Tag Archives: Parachute

The War Told in Fabric

Wedding July 1945, Rocking Dog

Wedding July 1945

I came across this photo of my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Alec whilst on my cleaning blitz. Their wedding in Edinburgh took place in July 1945, just two months after war had ended in Europe. I have no idea whether Margaret’s dress was a dress that had been borrowed as was common during the years of rationing, or whether it was made from silk rescued from a parachute. Parachutes were much in demand for the making of underwear, nightwear and wedding dresses.

Clothing rationing was brought in during 1941 so that factories and their workers could be freed up for the making of armaments. Additionally, there were difficulties in importing raw materials due to the bombing of merchant shipping. Rationing made for a fair system for the population and everyone was issued with a ration book with coupons to purchase clothing. Clothing rationing unbelievably continued until 1949. Furnishing fabric was rationed later than dress fabrics and for a time many women used these fabrics to make clothes. The amount of buttons, trimmings, skirt length and fullness were tightly governed. Many men were miffed that trousers could no longer sport turn ups.

The Utility Scheme was launched by the British Board of Trade in 1943 and offered people a range of well designed, good quality and price controlled clothing. Indeed this scheme not only covered clothing but footwear, furniture and home textiles. Utility items carried the CC41 logo. It is likely the CC stood for Civilian Clothing but another interpretation could be Controlled Commodity. 41 signifies the year that clothing rationing began.

The photo below of the fabric with the whimsical castle etc.. is Utility fabric. I bought this in an antique shop in Marlborough a few years ago and have a few yards (or should I politically correctly say metres!) I found a CC41 mark along its border, and now can’t find it to photograph! I have upholstered a 1930’s child’s chair with it but am feeling rather miserly about what to do with the remainder.

The 1942 Australia label is stitched to a scratchy wool blanket which my dad Doug bought back in his kit bag whilst serving as a telegraphist in the Royal Navy. In fact Doug missed his sister Margaret’s wedding because he was serving in the far east. War finally ended on 2nd September 1945 and my dad came home. I remember seeing his Navy whites neatly folded in a bedroom drawer in the late 60’s, but eventually there must have been a culling process, and now there are just the photo’s and a medal or two.

The War told in Fabric.

Utility Whimsy, Rocking Dog

Utility Whimsy

Kit Bag Blanket, Rocking Dog

Kit Bag Blanket

We Are Sailing, Rocking Dog

We Are Sailing