Mrs. Marryat Advises: Part II

If you are new to Sew for Victory, you might not yet know about my deep adoration of vintage women’s magazines. Although mostly for the ads (which are SUCH an insight into the life of women from past eras), it’s also a lot about the articles. Dated as they often are, it’s pretty incredible to be reading about the concerns, hopes, and preoccupations of the women to whom these magazines presumably catered.*

Mrs. Marryat is one of the strangest, most fascinating characters that I’ve come across so far in my intellectual journey into the life of the ‘1940s woman’. Some of you long-time readers might remember that she has made an appearance on this blog once before. Mrs. Marryat was the advice columnist for Woman’s Weekly in the 1940s. And although she often comes out with the sort of advice that turns the stomach of my modern-day feminist self, sometimes I do actually learn a thing or two about 1940s etiquette. As an engaged person, this tidbit caught my eye. I thought I would share it with you to answer a concern over which I am sure you have all, at some point, lost sleep:


“I am to be married shortly, and I would like your advice as to whether it is unlucky to wear jewellery on my wedding day. My lovely white dress has a square neckline, and I would like to wear a cross and chain to take off the bareness, but I have so often heard that it is unlucky for a bride to wear ornaments of this kind. – MARY.

I can set your mind at rest by assuring you that it is not in the least unlucky for a bride to wear jewellery on her wedding day. Most brides wear a necklace, a brooch, or some ornament; and nearly all brides wear their engagement ring as well on the right hand. So follow out your own wishes and wear your cross and chain, and dismiss any superstitious ideas which have no meaning at all.

Let’s hope this marriage survived, otherwise Mrs. Marryat may have a LOT to answer for…


*This is by NO means a suggestion that (1) the experience of women has ever been the same across the board, or (2) that the roles often cast on women by society are correct, preferred or acceptable. In fact, I’m vehemently opposed to both of this ideas (see Sew for Victory: A History, if you want to read more about how I reconcile sewing/vintage/feminism as things that I love).

No Snow, All Sew


Firstly, sorry for my blogging neglect this month. I’ve been away from my sewing machine, and a stream of family events have totally soaked up my December. Fortunately, things are a little calmer now that the holidays have passed – although I still have 10 days of time in the US!

That said, I’ve had a super successful Christmas sewing-wise. My family have totally embraced the hobby and have taken it upon themselves to give me gifts that would held me move forward with new projects and skills.


From my fiancé’s lovely parents, I got a couple of sewing-themed books: ‘Couture Sewing Techniques’ by Claire Shaeffer (which I’m already knee-deep in) and ‘Everyday Fashions of the Forties’. The second is an amazing collection of illustrations, photos and ads from Sears Catalogues of the 1940s. Also pictured are two gorgeous vintage brooches bought for me by my mum and the photo’s background is 3m of a 1940s fabric from my parents. Needless to say, I’m insanely excited to find a pattern worthy of this material!

Knowing my love of old magazines, my fiancé got me three American magazines from the 1940s (two Woman’s Day, and one Better Homes and Gardens). He also got me a couple of old sewing manuals, providing tips on various vintage sewing techniques.


And finally, my fiance’s parents sorted me out with some extra accessories! Pictured on the right of the photo is a tomato pincushion – I’m told this is an American staple!

So there’s no doubt that I did very well this year, and I can’t wait to get back home so that I can start putting everything to use. For now, I’m contenting myself with a stroll through the magazines and books. The collection of 1940s Sears Catalogue photos has been providing me with some extra inspiration for future makes. A few dresses have totally caught my eye:

Aren’t they divine? I just need to find some patterns that will work!

Anyway, my loves, I hope that you have all had a fabulous December, whether celebrating Christmas, another holiday, or just relishing in the winter weather. I’ll be back shortly with a few new patterns that I’ve collected, plus some insights into the domestic life of the 1940s. In the meantime, have a fabulous New Year’s celebration – I’m massively looking forward to getting to know you all even better in 2016!

Laura x


Me and Mama Clarke doing some vintage hat shopping!

My Vintage Life: The Essex Secret Vintage Fair

Happy Saturday!

I hope that you’re all having a fab weekend so far! I’ve spent my Saturday morning at the amazing Secret Vintage Fair in Colchester. Only a 15 minute walk from where I live, I was obviously extremely excited to pay a visit and see what the fair had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. There were a whole range of vintage and vintage-inspired items – clothes, books, Christmas decorations. Clearly, I was in heaven.

I also found just about the greatest coat of all time. I’ve been debating what to do about the whole coat situation for a while now. All of my coats are hand-my-downs, a bit rat-eared, and not really fitting with my vintage-inspired wardrobe. Now that I’m sewing my own clothes, I’ve been on the look out for a coat to match (I’m not yet brave enough to even think about tailoring my own coat). Pocket Watch and Petticoats is an amazing shop, based in Ipswich, that sells vintage reproduction clothing. I’d come across them before at a vintage market, where I lucked on a gorgeous leather jacket. Lucky as I am, I found them again this morning at the Secret Vintage Fair and purchased the new love of my life…


It is just beautiful. Plus, it has this amazing faux-fur and lace neck cuff.


When I saw it, I melted. And fortunately, I have a very understanding fiancé!

Other key vintage purchases included some Homemaker magazines from the 1960s. I love love love trawling through these for insights into life ‘in them days’ and any tips on dressmaking (from the pre-digital sewing machine era).


We also found these cute-as-a-button miniature stockings, made from vintage fabric, by Laura Love (best name ever) of 13 Stitches (she also runs a teddy hospital, which is just the most adorable thing ever). The stockings will be going on the mantlepiece later today in celebration of the fact that it is ALMOST DECEMBER.


A successful Saturday in anyone’s book. Now time for tea and a rummage through my magazines!

Have a fantastic day!