Patterns have only been commercially available since the late 19th century when companies began to produce patterns intended for homemaker use. But the history of patterns stretches far back through the centuries. As apprentices, tailors learned how to take a customer's measurements and draft the pieces that would make up the clothing to be constructed. The patterns a tailor made during his apprenticeship would often stay with him throughout his entire career. Needless to say, patterns were closely-guarded commodities and were not shared for fear of losing business.