CoPA On-Line Help and FAQ


Logging In

Login button is at the top right.

Sign in with your username and password. If you don’t have these, download the Access Form and send to

Note: If you get no record information or images from a search, you may need to upgrade your Internet browser such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome.

Select by Pattern Number

To search for a specific pattern, type in the pattern number and select the Pattern Company from the menu box. You can either scroll down the list or type in the beginning letters of the company name. Click on the Search button. To see the full record of the pattern click on Archive#.

Complete Search

Select choices from any or all of the options: Year, Garment, Occasion, Needlework, Gender, Age, Keyword, Pattern Company and Collection. Note: Patterns held by URI are the default choices, to change the collection click on the desired collection.

To Select choices from any or all of the options:

  1. Key in the year or word wanted or scroll through each search field.
  2. To search a range, such as 1940-1945, type 1940 and hold down the SHIFT key to scroll to 1945.
  3. To search multiple of 2 or more non-consecutive options select one choice and hold down the CONTROL key and select next choice(s).
  4. Click on the SEARCH button to display the results

Note: don't pause while typing; the computer thinks it is a space before beginning the next word.

Search Results Page

The initials of the Archive Number designate the pattern collection holder. For Example: BWS is the Betty Williams Collection, URI is the University of Rhode Island Collection.

  1. The result Page displays the patterns in style number sequence.
  2. To Find a specific number type Control+F and type desired number or text and Enter.
  3. Click on the pattern image to view the pattern schematic and get more details about the pattern.
  4. To PRINT click PRINT THIS PAGE button at the upper left.
  5. To view or print enlarged fashion or schematic image, Click on each image.
  6. To return to browsing the Results Page, Click the back arrow on the top left of the screen or click the Search on the tool bar to set new criteria.

For Larger view of the Pattern Images:
  1. Left click on the image to see the larger view.
  2. To PRINT click PRINT THIS PAGE button at the upper left.
  3. For new search criteria, select Search; to return to the original search criteria click the Back Arrow at the upper left of the screen.

TIP: to move to the search page quickly, Use END on the keyboard.

Please note: The images & metadata may only be used for private research and study purposes. Images may be printed for class work or personal reference but may not be reproduced for other purposes.



Why are some images missing?

Four collections, Betty Williams, Fashion Institute of Technology, Joy Emery, and University of Rhode Island have the most scanned images. Other collections, such as Kevil L. Seligman, have some images. Collections with images are identified with (image) after the name of the collection. There are several Collections in the database; the most extensive are Betty Williams through 1959 and the University of Rhode Island though 2006.

Caveat: Many of the 19th C patterns do not include pattern diagrams or small-scale pieces with the pattern, those that do have been scanned. If there are no pattern images available, you will see “No Image Available". Please note the small-scale pattern pieces are taken from the information on the envelope or from the instruction sheet. The companies did not include any information on the scale used. The best way to use the small-scale diagram is to measure it to enlarge it out or use the information for draping the pattern in the desired full-scale on a dress form. Instructions to scale a sewing pattern, click here. The small-scale pattern pieces are taken from the information on the envelope or from the instruction sheet.

How are the patterns dated?

For the most part, pattern companies did not date the patterns although some pattern companies put copyright dates on the envelope. We have compiled a comprehensive pattern dating resource so the patterns in the database are accurately dated as to when they were first issued for sale. Pattern-dating information for more than thirty pattern companies has been compiled, using the first appearance of the pattern in periodicals, catalogs, and/or flyers.

Factors required to date a pattern include the pattern number, the logo style and the price of the pattern. Pattern companies used number series to identify a specific pattern style. The number series generally runs from 1000 through 9999 and then the series begins again. There are several variations on the numbering scheme and some companies such as Vogue ran several series at the same time.

The company logo on the envelope changed as the stylistic trends changed. The font, type style and overall design of the pattern envelope and the price of the patterns are important components for establishing the when the pattern was issued.

How can I date patterns in my collection?

To find the pattern date, login on the Search page, enter the pattern number and pattern company in the appropriate fields. The report will display the pattern(s) with the number, if the pattern is in the database. Remember the companies reissued numbers so it is important to pay attention to the garment style, pattern price and envelope style and logo.

If the specific pattern you are searching for isn’t in the database you can do a complete search by pattern company and year to locate the appropriate number series. Remember to compare price.

Does CoPA have the full-scale patterns?

No. The images include the front of the pattern envelope and the small-scale pattern schematic, when available. The images of the garment design and pattern schematic can be enlarged or draped to recreate the garment.

Instructions for changing the pattern size can be found at:

Can I Print the pattern schematic?

Yes. Click on the fashion image to view the schematic. Select Print This Page button to print the page. To print the schematic only, click on it then on the print button.

Can I visit the Pattern Archive?

Yes, we are open to researchers by appointment Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. The Commercial Pattern Archive is located in Distinctive Collections in the University of Rhode Island Library.

To schedule an appointment, please contact Joy Emery by e-mail at or by telephone at (401)-874-2713 or 401-874-463.

For directions and parking information, please visit the University Web Site.

Do you have publications from US and international pattern companies?

We have a large number of catalogs, counter catalogs, monthly fashion periodicals, journals and fashion forecasts etc. put out by various pattern companies and fashion journals. These might range from individual publications to bound books of annual periodicals. However, we do not have complete runs of periodicals for any single commercial pattern company.

We welcome any additional donations however!

Can I look up individual periodicals or magazine issues in the archive database?

All print material in the Distinctive Collections is catalogued in the URI Library Catalog

Do you take pattern donations?

Yes. We are especially looking for patterns prior to the 1970s. We have an extensive collection so if there are duplicates of patterns we already have; we offer them to students or to vintage pattern dealers. Any proceeds from the patterns go directly to the RI Foundation to help support the archive and pay students for processing. If that is acceptable to you, we would love to add your collection to the Archive. Related fashion periodicals, journals and catalogs are also welcome.

Patterns can be shipped to the address below. Please include a letter with your name, address and name of the donor you would like acknowledged in the database so we can send a formal acknowledgement of the donation.

Joy Emery
Curator, Commercial Pattern Archive
University of Rhode Island Library
Special Collections
15 Lippitt Rd.
Kingston RI, 02881

We also need financial donations to pay for students to manage the patterns. Donations to support the Commercial Pattern Archives should be made payable to the Joy Spanabel Emery Endowment Fund, Rhode Island Foundation. From that page, people can contribute to the fund by credit card. Additionally, there are instructions for sending a check. Click here to contribute.

Are the patterns available for loan or exhibit?

Arrangements can be made for pattern loans for exhibitions. Patterns in the Archive are not available for other loans; however they are available to researchers in the Archive and can be traced. You need to bring your own tracing paper.