Maternity Wear, 1943

Before the advent of specialty maternity clothing, expectant mothers adjusted their garments to make room for their expanding bellies. Eventually ready-to-wear maternity clothes were available to purchase. Patterns were also available to women who wanted or needed to make their own clothing.

Occasionally I’ll find an article in a war-time woman’s magazine about maternity clothes. This one is from the February 1943 issue of Woman’s Day. The article gives first-time mothers advice on how to build a maternity wardrobe. The Butterick patterns listed are versatile and the resulting garments can be used throughout pregnancy as well as afterward. Ideal maternity clothing in the 1940s hid or camouflaged a baby bump instead of emphasizing it as more modern clothing tends to do, reflecting 1940s ideas about pregnant bodies. The image at the end is what the silhouettes looked like from the back.

One thing I would like to point out is that the two dresses pictured were quite colorful. The jumper was navy and pink with a white blouse. The coat dress was grass green and the patterned blouse it was paired with was yellow with a white and green print. I wish I could see that green coat dress in real life. I bet it was fantastic!

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