Not only did sewing patterns liberate women from the stress of clothing their families, but they also democratized fashion by enabling people of all classes to buy into trends for the very first time.Written by Chappell Ellison who writes for the Etsy blog, this article gives a historical account of the sewing pattern (commercially drawn patterns on tissue paper housed in an envelope), and how it came into popularity. One thing I learned from the article was that in 1895, about 90% of mens and boys clothing were ready-to-wear (commercially available - already sewn, ready to wear from the hanger, so to speak) but during the same time, womens fashion was still sewn by hand. Also, dolls were made in replication to the latest fashions where women would study them and create their own patterns. I can only imagine that nearly all women during that time had to have advanced draping knowlege from birth.
Fun read. Here is the full article: The Sewing Pattern: Fashion For All