Dating butterick patterns
Look along the edge on the back of the envelope, or sometimes on the flap.
Simplicity patterns were dated in the 1940s and into the 50s, on the instruction sheet. Simplicity stopped putting dates on most patterns in the early 50s, but in the mid 1960s they began printing it on the envelope back.
Butterick’s company was also the first to introduce an enlarged and detailed instruction sheet, which they called a “Deltor.” The earliest paper sewing patterns were pre-cut on plain tissue, with notches and holes for markings which aided in construction of the garment.
The printed pattern was introduced in the 1920s, but did not become commonplace until just after World War II.
She became interested in these because she has fond memories of sewing them back in her youth. Their envelopes featured Hollywood starlets in the 1930s and 40s.
Some of these patterns are loosely based on designs from the movies.
It was his idea to use tissue paper for the mass production of sewing patterns.
There are four large pattern companies still making sewing patterns today: Butterick, Mc Call’s, Simplicity and Vogue.
These are also the most commonly found vintage patterns, though there were dozens of smaller companies who produced some wonderful designs. Some collect designs from just one era, the 1960s Mod look for instance, that may suit their body shape or their lifestyle. I know one collector who buys just the Butterick Young Designers from the 1960s and 1970s.
Paper sewing patterns were first manufactured in the middle of the 1800s.
These first paper patterns were designed by Ellen Curtis Demorest.