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Tag Archives: wartime fashion

Make Do from a Table for Two

This weekend I decided to make a dress out of my WWII house dress pattern. I wouldn’t usually endeavour to do such a painful sewing task, but this fabulously easy pattern requires no buttons or zips (courtesy of wartime rationing) and is made out of 1 front panel, 1 back panel, a sash belt and optional pockets.

WWII Dress Pattern and table cloth

WWII dress pattern and embroidered table cloth

I have used this pattern a couple of times before; making a dress and a top, but I felt more confident on this project. I had bought a beautiful hand embroidered table cloth at a charity shop in Weymouth with the soul intention of creating a dress or top with it. I have a couple of embroidered tablecloths that I adore, but never get to use them for fear of spillage and staining, so like many people, I store them away and they are never admired. Unfortunately I only had enough of the flower embellished Irish linen to do the front of the dress and belt, so took one of the matching serviettes to the local haberdashery shop to match it with plain linen or calico. I did find some great natural calico that matched brilliantly…until I had finished stitching and realised that the tablecloth was in fact a lighter shade than the flipping serviettes! That aside, I am very happy with this pretty summer dress. The back is very plain, with just the floral detailing of the sash belt offering a rainbow speckling of colour, whilst the front is splendid with colour and pattern. I chose not to put the pockets on as they would have covered up some of the beautiful handiwork, but added some green upholstery trim to the neckline to finish it off.

WWII House Dress

Finished dress by Kitten von Mew

It reminds me of either the make do and mend flour sack dresses or perhaps the western European fashions of the time. I cannot wait to wear it next summer, but just hope that if I decide to lay down in the sunshine I am not mistaken for a picnic blanket…

BBC’s Wartime Farm Book by Octopus Publishing

Wartime Farm Book with Kitten von Mew

Kitten in her kitchen reading Wartime Farm

This week a rather exciting parcel arrived on my doorstep from Octopus Publishing! If anyone was a fan of The Edwardian Farm series on the BBC, they will know that the latest is Wartime Farm, taking you through pre and wartime farming life. This wonderful parcel was the book to accompany the series.

Beautifully presented with lots of interesting photos, fact and recipes, the reader can learn all about farming in the war, the machinery and techniques, the Women’s Land Army and my favourite part…wartime recipes for food and Soapwort shampoo! There is a splendid section dedicated to country fashion, hairstyling (with instructions for Victory Rolls) and entertainment (You can learn the basic foxtrot with the footstep diagram!) and even about the wartime evacuees that descended on the countryside.

Womens Land Army Poster

Women’s Land Army Poster

It always shocked me how much food was rationed in WWII, but to see it in pictures really does bring it home when you see the size of a piece of cheese or lard that had to last your family a week. There is a chapter on preserving and drying meat and fruit with some fantastic and at other times baffling recipes with step by step instructions.

I will definitely be trying the elderflower cordial recipe and possibly the Baked Potato Pudding (A pastry base with raspberry jam, topped off with mashed suede and potato which is baked in the oven). Im not too sure about the mock marmalade which uses crab apples, but the Soapwort shampoo certainly sounds interesting and Ruth Goodman said it was the best she had ever used and was now converted to it!

BBC Wartime Farm Series

BBC Wartime Farm Series

If you are looking for Christmas gifts or perhaps an interesting coffee table book for fans of the TV series, you can get this stunning hardback book from the publishers, Amazon or other book retailers.