Vintage Sewing

What’s Vintage?

April 13, 2010

Out of curiosity, what do you guys consider vintage? Is there a set date or number of years that makes something vintage? I admire and dream of making garments from almost every era from the 20’s on up.

The reason I ask is I just made a sundress from a pattern dated 1981. I know you guys are so sweet you would probably like to see it… but was wondering if this was still considered vintage?

Thanks for the input!


  1. the way i always understood it was…
    Retro – within your life time, i was born in the late 80s so anything from around or after that is retro and before that is vintage.

  2. The term fluctuates. It can be 20-25 years from current date. Stuff that old is generally considered 'vintage'.

    Then there is 'antique', which can be 50-90 years from current date, though, I prefer to call my antique 90+

  3. I had the same question when I made my Frank Lloyd Wright border print dress from an 80's pattern. I contacted Anna, the Sew Retro admin, and she said the 1980's were fine for this site. I don't think the 80's have quite reached "vintage" teritory, but this site and the Vintage Patterns Wiki both allow the 80's, so maybe I'm just showing my age. 🙂

  4. Like NVL said, it is usually considered to be 20-25 years, but I still consider stuff from the 70s up to be retro, not vintage.

  5. NVL hit the nail on the head. 20-25 years for vintage; 90+ years for antique.

    Please post your dress. You're right, we would love to see it.

  6. It's hard to think of the 70's and early 80's as vintage, but they are. Just doesn't fit the picture in my head.

    Retro is within the last 25yrs, Vintage is 25-90 yrs old, and antique before that. So, every year it changes.

    Post away!

  7. As Jenny said we allow anything from tne 80's backwards on this site. As I was a child in the 70's and 80's I just can't really consider them vintage personally but for younger members and readers the 80's may be before their time and therefore vintage to them!

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