Continuing on from my post Fashions of January 1939, today a look at fashion from February 1939, the last month of Summer in Australia.
And let’s not forget the foundation garments!
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 –Red Cross Sewing Bees see to become popular in Australia. 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. 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.
I am in between scanners at present, so here is one Post I prepared earlier…
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was the Prime Minister of the UK for most of WWII, from 1940 to 1945 (and again from 1951 to 1955). He is often stated as being one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, and his radio broadcasts help inspire the British people during the war. His children also did their bit to help the war effort.
Churchill’s only son, Randolph, served with the 4th Queen’s Own Hussars and the SAS), Eldest daughter Diana gained the rank of officer between 1939 and 1945 in the Women’s Royal Naval Service, middle daughter Sarah, between acting jobs, joined the WAAF and went on to interpret aerial photographs for British invasions.
This article from November 1940 shows how the girls captured the publics interest-
Unfortunately Diana suffered nervous disorders and in 1963, age 54, while working for a suicide prevention organisation, she committed suicide by taking an overdose of barbiturates.
Sarah is best known for her role in the film Royal Wedding (1951), with Fred Aistere, and she made about nine movies in total. Problems with alcohol led to her death in 1982 at the age of 67.
It’s the first week of Summer here in Australia, and my thoughts have turned to swimsuits. We have a few beaches nearby (which occasionally have crocodiles, sharks and stingers) and a pool (which is currently getting renovated) so we swim every day over Summer. Usually we even put on swimsuits, although the odd skinny dip is not unknown!
What style swimsuits would we have been wearing during the war? Let’s have a little look –
1942 – clothes ratioing kicks in in Australia, and ads for swimwear are almost non existent. Elastic used in commercial swimwear would have used rubber, which was needed for the war effort. To keep itself in the public mind Jantzen cleverly told women how to care for their swimsuits so they would last longer.
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