 18th Century Strapless Stays pattern by JP Ryan: NZ$25.50. Fully boned, back lacing stays. Extremely basic instructions, however with a little extra online research to supplement, this was a good pattern. 
  • Woman's & Girl's Caps, 1740-1820. Amazon Drygoods. Pattern NZ$23. The shipping $11.66 (divided by 3 patterns) NZ$34.66 total. Fairly basic instructions, but seems to be made up fairly easily, several simple stitch descriptions. Grand coiffe, Round eared cap, Mob cap options. 
  • Regency Underthings Pattern by Sense & Sensibility Patterns. E Pattern $10. Instructions easy to follow to print and to sew up. (I have only used the stays pattern so far). Great to get a pattern from the comfort of your own house. Good online information on this website also. 

  • 18th Century English Gown by Larkin and Smith: NZ$40.00. INCREDIBLE. I can't rate this highly enough. Pattern pieces are in good paper and include grainlines, points to lengthen and shorten, number of copies to cut and of which fabric, as well as seam allowances. Not all patterns do! I refer to this with other patterns in order to remind myself of the best and most accurate ways of hand sewing.
  • Closed front gown 1771-1785 by Fig Leaf. NZ$51.00. Excellent - nearly as good as the above pattern. Envelope contained a bound, 31-page instruction book, and extremely good pattern pieces - so long as they are all there! I did need to clarify one or two things, and the author assured me she would include this in the instructions in future. Lots of historical information. 
  • Short Sleeved Front Opening Dress 1810 by Fig Leaf Patterns. NZ$32.60. Pattern is based on an extant gown, as above gown. I found some parts a little hard to understand, but careful reading helped. Bound and clear diagrams. (I only used 3m -size 8- of 150cm wide fabric when carefully laid out, rather than the 5.6 yards recommended.) 
Other items:

  • 18th Century Jackets for Undress by JP Ryan. NZ$30.00. Basic but useable. Small but fairly accurate pictures with each instruction. Not particularly historically accurate in technique, but produces a nice silhouette. 
Men's Wear:
  • 17th Century Shirt by Marquise: Free. No pieces, just cut measured rectangles. Seems very accurate and fairly easy to follow, even for a newish seamstress. Good links to pictures online. Just a little hard to figure out a couple of the gusset instructions first time around. 

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