Picture of the Month




Recycled Dresses, Vobach Neue Moden, Spring 1943

Last month we were about girls' dresses that could be made from old clothes and scraps at the end of WWI. That inspired me to compare them to dress designs that were expressly meant for recycling one war later.

Above, we see (from left) a dress made from leftover fabric – with a straight-cut skirt to reduce fabric consumption –, with the neck and sleeves knitted from leftover wool. The second one is an old dress freshened up with some scraps of check, probably to cover up those parts that already show signs of fraying or stains (as pocket edges or the underarm region so often do). Number three is also made from an old dress, or maybe from two. The pattern for the blouse was designed with fabric economy in mind, and in case you still didn't have enough fabric, the use of two different fabrics is already provided.

Note how the two designs to the right have inserts running down the centre front (and probably also the back), allowing the thrifty housewife to easily adjust garments that had become too small. Alterations of that kind are even more virulent on the children's clothing pages for obvious reasons.

The 1943/44 magazines are full of suggestions for thriftiness: There are more two-fabric and fabric-and-knit designs than the "normal" ones that consist of one kind of fabric only. In addition, there are instructions for inconspicuous darning, unraveling tricot underwear and re-using the thread etc. I even remember having seen suggestions for re-using damaged military coats and parachute silk, but that was not in any of the magazines I own. But then I haven't been able to find that many 1944 magazines, and none from 1945. They're rarer even than 1918 numbers, but then nobody had been bombed out of their homes in 1918.

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