Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How does the Luttterloh system work

Most of you reading this blog are 
deciding if Lutterloh is all it promises 
You just bought the Lutterloh system 
and have no idea what to do first...

I didn't buy my first Lutterloh book at a sewing store class, or 
see a demo at the big sewing expo.  
No, I saw something on e-bay that was old and beautiful and interesting.
 I bid on it and won a book with several stacks of cards from 1940.
My knowledge of Lutterloh patterns has all been trial and error.
This learning is what I pass along to you... a journey I have taken
and added Ann, a fellow Lutterloh sewer, in.
  A pattern making, sewing journey. 

Lutterloh patterns started in West Germany in 1935.
Maria Aloisa Lutterloh started the business and
collected her fashions 
from several European fashion houses. 

The patterns were designed using the popular math formula
'The Golden ratio'

The idea of the body's shape being in balance
is a true principle
of mathematical balance.

Leonardo Di Vince used the Golden ratio
so do I when designing weaving patterns.

How does it work?
A pattern is made using an apportioning scale
H=full length of body
1/2 H=upper part of body
1/4 H=length of leg from ankle to knee
  from chin to navel
1/6 H=length of foot
1/8 H=length of head crown to chin bottom
1/10 H=face height and hand length
1/12=width of face

This is just a small sample of an apportioning scale

When you make a Lutterloh pattern 
with your tape and pin stuck in the hole

for the size of your bust
and then your hip you are using the system as a 
Graded system
meaning the pattern is enlarged in set amounts from
one size pattern to the next. 
The US pattern companies use this system.

They make a base pattern 
(much smaller than I am)
and grade it (make it larger in set portions)
until it is my size....

I had four daughters (yes one son) to sew for 
and we needed different size patterns for each. 
I could buy a pattern for each girl
or I could do my own pattern grading, which I did!  
Go crazy grading or spend too much money buying patterns.
(now there are multi-sizes in an envelope)
That still doesn't always work

 Brides maid dresses for my daughters wedding
took this many multi-size patterns to get 
all the girls a correct size! 
 Often you must use muli-pattern lines for larger hips 
or smaller bust and suddenly 
it's not a multi-size pattern.

If only I'd had a Lutterloh pattern book back then!  

Here are pj tops for a daughter and
her two children. 
Made in one hour with one pattern!

The Clear Truth of the Matter

If I buy a pattern or draft my own pattern
or make a much faster Lutterloh pattern
I get the same results.


Each system doesn't fit my body without help.

They never have whether I was skinny or round as I am now.
 The people I sew for have the same issue.
You can assume most everyone doesn't fit every pattern right off.

With that in mind I offer the idea that
  some skill in fitting will make the difference.
You just need to figure out your own shape and how it differs from
the patterns you like.....
then learn to adjust for those few issues.
For me it's a bust adjustment, a shoulder, and a length adjustment. 

The biggest problem I see when people try to fit
patterns on themselves is they do too much
Fitting is most successful when
you make small changes and only do one change at a time.  
Most people do too much.


  1. This is good information. I just heard about the lutterloh system and I am dying to try it! It sounds easy and I would love to make fewer adjustments. I know any pattern will need a few adjustments, but that's better than all the adjustments I make now. Again, thanks for your review.

  2. (Sorry to post as "Anonymous" -- I couldn't use the other choices this time, but I'll try to fix that in future comments!) I'm very happy that I just found your site! I attended a Lutterloh demo class at least 10 years ago and really was impressed. I already had their 2 curved rulers from a thrift store, so after the demo class I bought a couple of their basic books to get me started. I liked the method better than the old way I'd always made patterns before, and it was easy to modify the basic shapes to make just about anything I wanted. I've found it to be a really good, easy system, but I've been away from sewing for several years, so I've forgotten much of what I learned in the class. Now I'm ready to start again, so I hope to watch the demo video again and then get some pointers from your very interesting site to get me going again. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge. kt

  3. Kt,
    You've come to the right place! We love that you are getting another start on this pattern making system. It's fun too. I love looking at my pattern books marking pages of clothes I want to make. Be strict and make your vest until it fits your perfect and read some of our postings on how to take that vest and fit all the patterns.


  4. I too have brought the system and the pattern making part seems to be easy to grasp- the difficulty I am having is the sewing as I am a beginner! It doesn't really help the beginner understand what to do with the sewing part - has anyone got any ideas??

  5. Mickey,
    If you look on the right sidebar of this blog you will find links to other blog posts and sewing sites that can be a great help to the beginning seamstress. If all else fails I refer to a good basic sewing book like Readers Digest Complete Guide to Sewing or Vogue Sewing.

  6. I agree wih Ann regarding online lessons. There's a whole series of begginer sewing classes on YouTube called 'FD 50 - Basic Apparel Construction' that take you from sewing tools right though to tailoring.

  7. Sorry Ines, you will need to post your comment in English please. When I tried to use a translating program your comment did not make sense.

  8. Hello there, and thanks for all this. It is very useful information. I have a silly question, forgive me: how do you measure the bust for the Lutterloh system? I've read somewhere that it's not the bust circumference as in commercial patterns, but that you need to place your tape measure higher on your back. Is this correct? Thanks for your help.

  9. Hello Mel,
    If you look at our right side bar under the heading "Lutterloh web sites you should check out" there are links to Lutterloh sites in a few different languages. On those sites there should be videos that will demonstrate exactly where to measure for your Lutterloh system.

  10. I saw the system demonstrated and got a few of the supplies and didn't have a chance to try it out. Now I'm older and am having some physical problems. Does anyone know of anyone in Omaha, NE who does this type of sewing or how to go about finding someone?