The Simplicity Pattern Company is a manufacturer of sewing pattern guides, under the "Simplicity Pattern," "It's So Easy" and "New Look" brands. The company, now owned by Wrights, began in 1927 in New York City. During the Great Depression, Simplicity allowed home seamstresses to create fashionable clothing in a reliable manner. The patterns have been manufactured in Niles, Michigan, since 1931, but the products are distributed and sold in Canada, England, and Australia. In some markets, the patterns are sold by Burda, and they are sold by third party distributors in Mexico and South Africa. The company licenses its name to the manufacture of non-textile materials such as sewing machines, doll house kits, and sewing supplies.
James J. Shapiro (1909–1995) founded the Simplicity Pattern Company in 1927 and was its first president. The company was based on an idea of his father's, Joseph M. Shapiro (1888 Russia—1968 California), a magazine ad salesman.
Sewing from patterns
Simplicity Patterns, like most home sewing patterns, consist of tissue paper printed with numerical guides and instructions. The paper is pinned on the fabric, and the seamstress then cuts along the printed lines and stitches the cloth together to create the finished clothing. Each Simplicity pattern has step-by-step instructions for cutting, stitching, and assembling of clothes. Simplicity aims to emulate fashion designer clothing, and the company currently produces over 1,600 patterns.
- Donald L. Barlett, James B. Steele, America: What Went Wrong? Andrews McMeel Publishing (1992).
- Robert McG. Thomas, Jr., James Shapiro, 85, Innovator In the Home Sewing Industry The New York Times, June 3, 1995