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Enlarging Patterns from Vionnet Book

abcameo | Posted in Patterns on

I have a challenging question for anyone who has the Madeleine Vionnet book by Betty Kirke. I’m wondering if you’ve figured out how to convert the small scale patterns into full-size usable versions.

I have the Lutterloh System, and I was thinking, perhaps I could use that to enlarge the book patterns into a full size pattern. Would anyone be able to figure out if this is possible? Would the pattern size in the book be comparable to a Lutterloh pattern size and, if I trace the pattern, how can I figure out where to place the pushpin to scale the pattern up?
Many thanks,


  1. mainestitcher | | #1

    Lutterloh system does not work with anything else. The mini-diagrams from that are specially made and measured to be used in that manner. It won't work to scale up drawings from Vionnet or the tiny diagrams on the back of pattern envelopes.

    I'm not familiar with the book you site. Are there scale drawings of pattern pieces in the book? Is the scale noted someplace? If yes, you could purchace architect's trace paper on a roll at an art supply store, lay it out on a gridded rotary cutting mat, and carefully enlarge the patterns the old-fashioned way, one square at a time. (This assumes the scale is 1/8 th, or some other that would work with the 1" squares on the mat) True the seams, make a muslin, and you're on your way.

    1. abcameo | | #2

      I don't think the scale is noted anywhere in the book. What's most frustrating is that there are no dimensions listed on the patterns. If there were, it would make it fairly easy to diagram and cut.I showed it to my seamstress friend today, and she thought I would be able to use 54-60" fabric and pretty much figure it out by following the shapes and using common sense dimensions (it was one of the easier layouts). Of course, she's a pro. ;-D

  2. mem | | #3

    I have this book and I think Betty has been very mean in not letting us see  scale !! Maybe it had to do withcopyright and we are given enough information to make us curious but not enough to actually make them up. I had wondered if useing a standard arm hole or eck hole measurement and seeing how many squares this used would give a reference and then enble some winging to occurr.

    1. abcameo | | #4

      I totally agree--this is a real tease, especially since she goes into much detail about the styles and the how-to's. She's just got to know this reference book is geared for more than the average reader, but for those with a high interest in fashion pursuing more than a mere biography. I think I may try one simple pattern, at some point soon, and try to guestimate the dimensions.

      1. Teaf5 | | #5

        You might find the answer you need in the archives of the Threads forums.  Last year, there was a very long thread about exactly this topic with several posts from people who had successfully constructed garments from that book.

        One of my suggestions about drafting/enlarging patterns on that thread was to use a roll end of newsprint for the pattern paper.  It's cheap, and you can pin or tape the pieces together to get an idea of relative size. 

        When I'm enlarging anything from a drawing, I make a photocopy of the original onto graph paper or draw a grid on top the diagram, then try several "ballpark" conversion factors like x10inches or x10 cm.  I mark these on the newsprint, cut it out, and get a sense of how big that would be.

         Another method is to pick a fairly obvious measurement, like a waist length or width at the shoulders and compare the diagram measurements to your own; e.g. the diagram may be 4.1 cm from back of the neck to waist, and your own waistlength is 41 cm, so your conversion factor is x10 cm.  Or the diagram shows a shoulder width of 4" (10cm) and your shoulder width is 15" (38cm) so your multiplier is X3.8.

        Although most Americans are more comfortable with feet & inches, conversions are much easier in the metric system, and a good yard stick will have both so that you can convert back to inches when you are finished.



        1. abcameo | | #6

          Thanks for the tip on checking the archives, copying and newsprint. I'll try the ruler/scale/cm idea, but my math is so horrible... The best way for me to go is to put the dimensions in software, like Garment Designer and let them figure it out some of the basics. ;-DI have so many projects I'm working on at the moment for my website/holiday craft fairs, I'm going to push this out, but it is on my To Do List because I really love bias cut garments, and I've got my eye on one of the simplest patterns.It's pretty hilarious funny how, when I read this book, I try to imagine the patterns spatially--tilting my head and putting my arms out while I'm looking at them, but I've heard others are doing the same thing so I don't feel so ridiculous. I'm in awe and envious of designers who can put geometrics to work like this. I'm mainly a knitwear designer, and it's most interesting to read in some of the designer discussions just how many are in mathematics and/or science-related fields.

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