About Dating Vintage Sewing Patterns
The pattern number is only ONE indicator of the date on vintage sewing patterns. You can’t use the number alone because the companies would start over again when they got to a certain level. You must consider the general silhouette of the clothing along with other factors such as hair, price, sizing and envelope style and logo placement you can get pretty close to the issue or copyright date. Please be aware that even if a pattern is dated, it could have been in production for years and could even be a re-release of a previous number.
Style eras often crossed decade lines. For instance it is very difficult to tell a 1938 pattern from a 1941 pattern. The basic style and design elements were the same. The same thing applies for 1959-1961 and again in the 60s and 70's. There is more difference between 1964 and 1967 that there is between 1969 and 1971.
Besides the general look and art work of vintage patterns, the sizing can be a very good indicator. In the beginning of Home Patterns, the bust measurement is often the only measurement given. By the 1940s patterns gave bust and hip measurements but often the waist was not given (due to the fact that the sewist could change that element).
Until 1956 a Size 12 was for a 30 inch bust. In 1956 sizing changed and a Size 12 was for a 32 inch bust. In mid 1967 the standard changed once again and a Size 12 became a 34 inch bust and remains so today. So if you are trying to date something near the year of size change, the size can be a great clue.
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 ...... you don't need to bookmark and keep your internet open just for research anymore.
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. Or print and take with you for reference on buying trips.
HOW to Date Vintage Sewing Patterns PDF