The patterns were made out of tissue paper and folded up into envelopes. I always used to iron mine flat and then lay them on top of the fabric and stick pins through the paper and the fabric to hold it down and then cut along the lines designated for my size. Then you folded the pattern back up and stuffed it, usually only partially successfully, back into the envelope until the next time you wanted to make the same thing.
Excellent care enabled you to use one pattern maybe 3 or 4 times before it disintegrated from folding and unfolding and pin holes.
Cut to today... Now I download the PDF and select that layer that is my size and so am able to ONLY print the size I want which is significant right there. Regular copy paper works but now I'm using a heavier 32lb paper which works way better. Then I tape the pattern pieces that are bigger than 8.5x11 and cut them out.
I lay out the fabric and lay the pattern pieces on top. I anchor them down NOT with pins but with weights (in my case the biggest washers I could find at Home Depot) and I draw around the pattern pieces with a felt pen who's ink disappears the minute it's hit with heat, like an iron. Once the pattern is removed, I cut out the fabric on the lines I made with the magic pen.
So so so much better. Today I made a shirt out of one of the Goodwill sheets. Its base is my regular raglan sleeved tshirt but with a gathered back that I saw at the baseball game the other day. Worked out perfectly! And the pattern was not at all harmed in the process.
Very cool to make clothes like I did when I learned to sew more than 50 years ago but make them so much better and easier and more efficiently using today's tools.