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Dating Vintage Patterns

Tips for determining the date of a vintage pattern.  
Not all of the major companies dated their patterns in the same way.  Some placed the dates on the envelopes, some placed the dates on the instruction sheets & others didn't date the patterns at all.  It is easy to find a printed date on a vintage pattern to determine the date. But what happens if there is no date to be found? 
That can make things a little more difficult.  The manufacturers often re-issued the numbering sequences so simply using the pattern number will be of little value.
Envelope styles - The pattern manufacturers changed the look of their envelopes. Quite often the graphics on the envelope can help in determining the pattern's age. Hollywood patterns often had actresses pictured.  If you know the name of the actress & movie being promoted that is a good indication of the pattern date.

Simplicity's envelope styles changed quite often over the years.  Look  for a particular design feature on the envelope to determine the era of the pattern.

McCall switched to McCall's in 1951.

Vintage pattern magazines or vintage pattern catalogs can be used for comparison.

The original cost of the pattern. One thing to consider is a more elaborate style equaled a higher price.
Some of the procedures that different companies used to date their patterns:

Vintage Advance Patterns:

 

  • Date from the 1930's-1960's
  • No printed dates on the vintage patterns
  • 1930's The Effiel Tower appears in the logo
  • 1940's & 1950's name logo appears near the top of envelope in bold type
  • 1960's name logo moved to the side.  In 1962 the Sew Easy patterns had the name logo on the bottom of envelope
  • Most 1940's & 1950's patterns were unprinted
  • One of the last companies to make unprinted patterns

Vintage Butterick Patterns:

  • Patterns were undated 
  • Starting in the 1920's a Deltor (instruction sheet) was included
  • Envelopes in the 1930's were plain with simple designs
  • Beginning in the late 1940's Butterick started printing their patterns. Moved away from perforated patterns with the holes & notches.
  • During the 1950's logo was placed in the upper left corner with a colored box around it.
  • Early 1960's name logo moved to the left side.  Mid 1960's logo moved back to the top.

Vintage Hollywood Patterns:

  •  Patterns were undated
  • Made from the 1930's to the late 1940's
  • Most of these patterns were unprinted
  • Marketed fashions from movies

Vintage McCall's Patterns:

  • Most from the 1940's to today were dated
  • Dated at various points on the envelopes: Bottom, right side, around top flap
  • Patterns before 1951 were named McCall without the S.  The S was added in 1952.
  • Early 1940's McCall logo was made in a script font on the side
  • During the early 1960's the logo switched sides.  By 1965 a colored logo was added.
  • By the mid 1970's the colored logo bar was removed.

Vintage Mail Order Patterns:

  • Patterns were undated
  • The only way to date these patterns is by the fashion or the postmark on the envelope
  • Available in magazines, newspapers, etc. from 1930's - 1980's
  • Popular brands are Marian Martin, Anne Adams & Laura Wheeler

Vintage Simplicity Patterns:

  • 1960's - Present: Dated on the top back of pattern envelope
  • Pre 1960's - date was moved 2nd page of instruction sheet
  • During the 1940's the font was printed in a script style.
  • Mid 1960's the font was printed in a colored script.
  • Late 1960's logo changed to a block letter font inside a colored box & placed on the top of the envelope.

 

Vintage Vogue Patterns:

  •  1950's & Early 1960's - Most are dated
  • 1980's - All are dated
  • Date is found front bottom left corner or envelope back
  • Easy To Sew began in the early 1950's
  • Late 1940's the Paris Original line was introduced
  • Late 1960's Americana line was introduced