Dresses | Vintage Sewing

vintage dress date?

September 8, 2012
vintage dress label


vintage dress
vintage dress

On a recent trip to Raleigh, North Carolina I visited Shabby Lane Antiques, and spent hours investigating (and purchasing!) items from buttons, to pins & bangles, to my first vintage dress.  Wonderful experience — couldn’t believe down South prices — can’t wait to get back!

Here’s my question:  What era do y’all (Southern for “you all”) think the dress is from?  1980s?

Style is slightly A-line, buttons down the front, is belted under the bust (belt was missing; chiffon substituted), has inseam pockets, and is ankle length.  Dress has a 4” hand-sewn hem; lining has 3.5” hand-sewn hem; dress is definitely RTW due to seam finishings, label, etc.

vintage dress label
vintage dress label

Many thanks in advance!

Details on me blog!

    1. Dear Jayne, can’t say how much I appreciate your references! I’d done some searching several months ago, but didn’t come up with anything close to your yummy finds. Thank you!

  1. Did it have a washing instructions tab? If it did, it’s 60s or later. That’s usually where I start in dating a piece. Of course, they can be cut out or other wise lost. Also, if it has a size listed, the more it lines up with modern sizes, the newer it is. (i.e. if you are a modern 6 and the dress is a 14 and fits you, it’s old. If it’s a 6 or 8 and fits you, it’s much newer.)

    1. Dear Stephanie, there’s not another label anywhere on the garment… just turned it inside out looking! No size, no washing instructions, but it washes nicely.

      Thinking about fabric content, lining is probably 100% cotton, but there are tiny fabric pills in a few places, which makes me think maybe the blue sheer is an early cotton poly. Didn’t they sometimes pill?

      1. Had another thought after that extended examination: Maybe this was a bridesmaid dress that later got shortened for less formal wear & more frequent… just a thought. Thanks for your comment, Stephanie!

  2. I would agree that it looks early to mid-’70s. The flounced shawl collar combined with a button-front long skirt both speak to that era. There was a definite ’30s revival in the ’70s, but as with all revivals they combined the elements in a different way than the originals.

    It was often rather difficult in that era to find fabrics that DIDN’T have polyester in them, so yeah, you’re probably right about the content!

  3. Very interesting, Jessamyn – thank you so much for your comments! Lived through the 70s but really don’t remember them – too much life going on at the time. Am intrigued that 70s reused a lot of 30s styles, as that’s my most favorite era!

      1. Thank you, Jessamyn, for such a bonus – I really appreciate this!
        Was just at the library yesterday looking at 1930s things, and saw they had a lot of 1970s books. Will have to pick them up, and compare!

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