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1960s: Buttons begin to take on a more “cheap” look, and aren’t the same quality of plastic as bakelite or lucite. That’s why they’re also called “hard plastic.” LEFT: 1940s Dress with Side Seam Zipper / RIGHT: 1950s Dress with Centered Back Zipper DATING TIP: Identify whether the garment has a zipper and if so, where the zipper is placed and if it’s metal or plastic.1920s: Zippers were invented in the late 1800s but weren’t used in clothing until the 1920s, and only in men’s trousers and children’s clothing because they were considered for women to wear!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.
You know a button is bakelite plastic versus a more modern synthetic plastic because it’s almost always colored.
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.
1960s & EARLIER: Before the ’70s, sleeves were tailored to the wearer’s arm.
The spacing between the fabric and arm was equidistant along all points of the sleeve.