Ebenezer Butterick (29 May 1826 – 31 March 1903) was an American tailor, inventor, manufacturer, and fashion business executive, born in Sterling, Massachusetts.
Regarded as the inventor, together with his wife Ellen Augusta Pollard Butterick, of tissue paper dress patterns offered in multiple standard sizes, also known as graded sewing patterns, which the couple began selling in 1863. The product revolutionized home sewing.
The premise of graded sewing patterns reportedly came from Mrs. Butterick's frustration with contemporary sewing patterns offered in only one size (frequently a different size for each pattern). Unless the intended wearer happened to match the size of the pattern, this necessitated manual resizing of the pieces (using paper, or directly on the fabric with wax chalk) before sewing could commence - a laborious and frustrating process. Offering each design in a graded series of standard-sized patterns would eliminate the need for such extensive pre-work. As a bespoke tailor, Mr Butterick was familiar with drafting custom patterns to fit different individuals, as well as the process of grading a "stock" pattern to a custom size. He began work on the templates, ultimately settling for the same thin tissue paper used by several pattern firms of the era for the patterns themselves, which had the advantages that it was thin enough to cut several dozen layers simultaneously (facilitating mass production) and could be easily folded and shipped across the country.