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The NRA, or National Recovery Administration, was a major component of Roosevelt’s New Deal, which is far more interesting, controversial and involved than I could ever do justice to here.Suffice to say, businesses who supported the NRA (whether willingly or for fear of public boycott) put the blue eagle emblem on their packages. marked on your envelope, you lucky devil, it’s pre- October 1, 1932.Mail order patterns are seldom (I’m not quite brave enough to say “never”) dated, and they had a much longer life than the patterns we are used to seeing in the sewing stores.If you don’t have a nice clear mailing date in the postmark, like this… But, thanks to their mailing envelopes and the hard work and enthusiasm of philatelists (that’s postal boffins, to you and I) we can narrow down the dating possibilities quite a bit.The NRA was declared unconstitutional in 1935 and the use of the Blue Eagle emblem banned. I don’t yet have a verifiable start date for this mandatory notation, but I’m working on it. Mail order patterns were commonly mailed third class. The identifying phrase for bulk mail changed on December 21, 1954 from Section whatever of the Postal Laws and Regulations to simply “Bulk Rate” Up until 1952, the minimum per piece of third class bulk mail was 1 cent. Bulk mailings were priced by the pound but this minimum stipulation helps us date any piece of third class bulk mail marked 1c to before 1952. The bulk of ephemera and enclosures I’ve found stuffed in pattern envelopes have been from mail order patterns.

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Mail order patterns are a too often overlooked treasure trove, not just for their adorable designs but the social history and connection to the past that comes from knowing a little bit more than usual about the original seamstress.Simpllicity dress patterns soon found their way into many homes!When are antique/collectible dealers also historians? However, the last line of the address on the sleeve reads: New York 14, NY. Of course we rely on the design of the dress or whatever, as well as hairstyles, to help us date a pattern. I use Cemetarian’s Dating Guide to help me date my Mail Order patterns. As caretakers of items from our past, we strive to provide customers with as much information as possible. I'm sure many members of the Pattern Patter Team are also vintage sellers/collectors. For instance, Susie Seller has a Simplicity pattern listed which she describes as from the 70s. When Simplicity stopped placing the copyright date on the inside of their directions sheet, there was a gap of a few years before they started putting it on the pattern sleeve. Since Susie Seller's pattern has no date on the directions, it is likely from the late 50s to early 60s, or nearly 20 years older than she thought. The combination of letters and numbers hold the clue to the approximate date. They were instituted during WWII because so many mail clerks had been drafted and zones made it easier for the new, inexperienced clerks to sort mail.

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