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Look at the "Exhibits" page on this fabulous website for a decade-by-decade look at vintage dress silhouettes.
This is an outstanding study resource, featuring tons of beautiful photos of vintage dresses from museums around the world.
I read a ton of books and talked to lots of people. See the "Retro Fashion History" and "Vintage Fashion and Art" links below to learn more about silhouettes and see lots of great photos by decade. Serged seams were uncommon before the mid-1960s, when manufacturers began using sergers routinely to finish seams.Notice how the stripes in the dress on the right meet at points along the front; this is indicative of the use of separate bolts of fabric sewn together at that spot. Severa, Dressed for the Photographer: Ordinary Americans and Fashion, 1840-1900, 1995 By the mid-60s, the skirt began to change shape, becoming flatter and narrower in the front and fuller in the back.The use of gored fabric allowed for the flat, smooth front seen in the image on the left.--- However, homemade clothing often doesn't have serged seams, so it can look vintage even if it's not.If your item's seams aren't serged, look for a manufacturer's tag to see if it's commercially made.