When you look at patterns from the 1940s, you’ll notice the dress lengths of this decade tend to fall around the knee. In terms of the history, this simply reflected the reality of time during war when rationing was necessary, not only for food, but for fabric. It could be argued that society generally became more progressive, and less conservative, so it was also more acceptable to flash a bit more flesh.

You will also find that sleeves from the 1940s were shorter, cropping at the wrists, and at times producing a capped look on the upper arms. Still retaining a distinctive style, the sleeves of this period were also usually gathered at the top and puffed. There was also creativity when it came to neckline, with many options to choose from, including square, slit, sweetheart, keyhole, shirred, and cross front (wraps). Evening dresses tended to expose shoulders, with designs such as halter-necks and spaghetti straps.

At The Vintage Pattern Shop, we have hundreds of vintage dress patterns based on designs from the 1940s. For more information, feel free to get in contact with us.