ALCTC Pattern Project: Part 1 – Women’s Wear 1760-1812

Online June 28, 2024


The Anne Lambert Clothing and Textiles Collection (ALCTC) is pleased to introduce the first component of the ALCTC Pattern Project, a series of online exhibitions featuring downloadable patterns drawn from artifacts in our collection. The first component pertains to women’s wear from ca. 1760 to ca. 1812. We recreated their patterns to illustrate changes in the cut and construction of fashionable dress from the mid-eighteenth century to the early-nineteenth century. While many artifacts do not have provenance, they likely originate from North America and Europe. The aim of the ALCTC Pattern Project is to improve access to our objects, further their study, advance knowledge on the cut and construction of clothing, and promote the practice of measuring historic dress for both research and preventive conservation purposes. As we share our work, we also acknowledge that more needs to be done to advance pattern research as a rigorous practice.

The patterns were created for researchers and are not sewing patterns. They are presented to scale on a gridded background with accompanying photos and notes. They are not commercial patterns made with seam allowances in standard sizes. Each garment was likely custom-made or altered to fit a unique body. Only one side of each garment was measured and presented here. In some cases, limited access to certain areas (i.e. behind seams, tucks, and linings) left room for interpretation. None of the patterns were tested through a sample-making process. Patterns are nonetheless the result of careful measuring of historical garments using a streamlined method developed to maximize efficiency, accuracy, and safety in the measuring process. More refinement and testing is needed to make them viable for other uses. These patterns, while flawed, represent our best efforts to shed light on the artistry of clothing makers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.


ALCTC Pattern Project team members

Principal Investigator
Anne Bissonnette, PhD
Curator, Anne Lambert Clothing & Textiles Collection
Professor, Material Culture and Curatorship

Co-Principal Investigator
Katelin Karbonik, MA
Associate Curator, Anne Lambert Clothing & Textiles Collection, October 2022-March 2024

CAD Design
Siming Guo, PhD
Graduate Research Assistant, May-August 2022

This research was funded by the Government of Canada’s Reopening Fund for Heritage Organizations – Museums Assistance Program, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.

Virtual Exhibition