Online Vintage Patternmaking Book: “Modern Pattern Design”

“Modern Pattern Design” by Harriet Pepin was written in 1942.

I’m very happy to share a discovery with you today–a complete vintage patternmaking guide that is available FREE at

“Modern Pattern Design” offers a complete system for creating pattern blocks along with the techniques to transform them into various styles.  There are many illustrations and the instructions for drafting are given step-by-step.  Harriet also provides very detailed commentary.  I plan to read through each chapter before incorporating any of her techniques into the system I use.  Her tone and style of writing is very conversational so it is easy to follow along.

This website does not have a “Save as PDF” link but I found a way to save each chapter.   The link provided brings you to the Table of Contents which consists of links to each chapter.  After getting to the site do the following:

  1. Create one folder on your drive and name it “Modern Pattern Design.”
  2. Within this folder create sub-folders named for each chapter as well as the Author’s Statement, Acknowldegement and Summary.
  3. Click on the first link to navigate to that page.  On the menu of your browser click on “File” menu.  Then click on “Save As”.
  4. Select the correct sub-folder by clicking to open it.
  5. Then click the “Save” button on the File Save screen.
  6. Use the forward arrows at the top right hand portion of each screen.  This navigates to the next chapter.
  7. Repeat steps 5-7 until all chapters are saved.
  8. Within each sub-folder your PC will create a sub-sub folder that holds all the graphics from each webpage/chapter.  Below that will be the saved webpage.  Do not delete the sub-sub folder.  It is important to keep.
  9. Print out each saved web page if you want to have a hard copy of this book.

I hope you will find this book as useful as I am.  It is thorough enough to give you a good foundation to get started in creating your own custom made vintage garments.  The illustrations present many wearable, everyday styles of the early 1940s.  They can serve as the basis for your own interpretations.


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