H and I are bringing a little 1942 into our lives by rationing our clothes, just like they did in World War Two. I made an error in my last post and allotted us each 66 coupons. However, I didn’t realized that in 1942, the amount was cut to 48 coupons. Sorry H! Maybe these tips will help keep you make the most of your 48 coupons.
One way women on the home front extended their clothing ration was to shop for second hand goods. Secondhand goods could be purchased off the ration so long as they cost less than a set amount. If they more than the set amount, then they required the same number of ration coupons as a brand new item.
To a couple of Canadian girls in 2018, these prices don’t mean much. I used an online inflation calculator to figure out the maximum price for each item in 2018 Pounds and an online calculator to convert Pounds to Canadian Dollars. H and I will be using this chart when determining if we need to turn in any of our ration coupons when shopping at our favorite thrift stores: Second Hand Goods in Canadian 2018 Dollars
These are my lovely new rubber boots from our local thrift store. According to my chart, if they had cost more than $24.30, I would have had to surrender 4 coupons. But they were only $3.00 so no ration coupons were required!
To my eyes, those prices seem more than reasonable as I can find nice articles of clothing for those prices quite easily at my local thrift store. Prices may be higher in your location or at consignment stores.
H pointed out that another source of second hand goods can be found in the closets of your friends and family. Borrowing clothing is an option – just remember to clean articles before returning them. One fun way to borrow or swap clothes between friends is to host a Naked Lady party.
Make do and Mend
The “Make do and Mend” campaign is perhaps, one of the most well known conservation campaigns of the second world war. Information on how to restyle old articles of clothing, household linens, and even old parachutes, was published in newspapers, women’s magazines, and in leaflets written by the British Ministry of Information. Many of the tips are as useful today as they were in 1942. The Sunny Stitcher has pdfs of some of these leaflets and another example can be found here:
Another tip that I have used is to use old household linens to make your own clothes. My new WW2 utility apron was created using a free vintage pattern and a couple of old pillow cases.
Old sheets, along with other household linens. can be recycled into many useful items.
Old sweaters from secondhand stores and your closet are another source of material. I have frogged sweaters made with high end yarn to crochet more appropriate articles of clothing. A good tutorial for frogging sweaters can be found here:
Personally, I love old tshirts. H is currently working on turning her old tshirts into a rug – I am hoping for a picture when she is done! I like old tshirts because I rely on them as a source of material for hankies, camisoles, and undies.
Sometimes living in 2018 is just a little like living in 1942.
Leave a comment and tell us your tips for making the most of your clothing. Or, post a picture to instagram with the hashtag #strivingforvictory of your make do an mend creations.
If you want to join in, please do! We would love to hear about your experiences. If you have a wartime story to tell, please leave a comment. Stories are an important way to keep the memories of our mothers and grandmothers alive. And one more request, if you enjoy or find value in any of our posts, please consider making a donation to Sheepdog Lodge to support those for whom the horrors of war are not in the past.