Tuesday, February 25, 2014

A 1939 Pre-War "Sew-Along" Contest

In its October 1939 edition, Life magazine had a story on a pre-war sewing. The war is expanding in the European theater, and although it is still a couple years before the US enters the war, home sewing was encouraged by fabric manufacturers, who offered ready-cut dress lengths (3-1/2 to 4 yards) at an inexpensive price ($1.00!) for the entire length. It was also encouraged by the department stores who sponsored home-sewing contests.

Groups of women met at one another's homes to plan, cut, and fit dresses for the contest.

A dress of taffeta under construction.

First prize: a blue velvet dress (cost: $10.42)
Second prize: a blue rayon dress (cost $6.09)

Fourth prize: Checked bolero suit (cost $6.84)

Seventh prize: a wool and satin suit (cost $7.57)

23rd prize: Plaid suit (cost: $9.22)

"Great applause greeted 203-lb. Mrs. Smith for her dress's slimming lines"

Elegant formal dress

Most exotic entry: pantaloon-and-coat

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