Dating Butterick Patterns Online: witness2fashion.com Has Been Updated
A year ago, I found a way to date Butterick patterns using Delineator magazine (published by Butterick) and later Butterick publications, and posted my results at witness2fashion.com. Click here for my original post explaining my Delineator methodology. For Part 2, click here.
Now the pattern number chart for Butterick Fashion News from 1937 to the 1970s has been updated, so the blanks are slowly being filled in. Go to witness2fashion.com for charts of the Butterick pattern numbers published monthly in Delineator magazine from the 1920s to 1937 (click here) or for a chart of Butterick Fashion News flyer covers from the late 1930s to the 1970s (click here.)
Monthly Butterick Fashion News flyers like the one above were given away by fabric stores, so it is possible to date Butterick patterns — roughly — by following the sequence of numbers that appeared on the cover of each issue. (Butterick resisted putting copyright dates on its patterns until late in the 20th century.) Here’s a small portion of the resulting chart:
This is an ongoing project; I especially want to find flyers from 1962 and 1963, because pattern number 9968 appeared on the Butterick Fashion News cover in November 1961. A new sequence of four digit numbers began soon after that, but I haven’t found any flyers from December 1961 to October 1964 (when pattern No. 3288 was on the cover). It would be nice to have proof that renumbering began with a 1000 series in January 1962.
Times When Butterick Number Sequences Started Over:
Butterick decided to start a new number sequence in 1926, jumping from the 7000’s (in September 1926) to the 1000’s in October. In mid-1940, Butterick ended its 9000 series and began re-using numbers in the 1000’s in July or August.
I found those 1940’s numbers by searching for Butterick Fashion News flyers that were for sale online and writing down the number of the pattern on the front cover. I can’t buy them all, but here are a couple (before and after re-numbering started) from my own collection:
In February 1940, pattern numbers had reached the 8700’s. Re-numbering started that summer. By the end of 1942, less than three years later, the new series of pattern numbers had reached the 2300’s:
If you have a Butterick Fashion News flyer from 1961, 1962 or 1963, I’d love to see a clear photo or scan of its cover, showing month, year, and pattern number. Please E-mail to witness2fashion at gmail.com. (the records for 1953 and 1955 are also blank, in case you have one.)
It’s also possible to date Butterick and other patterns by using the Commercial Pattern Database (CoPA), but this site does not allow you to search by pattern number. You can
how their sample [how] their search works by clicking here. [Edited for typing error 1/13/2015.]