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Need help dating a dress

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by persephone60, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. persephone60

    persephone60 Registered Guest

    Nicole, here's additional info:

    *There is no lining--either in the bodice or in the skirt
    *There is boning in the bodice
    *I do not see any overlock or serge stitching

    I've taken a picture of the interior bodice, so that you can see the seams, as well as a picture of the dress on me. I'll try doing a burn test as soon as I find some matches (I just moved, and I think the matches are still in a box).

    sMarie, that's a great suit! (And you're right that the silhouette is similar.)
  2. persephone60

    persephone60 Registered Guest

    Interior seams:
  3. DeCoDiVa

    DeCoDiVa Registered Guest

    that other designer was probably Sue Wong, she did the Young Edwardian laBLE THAT WAS SIMILAR TO gUNNE sAX
  4. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    persephone60, thank you for the extra photos: I can see bones in the bodice. They're encased in long skinny pockets and sewn to the inside seams. Either way, they're probably plastic or "rigilene".

    From the interior, you can see it's home made but the construction looks consistent with '50s (or more modern for that matter). I recommend that you snip off a bit of that seam fray and do a burn test on it.

  5. sMarie

    sMarie Registered Guest

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for saying you like the swimsuit. :)

    Persephone, you have a great body for modeling your own clothing, you're lucky that way, no having to fight with a mannequin to make the clothes look "right."
  6. Rue_de_la_Paix

    Rue_de_la_Paix Trade Member


    I am sticking to my original guns on this dress. I do not think it is all that old. the biggest clue to me is that the velvet looks "newer" to me and (sorry to say) is a lower quality velvet, not the typical velvet found in pre 1960's off the rack dresses and garments. I am not referring to the fiber content (and it is not true that all modern velvets are poly and all older ones are rayon), but I am referring specifically to the way it is woven...very loose and you can see in between the rows of pile when you fold it over, and even when you don't fold it. Good quality velvet just won't do that, and every '40s, '50s and older velvet I have seen is just a much better quality than this, or was actually a velveteen which would be used very often in the gowns and dresses of the 1950s. This is not either.

    I had said it was possibly was home made (or a cheap knock off) as the hem and a few other touches looked home made to me. Now I am 95% sure of it after seeing the interior seaming. The side zipper was most likely added by an older sewer, or perhaps the pattern used was an older one and so had a side zipper. Most sewers I know will incorporate the original side zipper off the pattern rather than try to alter the pattern.

    I am not saying it is not pretty, but it just looks more modern to me.


    P.S. Thanks to DecoDiva for the name Sue Wong, but I am thinking of a woman who did mostly 1940s revivals, some romantic dresses too, but her name was definitely Nancy...I just cannot recall the last name. She ran full page ads in magazines in the 1980s or early 1990's with her vintage inspire styles.
  7. Circa Vintage

    Circa Vintage Alumni +

    Barbara, thank you for noticing my mistake on the types of velvets: you're quite right that an older velvet will not necessarily be rayon and a more modern one won't always be polyester. It's a generalisation.

    The main fibres used to make velvet are silk, cotton, rayon and polyester. Any of them can be used after their date of invention, and in each era there is one type that is more popular than other types.

    To know the fibre content may help with dating identification.

  8. The Vintage Merchant

    The Vintage Merchant Administrator Staff Member

    i'm with Barbara on this; it looks much *younger* than 50s.
  9. persephone60

    persephone60 Registered Guest

    Okay, so I did a burn test. I'm new to burn tests, but I'm pretty sure it's polyester (and not rayon)--it self-extinguished, and the fabric piece started to melt rather than turning to ash.

    So, it seems like the consensus is that it's homemade and more modern (possibly 80s to 90s when this color/style of dress was popular). But possibly made with an older pattern, which would explain the side zipper.
  10. My immediate impression was that it's an 80s dress, home sewn using modern fabric and some older techniques. Probably by someone's mom, who pulled a metal zipper from her sewing box. Reminds me of my own (1983) prom dress -- made with my mom's 1950s-era sewing skills, learned from her Edwardian-era seamstress mother, using modern taffeta and a 30 year old zipper. The various comments tend to confirm my "snap judgment."

    That said, I'm new to the business (though not to clothing!) and I'm the first to admit that my opinion ranks far below that of any of the experienced members on this board.

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