Only the Fair Deserve the Brave

At Market Lavington Museum we have a book of knitting patterns for making ‘comforts’ for WWII servicemen. It cost six old pence (a 40th of £1).Services knitwear 1

We will see some of the patterns in another blog, but for now we’ll concentrate on what appears just inside the front cover.

Services knitwear 2

Well, there’s a charming picture of elegant ladies reflecting the fashion of the 1940s, if supply and clothing coupons would stretch to such purchases. But the title and surrounding text highlights how differently women were viewed eighty years ago, in pre women’s liberation times.

Services knitwear 8 only the fair

With their men away fighting bravely, the producers of this Paton and Baldwin’s pattern book had no hesitation in telling the women knitters at home what was expected of them.

They look to you, ladies. Your men expect you to stay lovely and feminine, shining like a good deed in a naughty world. Not always easy? The more reason your unruffled poise should put heart into those around you.

The text goes onto promote P&B knitting wools –

You will look very charming and save money dressed in P&B handknitteds you’ve made yourself. Chic … will be yours, the true chic of the thrifty Frenchwoman who hates flashy display and loves elegance that comes from modest means skillfully spent.

So, when the fair ladies had finished knitting all the men’s clothes in this booklet, they could choose some patterns to knit for themselves! Next time, we will have a look at what they might have knitted for their brave menfolk.




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