Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Dating vintage patterns – an answer for Catherine…

It can be hard to date patterns sometimes because they never do helpful things like put dates on!

Some patterns are obvious (style-wise) like the 40's one in my last post, but some early 60's can look like 50's, late 60's look like 70's etc. etc. For example, is my new Vogue 8187 late 40’s or early 50’s?

You can google the pattern number but companies have a tendency to use 1000 to 9999 then ‘recycle’ the numbers. This is also Vogue 8187:

!BmErFn!BGk~$(KGrHqEOKjsEtkNg6,g8BLeRj5)01w~~_12 Nope, that ain’t my pattern…

So what can you do? You can look at a lot of pictures of vintage clothing to find something that is similar and make an educated guess (hairstyles can be a big clue) or you can search for your pattern number in places like Sew Retro, So Vintage Patterns or the Vintage Pattern Lending Library. These will give you an era, or sometimes an exact date, if they have the pattern.

Your best bet for an exact date is the Commercial Pattern Archive, which is huge, but you have to pay for it at $40 for three months. It’s an awesome resource which gives you a date and an image like this for pretty much every pattern they have:

1219f 1219b

But only great if you’re the type who can built a pattern from schematics and a picture. They sometimes have a free weekend, which is where I got the images above (in case I ever do get good enough to make a pattern from a schematic)

So in conclusion? Well, according to So Vintage Patterns my Vogue 8187 is 50’s, and they are selling one for $28 (ha, I paid £2). The interweb is a fantastic tool for research and websites like this will help a lot – even if they don’t have the exact pattern you are searching for, a quick browse will find you a similar one you can use to date yours.

Remember, hemlines lower in times of crisis!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Wow! I never expected a whole post in response but thank you so much for taking the time. I will start looking up my patterns on the sites you suggest.
    Sorry re-commented as it wasn't showing for me.