In Vintage Inspiration

Flashback Friday: Women’s Land Army

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Reenactments are something I really, really enjoy doing, but unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend many last year at all. One of my favorite events is a WWII reenactment held at Fort Indiantown Gap every January in Annville, Pennsylvania: Battle of the Bulge Commemoration Living History Week. It’s only open to the public on Saturday (January 31st) but if you’re in the Annville area I highly recommend checking it out!

I’m not able to attend this year’s event either (insert super sad face) but I wanted to post a few photos from last year’s event that never made it to the blog. I did share just a few pictures last year of my Knit For Victory project, and a few more photos from the year before (which was my very first reenactment!), but neither of those posts included details of my Women’s Land Army impression, so I decided to do a bit of a flashback today.

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I live in a super rural part of Western, New York so the farm girl impressions are the ones that really speak to me. Your “impression” is the person or unit you choose to emulate during a reenactment, and I’m interested in both the American Crop Corps and the Woman’s Land Army of England (which you’ll probably recognize from the TV series Land Girls). I’m fairly new to reenacting but I do try really hard to represent my impression, and the time period, correctly despite my lack of experience.

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(My aunt might in fact kill me for posting this photo but it’s too funny not to share haha! The breeches are nothing if not flattering am I right?)

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I really lucked into such a complete Women’s Land Army uniform because my aunt met someone at a reenactment who was looking to sell it. Before I did the WLA impression, I did the American version of a Victory Farm Volunteer or American Crop Corps which didn’t have a uniform that was regulated like the WLA of England, so I could piece together my own interpretation of what a farm girl would have worn (here’s a blog post about American Farm Girls of WWII, and a photo of my other farm girl impression from Instagram).

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We found a great many WLA pieces from various sellers on eBay, as well as a reproduction company called Apple Tree Lane. My impression is a mix of original pieces from WWII, a few reproduction items that were used as movie props, and some modern items that happened to work pretty well to fill in the gaps. For example, my collared undershirt is from a department store!

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One of my goals this year is to do more reenacting (including some WWI and 1920s events) because preserving history is something I’m so passionate about, and it’s a huge reason why I love sewing. Though my sewing has shifted from reenactment sewing to everyday “real life” sewing, I will still always have a passion for eras gone by.

If you’re interested in reenacting, the first step is to attend a local event and talk to a reenactor! These living history events exist to honor and commemorate our veterans, as well as preserve these time periods so they’re never forgotten, and reenactors love talking to spectators about it πŸ™‚

Have you ever been to a reenactment? What would you pick as your impression?

xo
Rochelle

  • Lisette

    Ooh, I wonder how far I am from that reenactment! I’ve never been to one but I would love to go and two years ago I sewed a reproduction pair of overalls from the Australian Women’s Land Army.

  • Maja Δ†oriΔ‡

    Hello there, darling.
    Your land-army uniform (breeches included) is amazing. I have never went or participated in an reenactment. We don’t have them over here (it’s a lie: we do, but they are only for men, and they only dress up as medeial knights – armors, metal and all that do not apeal to me).
    The Land Army brooch is absolutely adorable.

    Marija

  • Melody McFarland

    Thanks for the info on the reenactment at the gap on Saturday. We live in Lancaster so I think we’ll go.

  • We have quite a lot of military re-enactment events in my area over the summer. They’re fairly small, but it’s good to go along and see the amazing things people have recreated.

    My nan was a land girl, but she rarely talks about it.

  • Wow, your impression is fantastic! also, thanks for the link to the reproduction shop! I’ve been looking for Timber Corps stuff for a while with not a lot of success

  • I love the WLA!! If I were to choose that would be my favorite! You were kitted up so well! Great job!

  • jannapyj

    I’ve never been to a reenactment, but it’s definitely on my list! I just looooooove your uniform! So happy you shared it with us!

    JJ
    http://www.dressupnotdown.blogspot.com

  • Theodora

    Great pictures! Now tell me about the jumper and that lovley turban? Did you knit them? Thank you for a wonderful post, I know so little about the U.S war effort and the women involved in it.

  • pixieanna

    I’ve been to several reenactment events – being in the UK means that there are many of most historical periods. I love that you find out the little details about how people lived; that’s what interests me most about history (along with the clothes).

    I have a lot of 1930/40’s knitting patterns, for ones that are sized to fit our modern shapes look up Susan Crawford. Her patterns are excellent!

    Oh and just so you have the correct information, the Timber Corps were all over Britain, not just Scotland.

    • I envy all of the fantastic historical reenactments the UK has to offer! I’d love to be able to attend some in the future. I have heard of Susan Crawford, her patterns are so beautiful! I understand her patterns and yarn have been featured in some movies/TV shows because of her historical accuracy. So neat.

      My knowledge of the land army efforts of America are greater than that of the UK, but I was under the impression that the Timber Corps and WLA were all over the UK, not just one part. You’re right πŸ™‚

  • I’m incredibly passionate about preserving history as well. I’ve always felt like it was one of my life’s main callings. I’ve never been to a reenactment (they’re very few and far between in most parts of Canada), but truly hope to take part in one or more some day.

    Have a beautiful weekend, sweet Rochelle!
    β™₯ Jessica

    • I don’t have too many events right near me either so I end up traveling quite a bit when I do get the opportunity to attend. It usually becomes a weekend trip or more, which is totally worth it!

      I hope some day you find yourself near a reenactment because I know you’d love it!

      πŸ™‚

  • Victoria Anderson

    Great photos. I do 1850s reenacting at a Hudson Bay Company fort on the Puget Sound. It’s a lot of fun, there are so many layers of clothes to wear! I’ve been sewing for the fort for a year or so, they have a big lending closet where I get most of my clothes from. My goal this year is to sew all my own clothes for it, but I have to start from the inside out, which means a new corset…
    I’d like to get into WWII or WWI reenacting, I went to an event at an air museum that had some WWII. I think it would be fun to do a WAVES or some impression, technically I’m too tall, so I’ll start with the Land Army.

    • Wow, 1850s would be fascinating! I bet the layers get overwhelming. WWII airshows are my favorite and I want to take flying lessons so I can do a WASP impression some day! …or maybe I’ll do a WOW impression and just build the airplanes instead lol

  • Mother of Reinvention

    The Land Army wasn’t just in England you know. Wales was joined with them and they were divided up into 7 regions. Scotland also had it’s own WLA including it’s own “Timber Corp” who were know as “Lumberjills”. My aunt served in the Land Army in Scotland during WW2.

    • You’re absolutely right. I should have said Women’s Land Army of the UK, not just England. My aunt has a few separate uniform pieces specific to the Timber Corps, which is a unit I’m also very interested in but don’t know as much about. I bet your aunt has the most incredible stories to tell! The WLA was such a vital part of WWII. It’s amazing that she served.

  • Such a great post! And those photos, beautiful!!!
    I also do WW2 reenacting and I would love to find a WLA uniform but here in Belgium you just don’t find them most of my uniforms are Women’s Army Corps and Army Nurse Corps. I really hope you can go to more events this year because there’s nothing better than a weekend with great people who share the same passion as you do. I had some luck this winter and I could go to 4 events in December and January, so also to the commemorations in Bastogne! But now I almost need to go to rehab because until April there are almost no events planned :/
    I really enjoy reading how much you like it!

    http://littlemissbamboo.blogspot.be/

    • Thank you, Emma! I agree, getting to do these events with other passionate people is pretty amazing πŸ™‚