The easiest is when the maker has put the date on the envelope or on the instruction sheet. Look along the edge on the back of the envelope, or sometimes on the flap. Simplicity patterns were dated in the s and into the 50s, on the instruction sheet. Look at the bottom corners to find the dates. Simplicity stopped putting dates on most patterns in the early 50s, but in the mid s they began printing it on the envelope back.
Vogue patterns were rarely dated, and until the late s, Butterick patterns were never dated.
Most mail order patterns were not dated, though you could get lucky and find one in the original mailing envelope with a postmarked date. The other smaller companies did not put dates on their patterns. And be careful, because sometimes an older pattern will have a copyright date that is not for the design, but for a feature like the method of construction. Another way to date a pattern is by using the number of the pattern. There is a book series, Blueprints of Fashion by Wade Laboissonniere, that attempts to make sense of all the different numbering systems.
Sometimes the only way to determine the age of a pattern is from the styling of the illustration. The hairstyle, the garment style and length, even the printing fonts used can be hints as to the era of a pattern.
source site This is when knowing a bit about fashion eras can be valuable. Some people buy vintage patterns simply because they love the beautiful designs, but many people actually use their patterns to make clothing. In order to make your pattern last longer and to preserve your investment, you might want to make a copy of the pattern. Instead of using the actual pattern to cut out the pieces, use the copy, saving wear and tear on the more fragile original. I bought a bolt of interfacing fabric that I trace my pieces onto. You can find vintage patterns almost anywhere you would be shopping for used items.
This includes every venue from yard sales to antique shows. Yard sales and estate sales are excellent sources of vintage patterns. I went to a yard sale recently where an elderly lady was selling her lifetime collection of patterns. She was able to tell me what fabrics she used for each one, and if the dress was made for a special occasion, what it was. A hint when buying at yard sales and estate sales: Often the pieces were not returned to the correct envelope, but if you have all the patterns, you may be able to locate any pieces that are missing from each envelope.
Thrift stores may be another good source of vintage patterns, however, some thrifts do not see the value of them and will throw them away. You must educate your thrift workers! Ask them to save any patterns they get instead of dumping them. A thrift store near me refuses to sell patterns, but they are smart.
Flea markets are great sources for patterns. They may have a big box at home, or better still, under the table. Again, be prepared to educate. Many flea dealers do not know there is a market for vintage patterns. Just a few months ago I was told by a dealer that she just threw away a big cabinet full of old patterns. Antique malls and shops and vintage clothing stores are also great sources for vintage patterns.
Amazingly, patterns in these shops are usually very reasonably priced — often just a few dollars. Today, one of the best places to find vintage patterns is online, especially if you are searching for a specific pattern. There is a vintage pattern category on eBay, but there are also quite a few small websites devoted to the selling of vintage patterns. In buying from these sites you are dealing with someone who knows patterns and who can give you good advice about any pattern you are considering.
You can also be assured the pattern is complete, or that it is as the seller describes it.
Whether you buy vintage patterns to sew with or just to admire their beauty, if you are a fashion lover, it is likely you will find them to be as fascinating as I do! All images in this article courtesy Lizzie Bramlett of Fuzzylizzie. Vintage patterns are a great and inexpensive way to have your own little catalogue of fashion.
Fabulous idea to make copies of the patterns — keep the original to admire! Everything old is new again! If you want to have a completely original and unique look while being on the cutting edge of fashion, vintage patterns are the only way to go! You will be on cloud nine! I live on the east coast of NSW Australia.
I really Enjoyed the knowledge encased! I sell Patterns online, and it is always neat to find such great information, Thank you! I have many vintage patterns, many of which are for wedding dresses. My grandmother was a wonderful seamstress in her day and sewed for everyone in the neighborhood. I have a large collection of sewing patterns from the mid to late sixties up to the mid nineties. My mother, whom passed a little over seven years ago, was an excellent seamstress.
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After several years selling and handling old sewing patterns and catalogs, I have compiled this list of dates and pattern numbers. Since most patterns are not printed with the copyright information on them this list is computed using information from magazines, pattern books and other published sources. The best I can do most of the time is assume that if a pattern is published in a catalog that is it's date of release.
There are of course crossovers and some patterns are rereleased. So there is definitely room for error in my calculations. Now you can own this information I have transferred all of the information formerly found on these 9 pages to a PDF file so you can have them to explore at your leisure.