Mme Demorest’s Illustrated Portfolio of the Fashions for 1880

Last weekend a dear friend, Jenny, gave me an incredible gift – a complete pattern catalog from 1880.  I’ve been studying it with great interest and costume lust, careful to keep the drool from dripping on the fragile pages, and now, of course, I am enamored with 1880 and want to make about 16 of the pieces shown in the catalog.

I’ve decided to digitize the whole thing for you, wrapped up into a lovely PDF, but I’ve never done this before, so while I sort the whole thing out, here are a few choice pages:

I’m still working on cleaning up, cropping, and correcting the images.  The original catalog is approx. 14″ x 10″, with *tiny* print, barely readable on the original.  I’m afraid the descriptions of the images, in both French and English, may not survive digitizing, but the pictures, at least, are lovely and telling.  This was, like, the Vogue pattern catalog of 1880!


  • Iron Chef Kosher!

    June 6, 2013 at 8:43 PM

    Don't "kill" yourself just for us! The pictures are lovely enough – that's generosity enough for me!

  • Vincent Briggs

    June 7, 2013 at 3:06 AM

    These are amazing! What a fantastic gift.

    I posted some old family pictures today, which I think are from around the same time, and I though they were great. But as far as construction details go, they're nothing compared to this.

  • Beky

    June 7, 2013 at 8:38 AM

    Thank you for reproducing some of the pages. Make sure you put the catalog in an archival folder of some kind. Recommend you hold the catalog with archival gloves on.

  • Unknown

    April 20, 2019 at 6:29 AM

    I just stumbled upon your blog by accident and am enjoying looking at the beautiful clothes and shoes you create. I was actually just trying to look up the meaning of "Demorest's Folio" and thanks to you I found it. I'm reading through my great grandmother's letters from the late 1800's and in one from 1885, her cousin (who'd moved from Boston to Salt Lake) wrote asking if my great grandma would please send her the "Spring & Summer Demorest's Port-Folio". In addition to being a school teacher, she was also an accomplished seamstress and presumably couldn't find Demorest's in Utah. Now I not only understand the letter better but have also discovered there are people out there with the passion and talent to re-create the gorgeous fashions of the past. Thank you!


Leave a Reply