Simplicity Pattern Catalog, June 1946

Jan 20, 2017 5 comments
Simplicity Pattern Catalog, June 1946

I promised I would show snaps from the other 1940s Simplicity pattern catalog I recently purchased, so here we go!

Last time, I shared with you my favorites from the Simplicity 1940, and ended up talking quite a lot about the contrast between the 1940 and 1946 catalogs. Most notably, the 1940s designs are much more complex than those from 1946, with all kinds of pleats, gathers, ruches, and paneling. The 1946 designs are surprisingly simple, most made from the same general bodice and skirt shape, omitting trickier techniques like setting sleeves or insets or shirred panels.

Simplicity 1343, a very simple dress with stitched pleats at the shoulder and applied pockets.

The wedge-shaped shoulder-sleeve combo was big in '46

One of the more complex designs - Simplicity 1289
Also, I have not found any patterns in the 1946 catalog that date back to the 1940, which is actually a little unusual for pattern books. The 1940 catalog had a good number of much older 1930s patterns, but the 1946 book appears to have wiped the slate clean. World War II may have had something to do with that......

Other senses of WWII shadow the pages of the 1946 catalog. The dresses are remarkably simple and economic in fabric cutting. Hem widths are listed on every dress design. The entire book has the undertone of "how to make the most of it," and although I like very few designs in this catalog, I love the can-do-make-do attitude of it all.

The color-block dress is pretty fly - Simplicity 1524

Interesting sleeve seam detail and a paneled A-line skirt. Simplicity 1557

More color blocking and the appearance of a major batwing! Simplicity 1515 and 1447

OK, so this jacket is pretty fabulous!

Smocking and embroidery - embellishments for otherwise simple blouses. These details made them unique.

Bomber jackets are always in style.

I like to track the evolution of underpinnings through the vintage decades. The bra here is more structured than the earlier 1940 design, but the tap pants are basically the same.

I love this illustration because it's pretty racy! Simplicity 1627 negligees.


  1. Womens clothing was definitely forced to change during WWII. It had to use less cloth due to cloth rations and a general attitude during the war to conserve materials and use less. Hemlines went up. Pleats went out. Metal fasteners, silk, and wool were out bc it was needed by the military. So buttons, rayon, and nylon were in. The linked article is a good place to start if you want more info.

  2. Another thing to consider and many more women were working long hours and had less time to create a garment. Even though women generally knew how to sew and mend, it was still time consuming to make a garment that had a plethora of detail and materials (expensive too, even post-depression).

  3. Whoa! The colorist for the yellow negligee was excellent in making a sheer look.

  4. Doesn't Pattern 1343 look like something you'd see in a store like Macy's today, the asymmetrical look! JanF

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