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1930s/1940s fabrics

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 10:12 am
by Wiblick
Hey all

not really having much luck on my WWII forums making them understand that I don't know what I'm looking for... so can anyone help me here?

Would the fabrics here, sold as quilting fabrics be okay for dresses OR head scarfs for a homefront & Women's Land Army impression?

I want to look homely... not entirely downtrodden but not glamorous.

I was looking on but I don't think there is anything really suitable there. And I haven't the first clue how to go about finding a supplier that does 40s type turbans in the UK.



Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 11:21 am
by Shadowcat
I have some books on how to sew which were printed during the war. There are head coverings and so on in there. Would you like me to scan some diagrams, if there are any?

I think the quilting fabrics, if they are small prints, will not be entirely right - I'm inclined to think more along the lines of chintz, as in curtains, and settees, but there must be others who can advise better.


Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:05 pm
by Calendula
I used to work here:

and one of the collections includes a huge range of designs for fabrics, including dress prints from the 20s to the 50s. You can search the collections on a database here:

Digitisation is ongoing (considerably slower since they downsized some staff (huh!)) but there should be lots of images there that might be useful to you. Many of the Liberty Tana lawns still in production are original designs from this collection.

The designer you want is Madeleine Lawrence.

Also, have you been here? -
My friend who does the 40s says it's very good.

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:23 pm
by Alice the Huswyf
Worker's scarf turban - late rationing standy 'hat' turban.

Take a cotton, wool or bulky square headscarf.

Fold it in half to make a triangle.

(Some like to fold the edge over once or so to make a bulkier front and to stop some stretch along teh back edge as it is a bias fold).

Place the centre of the longest side behind your head, letting the centre point lie over the crown of your head. The point will lie over your face.

The back part of the scarf should lie snug to the back of you head, with some ease over your crown - it will form a pair of 'ears' along each side of the crown of your head where the spare edges of the nbow folded scarf 'flap' . Leave them alone until you have arranged the front of the turban.

Tie the long ends over your front crown OVER the flap hanging down over your face. You have several style options at this point:

If you are using fine fabric, bring the flap back over the first half-knot and tuck in behind it, tying the ends of in a firm bow and arranging it to you taste.

Make a full knot. Tuck the ends in behind the knot and then bring the front flap up over and back behind the knot to tuck it in.

OR make a combination of both to your (and the prevailing period) taste depending on if you are working or using it as a late rationing hat replacement.

Now address those two ridges each side of your head. By tucking them in on themselves along the side of your head, you can achieve the period 'squared' look. This is not a tight tuck and you may want to secure with a hair-pin inside the tuck.

The sketch below is a little odd, but shows the squaring along the sides of the head caused by the edges of the scarf, a folded over back - it would appear to be the front flap folded over the knot and tucked in, but with a loop of end sitting out ont he far side of the knot and puffed out. If it much further back on the head, it would fall off fairly quickly, but they were tied to cover the hairline (dirty work), or a plain hairline (as seen in picture) or show the leading edge of it, with a few neatly placed curls if required (hat replacement version).

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 12:32 pm
by Wiblick
Thanks all. Everything has been a great help.

Still trying to get myself down to 2 or 3 scarf choices... Perhaps I'll buy 5 yards of one them and make myself a dress!

Re: 1930s/1940s fabrics

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:14 pm
by Karen Larsdatter

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:49 pm
by Tuppence
that'll be the one to check for patterns!

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 3:55 pm
by Miss Costello
Wiblick, whats your first event? I have a ton of scarves, sure one would be suitable. All original...

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:11 pm
by Wiblick
You know what would have helped? It would have helped if I'd actually put the link into my first message of the shop I was talking about! ... ric--m-331

Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 4:12 pm
by Wiblick
Miss Costello wrote:Wiblick, whats your first event? I have a ton of scarves, sure one would be suitable. All original...
Like for sale?!

Not sure when my first event is going to be, depends on when all my WLA stuff comes in as I definitely won't have civvies for this season. So just waiting on either jods & jumper to come in or dungarees, and then there is an event I can do in June.


Posted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 5:49 pm
by Miss Costello
Will give you a scarf! They only cost pennies. I do have a pair of original WLA breeches for sale though.