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Commercial patterns are full-scale tissue paper clothing patterns used by the home-sewer to create garments and accessories issued in the States as early as 1854. Originally full-scale patterns were included as supplements in fashion periodicals such as Frank Leslie's Illustrated Magazine and sold through by mail order.

Commercial patterns are designed to be a disposable tool of the garment creation process, which makes them difficult to preserve. The CoPA project electronically captures and records commercial pattern data in order to preserve these scattered and vanishing records of European and American culture. The Archive is an official project of Save America's Treasures. read more