Quick Tips for Dating Vintage Here are some quick, easy-to-remember tips. Center-back dress zippers – seen occasionally in the 1940s and early 1950s, but generally later 1950s and 1960s and in most dresses since the 1970s.They don’t necessarily place a garment in a specific year, but they will help you narrow down the time range. Velcro® was invented in 1948, but not used in clothing much until the 1960s.
The modern metal zipper was invented in 1914 and used in galoshes and bags until 1927, after which they were also used in men’s trousers. Machines were not in common use for civilian garments until after 1845.
They were not common in women’s dresses until the late 1930s. Machine chain stitch came first, followed by lockstitch. Hand-sewn and machine-sewn construction (as opposed to hand-sewn finishing) coexisted for years – until the 1880s, if not later.
Short, center-back neck zippers – mostly 1930s-1940s. Coil (plastic) zippers – invented in 1940, but not in common use until the early 1960s.
The zigzag machine was patented in 1873 by Helen Blanchard, but a model for home use, manufactured by Italian company Necchi, was not available to consumers until 1947.
The first overlock machine (serger) was patented by the Merrow Machine Company in 1889.
Some still call all overlock stitches “merrow,” but only a 2- and 3-thread overlock is actually a merrow stitch.
The serger has been in use since the 1920s for seam finishing.
This is the overlock or serged finish we still use today on cut fabric edges inside garments.
Loops for hanging found inside the neckline of vintage jackets and blouses are usually of European manufacture.
Hem tape generally indicates North American manufacture. Circle stitching inside the cups of a bra is a good indicator that it’s from the 1950s. The National Recovery Board was created in 1934, as part of the New Deal. National Labor Relations Act was passed in 1935, so these labels are seen after that date.
LOOK FOR THE LABEL Look for labels in the side seams and hems of older garments. The Coat and Suit Industry National Recovery Board was a trade organization meant to ensure that garments were made in accordance with Fair Labor Standards. The Fur Products labeling act of 1952 required an accurate description of fur (e.g.