Sunday, March 13, 2011

Fabrics for Spring

Recommendations for spring fabrics from 1950 - that multi gingham is just like my candy colours skirt! More by accident than design, the three articles I've collected are all from the period of fabric rationing, so they all discuss the Utility fabrics available.

"The materials illustrating this article represent the best in value of Utility fabrics on sale this summer, and you should take advantage of these bargains while you can.

French cottons will receive an enthusiastic welcome - choose between ginghams and seersuckers. Ginghams are woven in multi-coloured checks, giving an exciting irridescent lustre. Seersuckers - the dream tub-frock material of the busy woman with little time for constant laundering - come in softly coloured Paisley designs and 'Victorian wallpaper' stripes in sophisticated colour combinations with a dark brilliance, making them smart for town.

Newly on sale this summer is a Utility rayon jersey. Jersey is the fabric that changed almost overnight from stockinette drabness to universal popularity for its versatility and wearable charm, and small quantities are now being woven in 'tone-on-tone' designs - dark blue stripes on pale blue background. But grey marl is still the first colour choice.

Here is a tip for the woman who is buying silk or woollen jersey for the first time. Don't be misled by fancy 'weaves' which attempt to disguise the harsh, scratchy feel of a poor-quality material. Good jersey should be soft-handling and should stretch when pulled in any direction.

Firmly-woven soft woollens lend themselves well to the bloused-back line which is a high-fashion favourite in suits and two-pieces. Small checks and plaids take second place to plain colours, such as acid-green and lilac."

Above: Spring dresses in wool, cotton, linen and (artificial) silk from 1943. The designs showcase the properties of each fabric (the gathered and shirred, drapey rayon wins every time for me).

I have to confess that although Dior's 1947 designs were almost universally fabulous, I'm not a great fan of the late forties, early "New Look" styles - it's almost as though it was just so revolutionary that it took until the early 50s for the look to really settle into itself. As such, it doesn't surprise me to find the selection of spring utility fabrics available in March 1949 rather unexciting, with the exception of the "Bonnie Prince Charlie" (thistles on a green and white plaid) utility rayon.


  1. Fab pics, I love seersucker it's one of my most favourite vintage fabrics, easy wash, keeps it's shape and really cool too!

  2. really interesting - what amazes me is even with all the rationing everything looked so good. or am i looking at it though rose coloured spectacles?...


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