This vintage 1949 August brochure for Simplicity sewing patterns shows diverse new silhouettes available to home sewers that year, for 25 cents each. The company provided a wide range of styles suitable for it's readers who would be making their own clothes for summer and fall.
The longer length silhouette that followed Dior's presentation of the "New Look" in 1947 was becoming accepted by 1949. This fashion trend was supported by more fabrics and trims available following the war, and a need in general for a new fashion style after so many years of fashion trends being nearly 'frozen' in time.
The cover shows shirt dresses, probably in cotton, having gathered or flared skirts with wide winged collars that would be so popular throughout the following decade. Shirt dresses were a comfortable alternative to the usual skirt and blouse ensemble so commonly worn during the World War II era. These would be widely adopted and worn until silhouettes dropped the natural waistline in the late 1960's.
Probably the cutest illustrations in this brochure are of these three dresses, whose back views are so important that they rate an illustration as well as the front view. The hourglass silhouette is accented with seamlines and fullness that give a nod to Victorian gowns.
The pages of this brochure show many different kinds of details used to create individual styles at the time: winged collars and sleeve cuffs, kimono sleeves, button closures and skirt pockets. You'll notice a page dedicated to the mature figure who was looking for slimming styles, and the younger junior sewer who wanted cute, young silhouettes with full skirts.
This was clearly the start of "1950's Style" as we know it today. The wonderful shapes, hourglass silhouettes and soft shoulders gave fashion its distinctive look for that era.
Do you sew or collect this era of fashion? Have you found many home sewn dresses like these? While today top labels from this time are more valued, it is the many hand made dresses that were so popularly worn in the daily lives of real women and girls during the late 1940's and 1950's. When you find a home sewn dress today, you can be sure there's a story behind it.
Patterns Shown, most are missy sizes 12 - 20:
Cover: 2920, 2923
Front and Back views: 2917 (Junior sizes), 2925, 2927
Softly Tailored, Now and Later: 2920 (Junior sizes), 2918
Fall Forecasts a Slim Silhouette: 2919, 2924
Slimming Variations of the Button-Fronter: 2922, 2926, 2921, 2923 (Womens and Half sizes)
Full-Skirted Frocks with Young Necklines: 2928, 2929 (Teen sizes 10-16)