Business: Patterns

No one knows whether it was Ebenezer Butterick or his smart wife Ellen who invented the standardized paper pattern for clothes. Plodding, methodical Ebenezer, seventh son of a Sterling, Mass, carpenter, sat down in his tailor shop in June 1863 and snipped out of 'stiff paper the first commercial shirt patterns. They sold like hotcakes. But when the Buttericks moved to Fitchburg it was ambitious Ellen who got Ebenezer to double his market by making patterns for children's clothes. Because Giuseppe Garibaldi was then a world hero,...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!