1324, "the original proposed to imitation; the archetype; that which is to be copied; an exemplar" [Johnson], from O.Fr. patron,
from M.L. patronus
). Extended sense of "decorative design" first recorded 1582, from earlier sense of a "patron" as a model to be imitated. The difference in form and sense between patron
wasn't firm till 1700s. Meaning "model or design in dressmaking" (especially one of paper) is first recorded 1792, in Jane Austen. Verb phrase pattern after
"take as a model" is from 1878.