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Category Archives: Victory Gardens

The Perfect Victory Gardening Outfit

I found this fashion advice in the October 1943 Australian Women’s Weekly –

“While you are digging in your victory garden wear this cool frock in tricolor gingham, with an effectively simple crossover bodice buttoned  at the side and youthful drindl skirt.  Defy the sun with a whopping green coolie hat.”

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A drindl skirt is basically just a full gathered skirt with a tight waistband – sort of peasant style.  There is a super simple tutorial for one here.

The bodice could just be edged gingham draped and buttons and button holes added. the closest pattern I have been able to find is this one (available on Etsy for $85 – it is rare, after all).

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Asian coolie hats are readily available, but if you want one with more vintage style, here is a simple pattern from 1936 – think Arlena Stuart in Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun (see a short video here). 

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It’s on my holiday list to make!

Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943

Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943

 

Joan Fontaine promotes Victory Gardens, 1943

The Wartime Kitchen and Garden

Pull out the flowers, plant the vegies, harvest and fill the larder. Everything you wanted to know about the wartime kitchen garden in the UK.

“Victory Garden” touches for hats, 1943

Following from my look at Victory Gardens, here is a cute article about Hollywood stars decorating their hats in ‘Victory Garden style”.  Dress and outfits may have been plain because of the war and rationing, but hats were an excuse to go crazy, using bits and prices to transform old favourites into new master-pieces!

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From the Australian Women’s Weekly, May 1943.

The Victory Garden in Australia, WWII, and my own attempt

 

During 1942 food shortages began to have an impact on the Australian home front. The agricultural industry was struggling with massive labour shortages, a severe and prolonged drought, and major shortfalls in imports of seed stock and fertiliser. There was a growing realisation that unless agriculture became a focus of the war effort, food shortages would be imminent.

In January 1942 the Prime Minister, John Curtin, launched “Dig for Victory”, a publicity campaign urging householders throughout Australia to grow their own vegetables as a contribution to the war effort. Personal identity cards and ration books for clothing and food were also introduced. Australia had to provide food not only for Australians, but for British and American troops- a total of about 13 million people.

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Many Australians were already keen home vegetable gardeners, being self-sufficient with fruit and vegetables and a “chook shed” down the back. Most house blocks were about 30 or 40 perches in size, or about 800 or 1000 sq. meters, much bigger than the 400-600 sq. meters that developers are now dishing up.  Some people turned over their whole front and back gardens to their “Victory Garden”,  sometimes  selling the excess to raise funds for the front.  

Here is the cover of the Australian women’s Weekly from 19 August, 1944.

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And the planting charts.

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I have been inspired and turned my back lawn into vegie gardens – fenced to keep out the dogs.  This is four weeks growth, with plantings of beans, snap peas, silver beet, tomatoes, spring onions, and zuchinni. Not quite enough to fee the family, but enough for the odd salad!

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