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Lutterloh pattern system

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Show and Tell - Share your treasures' started by Midge, May 26, 2013.

  1. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Here's a nead find I made just before I was off on my trip, while looking for vintage patterns: a Lutterloh pattern book in French. I'm not sure how familiar the name is here - I certainly haven't come across this before, so I thought I'd show it here. I didn't quite know what to expect, but it didn't cost much. What arrived was a neat little book with 361 illustrations and photos for sewing patterns, ca. 1960 I guess. There's everything there - evening wear, bridal, daywear, underwear, loungewear...

    lutterloh6.jpg lutterloh5.jpg lutterloh4.jpg lutterloh3.jpg lutterloh2.jpg

    The patterns are printed in miniaturised form in the back and need to be copied into actual size:

    As I've since found out, this system has been around since the 1930s when it was invented in Germany as "Das Weltmass" (the universal measure) and then renamed "Der Goldene Schnitt" (The Golden Rule or La Coupe d'Or in French). The key to the whole thing is the special measuring tape and ruler. You measure your bust and your hips, and then translate that to the pattern when you copy it with the ruler - here's the page from the book showing this:

    This will supposedly create the best possible fit in a pattern - well, depending on bodyshape I guess it will still take some adjusting! But it's a neat concept for anyone who's proportions translate into different sizes in tops and bottoms...

    The system actually still exists. Nowadays you buy a basic kit with a pattern book, the tape measure/ruler without which you can't work it, and a DVD, and then you can buy extra pattern magazines, or subscribe to them (and of course you only get the special tape measure/ruler with this fairly costly kit! :)). This seems to be more or less how this worked decades ago as well - this book contains 361 patterns, mostly for women, but some kids and men's patterns too, and it advertises the appearance of quarterly magazines with seasonal patterns. It was made for experienced sewers though - the actual patterns have no instructions, there are just general instructions on techniques etc. at the beginning of the book.

    I'm not going to buy the modern base kit just for the ruler, but I've found a vintage one on ebay for not too much money and hope to get it soon - I want to test how this works some time!

  2. sewingmachinegirl

    sewingmachinegirl Trade Member

    Hi Karin- that original pattern book is worth money, I saw one listed on etsy last year for around$120.00.
    I have a early 1960s version of the book, but not the tape measure! Can you share with me where you found the reproduction tape measure pretty please?

    Gayle x
  3. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Looks like I've made a good buy then... :) found it on a Swiss auction site that is a lot more interesting than ebay Switzerland when it comes to all sorts of things people find in their attics. It is a bit of an online flea-market. I paid $ 30, and it's in pretty good shape. I occasionally find old patterns, fashion magazines or mailorder catalogs there, and prices are usually ok. There's a German seller on ebay who has quite a bit of Lutterloh stuff, I found the tape measure there, but it's a vintage one, not a repro. I've seen a few more vintage base kits too, that still cost less than buying the modern base kit.

  4. sewingmachinegirl

    sewingmachinegirl Trade Member

    Karin, can you please send me a link via convo for the German seller if you get a chance ?
    Cheers, G x
  5. nimnim90

    nimnim90 Registered Guest

    Love it......now that is a gem!
  6. TangerineBoutique

    TangerineBoutique Trade Member

  7. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    So the tape measure and special ruler have arrived - plus a paper copy of the thingy that's supposed to help you draw curves (it's not mentioned in my book, but it's part of the system nowadays - according to a photo copy enclosed by the seller, they used to provide a drawing of this that you had to enlarge and cut yourself - so at least I don't have to do that!). The most vital accessory to the whole thing really is that plastic ruler that you could tack to any tape mesaure at 8 centimeters - the only condition is that you need a centimeter-tape measure :).

    So if you're interested in their vintage patterns, they are out there on ebay mostly from what I've seen now, the extension magazines or single patterns more than the books. There are the high-priced ones from seller who know what they're doing, but I've seen a few vintage things at a low starting price too. And don't buy a modern starter set just to get your hands on the ruler - unless you want the actual modern patterns too (but even a modern or 80s kit might be less on ebay than buying it from Lutterloh) - look out for a vintage ruler, they are out there, and it costs less in the end. Though considering what that bit of plastic and a tape measure are worth per se - it's still enough - but that's the way the cookie crumbles...

  8. claireshaeffer

    claireshaeffer Trade Member

    Karin, I think this is a jewel for developing vintage patterns, but I don't like the system.

    The finished designs look basic patterns with some design details. They don't have fashion silhouettes.

