About Us:

The Couture Pattern Museum oversees one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of commercial haute couture and high-fashion sewing patterns released by international and American fashion design houses, focusing principally on the golden age of couture (1947 - 1957). We are a privately held teaching museum with a historical dressmaking Atelier located in downtown Santa Barbara, CA. 

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Copyright: Vogue Magazine, Nov. 15, 1957

The "Why" behind our Mission:

Very few haute couture houses kept pattern archives of their significant designs, and many of these once-thriving couture houses are no longer in existence. The last remnants of their history and archives are retained and curated by organizing and digitizing the commercial patterns they released. The pattern publishers generally did not keep the copies, records, or contracts of the patterns they published. The Couture Pattern Museum may be one of the last institutions that holds physical copies of the original patterns. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, and digitize these rare and precious paper patterns, before the fragile tissue paper and its instructions disintegrate.

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Copyright: Vogue Magazine, Nov. 15, 1957

The "Why" Behind our Vision

Very few haute couture houses or pattern publishers kept pattern archives, nor did they keep the copies, records, or contracts of their significant designs. Many of these once-thriving couture houses are no longer in existence and the last remnants of their history and archives are retained and curated by organizing and digitizing the commercial patterns they released. The Couture Pattern Museum may be one of the last institutions that hold physical copies of the original patterns. The mission of the museum is to collect, preserve, and digitize these rare and precious paper patterns, before the fragile tissue paper and its instructions disintegrate.

The Collection & Research

The museum concentrates most of its research, curating, and historical reproduction activities in connection with post-WWII haute couture fashion. The post-war years were described by Christian Dior as "the golden age of couture." This is the period where the couture set the highest standards in fashion, epitomizing the feminine silhouette with an idealized image of elegance and grace through impeccable workmanship. This was also the period when the haute couture commercial paper pattern industry saw its greatest influence, demand, and cultural impact.

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Copyright: Vogue Magazine, Nov. 15, 1957

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Copyright: Vogue Magazine, Nov. 15, 1957

Our Vision:

We are committed to keeping the history of the democratization of couture alive, and to sharing and expanding this story by preserving, recreating, and exhibiting the designer ensembles from authentic and authorized couture sewing patterns as an important part of how couture sewing patterns were made available to professional dressmakers and to home seamstresses. We document how these designs were celebrated and made accessible, and recreated by patrons who otherwise did not have access or the financial means to Parisian haute couture.