Pattern dating: Sometimes you just plain need luck

There are lots of times I wish I could actually get paid to do stuff like this. I mean, I do, kind of, but, darn it--isn't there some clothing museum somewhere that needs me?

Dating patterns is an ongoing issue (well, for those of us who care). McCall['s] has been good about dating since the 1920's, and Simplicity did for a little while in the 1940's, but most patterns before the 1980's didn't have dates on the envelopes. Most postal stamps on bulk rate didn't have dates, either, and catalogs weren't meant to last forever and are kind of hard to get.

I got this on eBay. 

The style alone puts it between about 1917 and 1921 (mail-order patterns were frequently not the cutting edge of fashion). It does not have a mailer, but the collar piece has been re-cut out of newspaper and, based on the place names, it appears the pattern resided in the Chicago area--it mentions the Academy of Sciences at Lincoln Park and the Norwood M.E. Church.

This also allowed me to date it: There is a mention of rolling bandages for the Red Cross, although that could take place even in peacetime. Several events--sewing circle, PTA meeting--are expected to take place on Thursday, March 21, which narrowed down the year since March 21 won't be on a Thursday every time.
Finally, there is a partial obituary for an "Oscar W. Peter---", who was born on [month] 8, 1895. A quick check turned up an Oscar W. Petersen (December 8, 1895 in Denmark - March 19, 1918 in Chicago, Illinois), and the street address matches.

So now we know: 1918, or close enough.   

I do plan to make this at some point.  I'm so far behind on projects it's laughable, but I kind of love it.  I have a fabric I like but my yardage is short and it's out of production (of course).  My hope is that if I make all the facings, collar, and cuffs, out of something else, I'll be able to squeeze the dress out of it.

DS Quilts Daisy Mae striped check in dark gray:


Vintage Pattern Dating Project on Flickr.  Please contribute, if you have a Flickr account!