Make Do and Mend

One of the things I love about Home Front Vintage is researching the history and provenance of the vintage escape and evasion maps that I use.  When I first found the maps I did have a dilemma about reusing them and making them into something new.  People do sometimes question whether I should be using these artefacts from the past and I have been told that they should be preserved as they are and not reused. My ethos has always been  to make the maps into something that people will love to own and want in their lives.  In this way the history of the maps is retold and  the story survives.  I love wearing one of our brooches or pendants and when someone comments on it being able to say 'Thanks - there's a really great story behind it...'

There is a real history of the maps being 're-purposed' as well.  After WW2, in Britain clothes were still rationed until 15th March 2949 and the 'make do and mend' ethos continued well into the 1950s. Many soldiers and airmen returning home after the war  still had the escape and evade maps that had been issued to them; and these were soon reused to make a variety of clothing.

Advert in a 1940s magazine with a patten for a housecoat made from escape and evade maps. Photo courtesy of Vic Garland.

Advert in a 1940s magazine with a patten for a housecoat made from escape and evade maps. Photo courtesy of Vic Garland.

I love attending events and fairs throughout the year as I get to meet people who have their own stories of the maps.  One customer sent me this photo of a sun suit made from the maps that her grandmother wore.  It must have made quite an impression on Clacton on Sea in 1949. Look at that fabulous bow on the front!

Sun Suit made from escape and evade maps.jpg

I absolutely adore this child's sun-dress made from the maps.  It is owned by the Imperial War Museum and has been on display at their London site although I have never seen it in person.

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum www.iwm.org.uk

Image courtesy of the Imperial War Museum www.iwm.org.uk

This dress in on show at the Tangmere Military Aviation Museum near Chichester.  It even has a matching parasol!  I am not sure how many maps were used to make it, but there must be a few to get all that fullness in the skirt...

Photo courtesy of paisleypedlar.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of paisleypedlar.wordpress.com

But I think this has to be my favourite of all the items I have found.  This 1940s blouse epitomises the austerity of the period with its simple design and lack of embellishment.

Photo courtesy of The Fashion Museum

Photo courtesy of The Fashion Museum

As well as the items for sale on our website, we also provide a bespoke service and can make simple blouses, skirts and dresses from the maps to order.  Any of you who have met me at one of the fairs or events over the last couple of years may well have seen my beautiful dress made from maps of Scandinavia.  It is by far my favourite piece of clothing and I feel like a child with a new party dress every time I wear it.  I did suggest to my husband that we should get married again so that I could make wedding dress from the maps...  I won't print his response here...

Dress made from escape and evasion maps by Home Front Vintage.jpg

I'd love to see any more images of clothing made from the maps, please do share any that you have.

Posted on April 3, 2016 and filed under make do and mend.