Vintage Sewing

Pattern Dating Help

May 19, 2010

Hi everyone!

I recently bought this pattern on its etsy:

It was a bargain for $5. The seller dated it at 1940s, but I am wondering if it is earlier? It kind of reminds me of some 1930s patterns I’ve seen. So, I’m appealing to you pattern dating experts – when do you think it is from?

Come and visit me at my blog if you’ve got a spare minute – I’ve broken my right (and dominant) wrist – the scaphoid – and I’m compensating for no sewing with some pattern collecting.

  1. The wide shoulders and hemline on the knee to me say either very late 30s or early 40s. The 40s had higher hemlines than the 30s.

  2. There's very little difference between very late 30s and early 40s patterns – the war years weren't a time for innovations in fashion, so the styles of the late 30s carried over well into the 40s. From the hairstyle and the broad-shouldered body shape I'd put this one as early-to-mid 40s. It's definitely pre New Look.

    A bargain either way, though!

    xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny

  3. Gathered cap sleeves and the longer skirt (shown here) went out with the war; I would date the pattern around 1939-41.

  4. I agree with Peter 39-41. It is hard to date the mail order patterns (which is what that is). There isn't a post mark on the mailing envelope or a zip code and you don't have the pattern dating tricks that you can use on the evelopes from the major sewing pattern companies (like Simplicity, etc.). You have to go on fashion/style. Nice pattern!

  5. Agree: 1939-41. You have to look at the sleeve design, the shape and fullness of the skirt, and the skirt length. By 1943 or so, skirts were shorter and generally less full for daywear.


  6. Wow, thanks everyone! That is very interesting about the cap sleeves and length of skirt. I am going to do some reading around this.

    I haven't actually received the pattern yet (it is enroute from the US to Australia), so if there is any more info on it when I get it, I'll be sure to let you know!


  7. It looks like Marion Martin pattern, more early 40's with the sleeve although the shirring in the front bodice is late 30's, so I'm betting the guesses on this thread are right on. I have a lot of patterns in this era–once you get further into the 40's into wartime, the style becomes less frilly, more utilitarian, more businesslike, almost. Narrow shirt dresses, little to no shirring, no puff or gathered short sleeve; just straight, very simple. Mid-thirties were great for huge, puffy sleeves, especially shorter sleeves–you see them begin to shrink in the latter part of the decade when the line across the shoulders starts to broaden. Anyway. I love this particular era, good score! I hope you have fun making it up.

  8. I take it back about Marion Martin. This pattern looks like Anne Adams. If you find a wax envelope in your pattern, those patterns came in that. Have fun!

  9. Yep…i would say 1939-41, pre war. It takes a lot of fabric to make all those gores. It sure is cute! Hope your wrist heals quickly!

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