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How to Plan a Wartime Wedding

From the Australian Women’s Weekly, February 1940 –



Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Prewar Interiors of April 1939

Hello, again, I know it’s been a while…but I have busy working and setting up my new online vintage store (still hoping for bricks and mortar one day). If you have time please visit at.

Anyway, it’s gray and cold and wet here in usually sunny Mackay, the perfect day to read old magazines and cuddle up with a cat or two.

cats on a sofa
Here three articles on decorating from April 1939. It’s just amazing how modern some of the furniture looks – I swear I saw a chair like that one below right at IKEA!

modern furniture for a flat 1939

We only get a few weeks of winter here, but on a rainy day like this I’d love to be sitting in front of a fireplace. I usually put the fake fireplace on the television (through YouTube) but the television blew up this morning after a severe thunderstorm…Well a chance to make the living room more vintage perhaps!

And to finish here is a lovely ad for floor wax…have a great weekend!

vintage ad for fishers floor wax, 1939

A cycle in time

I have mentioned in another post that my grandfather was in the Dutch Army Bicycle Corp during WWII. Today I finally dug out the photos that my grandmother left me some years ago and found the photos he had kept of those days.

Weren’t they so handsome?! My grandfather is the one standing with his arms stretched out and no hat!

You may also like a post on my other blog about Victorian Military Bicycle Uniforms


Women in the Airforce, 1940

I have been very busy with work recently, so forgive the lack of blogging. For the next while I will just post interesting articles I come across, like this one from 1940-


Fifth Avenue Fashions 1940

Fabulous fashions photographed New York in March 1940 – 


Holland’s Menaced Frontier, February 1940

My grandfather was Dutch. He emigrated to Australia in 1956 and when I was a teenager he told me stories of his time in the war. He was in the bicycle Corp of the Dutch Army, and told many tales (some exaggerated I’m sure) of being in work gangs for the Germans. My grandmother gave birth to two children during his ‘internment’. 

 This page made my think of today’s media, where sometimes we ignore or pass over what’s happening, thinking, “it won’t happen” or “it doesn’t affect me.” This is from 3 February 1940. Germany invaded Holland on 10 May 1940.


Diamonds, not only a girls best friend in WWII

Imagine inheriting diamond jewellery – a lot of diamond jewellery….and during WWII. Would you keep it or turn it over to the war effort?

  the duchess of kents inherits diamonds and jewells in 1940  

As a royal I suppose you’d need to keep a few, and anyway personally owned diamonds could not be taken by London’s Diamond Comittee during the War, according to this article from February 1940.


And from March 1940-

Of course Holland was invaded two months later, in May 1940, so let’s hope the diamonds did travel to England the the US.

This article from October 1938 shows that some smart (and obviously rich) people were already thinking ahead about war and investing in diamonds. There are interesting comments about Jewish people too, and how diamonds were easily transported across “unfriendly borders”.  londons rich investing in diamonds 1938 

Unfortunaltely diamonds did not save many, if any, Jews from persecution and execution. Many had sewn their diamonds and other jewels into their clothing, and these were routinely removed from clothing after the Jews were murdered at the concentration camps.  There are accounts of diamonds being moved to a vault in banks in France in order to provide “rainy day” money for nazi officials to make new lives for themselves after the war.

Of course this article could have been just part of  De Beers 1938 American marketing campaign encouraging people to by diamond engagement rings – a campaign that was obviously extremely sucessful, with a jump in US diamond sales of 55% in the four years between 1938 and 1941 – but then again I haven’t actually been able to find any Debeers ads from before 1948, so maybe it was the war……

I did find this ad from 1938 for an Australian Jeweller, which advertises diamond rings, and watches, as anniversay gifts rather than engagement rings. 

 diamond ring ad 1938 
I now work in a an antique jewellery store and find it interesting that many couples are now buying diamond bands for their wedding bands, as well as diamond engagement rings.  Debeers really did well…..

Read more about diamonds in WWII here.

Fashions of February 1939

Continuing on from my post Fashions of January 1939, today a look at fashion from February 1939, the last month of Summer in Australia.


Illustration by Virgil, 1939

Illustration by Virgil, 1939


Suit ideas from London


Light weight wool is a popular Autumn and Spring fabric


I love the high waisted genie pants!


Why don't you wear Schiaparelli's adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm...

Why don’t you wear Schiaparelli’s adorable black seal skin topper?Hmmm…


Simple swing skirts


Long gathered skirts for evening wear – what a lot of fabric!


Imagine the blackout curtains you could make from that velvet dress..


And let’s not forget the foundation garments!


Any favourites?

Pennsylvania 65000, The Menu, and Postum

Today while googling doing serious research I came across the The New York City Library website.  The Library has collected more than 40,000 restaurant menus dating from 1851 and have digitized them. They are now available on the library’s website for all to enjoy, including this 1942 menus from the Pennsylvania Railroad –

vintage 1940s menu 

Note the mention of rationing under beverages, and also the term “Postum.” I had to look it up On Wikipedia –

Postum is a powdered roasted-grain beverage once popular as a coffee substitute. The caffeine-free beverage was created by Postum Cereal Company founder C. W. Post in 1895 and marketed as a healthful alternative to coffee.

The “instant” drink mix version was developed in 1912, replacing the original brewed beverage.[2] Postum is made from roasted wheat bran, wheat and molasses. This 10‑calorie beverage is caffeine-free, fat-free, trans-fat-free, sodium-free, and kosher.

Although the Postum Cereal Company explicitly stated in its advertising that Postum did not taste like coffee and was not a coffee substitute, the drink enjoyed an enormous rise in sales and popularity in the US during World War II when coffee was rationed and people sought a replacement.


There are more wartime menus on the website, but I picked this one as it reminded me of that great 1940 swing song “Pennsylvania 6-5000” recorded by Glen Miller and also the Andrew Sisters (which you can listen to here). 


Sewing Bees in Wartime

We hear a lot about ‘Make do and Mend’ during Wartime, especially when clothing rationing was in effect,  but maybe you haven’t heard about sewing bees. Quilting Bees were popular in America in the early 1800’s, as a way for women to meet others and tackle large quilts that would be cumbersome by themselves. They provided socialization, friendship, wisdom and sharing of supplies and tools,  and basically involved a group of women getting together and sewing.

The first mention I have found of a wartime Sewing Bee is in this article from December 1939 –


30 December 1939 Australian Woman’s Weekly

Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia.


27 April 1940  Australian Woman’s Weekly

Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) was probably the one who began to make Sewing Bees popular in England and Australia during the War, forming a Red Cross Sewing Bee for the women of the royal household at the palace each week from as early as November 1939.


15 June 1940 Australian Women’s Weekly

You can also watch a little video her Great Sewing Bee of 1939 here.

This article from the American Woman’s Weekly in March 1942 is a little different, as rationing is not really mentioned, and the ladies are sewing more for themselves than the troops, but it is interesting to ‘see’ these ladies in action at their sewing bee.




Sewing Bees are obviously meant to be a cooperative event. There is a recent British TV show called ‘The Great British Sewing Bee’ which is a reality TV contest type show, which to me loses the point of sewing bees, but you can watch it here.

Have you joined a Sewing Bee or thought of doing so? Tips for joining an online sewing bee can be found here.

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