Friday, April 27, 2012

The Real Stars


Looking through an old wartime booklet I have from 1942 called Make and Mend for Victory, I was simply amazed, to put it mildly, by what women of that era did.

Sure, when wartime shortages hit, they used their scraps, or rehemmed a dress to give it new life, or darned a hole in a pair of socks-those were the easy ways to reuse and save.

But they did so much more, too. They really were clever, and resourceful in ways many of us wouldn’t dream of being today, and the one example that for me, stands out- partly because it so poignant-is that they took their absent husbands, fathers, sons and brothers shirts, pants and suits, and recut them to make new clothes for themselves and their children. 


Here are some pages from Make and Mend for Victory-and I apologize for the poor picture quality, but I didn’t want to compress this little booklet in the scanner-it is starting to fall apart.





Given the circumstances of that time, I’m sure there were tears on more than one occasion, too, as a beloved’s suit was repurposed to make clothing for another member of the family.

This is just one more reason I find that generation so inspiring!


  1. What a neat (and nostalgic) booklet! Pierce's teacher sent home a book we read about a boy who outgrew his jacket, so his grandfather made it into a vest, then he outgrew his vest and his grandfather made it into a tie....and so forth until it was a worn button. It was a neat little book.

  2. Lisa, That sounds like a perfectly wonderful book-I love the idea behind it:)

  3. Very inspiring for many reasons! Thanks for your visit, I also love chocolate.. If I could live on it I would! Have a great weekend!

  4. Thank you for your visit too, and I could happily live on chocolate as well!

    I'll be visiting your blog again soon:)

  5. Clever, thrifty, and chic!

    And you give it real emotion.


  6. You're right; it's hard to imagine women doing all of that today, let alone having to go through being without their loved ones. Just last weekend I caught a bit of A League of Their Own on TV. At that part where the telegram comes and Tom Hanks has to tell Betty that her husband has been killed, I welled up (even though I've seen it countless times), and turned to the bf and said, "I'm so glad you don't have to go to war!" Thanks for sharing this bit of insightful nostalgia.

  7. Absolutely wonderful post!!! What a treasure! and so much fun!

    We are so spoiled.. I look at kids today and their expectations .. it is so sad .. there is no distinction between need and want. I love thrifting but to think of what is not valued and just given up is breaks my heart .. at least it is there to for another to treasure... and reuse!

    John bought me a little vintage match book from the 30s/40s (so I thought) it is a mend kit for stockings... very cool!!!

  8. Cameron-thank you! Those women were amazing-and still are!

    Tracy-that scene gets to me every time too-even though I know it's coming. I can't even imagine that kind of sacrifice.

    Lisa-I agree. When our parents/grandparents lived through the Great Depression and the war, they didn't have the luxury of all the stuff we have now. It bothers me that stuff made today is not made to be reused or passed on, etc.-and it makes me want to try even harder to rescue vintage treasures that are still perfectly good even though they aren't the "newest" and "latest" thing:) Give me stuff with character and history any day!

    I'd like to see a picture of your little match book-how sweet of John:)

  9. I'm also inspired by past generations that were less afraid to roll up their sleeves, be more practical, and make things last.

  10. It is very impressive what women then did without a second thought. Sometimes I'm astounded by how lazy our technology and advanced times has made us. And a bit ashamed too to be honest.