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Zippers on Dresses

Discussion in 'PUBLIC Vintage Fashion - Ask Questions Get Answers' started by ladymisswhatever, Aug 5, 2008.

  1. Hello everyone,

    This is my first posting.

    I know that before the introduction of zippers ladies dresses were fastend together with press studs. I am trying to remember when exactly zippers were first introduced to mass production for Lady dresses? Was it the mid-30s or during the 1940s. This will help me dating my items the sale.

    I hope my question doesn't sound too strange.

    Many thanks

    Speak soon

  2. amandainvermont

    amandainvermont Trade Member

    Why no - your questions sounds absolutely reasonable. Here is what www.fashion-era.com has to say about dating by the use of zippers -


    Schiaparelli liked new things as well as new ideas. In 1933 she promoted the fastener we call the zip or zipper. The metal zip had been invented in the Victorian era as far back as 1891 by W Litcomb Judson of Chicago USA. He patented a clasp locker system of fastening constructed from a series of hooks and eyes with a clasp lock for closing. By 1893 the zipper was in production. But it was clumsy as it needed to be locked tooth by tooth. It was slow to catch on until refinements were gradually introduced.

    In 1913 a Swede developed Judson’s ideas in the USA, making a hook less fastener with interlocking teeth. By 1917 it was somewhat timidly used for tobacco pouches and shoes. B. G. Worth of Goodrich and Co., gave those shoe zips the name zipper and it stuck. In 1917 it was used for clothing when the U.S. Navy applied it to windcheater jackets.

    Schiaparelli's use of the new plastic coloured zip in fashion clothes was both decorative, functional and highly novel. Her 1930’s designs were the first to use it as a major feature of fashion garments. Even so most garments were still designed with button fastenings until the 50s when improvements in zip manufacture were acknowledged. They soon became universally used and are now a very reliable form of fastening.
  3. Laura

    Laura Alumni

    I have seen zippers in women's dresses from the mid-30s on. I'm thinking of dresses from 1936 or 1937.

  4. hatfeathers

    hatfeathers Trade Member

    I believe they were used on commercially made (and likely tailored) dresses well before the home seamstress used them. Keep in mind that the home seamstress probably learned to sew from Mom/Granny, and often drew from the same techniques well past the date of commercial upgrades.

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