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 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 are manufactured in the US but are distributed and sold in Canada, England, and Australia, in some markets by Burda and in Mexico and South Africa by third-party distributors. The company licenses its name to the manufacture of non-textile materials such as sewing machines, doll house kits, and sewing supplies. Simplicity is now owned by CSS Industries.
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.
In 1998, the company was acquired by Conso International Corp. Conso subsequently changed its name to Simplicity Creative Group, Inc., and since November 3, 2017, has been a subsidiary of CSS Industries. Until 2007, the company had its main plant in Niles, Michigan.
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 sewer 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.
- Robert W. Dalton, "Conso to purchase Simplicity Patterns" Spartanburg Herald-Journal, June 11, 1998.
- "Conso acquires Massachusetts company" Spartanburg Herald-Journal, November 22, 2000.
- "Simplicity Creative Group, Inc." Bloomberg, retrieved November 27, 2017.
- "CSS Industries, Inc. Acquires Simplicity Creative Group" (press release) Business Wire, November 3, 2017.
- YaVonda Smalls, "Simplicity closing Niles site" South Bend Tribune, June 26, 2007.