In Sew For Victory

Links Roundup – WWII rationing/restrictions on clothing

I’ve had a lot of requests for more information on general rationing, and more specifically, on how fabric/clothing rationing and other restrictions influenced fashion during WWII and after. There is A TON of information out there if you know where to look, so I’ve put together a bunch of links to help you with your own research for your wartime Sew For Victory garment. Keep in mind that many countries continued rationing for years after the war ended, so your 1947 dress still may have been affected! There is also a big difference between clothing rations and clothing restrictions, which will be defined in the assorted links listed below.


Ready for links? Here goes!

General information on American rationing and restrictions, including a look at how hem lines and sleeves changed on women’s clothing via Ames Historical Society.

The Impact of WWII on Women’s Fashions in the US and Britain by Meghann Mason

Deprivation Fashion by Nan Turner

Wartime Rationing During World War II and the Effect of Public Opinion in Great Britain and Austria via Student Pulse

The Wartime Silhouette via Old Magazine Articles

A multi-part series of AMAZING articles on the “L-85” limitation order that restricted clothing in America via Blitzkrieg Baby – Implementation, General Restrictions, Curtailment, Fashion Survivability, Fashion and Morale, Duration and Termination

Also via Blitzkrieg Baby – Women accept clothes restrictions philosophically part one and part two

Claire McCardell – Fashion Designer responsible for making the “American Look” the most sought after fashions of WWII (she’s also responsible for popularizing the ballet flat as everyday footwear during this era!) Info on Wikipedia, Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, and Fashion Encyclopedia.

1940’s Fashion Resources and WWII Fashion Resources via Glamour Daze

General information on rationing in the UK via BBC, wikipedia, and Chiddingstone

American Fashion Goes To War via

Interactive fun and games about rationing via BBC (this is for kids but it’s still really cool!)

A description of civilian life in Northern Ireland during WWII (mentions clothing and cosmetics rationing) via BBC

Limitation Order L-98 restricted the manufacturing of sewing machines (very interesting!)

WWII propaganda posters geared towards women on the home front (including the original Sew For Victory poster!) via Women’s History on

Design trends of the 40’s with pictures via doloresmonet.hubpages

Awesome (and slightly hilarious) propaganda film about rationing and ceiling prices via Smithsonian Education

A short film on Rationing In Britain via Imperial War Museum on YouTube (includes a little bit on women’s clothing and home sewing).

Mrs Sew & Sew – a cartoon encouraging you to make do and mend via British Pathe (thanks to Sarah for introducing me to this site!)

WWII and Fashion: The Birth Of The New Look by Lauren Olds (thanks to Rachel for this link!)

Make It Do – Clothing restrictions in WWII via Sarah Sundin

Multiple links on Conserving For The War Effort: Canada’s Mission via

Make and Mend for Victory PDF part one and part two


Is that enough links to get you going? I certainly hope so!

Don’t forget to check your local library if you’re truly interested in WWII rationing and restrictions in your area. That’s probably going to be the best place to find accurate information.

How is everyone doing so far with Sew For Victory? Off to a good start? Feeling lost? Well on your way? Let me know!


(photos from the 1942 and 1945 Sears mail order catalog)

  • Okay, how funny (and so not surprising) that I almost sent you that second scan with the “make new clothes from old”. lol

    This is a GREAT round-up of links! I’m exciting to do some reading. Thank you for doing all this research for us!!

    I cut out my muslin pieces yesterday after spending a long time studying my pattern and learning about jacket construction. Yay!

  • Wow, lots here. I know what I am doing tomorrow..wait no need to sew, no wait, want to wait ….oh boy!!!! THANK YOU for putting this wonderful collection together.

  • Sarah

    Fantastic round up, Rochelle! Thanks so much for the Make Do and Mend link – I’m feeling a strong need to do that myself!

    When my grandmother passed away in 1996, her ration books were carefully saved in the spare bedroom wardrobe. England was rationed until 1954!

  • Debi_myhappysewingplace

    ooohhh! Yipppeeee…what a fabulous round-up of links!! Can’t wait to jump in!!!

  • lisa

    Thanks for a wonderful post!

  • Jessica Cangiano

    Thoroughly fantastic roundup of links on this subject, dear Rochelle. I’ve read a few of these posts in the past, but certainly not all of them, and am going to devote much of my Sunday afternoon (kitty on lap) to curling up and reading through every last one. Thank you very much for this informative, excellent post and array of links.

    ♥ Jessica

  • Oh what a fantastic collection. Will enjoy these this evening.

    thanks 🙂