Dating vintage fabric
1970s – TODAY: Plastic zippers found along the center back of a garment officially reign supreme — and are what we’re left with today!
TOP LEFT: Frenched Seam (1900-1940s)/ TOP RIGHT: 1950s Pinked Seam / BOTTOM: Post ’50s Serged Seam DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has frenched, pinked or serged seams.
It’s amazing how history has evolved the most simplest of garment details — and how when you compare pieces of the past, you can begin to see how this “puzzle” of dating vintage clothing isn’t as complicated as you once thought!
LEFT: 1940s Bakelite Plastic Button / RIGHT: 1960s Plastic Button DATING TIP: Identify whether the buttons are bakelite plastic, lucite plastic or modern plastic.
1980s: Batwing, dolman and puff shoulder sleeves were all the rage in the ’80s. DATING TIP: Identify whether a garment has lining or not.
NO LINING: Garments prior to the ’70s were often made without lining because a woman’s slip would operate as the lining instead.
A zipper in the ’30s would most likely be found along the side seam and is always metal.
UNFINISHED SEAMS: If the piece has unfinished, frayed seams there’s a good chance it was made before the ’50s since both pinking shears and serger machines weren’t available to at-home seamstresses.
Speaking of thrifting, I’ve also shared clues on how to identify vintage clothing labels in a thrift store and I’ve explained 11 ways to know a piece is vintage by its labels and tags and how the ILGWU union label can help you to date a garment’s era, too.
Today’s post is different than the rest because it teaches you five easy ways to identify a garment’s most probable era based on construction details like buttons, zippers, seams, sleeves and lining.
1930s: The infamous zipper is rarely seen on garments.
When included, a flap of fabric conceals this “vulgar” detail.
Search for dating vintage fabric:
The spacing between the fabric and arm was equidistant along all points of the sleeve.