    In the US the stystem was sold at "free" seminars where you could buy the books, rulers, paper, etc. I think they were updated quarterly, but maybe more frequently.
  9. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    Well, the modern patterns don't look very exiciting, that's what I thought too (and the XL patterns are even worse - sorry, even when you wear a big size you look better if you don't dress just in sack-shapes...). They have something like quarterly updates you can subscribe to. These "extensions" are also more frequently available on ebay when you look for vintage Lutterloh stuff, than the books. The problem is also that they claim that the pattern, once you've drawn it, will exactly fit your figure, but that's relative - it takes your bust and hip measurments, and you enlarge it according to that - but that's only two points of measuring, so you might still have to make adjustments. That's what I read in a lot of placse and I can just imagine it being that way. I also read some critical comments as to how some people thought they were pretty much talked into buying the system in one of those "free" seminars. I definitely don't like the sound of that - I'd be the first person not to buy it just because someone was trying so hard to sell it to me. I don't react well to these kinds of sales tactics :). I'll just enjoy the book I have here and will be giving one of the more simple patterns a try because I'm curious. I have the figure that sometimes needs the top in one size and the bottom one size bigger, so I'll be interested to see how it works out.​

  10. Loveallthings50's

    Loveallthings50's Registered Guest

    Karin I went and did a day class with a Lutterloh representative and it all makes sense once you have made a couple of patterns for yourself. I bought the modern system (was not pressured in any way) and like as much as having the modern system is good would love to have the vintage patterns as well. The system now comes with 2 plastic curved rulers that are designed to go with the lutterloh patterns will help you draw the pattern and it does allow you to make it to fit properly. They are available on the lutterloh website that caters for you area. Remember when you are drawing the pattern you need to mark your seam allowance on the material or otherwise it wont fit you. I have since bought a very early supplement No 10 which is very early 40s which is 10.5cm x 14.5cm the 1980 supplement book I bought is 15cm x 21cm the same as todays books so I am curious this hardbound book you have what measurement would it be and is it significantly different. I look forward to your reply...
  11. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    The book is pretty small - it measures just 21 x 14.5 cm, so that would be about the same as your 80s supplement book. There's 2 patterns on each page. I see the systematics though - in the 40s it was only half as long, so that would mean just one pattern per page I guess?
    Seam allowances are second nature to me - I learned sewing with Burda patterns :). Patterns that include an allowance still feel a little unusual to me. Haven't got round to trying a Lutterloh pattern out yet, Ive been so caught up with knitting and today I took a chance with the sunlight to reshoot all the clothing in my Etsy shop in daylight instead of my horrible flash photos.

  12. Stitchintime

    Stitchintime Registered Guest

    Hi, just came across this and so glad I did. I have this same 1960s Lutterloh pattern book too, but it's in German. For the price I paid, I thought I could also get the curve ruler and the measuring tape. Unfortunately, after I purchased the book at US$175, the seller told me she lost both the ruler/tape and instead sent me a pdf copy. I was really disappointed. So be warned...make sure that when you do buy them, ask for the original. Unless you do not mind. I didn't want to return mine because I loved the pattern and yes, I did enlarge the pdfs but was such a hassle. I had to copy that tape over and over until the numbers 0/1/2/3/4/5/6/7-8 matched my measuring tape, before I cut it out and laminated it, so I could match the beginning numbers to my 'cm' side of the tape. I used my French curve for drawing curve lines. I've made 2 dresses from the patterns and they fit my customer really well. :)
  13. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Interesting thread: I missed this when it came out.

    I haven't seen this particular system but it's similar I think to how I learned costume construction - we used a book called the Evolution of Fashion by Hill and Bucknell (I still have it, it was very big and expensive) and it includes similar small drawings of the pattern pieces. You drafted them up in the size you needed. Conveniently, I was exactly the same size so didn't need to alter for sizing at all. I didn't use any special rulers or curves, although the curve would come in handy. I used a large table grid and drew it up on brown paper. It was easy and straight forward.

    When I studied pattern grading we learnt how to create a series of blocks to fit our figure, for all the different garments and shapes. Pattern grading is so useful if you want to sew.

    I still use the Hill and Bucknell for drafting patterns, even modern clothes, and find it much easier than using modern patterns, which are so confusing with all their different lines for sizes.
  14. Midge

    Midge Trade Member

    @Stitchintime that is disappointing that the seller lost (or whatever) the tape-measure and ruler. I haven't gotten round to trying a pattern out yet, but I have caught up on a few other sewing projects this summer, so maybe I'll tackle this next.

    @Circa Vintage Nicole, that is interesting! Lutterloh's system was also copied, though in a slightly different way - or other companies simply invented their own version, who knows. I found one of those earlier this year. It is called Ergon and was published in Vienna. They have cardboard rulers that you cut out, and they are graded for size, so you cut that one out that you need based on your measurements, instead of using the numbers as in Lutterloh. It has good basic 50s patterns for any occasion, for women, kids and men and it's called a "pattern drawing help for home or commecial use".



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