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French seams are the neatest finish of seams, as the raw edges of the fabric are fully enclosed for clean lines.1950s: Pinked seams — which look like scalloped teeth — are most common on garments from the ’50s because it was the easiest way to cut a seam without leaving fraying behind.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.LEFT: 1960s Tailored Sleeve / RIGHT: 1970s Bishop Sleeve DATING TIP: Identify whether a garment has tailored sleeves or large, billowy sleeves.Bishop sleeves (shown above) were a popular style of the quintessential ’70s Edwardian style maxi dress.1980s: Batwing, dolman and puff shoulder sleeves were all the rage in the ’80s. DATING TIP: Identify whether a garment has lining or not.LEFT: 1940s Bakelite Plastic Button / RIGHT: 1960s Plastic Button DATING TIP: Identify whether the buttons are bakelite plastic, lucite plastic or modern plastic.
1970s ONWARD: Once the ’70s hit, styles shifted to embracing the space between a woman’s skin and her sleeve.
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.
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!
When included, a flap of fabric conceals this “vulgar” detail.
A zipper in the ’30s would most likely be found along the side seam and is always metal.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.PRE-1940s: French seams were used on turn of the century clothing through the 1940s.Bakelite was invented in 1909 as the first ever synthetic plastic.