Dating butterick sewing 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.
The other smaller companies did not put dates on their patterns.
And be careful, because sometimes an older pattern will have a copyright date that is not for the design, but for a feature like the method of construction.
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.
There is a book series, by Wade Laboissonniere, that attempts to make sense of all the different numbering systems.
Sometimes the only way to determine the age of a pattern is from the styling of the illustration.